The Bulls worked out Texas center Mo Bamba on Friday at the Advocate Center, assessing how he would fit with the young pieces already in place.
Bamba did his homework too, and has already decided the Bulls are perfect for him.
"Chicago is one of the better fits for me than other places," Bamba said. "That's why I thought it was important to come work out."
While Bamba spoke to a group of reporters in the corner of the gym, several Bulls continued to work out nearby, including Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio, Antonio Blakeney and Ryan Arcidiacono. Bamba has already considered the possibility of playing next to Markkanen.
"I think Lauri and I, in a sense, we're the frontcourt of the future," Bamba said. "He can step out and really shoot it really well and it just gives me a lot of room to operate down low and sort of develop at my own pace."
If Bamba is still on the board when the Bulls pick at No. 7 in the June 21 NBA draft, it will take a little imagination to envision him playing for a championship contender someday. In today's NBA, centers are relegated to minor roles in the playoffs. Finalists Golden State and Cleveland don't use a true center at all.
Bamba is a 7-footer with a stunning 7-foot-10 wingspan, perhaps the longest measured at the NBA draft combine. He figures to do really well at blocking shots and catching lob passes. The question is whether he can play on the perimeter, switch onto guards and move his feet well enough against small lineups.
"They put me through a couple drills where I switched on a guard and had to guard him for a little bit; late shot-clock situations," Bamba said. "I'm going to surprise a lot of people with how much feel I have for the game. That will be something a lot of people didn't really get to see much at Texas, but they'll get to see it a lot more at the next level due to more space."
After the college season, Bamba worked with trainer Drew Hanlen to improve his shooting mechanics. He plans to become one of those bigs who can step outside and knock down 3-pointers.
"We fixed three things right off the bat," Bamba said. "Getting low in my pocket; landing tall and keeping it smooth. (The shot) is night and day from when I left Texas to now. My mechanics are a lot smoother. My makes are all net and my misses are landing a lot softer."
Bamba said his Bulls workout included plenty of long-distance shooting and pick-and-roll drills. He said coaches had fun throwing him lob passes, but needed a little time to adjust to his length.
"I encouraged them to throw it a little higher," he said.
Bamba has intriguing physical gifts. As a speaker, he's very sharp, friendly and well-spoken. He grew up in Harlem and is comfortable in a big city. But he does get annoyed when people question his commitment to basketball.
"A lot of it is due to my outside interests to basketball," Bamba said. "I think it's ridiculous. Kobe (Bryant) being as worldly and knowing three or four different languages, but no one really questioned his motive."