Starting May 16th dozens of players will begin to showcase their skills at the 2022 NBA Draft Combine.
The event will run until May 22nd and take place in the Bulls’ own backyard at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Considering Arturas Karnisovas and Co. are set to pick with the No. 18 selection in this year’s draft on June 23rd, I think it’s safe to say these six days could be pivotal in establishing their draft night gameplan.
The combine will feature 76 players total, and the group will be headlined by potential top-3 picks Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith, and Chet Holmgren.
A complete look at the 2022 combine list can be seen below or at NBA dot com here.
2022 NBA Draft Combine (May 16-22) participants revealed: pic.twitter.com/BG3rxOE0sE
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 11, 2022
As we’ve talked about in the past, the Bulls should be well-positioned to grab one of the better frontcourt players in this class. Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell and LSU’s Tari Eason are arguably two of the most intriguing names to keep an eye on when we think about the Bulls bolstering their forward depth.
Liddell is a bulky and physical player on both ends of the floor who has plenty of experience playing small ball and defending multiple positions. I wouldn’t deem him a guy with the highest ceiling – especially since he’ll have trouble creating his own shot off-the-dribble at the NBA level – but he feels like someone who could come in and immediately contribute to this Bulls team. Like Ayo Dosunmu, he played three seasons of Big Ten basketball and improved in each.
As for Eason, he provides a more long and athletic build that isn’t hard to picture the Bulls’ front office falling in love with. He’s one of those players whose high motor can buy him on-court time as he adds to other areas of his game. Eason projects to be a versatile defender and somebody who would be able to run alongside a high-paced Bulls offense with ease. Plenty of highlight dunks would be part of the deal (in a very surface-level way: he makes me think of a bigger Javonte Green).
— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) May 7, 2022
More traditional centers like Duke’s Mark Williams and Auburn’s Walker Kessler are also slated to attend the combine next week. Williams saw his draft stock rise thanks to a successful NCAA Tournament run, and Kevin O’Connor’s most recent mock draft at The Ringer had him going one spot before the Bulls to the Houston Rockets. Chicago simply needs rim protection, and Williams’ elite size would immediately help provide just that, as well as bolster the rebounding department.
We can largely say the same thing about Walker Kessler, who averaged an absurd 4.6 blocks per game while with Auburn. The difference between Kessler and Williams, though, appears to be their potential to expand on their defensive capabilities. Kessler will likely have to remain planted in the paint, while Williams could become a player more capable of handling switches.
Anyway, I plan to talk way more about each of these guys as the draft nears. We’ll have a better idea of exactly who could fall in the Bulls’ range after the combine, and we might also hear some rumors about who the Bulls actually met with. Got to love draft season!