The Bulls will have a wide range of possibilities in the uncertain NBA Draft

Longtime Bulls general manager Jerry Krause used to say you can’t judge a draft for at least five years.

He had a point, but let’s wrap it up and declare: The 2022 NBA draft class wouldn’t fit in with the rising success of last year’s group.

There is a lot of potential in this introductory class, but there are also a lot of questions, starting at the top. When the Bulls pick 18th place on Thursday, they will be at the mercy of the teams that will pick them before them. It is also unlikely that bulls will find much interest in trading for their first owner.

When criticizing this group, it makes sense to start at the top. The first pick expected by Orlando is 6-10 Auburn forward Jabari Smith, who had 44% of his shots from a 3-point range last season.

He hit 42%, so it fits in the NBA’s trend of shooting from the outside at the big guys. But he didn’t show much versatility or put the ball on the ground very often. The roof here does not appear to be the star of the future, which one would expect with the best selection.

Then there’s Gonzaga’s 7-footer Holmgren chit, which could come in second only to Oklahoma City. His slim build made most people question his durability in the NBA. The same was said of Kristaps Porzingis a few years ago and he has spent quite a bit of time on the injured list.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

It was also odd that at the NCAA Championship, Holmgren took a back seat to teammate Drew Timme, who has dropped out of enlistment and will be back in school.

The third player in most mock drafts is Paulo Banchero of Duke 6-10. He’s an impressive athlete who loves to attack the basket, but only hit 33.8% from a 3-point range. It wouldn’t be a shock if Banchero jumped to first or second place in the draft of the night.

After the top three, there are a couple of potential big ten. Purdue’s Jaden Ivy may be the best draft athlete, but he needs to hone his skills. Iowa’s Keegan Murray is much closer, but he turns 22 in August and is older than most top-10 picks these days.

At the top of the list is the shooting guard Shidon Sharpe. He is listed as being from Kentucky, but has never participated in any game there. Sharp, born in Canada, was originally in the 2022 high school class, re-graded, enrolled in Kentucky mid-year and could have played last season, but chose not to participate. The teams were left to study the AAU game movie.

Australia’s Dyson Daniels averaged 12 points, made 5 assists and shot 60% of the G-League Ignite’s spoiled streak. But he’s expected to be in the top ten because he’s 6-7 years old and probably the closest thing to a lottery point guard.

France’s Ousmane Dieng averaged just 8.9 points in the A-League, but he’s the type with long, smooth wings that has dominated the NBA playoffs. AJ Griffin, son of former Bulls player and coach Adrian Griffin, averaged 10.4 points over the loaded Duke team.

The point is, there isn’t a whole lot of certainty to drop on the ’22 class. By choosing late, the bulls will have a wide range of possibilities, because it is always possible for a player to unexpectedly land on his lap.

Perhaps the best fit is striker Tare Eason 6-8 of LSU. He can give Bulls a boost of sport and defense, as well as add some much-needed height to the frontline. He’s a Seattle native and played in Cincinnati as a freshman, then made a big jump after moving on.

Another major need of the bull is 3-point shooting. Santa Clara 6-6 shooting guard Galen Williams is the Bulls’ favorite bet. There are 40% of conceivable long-range shooters dropping to 18th at Malaki Branham, Ohio, and Ochai Agbaji, Kansas.

From the Bulls’ perspective, they might be happy to see Agbagi available at the age of 18, as he’s a four-year college player and capped his career by leading Kansas to the championship title and named Most Valuable Player. So he thinks he’d be more willing to step in and contribute right away than a lot of people on this draft.

Another guard who could be on the Bulls’ radar is Duke junior Wendell Moore Jr. He shot 41.3% of the 3-point range last year and defended well, but he shot poorly in his first two years.

Bulls can also consider protecting the basket. It’s a long shot, but Galen Doreen of Memphis could fall 6-11 and Mark Williams of the Dukes 7-2 to the Bulls. If not, they might consider Auburn who specializes in blocking Auburn, or Ohio State’s 6-7 EJ Liddell, who will try to bring a combination of Grant Williams and Draymond Green to the NBA.

The first big deal of the week happened on Wednesday when the Pistons replaced leading scorer Jeramy Grant to Portland for the 2025 race.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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