The Chicago Bulls social media team is trying to pull a fast one on us. Earlier today they shared a video showing highlights from their No. 7 draft picks Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and the retired Kirk Hinrich for obvious reasons.
Props to you Bulls video and social team … I began watching and all of a sudden I found myself excited for the NBA Draft. My uneasy anxiety about what flabergasting move the front office could make on June 20th went away, and I enjoyed my Bulls life for a resounding 47 seconds.
If you haven’t seen the video, check it out below before we continue.
The video is a solid hype-piece, and it actually got me thinking, maybe we are dreading this whole thing a bit more than we need to be. Sure, the No. 7 pick is a bummer to get for the third-straight year, especially after posting an A+ tank job over the course of the season, but the Bulls do have a point. You can get value at the 7th pick in the draft.
Hell – Chicago has three strong examples of drafting well at the No. 7 spot. In fact, looking at those three picks now, you can see how each represent a different kind of productive player that can come out of drafting in that position.
Kirk Hinrich – Drafted in 2003
Hinrich had two stints with Chicago throughout his career and became a beloved team figure. He wasn’t an all-star. He wasn’t an all-NBA-team kind of player. He wasn’t even really a super-star. Instead, Hinrich was a great game manager and defender that paced the Bulls through the depths of the strange mid-to-late 2000’s NBA. The guy helped lead the Bulls to the playoffs five times during his first eight seasons with the team. He then returned to the team between 2012-2016 and headed to the playoffs with the team three more times. Also, he’s the Bulls all-time leader in three-point field goals, which is pretty cool. Overall, Hinrich represents the “role-player” or “hometown favorite”
I mean, come on, remember this!?
Lauri Markennen – Drafted in 2017
The Finnisher (where does this rank in NBA nicknames?) represents another kind of player you could get: “The All-Star in the making.” Markennen has the skills to be propelled into a top-NBA forward and depending on who you ask, he is already in that discussion. He is an amazing sharp-shooter that has great footwork and control. He’s been making highlight dunks and clutch shots ever since his first season in the league. He’s also been making history, becoming the fastest player ever in the NBA to reach 100 three-pointers.
Considering there is going to be a large enough sample size now, Markennen is the favorite to go down as the best No. 7 pick in Bulls history.
Wendall Carter Jr. – Drafted in 2018
Technically, I look at Carter Jr. as still a rookie. He came into the league at 19-years-old and has only appeared in 44 career games. He showed some really nice signs during is limited court time, most of which can be quickly seen throughout that hype video. Carter Jr. represents that current NBA-style center who can do a little bit of everything. While he needs to improve, the guy can pull off a shot from anywhere on the court without looking ridiculous. He isn’t the bulkiest, but his length can pose plenty of problems for opposing teams.
Nevertheless, Carter Jr. represents “The Project.” He has plenty of upsides, which is emulated by his comparisons to Al Horford. However, a draft pick like him carries with it a bit more work to be done. The natural talent is there, but so is the raw nature of being 19-years-old. One of the most fun storylines this upcoming season will be to watch his development on the court.
But all of this is not to say we should be happy about picking seventh!
Sure, the Bulls could wind up with the next hometown favorite or the next all-star in the making, or even a project with plenty of upside worth following and rooting for, but this was not the goal of losing all those games.
The Bulls were hoping for a much higher pick and land the next big thing. Instead, we’re sitting here having to justify the new reality of what may be if we’re lucky.
You’ve got to be realistic, sure, but that doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it. Of course, we all hope the Bulls get lucky and pick the next Steph Curry (7th overall, 2009) this June, but we all know the chances aren’t high. So I guess let’s just hope they either get someone great … or someone bad enough to spark a change in motion from the top of the organization down to the bottom.