Ask Sam Mailbag: Options with the No. 4 pick

Matt Chilewich:

I've shared some frustrations with you about the state of the Bulls so I'm going to admit I feel very excited and hopeful again about the team's direction. I think the Karnisovas/Eversley combo is terrific for the basketball knowledge and player relationships (Eversley). Also was so excited to see us move up to #4. So who do you think is the best fit? I don't think we can take a center unless we move on from Carter and it seems outside of that that we need a PG. I do like certain parts of Haliburton's game. I do like some of Ball's game, but I'd hate the drama his father comes with. I do not think he will get picked top 3 and I do not think AK wants to tether his legacy to that family name. Toppin has some great upside on offense but he needs some serious coaching to become a defender. I worry about Deni's shooting.

Sam Smith:

So you're saying there's positives and negatives regarding a half dozen guys? Sounds right.

We can't go too much by consensus given how little everyone has seen the main guys play. Which means they probably know less about the next Pascal Siakam, Devin Booker or Donovan Mitchell. If there is a consensus following the lottery, it's center James Wiseman and guard Anthony Edwards probably the first two picks. Golden State with No. 2 is the unpredictable one with potential veteran desires and a trade. I don't see the Bulls trading up without giving up too much since neither player appears to be a franchise No. 1 player. I projected Israel's Deni Avdija No. 4 in my post lottery mock draft. Though Charlotte could take him at No. 3.

Leaving the Bulls probably to make a big decision on LaMelo Ball. Take a chance on a player who if not ultimately a franchise player—though possibly—but one so potentially polarizing and risky, talented but erratic, playing professionally overseas by the time he was 16 as a high school dropout as a sophomore? He sort of went back to school after playing in a league his problematic and sometimes meddling father created, leaving you to wonder about LaMelo, the values and maturity that go with the seemingly spectacular talent as a facilitator and showman. And you don't even get him to work out for you or meet in person. Before making a major franchise investment not so much in dollars but credibility. It's great to hit a home run in your first at bat. It lingers if you are seriously injured by your first choices.

Greg Young:

I think the Bulls will get a helpful player but it would be more helpful to know the coach and whether he can figure why the Bulls are less than their parts. In hindsight, the biggest disappointment of the past couple of coaches was their inability to get the team to buy in for both themselves and their teammates.

Sam Smith:

There has been too many coaches in the last few years, too many players and too many agendas. Presumably that's over with now as the new management team led by Arturas Karnisovas seems focused, serious and committed. So maybe Gregg Popovich? We all believe the game's greatest active coach will remain with the Spurs and try to fulfill his Olympic commitment next year. But suddenly one of the latest NBA rumors/hot takes is the Nets are pursuing Popovich. It makes some sense since the Spurs are rebuilding with younger players and the Nets might be a contender with a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Tom Brady decided for a late career change of scenery. It happens. Lifestyle also matters when you've accomplished so much. Popovich does love New York City and usually spends a few weeks there every summer walking around and sampling new restaurants and wines.

But then why not Chicago? It's not New York with restaurants, but pretty darned close. And you don't have to coach the uncoachable Irving. I think the Bulls in recent years with the rebuilding and losing began to get a little too defensive and forgot who they are. The Last Dance documentary reminded many. The Bulls are an historic NBA franchise in one of the world's greatest cities offering the best in culture and cuisine, a prideful city and franchise. Jerry Krause was condemned for his infamous organizations win championships comment. But he was right. Jordan was the finisher. But it was an organization brilliantly built to support Jordan's excellence and as devoted a fan base as there is in sports with league leading attendance even for a decade after Jordan left the Bulls. Plus there's a lot more talent—with another top four draft pick to come and a huge salary cap availability after next season—than the record suggested last season, talent that perhaps just needs a bit more direction and professionalism for a massive turnaround. And Pop is from here. Well nearby, northwest Indiana known as The Region; basically a Chicago suburb. Pop grew up in East Chicago and went to high school in Merrillville, Indiana. Pop's in great shape and seems as feisty as ever. If the Nets can get in the conversation with the league's lowest attendance and two stubborn vets coming back from serious injuries, then why not others? Maybe Pop wants a change of scenery after the longest playoff run ever. There's nothing yet to suggest he does. But it is a reminder that for the Bulls no matter whom they pursue, it's time to aim high without apologies.