Maybe it’s something. Maybe it’s nothing. But center prospect Jaxson Hayes telling reporters that the Chicago Bulls are one of the two teams he worked out for during the pre-draft process is most certainly a thing.
Jaxson Hayes says he only worked out for the Bulls and Hawks. Also, that he's "really good at Xbox" and that he can play "Mary Had A Little Lamb" on the piano.
— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) June 19, 2019
The Bulls can go in any number of directions on draft night, that much we know. And one of those directions could lead them to Hayes, a raw, but projectable center with size and upside. Hayes could turn out to be a quality NBA big man who can serve as a rim protector and athletic finisher at the rim on pick-and-roll action. Who doesn’t want those things in a prospect?
There has been some buzz surrounding Hayes as a possible fit for the Bulls in recent days leading up to this draft. And the fact that the team was one of two to work him out privately surely raises some eyebrows. But it’s also worth noting that the other team to host Hayes for a workout was the Atlanta Hawks, a team with the No. 8, 10, and 17 picks. The Bulls could conceivably be intrigued by Hayes’ upside, but I am intrigued by the possibility that this is one healthy smokescreen. Follow me for a second.
It’s possible that Chicago is creating buzz that could push Atlanta to offer up multiple picks in order to get its preferred center prospect. The Bulls could use a prospect with high-end upside, but they’re also a team with multiple needs and don’t have a ton of cap room to address them all. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities for Chicago to trade back and target players who might be deemed to be better fits, all while not having to reach for them with the seventh overall pick.
I would find it hard to imagine the Bulls drafting a 7-foot project center when they just took Wendell Carter Jr., but the team is making it known publicly that virtually every possibility is on the table. Even ones that would come off as a surprise.