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.