As the 2020 NBA Draft approaches, all eyes in Chicago will be on the No. 4 pick – and rightfully so.
With their highest draft slot since drafting Derrick Rose first overall in 2008, the Bulls have a chance to land one of the league’s next promising stars. I know the prospect pool may not be as sexy as years past, but a No. 4 pick in any draft creates an enormous amount of opportunities. A team like the Bulls – with a new front office and a young roster (average age of 24-years-old) – is looking for anything to propel them in the right direction, and nailing a lottery pick is a perfect way to do just that.
Let’s not forget, though, the Bulls also have the No. 44 pick in the upcoming draft. I know, I know … In terms of appreciation, second-rounders are basically the middle children of the NBA. Indeed, organizations try to make it seem like these players are loved the same, but more often than not, they probably feel pretty left out.
But fear not second-rounders – Arturas Karnisovas is the parent who cares.
The days of trading second-round picks for cash considerations in Chicago are likely over. The Bulls new front-office leader has more than enough experience plucking productive players out of the second-round, and he hit two home runs (one being a grand slam) during his time in Denver.
In 2014, the Nuggets grabbed All-Star big man Nikola Jokic with the 41st pick in the draft. Then, in 2017, the Nuggets selected Monte Morris (who has turned into a very valuable role player) with the 51st pick in the draft. He’s struck out more than he’s got on base in the second round (so has everyone), but with those two players on his resume, his percentage is far better than a handful of executives around the league.
From the outside looking in, Karnisovas probably approaches a second-round with the same vigor and detail as the first, and that’s the kind of energy I’m happy to see in the Bulls front office. Moving forward, we should expect this organization to be determined to find a diamond in the rough year in and year out. And much like how Karnisovas approaches the first round, if he believes that diamond is lower or higher on the draft board, he’ll do what’s needed to find him.
In a conversation with reporters after the draft lottery, Karnisovas included the No. 44 pick when discussing the countless opportunities in the draft:
You’re going to have to wait until October 16th. I mean, the way I approach the draft is there is a ton of opportunities. You’re going to take a 100 calls, possibly nothing is going to happen and you’re going to stay at the 4, you’re going to stay at the 44, so it’s just an exciting time to make your organization better that night.
How much does Karnisovas like second-round picks? Last year the Nuggets didn’t own one but decided to trade back into the draft to grab Bol Bol 44th overall. Huh, grabbing assets and not selling them? That’s fun!
Anyway, to sum things up, Karnisovas has proven he’s determined to find value in the second round. I feel dumb writing that sentence because it feels like that should be a priority for every organization … but it hasn’t been for the Bulls in years past.