It does look like Porter's Hall of Fame enshrinement won't be this year. He's good, but I still see a lot of Mirotic. The Nuggets basically take him out at the end of every game because his defense is so poor. And that's with a team that doesn't defend much. The Nuggets are (somewhat) surprisingly down 3-1. Hey, maybe Mike Malone will be available. Nah. But we do look for signs of what Arturas Karnisovas will do as the new Bulls lead executive. Will the Bulls be the Nuggets? They've been very good, but just that. They shoot a ton of threes and don't defend much. Though no one in the bubble has been the last few months, so it's a sliding scale. Out in the first round would be disappointing underachieving season.
Though we look for clues with the Nuggets, it's really not possible because Karnisovas wasn't the final decision maker. It's his first time in that position and he already looks good with the Bulls best lottery since 2008. But he must be wincing for his former team, which is being chewed up by Donovan Mitchell, whom the Nuggets drafted and traded to the Jazz for a lower first round pick and former lottery pick Trey Lyles. It seemed to make sense at the time and was similar to the Bulls two-for-one deal of the rights to No. 2 (LaMarcus Aldridge) for No. 4 and Viktor Khryapa. Hey, he went back to Moscow and played pretty well. Two starters for one seemed to make sense. To the Nuggets as well. Good for the Utah, where Mitchell has become a star and the playoffs leading scorer so far. Lots of isolations by him, which seems to work in this non-defense bubble. Remember way back when the playoffs were physical and lower scoring? You know, last year.
Mentioning Mitchell also reminds us of this debate we were having of where Lauri Markkanen fit in that draft. We were saying third after his second season. Now it's up to Markkanen to show that form again. It didn't help the Bulls never got the chance in Orlando. That 2017 draft, too, is another example of how difficult and capricious the GM job can be. We were assured Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson would be elite. Now they're all reserves. If you ranked that 2017 draft now, would it look like this? Jayson Tatum (3), Donovan Mitchell (13), De'Aaron Fox (5), Bam Adebayo (14), John Collins (19), Kyle Kuzma (27), Lonzo Ball (2), OG Anunoby (23), Jarrett Allen (22), Luke Kennard (12). Where would Markkanen fit? Based on his first two seasons? Or last season? Where will he fit in two years?