On Thursday, June 20th, the Chicago Bulls will go on the clock with the No. 7 overall pick for the third season in a row. What they do with that pick – whether it’s using it themselves or trading up/down – will go a long way towards defining the rest of this rebuild, and, indeed, how quickly it’ll all finally be over.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the more realistic and recent draft prospects attached to the Bulls, to see who might be a fit or not this Thursday night.
Darius Garland is probably the most mysterious first round draft pick in this class, but NBA scouts don’t care. Built for today’s NBA, Garland could be the point guard of the future for almost any organization right now. However, his projection to go No. 4 overall may not be so clear anymore. Could he fall to the Bulls at No. 7 or will GarPax decide to trade-up to fill their biggest need?
College Season Stat Line:
- GS/GP: 5/5
- FG%: 53.7
- 3FG%: 47.8
- FT%: 75.0
- Rebounds per game: 3.8
- Assists per game: 2.6
- Turnovers per game: 3.0
- Steals per game: 0.8
- Points per game: 16.2
Garland may have only played five games in his college career, but he’s quite clearly worthy of a top-5 draft pick this year. Crafty, quick and smooth, Garland has the make-up of today’s successful NBA point guard. He’s often advertised alongside a lethal jumper and can knock down NBA-range three-pointers with ease. However, he also has the natural touch to get the floater to drop while driving into the paint. He uses his strong ball handling to create space for himself on the court and can be really scary when he gets into a rhythm offensively.
Garland’s offensive skill set is his bread and butter, but to complete the package, he supposedly brings a pretty decent defensive presence as well. Not the biggest guard, Garland makes up for it with a scrappy style of defense that can give opponents a hard time.
One big weakness does stand front and center when discussing Garland: he hasn’t played in a while. Garland suffered a knee injury in November of 2018 that caused him to miss the entirety of the 2018-19 season. He had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus and has not seen live game action since. Now, with that said, plenty of teams (including the Bulls!) have gone to watch him work out as we look toward the draft on June 20th, and according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Garland is feeling just fine.
Source: Garland is back at 100% after his knee surgery in November and will be ready to play summer league, pending approval from the team that drafts him. Garland has had a number of impressive private workouts recently with the LA Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 18, 2019
Adjusting to the NBA pace and style of play could be a huge learning curve after only playing college games against Winthrop, USC, Alcorn State and Liberty (suffered injury in the fifth game against Kent State and only clocked 2 minutes). Not to mention, while smaller frames have worked out just fine for guards recently in the NBA, he still needs to put on quite a bit of weight. Garland checks in around 175 lbs, so it’s safe to say some point guards in this league could give him a rude awakening on both ends of the court.
And finally, Garland still has plenty of defensive questions. We haven’t really seen him have to guard any elite talent, so it’s a bit hard to judge exactly what he can do there.
Current Bulls “Fit”
If we are being honest, Garland’s “fit” with the Bulls right off the bat isn’t the greatest. However, I don’t think that means he wouldn’t be a great draft pick. The Bulls do need a guard that can facilitate and get his team members the ball, but again, I think Garland can pick up this aspect of the game pretty quickly. Once NBA-level coaches can work with the point guard, his development can really skyrocket. The immediate benefit of Garland though is his spot-up shooting ability. If LaVine is your primary scoring the threat, the opportunity for him to draw off defenders and pass back to a gifted shooter like Garland could be deadly.
The Bulls need some more trustworthy shooting, especially behind the three-point line, and Garland certainly gives you that. Also, with the type of potential Garland has in this league, the fit doesn’t matter too much off the bat. If the guy can be a potential All-Star point guard, then you take him and make the team “fit” around him.
Other Helpful Scouting Reports:
If You’re Looking for More:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 17, 2019
Jumped on SVP last night to talk Darius Garland, draft sleepers and an international prospect to watch. pic.twitter.com/UNfMmjLuPc
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) June 18, 2019
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 18, 2019