CHICAGO (CBS) — On the eve of the 2016 draft, the Bulls made a hard left by parting ways with the face of the franchise, and former MVP, Derrick Rose. Then, the following June, the team traded Jimmy Butler, sounding the alarm on full rebuild mode.
With the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday, a legitimate superstar has yet to emerge on the West Side of Chicago.
However, the Bulls are a player or two away from escaping the nether regions of the NBA standings. With a solid core of Lauri Markannen, Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter, Jr., the team could soon return as a regular playoff participant in the pliable Eastern Conference.
After slogging through a 60-loss season, the Bulls were losers again in the draft lottery, slipping from fourth to the seventh pick. They should be able to add the proverbial “serviceable,” if not spectacular, player at seven.
But to ensure they fill their biggest position of need–point guard–the Bulls better be the first in line if the Pelicans do indeed flip the fourth selection they fleeced from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis deal.
Here are my first round draft choices for the Bulls:
Darius Garland (point guard), Vanderbilt
With John Paxson making it no secret that he’s done with Kris Dunn, Garland is the best point guard available on the board. He had a very small sample size to prove it, considering his lone collegiate season–after playing at high school ball at Brentwood Academy in Tennessee–was limited to five games due to a meniscus tear in his left knee.
Garland, who was born in Gary, Ind., isn’t shy about his skill set, or swag, saying (humbly), “I think I’m the best guard in the draft.” His dad, Gary native Winston Garland, played eight seasons as a point guard in the NBA.
Coby White (point guard), North Carolina
If Darius Garland isn’t available, Coby White wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. White has size (6’5″) and can score (maybe too much?). And hails from the same blue blood program as the Tar Heel with the statue out front of the United Center. Plus, his hair care endorsements might rival all of those Brian Urlacher billboards around town.
De’Andre Hunter (small forward), Virginia
Hunter proved in Virginia’s national championship clincher that he can shine on the big stage. He shot an impressive 50% from 3-point range in college, and is a more than capable defender.
Jarrett Culver (small guard), Texas Tech
The Bulls look stacked with perimeter players, but a strong three-and-D guy might be hard to pass up if their preferred options are off the board.
Cam Reddish (small forward), Duke
Hey, why not draft ANOTHER Dukie?!
Going back to Elton Brand 20 years ago, the Bulls have drafted or signed at least eight players from Duke. They picked Carter Jr. seventh last year.