A Little NBA Draft Chatter, the Battle at the Charity Stripe, Waiting for Game 2, and Other Bulls Bullets

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A Little NBA Draft Chatter, the Battle at the Charity Stripe, Waiting for Game 2, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

In case you missed it, we got some important non-playoff news on Monday afternoon.

The NBA announced the tiebreakers for several 2022 NBA Draft slots, which included the Chicago Bulls winning the No. 18-overall pick over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thanks to the Bulls’ final victory of the regular season, the two organizations ended with the same 46-36 record, but the Bulls are now set to pick ahead of the West’s 7th seed later this summer.

•   While it’s in the post above, I’ll remind you here: The Bulls CAN NOT trade this pick ahead of draft night. League rules explicitly state teams are forbidden from trading their own future first-round picks in back-to-back drafts. Since the Bulls already sent their No. 2021 and No. 2023 selections to the Orlando Magic in the Nikola Vucevic deal during last year’s trade deadline, they must take a player off the board on June 23rd. Also, while holding the No. 18 selection would normally indicate the Bulls are on the board again at No. 48 in the second round, that is not the case this year. For whatever reason, the organization’s 2022 second-rounder is more tangled than my drawer of inconspicuous cords, so if you’re interested in the exact details, I’ll link you to RealGM’s explanation here. All you need to know is that Arturas Karnisovas will not get another chance to finesse everyone with his second-round genius, as the pick currently belongs to the Sacramento Kings.

•   SBNation’s Ricky O’Donnell basically took the words out of my mouth.

•   As we begin to talk more about potential top-20 selections for the Bulls, I’ll likely address all five of the names above. My eye especially shifted toward Duke’s Mark Williams over the final month of the college basketball season. Not only did the big man become an increasingly impactful talent on one of the NCAA’s best teams, but he reflects a lot of what the Bulls are missing at the backup center position. He stands 7-foot-1 with great shot-blocking capabilities and naturally solid defensive instincts. There seems to be a lot of room for growth offensively, but it’s that other side of the ball that could turn him into an elite player down the road.

•   As for a guy like Malaki Branham out of Ohio State, while he would fill a need, he feels like someone who just fits the mold of this revamped front office. A versatile two-way wing who has upside as a catch-and-shoot threat, he plays with the kind of high-energy effort and defense that could put him on the floor immediately. Ok – see – I’m already getting ahead of myself! We’ll talk a lot more about this once the playoffs wrap up.

•   Whose idea was it to take two days off before Game 2? Not only are these two teams located 90 minutes away from each other, but why would the NBA give the home team extra rest ahead of the second contest? Don’t we usually see this two-day break in between a Game 2 and Game 3 location change? I guess I’m glad the Bulls get some extra time to rest and evaluate their first playoff performance, but I still find it odd we have to wait until tomorrow for the series to continue.

•   The Bucks’ free-throw shooting could be an interesting storyline to follow over the next handful of games. The team got to the free-throw line the 10th-most per game during the regular season, but they shot just the 15th-best mark at 77.6 percent, per NBA Stats. In the first matchup, we saw the Bulls send Giannis and Co. to the line for 23 attempts, but they only knocked down 15 shots. While I’m not trying to say the Bulls should expect the Bucks to shoot this poorly moving forward, I do think this could be something to monitor if the games remain close.

•   Speaking of getting to the charity stripe, the Bulls need to do everything in their power to keep the Bucks in the same kind of foul trouble we saw in Game 1. Antetokounmpo only played 34 minutes due to his 5 fouls, while Brook Lopez and Grayson Allen also struggled to stay on the floor at times with 4 and 3 fouls, respectively. I particularly want to see LaVine take the charge and keep this pressure on the Bucks’ interior defense moving forward. He only got to the line four times in Game 1 and only attempted six shots inside 4ft of the basket. I’m sure part of this was due to his own foul trouble, but I want to see him put his head down more often than not. Besides Jrue Holiday, several of the Bucks’ perimeter defenders can’t stay in front of him, and I’d rather he attack those matchups than settle for a 2-10 outing from behind the arc.

•   MORE OF THIS!

•   Little Pippen on his way to the NBA?

•   I’m getting so hyped about this guy.

•   Works for me.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.