When the Chicago Bulls pulled the trigger on the trade-deadline blockbuster for All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic, they all but committed to not having a first-round pick in the 2021 NBA draft.
After finishing with a 31-41 record, there was some hope (and a 20.2% chance!) that they’d hold on to this year’s first-round pick, as it was top-four protected.
But last week’s Draft Lottery confirmed the Bulls’ fears, as they watched their pick fail to climb into the top-four, landing at eighth overall and thus, going into the hands of the Orlando Magic.
That doesn’t mean the Bulls will be watching idly from home on draft night, however, as they still have a second-round pick, the 38th overall selection.
Several contributing players have been taken as low as 38, and often times lower, across the history of the draft.
So don’t rule out a rookie contributor on next year’s Chicago Bulls.
Not only could they potentially trade for a first-round pick, as explored by Heavy.com’s Brian Mazique, but they could find ready-to-play prospect at 38th overall.
In fact, one draft expert’s latest mock draft has them doing just that.
With the 38th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft…
In his latest mock draft for Bleacher Report, Jonathan Wasserman has the Chicago Bulls taking center Charles Bassey with the 38th overall pick.
The 20-year old center is coming off of a monster junior season at Western Kentucky, where he averaged 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game.
Bassey currently reads as a traditional center with some limits on offense, but it should be noted he made 18-of-59 three-point attempts last season!
His improvement has been continual and increasingly drastic year after year in college, leading some to think that his ceiling is nowhere in sight.
As written by NBADraft.net’s David Green, there are as many reasons to be optimistic as there are to be negative on Bassey’s potential:
If this young man’s improvement on both ends of the floor continues, he can potentially become something special … very mobile and athletic for a 7-footer which is a plus but he needs to develop into a better pick and roll defender as well as a more complete offensive player …
Clocking in at 35th overall on ESPN’s Top-100 Prospects list, and fourth at his position, Charles Bassey has the early makings of a difference making NBA big man.
The only question is as to whether he’ll end up with a team that can give him the opportunity and tools necessary to ride his current trajectory.
Drafting a Backup Center Should Be a Priority for Chicago
The point guard position is rightfully the most glaring need for this Chicago Bulls roster headed into the offseason, and trust that no one’s arguing that.
But finding a backup for staring big Nikola Vucevic should be second on the to-do list.
This past season, Daniel Theis and Thaddeus Young alternated backup center duties. But the former is unlikely to return to the Bulls next season, and the latter has played his best ball with the second unit.
Perhaps aforementioned prospect, Charles Bassey, could manage the role of Vucevic’s backup. It wouldn’t be a healthy serving of minutes, given the All-Star’s near-33 minutes per game average, and he’d be playing next to a trusted veteran in Young.
Or maybe they’d be best off looking elsewhere, either in the draft or on the free agency market.
Three-time NBA champion JaVale McGee’s available, and apparently isn’t opposed to the idea. Just saying.