The NBA Draft is coming up, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and targets. Today, the Chicago Bulls will be evaluated.
The Bulls finished with the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference last season at 22-60. The franchise fired head coach Fred Hoiberg in early December, appointing Jim Boylen to lead the team going forward, as he recently signed an extension with Chicago.
Despite the struggles, Chicago has several young pieces to build off of going forward: Shooting guard Zach LaVine had a breakout season, averaging 23.7 points per game. Second-year player Lauri Markkanen averaged 18.7 points and nine rebounds in an injury-shortened season. These two players, along with Otto Porter Jr., are the foundation for the Bulls coming into this year’s NBA Draft.
The Bulls have two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.
First Round: Pick No. 7
Second Round: Pick No. 38
Point guard- Outside of Kris Dunn, who averaged 11.3 points and six assists this year, the Bulls have little to no production out of their point guards. While Dunn is a solid player, look for Chicago to take a point guard with the seventh pick as a fresh backup or starter down the road.
Center- Wendell Carter Jr. had a good rookie season with the Bulls, averaging 10 points and seven assists. With Robin Lopez an unrestricted free agent this summer, Chicago could fill this gap in depth through this year’s draft.
First Round- Pick No. 7- Jarret Culver, SG, Texas Tech
By the time the Bulls pick, the top three point guards will likely be off the board. If Darius Garland from Vanderbilt or Coby White from UNC are available, Chicago needs to take one of them to fill the void at the point guard position. If not, Jarret Culver should be the best player available at the seventh spot.
Culver, a sophomore, led Texas Tech to the National Championship Game last season. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists during the regular season.
While the Bulls will be looking for a point guard, Culver’s scoring ability would be a big help to the second-worst offense in the NBA.
Culver could develop into a strong backup for LaVine, but could also play with him if LaVine was moved to the three spot. While he does not totally fit their needs, Culver is the best shooting guard in a wing-heavy draft class.
Second Round- Pick No. 38: Goga Bitadze, C, Republic of Georgia
The Bulls could add depth at the center position with their second-round pick. As the veteran Robin Lopez will likely part ways with Chicago, the Bulls should look at selecting international player Goga Bitadze with the 38th pick.
Bitadze is 6-foot-11, 250 lbs, and has a 7-foot-2 wingspan, already at a solid NBA size for being only 19 years old. The Georgian-born center played 13 games in the EuroLeague last season, where he averaged 12 points, six rebounds and over two blocks per game.
While Bitadze doesn’t have as much experience as American college players, he could still be a good pick up for Chicago. Bitadze and Carter could grow and compete with one another going forward.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.