How much luck do Bulls need to win 2019 NBA Draft lottery?
May 14 will be an eventful night for the bad NBA teams. They'll pile into a downtown Chicago hotel and await results of the 2019 draft lottery.
It's very possible the lottery winner quickly unfurls a "Williamson" jersey, since Duke forward Zion Williamson is a virtual lock to go No. 1. So much else is undecided, though, so let's get back to questions from readers:
I'm worried this draft might be the 2000 draft all over again. Bulls fall to 6 or 7 and we get Chris Mihm, Part 2. What case can you put forth for a shred of optimism, since we've been told that luck isn't the solution? -- @yerb23
This is an interesting question. Obviously, the Bulls drafted Texas center Chris Mihm, but immediately traded him for Jamal Crawford, the best player in the Class of 2000 by a wide margin. That was actually a great call by Jerry Krause. But the point of the question is the Bulls could end up picking lower than they want and settle for a guy without the athleticism to do well in the NBA.
Also, even though Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said last week that they're not planning on luck, that's clearly a huge part of the Bulls' future. It will be easier for management to look smart, sell tickets and make Chicago a desired NBA destination if they land the first or second pick.
The Bulls could end up choosing anywhere from first to eighth. Under the new lottery format, the top four picks will be chosen by drawing and then the teams lined up by worst record. In the past, only the top three picks were chosen in the drawing.
One thing to keep in mind is the Bulls chose seventh the last two years and landed guys with some upside in Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. There will be both good players and busts throughout the lottery. And the past two years, the Bulls seemed to get it right at No. 7, so there's a small dose of optimism.
The Bulls sorely need the No. 2 pick to draft our point guard of the future, Ja Morant. If they end up with the No. 4 pick, do you think the Bulls would trade up to draft Morant or do you see a free agent fit? -- @AK_CHI_KC
True, the hyperathletic Murray State point guard would seem to be a nice fit with the Bulls, and he figures to go No. 2 behind Williamson. But a trade will be difficult.
People are bound to make comparisons with last year's Dallas-Atlanta swap involving Luka Doncic. But keep in mind, the Hawks ended up taking the player they wanted all along, Trae Young, and the Mavericks gave up this year's top pick in the deal. So Atlanta could end up with two top-10 picks in June and Young is going to finish second in rookie of the year voting. That was a trade where Dallas gave up a lot and both teams will likely benefit.
The problem this year is the draft isn't as strong at the top. The team that gets the No. 2 pick isn't likely to say, "Morant is nice, but we'd rather have the guy we could get with the No. 4 or 5 pick." Trading into the top two will be very difficult, if not impossible this year. Yes, the Bulls probably should offer next year's No. 1 to move up, but they'd likely be turned down.
What's your take on this recently leaked news about the 'Zo trade? Do you think the Bulls would package up their fourth pick and another asset to make this happen in the offseason? -- @infinii_k
First of all, it's weird for me to see Zo and not think Alonzo Mourning. But we're talking about Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball. No one really knows the full story, but when rumors were flying about the Lakers trading half their roster for Anthony Davis, the Ball camp spoke up to say Lonzo would rather not play in New Orleans and listed Chicago as a preferred destination.
Would Ball make sense for the Bulls? That's a tough one. In two seasons, he's shown he can be a versatile player, piling up rebounds and assists, while playing solid defense. His outside shot is improving, but still needs plenty of work, and he's a horrible free-throw shooter. Worst of all, he's played in 52 and 47 games his first two years. The last thing the Bulls need is another guy who can't make it through half a season.
For a top-5 pick, I'd pass on Ball. If they could use Kris Dunn and maybe another player in a trade, it would make more sense.
If they don't get the first pick for Zion, will it be the best available point guard? Morant, White, Barrett? -- @GreenfieldBerg1
Well, yeah, they'd take Morant with the second pick and Duke's R.J. Barrett will be a strong contender for the third pick, although I wouldn't call him a point guard.
After the top two, this draft seems to be big on athletic wings, such as Barrett, Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver, Virginia's DeAndre Hunter, Duke's Cam Reddish, Kentucky's Keldon Johnson, 6-9 Sekou Doumbouya, who is playing in France, and some others.
For point guards, North Carolina freshman Coby White is a possibility. He's 6-5, shot a lot of 3s and averaged 4.1 assists. Another guy to watch is Darius Garland, who played just five games for Vanderbilt and got hurt. He's more of the prototypical, drive-and-dish, run-the-show style point guard.
In the long run, there will be more than two good players in this draft. The Bulls just have to make a smart pick. It's early, but I like Doumbouya as an above-the-rim type of player with a huge upside. Reddish has a chance to be a good stretch four, which would fit well with the Bulls. Barrett, Culver and Hunter should be good NBA players. So there is hope after the top two.