Players Bulls Should Target: 2018 NBA Draft 7th Pick


Congrats to the Phoenix Suns for getting the first overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. This is a first for their franchise to own the premier pick. If they don’t end up trading the top pick for Karl Anthony-Towns or something catastrophic, the Suns will end up taking either the hometown kid DeAndre Ayton, from Arizona, or European sensation Luka Doncic. Either way, both players will be going to Phoenix or Sacramento (Kings), pending a blockbuster trade. Marvin Bagley III out of Duke seems destined to be drafted by the Atlanta Hawks at this point.

Phoenix, Sacramento, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, and Orlando pick in front of Chicago (in that order). Even if the Bulls don’t make a move to get one of the players mentioned above, the following prospects can make an immediate impact to this young Bulls roster.

Michael Porter Jr. was projected to be the number one overall pick in this year’s draft before suffering the back injury during his freshman year at Missouri that sidelined him for majority of his college career. The 6’10” swingman can fill a major need in the Bulls rotation. There are no major weaknesses in his game and he has NBA size, shooting and athleticism to be productive out the gate. Memphis would be the one team that could take him before falling to Chicago at 7. Porter was coached under former NBA all-star Brandon Roy at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle.

Mohamed Bamba already has potential to be an All NBA defender, but his 7’10” wingspan that was recorded at the NBA combine solidified that notion. He is still raw on offense but fills a need at center for the Bulls. The star out of Texas can be a long term defensive anchor for this team, something the Bulls hasn’t had since a healthy Joakim Noah. I mentioned the other day on Twitter that you will always be relevant with a 7’10” wingspan. Dallas and Orlando both need centers so it may be a long shot to have Mo Bamba available when it’s time for the Bulls to make their selection.

Mikal Bridges was a critical piece for the Villanova Wildcats, who won the NCAA National Championship 2 out the last 3 years. Who wouldn’t want a 2 time national championship on your team? The last time the Bulls had a player of those credentials was Joakim Noah. His offense, specifically his catch and shooting from behind the arc is his greatest strength, and probably the Bulls biggest need. His defense isn’t bad either. Bridges has the potential to be a great two-way player in the NBA one day. He can’t create his own shot and will need to add some weight but would be an immediate impact in an offensive-minded Fred Hoiberg offense. Memphis may take him at 4 or Orlando at 6.

Jaren Jackson Jr. is special. He has the highest celling for bigs in the draft and is already the best two-way. He can shoot and defend the 3, protect the rim, and his size and frame fits today’s game (6’11”, 242 pounds). Personally, would be very surprised if he falls to Chicago. Every team could use Jackson without hesitation. The sky is truly the limit for him.

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Ball Is Life: Windy City’s Spaniards


Last week, I mentioned that I was part of a basketball network at Purdue University Northwest. Apparently, some people within this unofficial fraternity has experienced some unbelievable moments and rare opportunities. A prime example of this is my good friend Angel Martin de Soto, who was the personal assistant of Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic. I’ve known Angel since 2011 when he first came to the United States from Spain.

He’s one of the best all-around basketball players I ever played with (intramural basketball teammates). From his home country of Spain, Angel has been playing basketball since the age of six. He has played with the youth teams of Unicaja Malaga, one of the Top 5 teams in Spain. Angel has also played 4 years semi-pro in the 3rd Division in Spain.

If you don’t know, Nikola Mirotic is from Spain as well. The 6 foot 10 inch forward was drafted by Houston Rockets with the 23rd overall pick in 2011, but his draft rights were ultimately traded to the Chicago Bulls. Mirotic stayed in Spain until 2014, where he and Real Madrid (basketball team in Spain) reached a buyout of his contract.

Image result for nikola mirotic

I’ve been a Bulls fan ever since I can remember. When Angel first told me about his unusual opportunity back in April of 2015, I was stunned (I actually have that ¬†conversation saved on Facebook).

The reason why I worked for him, it is because Nikola was looking for an assistant that help them with their daily basis in his freshman year. I have a really good relation with his agent and he called me to have a interview.

Even though this job was an experience of a lifetime, just like any job, it came with some hard work and some inconvenient duties.

Everyday was different. It was basically 24/7 on call for whatever they (him and his wife) might need. I usually help them with their personal documents, travel arrangements, game day assistance, like hosting the guests, get their tickets and passes. Also, few times we did some shooting practice in his days off.

On the positive side, just like any job, there are a few benefits that make it worth your time there.

 

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Black Mamba warming up

 

The fact that both Angel and Nikola Mirotic are from Spain was probably the icing on the cake during their time together. To have someone with you from the same country when trying to adjust to another country’s culture makes the transition less hectic. Angel stopped working for Nikola Mirotic this past August to move back to Spain, but he has truly helped Mirotic adjust to the American culture. As long as Nikola Mirotic is a Chicago Bulls player, I will continue to cheer for him, especially knowing one of my friends has assisted him off the court.

JGOOD

See Red Into A New Era: Chicago Bulls


A new beginning is upon us in the Windy City. The Bulls organization has made some significant changes over the summer that have transformed the shape of the team. The Bulls officially traded away their franchise (and my favorite) player, Derrick Rose, to the New York Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon (thankfully we cut him), and Jerian Grant (Former Chicago Bull Horace Grant’s nephew). In free agency, we elected not to bring back Pau Gasol (signed with San Antonio) or fan favorite Joakim Noah (signed with New York to play with D.Rose).

The Bulls front office, at the time, said they wanted to get “younger and more athletic”. We eventually drafted Denzel Valentine out of Michigan State. However, things got interesting when the Bulls decided to sign free agent point guard Rajon Rondo. The biggest and most unexpected news was the signing of free agent shooting guard, and Chicago native Dywane Wade. The Bulls pursued Wade in the summer of 2010. There were actual signs that Dywane Wade was going to sign with Chicago, but that changed at the 11th hour when Lebron James decided to take his talents to South Beach.

With that being said, the initial plan of rebuilding has turned into a retooling phase. Recently, the Bulls traded Tony Snell to the Milwaukee Bucks, for former rookie of the year winner Michael Carter-Williams. With all the changes, Chicago has one of the more interesting teams in the league. They lack 3 point shooting, but have better defense and can attack the basket. We did get somewhat younger but added veteran leaders and championship experience. We’re not quite a championship contender and not good enough to beat Cleveland. However, if we make the playoffs, we won’t be an easy out either.

It’s definitely a different vibe with the team because this is a new era with the Bulls. Last season was the beginning of the transition when they fired Tom Thibodeau and hired Fred Hoiberg. This year, we enter a grey area in which we don’t really know the outcome. We can finish as low as probably the 11th or 12th best in the Eastern Conference, or we have the ability to challenge for a home court advantage in the first round. One thing is for sure, I’m going to be here for the ride. I’ll have my Dywane Wade shirt ready for when we start our season against Boston. Let’s see what happens!

JGOOD