Some NBA Draft Discussion, The Midrange Master, CJ McCollum's Summer Gig, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Some NBA Draft Discussion, The Midrange Master, CJ McCollum’s Summer Gig, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Good morning Bulls fans! I’ll be pinch-hitting for Eli this week while he’s on vacation. Of course, it’s a slow news period for the Bulls, and I’m working my way out of vacation mode myself after getting home from a late flight home from Las Vegas around midnight last night, so bear with me today.

•   The NBA Draft is about three weeks away, and the Bulls likely will be looking for help in the frontcourt with their first-round pick (No. 18) on June 23. North Carolina State guard Terquavion Smith is making headlines this morning after deciding to stay in school despite a strong showing at the NBA Draft Combine that solidified Smith as a first-rounder in the June draft. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony said in his story on the news this morning that Smith was “one of the standouts of the drills portion in the first day of the combine” Givony went on to say that despite being a projected first-rounder, “Smith says merely being a first-round pick wasn’t enough for him to stay in the draft, and he’s hoping to aim higher next year.”

•   With a backcourt featuring Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, Ayo Dosunmu, (presumably… hopefully?) Zach LaVine, and Coby White (unless he’s traded this summer), the Bulls won’t be looking for help in that area. Still, Smith’s withdrawal from the field might impact the Bulls if a team that might have otherwise considered taking the ACC All-Rookie Team guard ends up taking a front-court prospect that might have been on the Bulls’ radar.

•   Eli put together a story last week previewing some names connected to the Bulls with the NBA Draft right around the corner. Jeremy Sochan (Baylor), Tari Eason (LSU), Malaki Branham (Ohio State), Jean Montero (Overtime Elite), and Ochai Agbaji (Kansas) were names linked to the Bulls by various outlets with Ohio State’s Malaki Branham and Overtime Elite’s Jean Montero the only guards in the bunch. Sam Smith also named Sochan and Eason as one of five forwards the Bulls could consider taking, and Smith added E.J. Liddell (Ohio State), Kendall Brown (Baylor), and Patrick Baldwin Jr. (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) to the list of names to watch this month.

•   Sochan is seen as a late lottery pick, so while the six-foot-nine (Luis: n-i-c-e) big man is possibly the most appealing name to Bulls fans, he probably won’t be on the board when the Bulls are on the clock at No. 18. Smith called Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell a player who “seems like he could step right into a role off the bench with force.” Smith compares Liddell to Draymond Green and believes that the six-foot-six, 240-pound All-Big Ten forward will be available for the Bulls at No. 18.

•   Lidell is undersized for the power forward position he would likely slot in at, but the NBA isn’t afraid to play small lineups these days, and despite his height, Liddell can get up there. The former Buckeye averaged 2.6 blocks and 7.9 rebounds per contest to go along with 19.4 points while shooting just a tick under 50 percent from the floor for Ohio State this past season. Admittedly I watched the least college basketball in my life this year, so I’ll take advantage of filling in for Eli this week and spend time watching some film on these names to watch for the Bulls.

•   DeMar DeRozan is the master of the midrange, and we got an up-close and personal view of that this season. I think that most Bulls fans had heard that DeRozan lived in the midrange throughout his career and saw flashes of it when he was an opponent, but I don’t think many knew how magical his midrange game was until they got to see it up close for an entire season. Here’s a cool compilation of the midrange master at work in a Bulls uniform this season:

•   We’re just two days away from the start of the NBA Finals, and Darnell Mayberry put together a nice primer filled with the series predictions of an executive, scout, and a coach:

•   C.J. McCollum picked up a pretty sweet summer job that will put him in front of the camera on ESPN during the NBA Finals and beyond. McCollum has his own podcast and loves to give his opinion on Instagram and Facebook Live, so this is right up his alley.

•   The Bulls’ roommates at the United Center are looking for a new head coach this summer. Tab Bamford discusses a potential fit behind the Blackhawks bench this morning:

•   Are you looking for help behind the dish? If you call the Cubs about Willson Contreras, you’d better be ready to come to the table with a BIG offer:


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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.