The NBA offseason, already firing on all cylinders with trades involving Anthony Davis and Mike Conley respectively, did not disappoint on draft night as the Pelicans, Hawks, Timberwolves and Suns were active. It all played into the hands of the Bulls.
The Bulls did not surrender a roster player, nor a future pick to grab the player they coveted.
Prior to the draft, if someone told me the Bulls would come away with Coby White at seven, I would have said, "Case closed, let's go home."
My initial thoughts as I'm writing CCI at 1:42 AM:
White has a huge upside. You can't coach speed and he is a nightmare to stop in the open court. His play making decisions will improve. He will be coached and will learn the pro pick and roll game. He has the athleticism to be a solid defender. He was the primary ball handler at North Carolina. He has "leadership" written all over him. He is 19. I repeat. He is 19. Patience, please. Head Coach Jim Boylen loves players with "spirit"...White has plenty of that.
After Minnesota and the Suns hooked up swapping first round picks with Dario Saric packaged to the Suns as well, I was convinced White was headed to Minnesota but the T-Wolves elected to go with Jarrett Culver. Love Culver, but White is the player the Bulls needed with the current group of players assembled and I am convinced in time he will prove me correct. The NBA game is changing with transition hoops and running the floor essential creating easy buckets. A message to the Bulls players: Better be in shape when training camp begins because Coach Boylen plans to jump start the offense with Chris Fleming joining the coaching staff from Brooklyn.
Coby White is "The Blur". The Bulls are going to be a fun, exciting team to watch.
Second round pick Daniel Gafford is athletic. I mean atttttthletic! He can finish around the rim (led the SEC in FG% at 66%) and is a presence on defense. Gafford is a roll to the rim talent and loves to run the floor, which only adds to the versatility of the Bulls. He too is a developing young player at 20. He is committed to working on his offensive game and body. He will compete with Cristiano Felicio for back up minutes.
POST DRAFT THOUGHTS:
Atlanta is percolating. The Hawks, similar to the Bulls, continue to stock pile young talent. As expected, Atlanta found a willing trade partner with NOLA. The Hawks from day one targeted Virginia's De'Andre Hunter who is a magnificent defender and understands his offensive role. The "X Factor" is Cam Reddish. Incredible skill set. It's a hit or miss. Don't sleep on the Hawks. Superb job by GM Travis Schlenk.
The Pelicans continue to wheel and deal as NOLA guru David Griffin is adding piece after piece after piece. I absolutely loved their selection of Jaxson Hayes at eight...yea, that guy, Zion is pretty good as well.
Memphis with a revamped front office did very well selecting Ja Morant (a no brainer) and Brandon Clarke.
Pistons GM Ed Stefanski in a 24 hour period acquired Tony Snell from MIlwaukee, drafted Sekou Doumbouya and then flipped the last pick in the first round for four -count em' four- second round picks.
The Cavs were solid: Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. who has a big time upside. Can Garland and Collin Sexton play together? We will soon find out.
Indiana picked up TJ Warren from the Suns. On paper, I like the move for the Pacers but can Warren stay healthy?
Nassir Little of North Carolina was projected to be a 10-14 guy and fell to 25th. How badly does he want to be a great player? If he can't bring it nightly for Terry Stotts, that's on the player. Little has a great skill set. I'm shocked he went 25th...now it's time for him to look in the mirror and get after it.
What a night for Canada...a record setting six Canadians selected.
Tons and tons of story lines but this night belonged to the young men and the entire NBA basketball who put in the time, effort and long, long hours of intel work securing talent.
The free agent period is around the corner followed by Summer League.
I am totally fired up.
Always a pleasure.