As much of a surefire first overall pick in the NBA since Anthony Davis out of Kentucky, Zion Williamson has inspired an epic tanking war in the NBA to land his services. Standing 6’7″, weighing in at a whopping 285 pounds, and possessing the athleticism of LeBron James (maybe better); Zion has NBA scouts and executives drooling at just what the ceiling for him might be.
Among the tanking teams with a realistic shot to land the first overall pick and Zion Williamson are the New York Knicks (14%), Phoenix Suns (14%), Cleveland Cavaliers (14%), and Chicago Bulls.
The Hawks also have around a 10% shot at the top pick but let’s take a bit of a deeper look into the Bulls chances of landing the young phenom.
Chances Zion Williamson Winds Up on the Chicago Bulls
With a 12.4% chance to land Zion, the Bulls have the fourth-best odds and don’t sit too far behind any of the top three (New York, Phoenix, and Cleveland) teams in the race for the first overall pick. Strangely, Cleveland has decided to start winning games recently and are only two games ahead of Chicago in the race for Zion. It is possible to see Chicago leap-frog Cleveland down the stretch and give themselves a 14% chance to win the NBA draft lottery.
Zion Williamson’s Fit With the Chicago Bulls
Despite having a heavy amount of money tied up in Otto Porter Jr. for the next three seasons at the wing, Zion would be a perfect fit for the Chicago Bulls and allow Porter to potentially excel in a role off the bench – though Chicago may find it hard to stomach paying a sixth man $25 million.
In theory, you could run an extremely flexible lineup. They could go big and play Zion at the small forward alongside Markkannen at the power forward and a traditional center manning the five. However, they could also go “small” and slide Markkannen into the center spot while bumping Zion up to the four. Markkannen’s floor spacing ability is ideal to play alongside Zion and should help to draw some of the bigger defenders away from the paint where Williamson is at his best.
While Markkanen is much more comfortable playing the four in the NBA, over time it wouldn’t be unrealistic to think he could develop into a very solid stretch center. Pair that with the exciting above the rim play of Zach LaVine and you have one of the most fun and athletic offenses in the NBA.
While the pieces are still young and should take a few years to reach their full potential, a Zion Williamson pairing with the Bulls could wind up producing one of the most exciting offenses the NBA has ever seen.