Sam Smith's Top NBA Draft Options for the Bulls at No. 4

Sam takes a look at some of his top prospects available at No. 4 if Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, and LaMelo Ball are selected in the top 3.
by Sam Smith
Remind Me Later
Draft 2020 | AT&T Bulls Draft Coverage

Body

Sam Smith takes a closer look at some of the Draft prospects likely to be available with the No. 4 selection.

It's Election Day, the day for one of the most important choices for all citizens. That's right, Obi Toppin or Onyeka Okongwu?

Oh, right, not that choice yet. Though that's a really big one that comes November 18 with the NBA Draft.

But in tribute to Tuesday's voting day, my vote for the Bulls draft pick at No. 4 in this year's NBA Draft is...

...wait, it's coming...

Deni Avdija?

Avdija, the versatile 6-9 small forward/wing player from Israel is generally the consensus for the Bulls in most of the media mock drafts. As far back as Draft Lottery night in August, many (including me) immediately speculated Avdija for the Bulls given the new management's international background and the team's need for a perimeter player who also is a ball handler and playmaker.

Which doesn't exactly make it official. But his selection does make some sense amidst the varied speculation the Bulls could trade up, might trade down or even stay right where they are.

So my votes for the Bulls draft pick at No. 4 are:

Deni Avdija

Kira Lewis Jr.

Onyeka Okongwu

Obi Toppin

Patrick Williams

There's some assumptions first, one being the NBA with its adherence to rules isn't going to allow the Bulls to select five players with their No. 4 pick. Though having left the Bulls out of the Orlando tournament, you'd think that's the least they could do.

The general consensus is Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards, Memphis center James Wiseman and Big Baller guard LaMelo Ball will be the top three selections in the draft. It seems most likely Edwards and Wiseman will be taken before the Bulls make their selection at No. 4.

Though there's considerable speculation about Golden State trading down for a player and a draft pick, that route won't be easy. Wiseman, 19, has supposedly indicated he doesn't want to play with Karl-Anthony Towns. He doesn't make much sense there, anyway. But he seems too talented and too unusual a talent for the Warriors to pass.

The player probably causing the most confusion is Ball. And not just because he seems dressed so often in mustard yellow. You know, to cover a hot dog. If he fell to No. 4 would the Bulls take a shot? Basketball operations chief Arturas Karnisovas has been quoted saying for the Bulls the draft is all about best talent. Of course, that's not a scientific analysis.

But for purposes of this exercise two weeks before anyone has to make a decision, assume Charlotte and Michael Jordan cannot pass on the talent and perhaps attendance draw (whenever that is possible again) of a player like Ball in a relatively sleepy market. Wake up, Charlotte! Have a Ball!

Deni Avdija

Deni Avdija

The choice is Avdija because other than the three-point shooting, the modern NBA game is supposed to be about tall wing players who can switch defensively and make plays. As a result, Avdija has been mentioned as even a possible No. 2 for the Warriors. He's not the great, Scottie Pippen-type athlete for that position.

But he does a lot of basketball things with that treasured upside. His shooting is supposed to be a weakness, but he's a worker. It improved already when Israel returned from last spring's virus hiatus and his shooting form looks teachable. He's not Luka Doncic, but he seems like he can be the ideal secondary playmaker the Bulls envisioned with Otto Porter Jr., and thus a fit with the current personnel. Not a great athlete, but like Luka good enough.

Kira Lewis Jr

Kira Lewis Jr.

The top three point guards in this draft are supposed to be Ball, Killian Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton. Both Hayes and Haliburton fit the NBA profile as 6-5 playmakers, but it's often a mistake scouts make. OK, one of many they make. Which is not to say those two won't succeed. Isiah Thomas was about 5-11. Don't be fooled by projecting what players can be by physical profile.

Lewis still lags out of the lottery in many mock drafts. But he's moving up and likely will be a lottery projection in most of those before the draft. He's a dynamic speedster who's a little skinny but long armed. He seems physical the way he can finish at the basket with a capable shot and defense. It would be special to see a jet like him playing with Zach LaVine and/or Coby White. The conventional wisdom in these drafts is he's not a top five or perhaps top 10 prospect, so you have to trade down. Or get criticized during the TV broadcast. But Karnisovas has said this draft also will be unusual for a player one team has rated No. 4 who might be No. 14 for another team. If you like the player, take him no matter what anyone thinks. Recent No. 15 picks like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard did OK.

Onyeka Okongwu

Onyeka Okongwu

The Bulls have plenty of offense and lots of finesse. He doesn't display much of either, which seems like a fit. The natural reaction might be enough of the 6-9 bigs. And don't the Bulls have those guys with Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.? In Arturas we trust, and he has said position doesn't matter as much as belief. It's a prove-it season coming up for basically everyone on the roster with a new front office and coaching staff.

Both Markkanen and Carter had backsliding 2019-20 seasons that could be attributed to various franchise curiosities. Competition for your position shouldn't be unwelcome. Okongwu looks like he fits that new NBA oxymoron model of the small big. He's athletic and physical, traits the Bulls have missed.

Obi Toppin

Obi Toppin

Still another 6-9 big man? Sigh. Yes, but also with a long reach and isn't Elton Brand. Who, by the way, was good enough to be a 20/10 player for the Bulls. He's another to give Markkanen a run, a dynamic scorer, athletic and potentially a tough finisher with power. He's generally criticized for lack of defensive play, but he at least seems willing to learn. He's not Zion, but he'll also put on power dunking shows.

Patrick Williams

Patrick Williams

A player no one for now considers top five. He's not a project, but one of those with potential in the Leonard/Jimmy Butler model of a worker with talent who could grow into something special. Sure, we mostly compare guys to stars rather than the Justice Winslow guys who didn't break through. Williams seems to have a lot of two-way potential with his athletic ability, defense and capable shooting. There'd presumably be a lot of boos taking him at No. 4. Rather than the cheers for say, Cleveland in 2011 when with No. 4 they selected Tristan Thompson. Just ahead of Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesely and Bismack Biyombo. Jimmer Fredette was No. 10. Then Leonard went No. 15. If you like someone, take him. Mock drafts tend to make a mockery of this process.

By the way, vote.

Got a question for Sam?

Submit your question to Sam at asksam@bulls.com

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

NEXT UP:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter