We’re One Week Away from the Draft Lottery (and Other Bulls Bullets)

On June 22nd the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery will commence, and our wait to learn whether or not the Bulls land inside the Top-4 will finally come to an end.

When Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley agreed to send two first-round picks in their package for All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, the last thing anyone thought was that fans and executives alike would be stuck hoping for lottery luck. Yet, here we are for the fourth-straight year, building a shrine for ping pong balls and sending edible arrangements to Adam Silver (no, just me?).

•   As a refresher: The Bulls’ chance at retaining their pick sits at 20.3 percent, which is tied with Sacramento and New Orleans for a potential move into the Top-4. Chicago’s chance at the No. 1 pick is a mere 4.5 percent, per Tankathon.

•   Knowing that Vucevic will wear red next season, I don’t think losing the pick will feel too excruciating in the short term. But no one can deny the Bulls remain in clear need of high-upside talent, and if Orlando’s pick proves to be just that down the road, we will look back at this draft with some disdain. At the same time, I have to imagine Karnisovas would not have traded the pick if he felt so strongly about the late lottery. Grabbing at least the top-4 protection was a smart security blanket because there does appear to be a pretty sizable drop-off after the first five picks or so. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still consider this a relatively deep draft, but establishing any kind of hierarchy after Cade Cunningham, Jalen Suggs, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, and Jonathan Kuminga is not easy.

•   Of course, the NBA Draft process will help. When the combine is held in Chicago later this month and individual workouts kick into high gear, there will be names that rise up the ranks. However, if the Bulls were to stay in their currently favored draft position at No. 8 (thus conveying the pick to Orlando), I don’t anticipate being absolutely gut-wrenched by the player Orlando ends up with, especially if that player is who ESPN projects them to take. Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz currently go with Michigan’s Franz Wagner or Duke’s Jalen Johnson for Orlando with the Bulls pick. I’m not strongly against either player, but both fit a similar combo forward mold as Patrick Williams with (what I believe to be) a lower upside.

•   I should also mention that, while there are some great small forward options in the first round, this draft seems pretty heavy in scoring guards. With LaVine at the helm and Coby White in the backseat, the Bulls need a true facilitator. The only way I see them immediately filling that hole through the draft would be with Jalen Suggs, who is likely to go top-3.

•   The Athletic’s John Hollinger gave his prediction on all upcoming player and team options this offseason. Of note: The former front office executive believes Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie will turn down his $12 million player option even after coming off his partially torn ACL this offseason. The recent injury is certainly a concern, but I’ll continue to harp that Dinwiddie should be an option the Bulls look into.

•   DANIEL THEIS DEFENSIVE MENACE!

•   Speaking of which …

•   It’s become evident that the NBA has to do something about these defensive fouls that are actually offensive fouls. Interested to see what they come up with.

•   Still young and demonstrating gradual improvement, there is no reason Jalen Brunson should not be a name the Bulls keep an eye on this offseason.

•   Dear lord.

•   I had an awesome time playing GM with Matt. Give the recent podcast a listen, if you’re interested!

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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