Are NBA draft's top 3 picks locked in? Bulls would love to know

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Are the top three picks in Wednesday's NBA Draft already locked in? That's important for the Bulls and new Bulls executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas to figure out, since they'll be selecting fourth.

    Are the top three picks in Wednesday's NBA Draft already locked in? That's important for the Bulls and new Bulls executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas to figure out, since they'll be selecting fourth. Courtesy of Denver Post

 
 
Updated 11/14/2020 6:16 PM

There aren't any can't-miss prospects in the delayed 2020 NBA Draft.

Some of these guys will turn out to be stars, but at this point, no one's a lock to lead a franchise to title contention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That said, there does seem to be a consensus building for the top three picks. Most predictions have LaMelo Ball going No. 1 to Minnesota, followed by Golden State taking Memphis center James Wiseman and Charlotte selecting Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards.

The Bulls, of course, have the fourth pick in Wednesday's draft. Time will tell if that turns out to be bad luck, but recent results have shown there's limited correlation to draft order and NBA success.

Do the Bulls have any chance of landing one of those three guys at No. 4? Here's one scenario that could be plausible: The guard-heavy Hornets work out a pick swap with the Timberwolves. Charlotte would then take Wiseman first, while Minnesota could still get either Ball or Edwards at No. 3.

If Golden State went with a big at No. 2, such as USC's Onyeka Okongwu, then someone drops to No. 4. There's a theory Minnesota could prefer Edwards, because a playmaker like Ball might be the wrong fit with D'Angelo Russell.

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The Bulls have the opposite perspective. Since both Coby White and Zach LaVine are more scorers than distributors, Ball appears to be a much better fit than Edwards.

As mentioned above, there's reason to be skeptical of every player at the top of the draft. Ball played just 16 games with the Illwarra Hawks of Australia's NBL last season. Wiseman played just three games at Memphis before leaving school with eligibility issues. Edwards shot 29 percent from 3-point range for a Georgia team that finished 5-13 in the SEC.

Ball first burst into the spotlight as a freshman at Chino Hills (Calif.) High School playing with his two older brothers. Back then, he was known as a shooter with no conscious, sometimes pulling up from half-court.

After playing in Lithuania, then prep school in Ohio and finally Australia, he's become a much different player. Now Ball is a smooth ballhandler with great court vision. He's become a taller version of older brother Lonzo, and now it's his outside shot that needs work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Wiseman is still an intriguing prospect because he moves so well at 7-feet-1 and seems to have all the tools to succeed. Edwards' athleticism and strength reminds some scouts of a younger James Harden, though obviously Edwards has a long way to go.

With so many questions about everyone in this draft, it wouldn't be a shock to see one of the top teams go off-script with an early pick.

Since a playmaker like Ball makes sense for the Bulls, maybe they'll think seriously about some other point guard types, such as Iowa State's Tyrese Haliburton or Killian Hayes, an American-born guard who played in Germany last year.

Deni Avdija, a 6-9 forward from Israel, is another popular prediction for the Bulls at No. 4.

Haliburton's sophomore season at Iowa State was cut short by a broken wrist. He averaged 15.2 points and 6.5 assists in 22 games and shot 42.6 percent from 3-point range during his college career, despite an unconventional shooting form. He made his case in a Zoom call with reporters this week.

"I really truly feel like I'm the best facilitator in this draft, the best shooter in this draft an one of the highest basketball IQs," Haliburton said. "So obviously I have that confidence in myself. I feel like that's what separates me."

Hayes averaged 12.8 points, 6.2 assists and shot 39 percent from 3-point range last season for Ulm in the German League. His father DeRon played at Penn State, then overseas. So Hayes grew up mostly in France, while spending his summers in Florida.

Playmaking, attacking the basket and defense are Hayes' strengths, while he tended to be too left-hand dominant. Hayes told reporters he's been working hard on his right hand and shooting form during the hiatus.

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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