A perimeter defender would suit Bulls' needs in draft
A couple of traits the Bulls could use more of are athleticism and 3-point shooting.
So while it seems like the Bulls' most likely scenario with the fourth pick of the NBA Draft is Israeli forward Deni Avdija or a playmaker like Tyrese Haliburton or Killian Hayes, there are some intriguing wing options in this class.
At the top of the list is Auburn's Isaac Okoro, who's been billed as the best defender in this year's draft. At 6-fooot-6, he's a little smaller than ex-Bull Jimmy Butler, but the same strategy applies. You take someone who has one NBA-ready skill, and hope he develops the rest of his game.
As a college freshman, Okoro averaged 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.9 steals. He shot 29% from 3-point range, but he attacked the basket well and seems to have good shooting mechanics. His most impressive trait last season was an ability to guard every position on the floor.
"I feel like what separates me from everyone else in this draft is just my willingness to do anything to help a team win," Okoro said this week in a Zoom call with reporters. "I feel like I can contribute (offensively) by attacking the rim, drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line, and also driving and finding open teammates."
The Bulls had a couple of strong perimeter defenders on last year's team in Kris Dunn and Shaq Harrison, but both of those player are free agents. Dunn missed making the all-defensive team by a few votes, but it's not clear how much interest he'll get on the open market, since his 3-point shot hasn't come around and he's missed at least 30 games due to injuries in each of the last three years.
I suspect the Bulls might be willing to bring back Dunn on the one-year qualifying offer, but they'll be reluctant to add any multiyear deals, since the plan is to have cap space and flexibility in 2021.
Also, the 6-4 Dunn and 6-3 Harrison have height limitations, so a taller perimeter defender should be on the Bulls' wish list.
There are other wings available in Wednesday's draft. None of them figure to go as high as No. 4, and it's tough to tell if any teams in the six to 14 range will be motivated to move up in this draft, but here's a rundown of 6-7, 6-8 small forward-types:
Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt: He's not in the same class as Okoro as a defender or explosive athlete, but Nesmith shot 52.2% from 3-point range during his sophomore season. He has promise on defense and also looks good shooting off the dribble.
Patrick Williams, Florida State: He's 6-8 with a 6-11 wingspan and spent a lot of his time in the paint during his freshman season. He shot 32% from 3, but has some perimeter scoring skills.
Precious Achiuwa, Memphis: He might be the most polished offensive player on this list. Achiuwa averaged 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds as a freshman, with some hints of Carmelo Anthony in his game.
Devin Vassell, Florida State: This is a potential "3 and D" guy who can already shoot the 3. He hit on 42% from long rage during each of his two years in college. The downside is Vassell doesn't handle the ball particularly well and may not have the upside Okoro does.
Saddiq Bey, Villanova: The 6-8 Bey stayed in school for two years and made some nice improvements. His scoring rose from 8.2 points as a freshman to 16.1, while his 3-point percentage went from .374 to .451.