Draft Notebook: Should the Bulls Move Up for One of These Players?

After earning their first winning campaign since 2017, the Chicago Bulls are in line to select with the No. 18 pick in the NBA Draft on June 23rd.

With that in mind, I thought I would share my draft notes on several players who could be available in the late teens on draft night. Keep an eye out for a few of these posts as we inch closer to the big night!

Previous prospects covered:

– E.J. Liddell, Jalen Williams, Ochai Agbaji

Tari Eason, Blake Wesley, Walker Kessler

Malaki Branham, MarJon Beauchamp, Nikola Jovic

Mark Williams

Position: Center
Age: 20
Height: 7’0″
School:
 Duke

The Good

  • A legit seven-feet with an absurdly long wingspan. In other words, the ideal body for an elite rim protector. Williams carries a very sturdy frame and could immediately have an impact if placed in an NBA game right now.
  • While his size will come with certain athletic limitations, Williams is a pretty agile and explosive talent. Can convert off-balance layups/putbacks and burst toward the rim to slam it home.
  • Defensive instincts are NBA-ready. He has great timing on his shot-blocking and his quick feet/sneaky athleticism can put him in a position to alter a ton of shots.
  • Runs the floor really well and constantly hustles. Always looking to get the putback in case a shot is missed in the fastbreak.
  • Obvious upside as a roll man and lob threat. Converted 72.3 percent of his 2-point field goals last season. You can just throw it toward the rim and he’ll find a way to get his hands on it.
  • I like his potential to dominate the offensive glass.
  • The Not So Good

  • Unclear if he can ever develop a jump shot. He did improve his 53.7 free-throw percentage during his freshman year to a very solid 72.7 this season, but it’s hard to see him becoming a reliable scoring threat outside the paint.
  • Playmaking is a real question. He can’t be trusted to do much along the perimeter and put the ball on the floor. I’m also not sure if he’ll be a good interior passer.
  • He’ll have to operate under a drop defense. Length might help him make up for certain situations where he gets blown by, but he can’t be trusted to switch onto guys along the perimeter.
  • The question is just how high is Williams’ ceiling? Do we kind of already know what the best version of him is?
  • The Comparison

    Clint Capela comes to mind when watching Mark Williams go to work. Both share the ability to run the floor and protect the rim at a high level. However, both are also limited in what they can offer on the offensive end, as most of their points are bound to come off lobs and PnR action.

    Jeremy Sochan

    Position: F
    Age: 19
    Height: 6’9″
    School: Baylor

    The Good

  • Like Williams, Sochan could step into an NBA game right now due to his defensive skillset. He has the incredibly rare potential to guard positions 1-5.
  • He’s extremely quick on his feet and does a great job moving laterally. Squares chest and keeps arms up. Easily one of the best defensive prospects in the draft.
  • When it comes to giving a crap, Sochan checks that box in pen. He is constantly in motion and looking to contribute on both ends of the floor. A high-energy guy.
  • Not an efficient scorer but fearless on that end of the floor. Not afraid to put his head down and use his strength at the rim.
  • A pretty solid ball-handler and an overall skillful player. He can take guys off the dribble and should be able to finish over smaller defenders.
  • A ball-mover who possesses potential as a contributing playmaker.
  • The Not So Good

  • Limited success from behind the arc. His jump shot doesn’t look too bad, but he only converted a 29.6 percent clip while at Baylor.
  • His 58.9 free-throw percentage is a complete eyesore. Was that a fluke or a sign of things to come?
  • Energy can sometimes be his worst enemy. He might settle for some questionable shots at times or put himself in foul trouble.
  • The Comparison

    If we’re being honest, Sochan is pretty darn unique. His size and defensive versatility remind me a little bit of Al Horford. But, when we consider his ball-handling and raw skill, I begin to think Adam Finkelstein of CBS Sports hit closest to the nose with Boris Diaw.

    AJ Griffin

    Position: Wing
    Age: 18
    Height: 6’6″
    School: Duke

    The Good

  • Shot an absurd 44.7 percent from behind the arc in his one year at Duke (4.7 3PAs per game). He’s a knockdown shooter. Would immediately provide any team with a true catch-and-shoot weapon.
  • Whether it be a pull-up, side-step, step-back, or off-balance shot … he can literally hit any kind of 3.
  • A really nice combination of size and quickness. Griffin stands 6’6″ with a 7’0″ wingspan. Has the body to become a multi-positional defender.
  • An aggressive player. Strong upper-body at a young age and not afraid to take contact. Whether it be attacking closeouts or letting it fly from deep, he also makes quick decisions.
  • Griffin is a very solid ball-handler. He may not be the most eye-popping athlete, but he’s crafty enough to work his way around the defense.
  • The Not So Good

  • The biggest concern with Griffin is his previous injury trouble. While he played 39 games for Duke this season, he missed a ton of time in high school due to a knee and ankle injury.
  • Those injuries may have already limited some of his athleticism. He can still get up and throw it down in transition, but not the most vertical athlete or electric driver.
  • Can he become more than a 3-point shooter? At just 18 years old, there is a lot of room to grow for Griffin, but that also means there is a lot we don’t know about how high his ceiling really is.
  • The Comparison

    Could Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic end up reflecting Griffin’s long-term role? He’s a stellar shooter who certainly plays with a lot of energy and is active off the ball. Both he and Griffin also share unwavering confidence on the offensive end and neither is afraid to get physical. Bogdanovic’s athleticism may not drop your jaw, but he gets the job done, and I can see Griffin doing the same one day.

    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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