Chuck's Daily Check In - 05.15.19

Chuck returns to recap last night's NBA Draft Lottery and looks forward to the Conference Finals
by Chuck Swirsky

Body

I'm bacccccck! Well, randomly yes, but you will read more CCIs as we approach the NBA Draft on June 20.

So everyone, repeat after me...It's a new day. I'm alive. Things are going to be fine.

Got it? No, seriously. Yes, the Bulls coveted the first pick in the draft. As did thirteen other lottery teams. Truth be told, the second pick, in all likelihood, Ja Morant (point guard from Murray State) is a star in the making. He needs to work on his shot and defense, but his skill set and athleticism blows me away. He doesn't possess Zion tools, but with Williamson, we're talking about a generational type player.

The new NBA lottery system works. It's hard for Bulls fans to digest this, the morning after a slide to seventh after posting only 22 wins, but it's true. The Pelicans secured the number one overall pick and in the process probably saved their franchise from relocation. Ownership has made a huge commitment to new Executive Vice President David Griffin to get the Pelicans house in order. Grabbing the first pick is a huge first step with or probably without, Anthony Davis.

But, I digress. Back to the Bulls.

The seventh pick in the draft will feature a collection of players who should establish themselves as rotation players from the get go. Minutes are promised to no one, especially rookies, but Darius Garland, Coby White, DeAndre Hunter, and Cam Reddish could be in the mix. The Bulls are kicking the tires for depth at point guard whether it's through the draft or free agency. The Bulls need to look at grabbing a "big" as well. Jaxson Hayes of Texas is an intriguing talent but honestly, I think he'll be gone by seven. White as well.

Other options? Sure. The Bulls could trade up or trade down with hopes of picking up a player in the process. Or, the Bulls could go after a player in his prime and sweeten the pot with a draft pick and player. All these things will be discussed in organizational meetings.

My message to fans who passionately follow the Bulls is to support the journey as the team aims to make the playoffs in 2019-20. The Bulls have a nice core of young players and will add another piece or two (the Bulls hold the 38th selection). The Bulls will fortify their bench, look to upgrade the point guard position and add some new faces to the coaching staff. The bottom line is health. The Bulls must be able to play; not sit. Injuries happen. Every team goes through a few setbacks but the Bulls have had their share, especially to players that you need to have on the floor ranging from Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr., Denzel Valentine and Chandler Hutchison. Am I missing anyone? Ok. Otto Porter Jr. He played extremely well before he went down with a shoulder injury in Sacramento and never returned to the floor.

The Eastern Conference playoff picture is up for grabs. Toronto, Milwaukee, Philly, Boston go in to the 2019-20 projected to return to the playoffs. Indiana has a ton of free agents so let's see what their roster looks like opening night. I sense Brooklyn will add a major free agent or two. Atlanta is young, perhaps too young, but the Hawks have some terrific young players and will be better. New York? Who really knows. Now that Zion is headed to NOLA, will the Knicks be able to attract a major free agent or two. I expect Detroit and Orlando to slip back to the "bubble" layer of being on the edge of playoff contention. So, again, if the Bulls stay healthy with an upgraded roster, there is no reason not to believe the playoffs are within sight.

CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES

Just my take but ESPN went way over the top in its coverage of Zion to the Knicks. I'm sure the networks were salivating over Zion to MSG and yes, it would have bolstered ratings numbers now that LeBron's late games out west have made a dent in to regular season viewership.

The Nets are going to be a big player in the free agent market.

How good has Kawhi Leonard been and for that matter Giannis Antetokounmpo been? I like the Raps in the EC Finals in six games. Leonard's game winner against Philly was one for the ages. Glad Philly stayed the course with Brett Brown. Had the 76ers fired him he would not have been unemployed long.

Golden State dropped some series three balls against the Blazers and look for Portland to make adjustments for game two Thursday.

Minnesota and Memphis are looking for head coaches and it's anyone's guess what will happen.

The Wizards continue to interview candidates for its General Manager position.

It's been a turbulent few weeks for the Lakers but Frank Vogel can coach. Period. The fourth pick in the draft will give Rob Pelinka some options as they look to significantly upgrade their roster.

Love the Cavaliers choice of John Beilein as head coach. Don't give that junk about age (66)...I don't care. He brings intelligence, court savvy, a beautiful system and passion to the NBA. Huge loss for the college game.

Glad to see Jerry West sign an extension with the Clippers to remain with the organization as a consultant. Hard to believe the "logo" turns 81 next month. The man is a living legend. Age is not an issue when you love what you do.

Thanks for reading CCI. Reach out: cswirsky@bulls.com or Twitter: @ctsbulls

Always a pleasure.

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