Bulls trade into 2nd round, draft Tennessee forward Phillips
After a long night of nothing happening at the Advocate Center, the Bulls finally snagged a second-round pick, according to a report by NBA insider Shams Charania.
The Bulls landed the No. 35 overall selection from the Wizards and took 6-foot-8 Tennessee forward Julian Phillips. A five-star recruit who grew up in South Carolina, Phillips averaged 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in his lone season for the Volunteers. He posted the highest vertical jump at the draft combine at 43 inches, while his shooting needs work.
"One of the best athletes in the draft," vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said of Phillips. "He can step in right now and probably defend on our level. He's got a lot of things obviously to improve."
During his post-draft comments, Karnisovas mentioned he is planning on injured guard Lonzo Ball not playing this season, and ownership has given the green light to go into luxury tax territory during free-agency if it will make the team competitive.
One piece of good news, sort of, from the first round for the Bulls is that their trade with Orlando for Nikola Vucevic is finally complete. On Mar. 25, 2021, the Bulls sent Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter and two first-round picks to the Magic.
Orlando took Michigan guys with both draft picks, choosing Franz Wagner in '21 then Jett Howard with the No. 11 pick on Thursday. Howard is the son of Chicago native and Michigan head coach Juwan Howard.
Right or wrong, it's finally over. It was a lot to give up for Vucevic, but Karnisovas was desperate to pull the Bulls out of rebuilding mode. He said Thursday he thought the trade worked out well for the Bulls.
Don't forget, the Bulls still owe San Antonio a first-round pick in 2025 from the DeMar DeRozan trade. It's top-10 protected in '25, top-eight protected in '26 and '27. The Bulls do still have their own first-rounder in 2024, so there will be a silver lining if they're bad next season.
That's also a major reason the Bulls aren't making many moves -- they can't trade a first-round pick until 2027 and have no second-rounders until 2026.
A couple of trades were a bigger deal than anything that happened in the draft. Late Wednesday night, Boston acquired forward Kristaps Porzingis from Washington in a three-team trade. Veteran guard Marcus Smart moved from Boston to Memphis, while point guard Tyus Jones goes to the Wizards.
The Wizards delivered another surprise Thursday afternoon, sending veteran point guard Chris Paul, just acquired from Phoenix for Bradley Beal, to Golden State for sharpshooter Jordan Poole.
The Warriors have the NBA's highest payroll, so the main motivation for this deal was likely a desire to remove Poole's four-year, $128-million extension from the books.
Paul's contract is partially guaranteed for this season and not guaranteed next year. It sounds like Golden State might try to re-sign free agent Draymond Green and make one more run at the Finals with Paul as part of the supporting cast, but the Warriors could also lower their tax bill by releasing him.
The draft began with the formality of San Antonio selecting 7-foot-3 French sensation Victor Wembanyama. The Spurs had ties to France during their championship years with point guard Tony Parker, so that's a team Wembanyama grew up watching.
After the selection, Wembanyama was handed a tissue so he could wipe away tears as he sat for an ESPN interview.
"Accomplishing something I've been dreaming of my whole life," he said. "Hearing that sentence from Adam Silver, I've dreamed of it so much, I've got to cry, man."
No. 2 selection Brandon Miller from Alabama had fun with the predraft process in Charlotte. He claimed the greatest of all time is not his future boss Michael Jordan, but Paul George. Why he believes that is unclear, though he may have been joking or just a huge fan of George.
"I grew up watching Paul George," Miller said before the draft. "LeBron (James) is definitely the best player in the league. Just to make it clear, my GOAT is Paul George."
G-League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson went No. 3 to Portland, followed by the Thompson twins. Amen Thompson was chosen No. 4 by Houston, while brother Ausar went to the Pistons at No. 5. The Oakland, California, natives spent last season in Overtime Elite, an Atlanta-based league designed to give players an alternative to college.
Orlando took Arkansas' Anthony Black with their own pick at No. 6. Washington and Indiana swapped picks six and seven, with the Wizards getting Wembanyama's French teammate Bilal Coulibaly while the Pacers landed Houston forward Jarace Walker.
The rest of the lottery went this way: UCF forward Taylor Hendricks to Utah at No. 9; Kentucky guard Cason Wallace to Oklahoma City at No. 10, Howard to Orlando at 11, Duke center Dereck Liveley Jr. to Dallas at No. 12, Kansas forward Gradey Dick to Toronto at No. 13 and UConn guard Jordan Hawkins to New Orleans at No. 14. Dallas and OKC traded spots.
Some other Big Ten products chosen in the first round were Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin to Atlanta at No. 15, Indiana's Jalen Hood-Schifino to the Lakers at No. 17, Iowa's Kris Murray to Portland at No. 23 and Ohio State's Brice Sensabaugh to Utah at No. 28.
Santa Clara shooting guard Brandin Podziemski is a suburban Milwaukee native who spent his freshman year at Illinois before transferring.