The NBA Draft Lottery took place on August, 20th of this year. With that, the draft order was set, and the slightly more accurate Mock Drafts started rolling out… be sure to check out My 2020 NBA Mock Draft to see how I anticipate the 1st round plays out.
By avoiding drafting #7 for the fourth straight season, the Chicago Bulls moved up to pick #4 of this draft. Their highest draft pick since selecting Derrick Rose #1 overall in 2008.
With this year’s draft class comparably inferior to previous years, it allows teams with high picks plenty of options to explore.
- Do you trade back in the draft and roll the dice on a potential steal?
- Do you trade for a higher pick to select the next face of your franchise?
- Do you keep the pick and take the best fit for your team?
With the 4th pick this year, the Chicago Bulls could explore any of the above options. In a draft class that is as underhyped as any in recent history, what the Bulls decide to do come November 18th could alter their trajectory. Either for better or for worse.
I am going to dive into each of the 3 options the Bulls Front Office is likely discussing going into the 2020 NBA Draft.
1. Trade Back Scenario
Trading back in any draft comes with scrutiny from media members and fans… Just ask the Atlanta Hawks.
Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 and criticism comes easy after the fact. Hindsight also shows us that the 2018 swap of Luka Doncic and Trae Young was not terribly bad… Okay it was pretty bad, but I can’t help but feel for Atlanta Sports fans and I want them to feel as if they won something…
While trading back in the draft comes with its risks, it can also help your franchise reach new heights… A prime example of that would be the Boston Celtics… They traded away the #1 overall pick and got better by doing so.
It all comes down to the behind the scenes work from a team’s front office. What a team does in terms of scouting, player workouts, interviews etc. prior to the draft can be the difference in selecting Markelle Fultz #1 overall or trading back to take Jayson Tatum #3 overall.
Fortunately for the Chicago Bulls and their fans, Gar Foreman and John Paxson are no longer making these crucial decisions.
With a new front office, the Bulls are poised to make a big move in the draft later this month. Trading back has been something that each of the teams in the top 5 reportedly have discussed
If the Bulls do trade out of their top 5 selection, the new front office must know something. Whether they are eyeing a later lottery selection as a steal in this draft, or even trading out of the lottery completely, we can only speculate. However, if the right deal presents itself, I do not see any reason not to pull the trigger.
A trade back scenario would likely give the Bulls more cap flexibility in the immediate future which could be the deciding factor on whether Chicago makes a move on draft night.
2. Trade Up Scenario
While trading out of the top 5 may be the popular option due to the uncertainty of the draft class, the opportunity to trade up into the top 3 is enticing. Especially if your organization believes this is a 3-man draft. Trading up would be the only way to land a potentially franchise-changing talent.
If the Bulls decide to dangle their 4th overall pick and an asset from their core of young players to move up, they would presumably be interested in LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman or Anthony Edwards as those are the consensus top 3 players in this draft.
As exciting as it would be for Bulls fans to hear Adam Silver announce that they are trading up to a top 2 or even the #1 overall pick, I don’t think this is the draft to take that risk in…
I did say in My 2020 NBA Mock Draft that I don’t buy stock in the ‘This is a weak draft’ narrative. I am not going back on that stance. I do believe that there is plenty of potential in this draft class that is flying under the radar…
However, the risk of trading up in the 2020 NBA Draft is a lot greater than past drafts for obvious reasons. Due to the pandemic, organizations are simply unable to bring prospects in for workouts and evaluate them as they would under normal circumstances.
That leads me into the most likely scenario for the Bulls come draft night…
3. Keep #4 Pick Scenario
Sticking with the #4 pick and selecting the best available fit is the most likely scenario for the Chicago Bulls.
I do not see any realistic scenario of the Bulls trading up in this draft, nor do I see a trade back situation unless they receive an offer they simply cannot refuse **Scarface voice**
The question remains… ‘Who do you take at #4?’
Obviously, that depends on what happens with picks 1–3.
Assuming the ‘Big 3’ names of LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards are off the board like many would suggest…
Now… does the new front office elect to select the best player available?
Do they select the best positional fit for this roster?
Yet again, we can only speculate on what will happen. On the other hand, speculating what will happen is half the fun of writing these blogs.
In all seriousness, I believe there are 3 realistic options for the Bulls to select at #4 assuming the top 3 picks go according to form.
1. Deni Avdija — SG/SF, International
Deni has been the name I have seen come up most frequently when talking about the Bulls selection at #4. Makes sense when you consider the Bulls new Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Artūras Karnišovas’ history of drafting international players while with the Denver Nuggets.
Avdija has been drawing comparisons to Luka Doncic which is very high praise. However, this is an obvious case of recency bias with international players.
While I want to make it clear that I do not think Deni Avdija will pan out quite the way Luka has so far, I do believe he would be the best option for the Bulls to take at #4.
His playmaking ability fits well with what this offense will look to do under new Head Coach, Billy Donovan. A coach who has proven to have success developing young talent.
Fans have been calling for it since Chicago landed the #4 pick and if he is on the board, I think Bulls fans and the organization will go home happy with sticking at #4 and landing their guy.
2. Obi Toppin — PF, Dayton
Obi is being slightly overlooked due to his age. He is 22 years old making him one of the older prospects coming out of this draft class.
However, he has natural strength and athletic ability that cannot be taught. He overpowered, outmuscled, and simply dominated around the rim in college. His outside shot is not that bad either.
While I do not believe he will be as dominant a force as he was in College, he projects to be one of the more NBA ready prospects that can come into any situation and have a positive impact.
3. Killian Hayes — PG/ SG, International
Killian Hayes has received a ton of hype leading up to this draft. I have seen him projected anywhere from picks 3–10.
The international connection is something that I cannot ignore. Artūras Karnišovas has great relationships overseas and if anybody can accurately project what a player will be like in the NBA, it is Artūras.
Contrary to Obi Toppin, Hayes is one of the youngest players in this draft class. While this makes him more of a ‘Project’ he has played at a very high level professionally at his young age.
Killian Hayes projects to be a point guard/ shooting guard that can make plays for his teammates, but also score from all three levels on the court.
I would say Killian is the riskiest of these three options at pick #4 for the Bulls, but if they are looking for the prospect with the highest ceiling… Killian Hayes may be the selection.
While the Bulls have some tough decisions come Draft Night, they are in a good position. They hold a valuable pick with #4 and they have plenty of young assets to work with. Having a fresh look in the front office should make Bulls fans excited about the future of this organization on the rise.