Starting to Think About the NBA Draft, Trying to Beat the Suns, Happy “I’m Back” Day, and Other Bulls Bullets
My bracket is busted, but my spirit is not.
If March Madness isn’t one of your favorite times of the year, I’d guess you also hate puppies, laughing babies, warm sunsets, and the smell of freshly baked cookies. There is simply no question it’s one of the most competitive and dramatic sporting events on the calendar, which is why I look forward to taking in some of the action this afternoon at the Fiserv Forum! And, don’t worry, I’ll make sure to take some NBA Draft notes!
• Indeed, the more college basketball I watch, the more I start to think about the 2022 NBA Draft. Since a team can’t trade away first-round picks in back-to-back drafts, the Chicago Bulls will own their 2022 pick later this year. Yes, they can always draft talent and proceed to trade that talent for more win-ready pieces, but it also never hurts to have an extra rookie contract on the payroll when you spend money on multiple All-Stars. Not to mention, we’ve seen what this organization has done with Ayo Dosunmu. Some of the rookie’s success can certainly be chalked up to his natural make-up, but Dosunmu could also be a representation of this organization’s newfound player development. So I expect Arturas Karnisovas and Co. to look at this year’s rare first-rounder as a legitimate opportunity to add depth to this roster.
• Speaking of which, if you want to start familiarizing yourself with this upcoming rookie draft class, I highly recommend digging into The Ringer’s NBA Draft Guide. I don’t think many sites do a better job of concisely evaluating the top prospects. If you do start to think more about the draft, however, make sure you remember where the Bulls pick is bound to fall. Still expected to finish within the Top-6 of the Eastern Conference, we’re likely looking at a draft selection that sits somewhere in late-teens or early 20s.
• What about the Portland pick!? That dream is dead, people. The Bulls did decide to hang onto their extra first at this season’s trade deadline, but this could also be thanks to its loss of short-term value. As a lottery-protected pick, the Trail Blazers have done everything they can to ensure it will be available to them this summer. The team currently sits 12th in the Western Conference with the NBA’s 7th-worst record. But, hey, the good news is that the Bulls have all the way until 2028 for this pick to convey. The fact Portland remains committed to Lillard also implies they expect to be back in the playoff picture next season. So it feels totally possible the Bulls end up with a first-rounder in the 2023 draft, which would replace the one lost in the Nikola Vucevic trade.
• Do you think any of this March Madness upset magic will find its way to Phoenix tonight? The Chicago Bulls will carry their frustrating two-game skid into a matchup with easily the NBA’s best team. When these two last met, the 127-124 final score was not at all indicative of how the game truly went. Even with LaVine and DeRozan combining for an absurd 70 points, the Bulls looked several steps behind from the opening tip. Devin Booker got into an easy groove as he dropped 38 points on 23 shots, and the Bulls were repeatedly burned by the pick-and-roll game with Deandre Ayton and backup big man JaVale McGee. The only potential saving grace will be that Chris Paul – who dropped 19 points with 11 assists back on February 7th – will be in street clothes, which opens the door for Alex Caruso to spend that much more time trying to disrupt Booker.
• Caruso is totally good to go tonight, by the way. I know there were some concerns after he was in noticeable pain during Wednesday night’s game, but he and Billy Donovan explained to reporters that it’s expected soreness. The defensive stopper isn’t even on this morning’s injury report. Zach LaVine, on the other hand, does continue to make the list but remains “probable.”
• The Patrick Williams news keep getting better and better!
He's Getting Closer! Patrick Williams Has Been Assigned to the Windy City Bullshttps://t.co/S5Jc0jykwO pic.twitter.com/jWASa0Q2rf
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) March 17, 2022
• Why isn’t this a national holiday yet?
March 18th, 1995: SportsCenter on the return of Michael Jordan.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 18, 2022
• Some were trying to compare Tom Brady’s tweet to this iconic fax a couple of weeks back … and I thought that was utterly ridiculous. Not only was Brady retired for what felt like seconds, but the tweet was totally underwhelming! What would have been much more dope is if Brady (1) missed an entire season of football and (2) just tweeted a football emoji or “LFG” or a gif of DJ Khaled saying “Another One.” Yet, still, nothing beat those two simple words: “I’m Back.”
• I hate to say it, but I have to: I’m kind of scared of Detroit. What front office leader Troy Weaver has started to build over there is coming together. He’s got a lot of high-upside young players who could take a big step forward sooner than later. We already saw the Cavaliers do it.
MVP of the Night: Saddiq Bey#NBAsFinest pic.twitter.com/OiwuCCtyYP
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) March 18, 2022
• So that’s big news.
Larry Ogunjobi Failed His Physical and Is Not Signing with the Bearshttps://t.co/yeC7EwkORw pic.twitter.com/ts8aAuXAJz
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) March 18, 2022
• *pokes Cubs with a stick* Do something.
Lukewarm Stove: Latest on Soler, Padres Not Set at Catcher, Orioles and Correa, Voit, Castellanos, More – https://t.co/8tqDBtpHAJ (via BN)
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 18, 2022