NBA

The Chicago Bulls Finally Have a Path Back to Relevancy

The Chicago Bulls have been mired in mediocrity for most of the last decade. The last three years have been especially bad, with the team failing to reach 30 wins each season. To make matters worse, the Bulls have not receieved very good lottery picks, drafting no higher than the No. 7 spot, which they held in both 2018 and 2019.

In that regard, things took a turn for the better this year. The Bulls earned the No. 4 pick in the 2020 NBA draft. If the franchise chooses wisely, they could get a player who works well with their promising, young players like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen. Let’s look at the 2020 lottery results, as well as the Bulls’ No. 4 pick.

The 2020 NBA draft lottery

This year’s lottery came with a number of surprises, which may be good or bad depending on your team loyalties. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who snagged the No. 1 pick, were the biggest winner.

The Golden State Warriors got the No. 2 pick, which should prove a valuable tool in augmenting their roster for next season’s return to competitive play. The Charlotte Hornets made a surprise leap to the No. 3 spot. The Bulls also beat the odds by rising to No. 4, despite having had only a 32% chance of cracking the top four, according to Fansided.

Meanwhile, teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, and New York Knicks all fell down relative to their odds, netting the No. 5, No. 7, and No. 8 picks respectively. The Atlanta Hawks rounded out the top eight with the No. 6 pick.

The Bulls’ best options in the draft

This year’s draft class pales compared to recent years. Simply put, there’s no Zion Williamson or Ja Morant for teams to snag. Yet plenty of players have the potential to develop into solid role players. The trick for the Bulls will be selecting a player who can reliably augment the core of young players on their roster.

A number of players could fit the bill for Chicago. Tyrese Haliburton is viewed as one of the best guards in the draft class and could be a nice fit next to Coby White. Another strong pick would be Isaac Okoro, who could be a reliable long-term prospect at small forward — a weak position for the Bulls, especially once Otto Porter’s contract expires.

Both a smooth scorer and preternaturally gifted defender, Devin Vassell could be a good fit for the Bulls at forward. Obi Toppin is another forward whose athletic gifts and scoring abilities make him an intriguing option. Finally, overseas prospect Deni Avdija — a crafty forward comfortable handling the ball — might be the best sleeper pick for the Bulls.

Choosing to trade the pick instead

By choosing to draft a player with the No. 4 pick, the Bulls will be committing to a longer-term rebuilding process. If the Bulls’ front office is feeling impatient, however, they could choose to accelerate the process by trading their pick for a proven star. In order to do so, Chicago would likely need to include another asset, with Lauri Markkanen being a strong option.

A package like that might even be enough to snag a player like the Trailblazers’ C.J. McCollum. Such a trade could also give the Bulls the option of shedding the expiring contract of Otto Porter as well. The other option for the Bulls would be to trade down in the draft as a way to collect additional assets.

That strategy might prove wise since the Bulls might end up targeting a player they feel confident they could still pick up with a lower spot. A move like that might net Chicago an extra second-round pick or two. If one of those picks ends up developing into a solid role player in the future, the Bulls will have even more options moving forward.