Cade Cunningham and Jalen Suggs are obviously great point guard prospects, and it is a shame the Chicago Bulls won’t have a shot at drafting either player. However, if they are aggressive this offseason and offer up one or more veteran assets, they might be able to climb back into the first-round where there are some interesting point guard options.
The Atlanta Hawks have the No. 20 pick in the draft. Would an offer of the No. 38 pick and Thaddeus Young be enough to convince Atlanta to part ways with their selection.
Would Coby White and the No. 38 pick be enough to convince the Oklahoma City Thunder to give up the No. 18 pick?
Lastly, how about White, a sign-and-trade for Lauri Markkanen, Young, Tomas Satoransky and Al-Farouq Aminu to the Golden State Warriors for the No. 7 Pick, James Wiseman and Andrew Wiggins?
Here are the three potential targets with those trades.
Potential No. 7 Pick: Davion Mitchell
If you’re looking for the first-round point guar prospect who might be the most NBA-ready and also the best fit for the current Bulls roster, it is Baylor’s Davion Mitchell. It’s not exaggeration to call Mitchell the best on-ball defender in college basketball.
Quite honestly, he might be the best on-ball defender we’ve seen in the draft in a long while. I’d even give him an edge over the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Isaac Okoro, who is excellent when it comes to manning up.
Mitchell prides himself on his defense, and he has the kind of disruptive presence on the ball that will make some compare him to a cross between Patrick Beverley and Marcus Smart. In addition to his defensive prowess, Mitchell has greatly improved his offense throughout his college career.
In his junior year at Baylor, Mitchell helped lead the Bears to a national championship averaging 14 points per game and knocking down just under 45% of his threes. He struggles a bit at the line at 64%, but Mitchell’s work ethic leads you to believe he won’t rest with that aspect of his game lacking.
When it comes to gritty, hard-nosed, team-defining personalities, Mitchell is at the top of my list. The Bulls would probably need to get into the Top-12 to have a chance to grab him, or perhaps the Top-10.
As long as the move up doesn’t cost them Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, or Nikola Vucevic, Chicago should move any other package of players and picks to get in range to draft Mitchell.
Potential No. 18 Pick: Sharife Cooper
While he’s not the defender Mitchell is, Auburn’s Sharife Cooper is the kind of playmaker off the dribble who could take a lot of pressure off LaVine. Cooper is rather diminutive, despite the NBA Combine records listing him as a seemingly erroneous 6’5″.
Despite Cooper standing closer to 6-foot even, he’s a blur with the ball who excels at getting to the rim and creating for his teammates. As a freshman, he averaged 20 points and 8 assists per game for a talented Tigers squad. A team like the New York Knicks would probably love to get their hands on Cooper, so Chicago would have to leapfrog them to get into the Top-15 to take the exciting young point guard.
Potential No. 20 Pick: Jared Butler
If Chicago cannot get to Mitchell, his teammate Jared Butler might be the next best thing. Butler is a strong shooter from the outside over at 41% from three-point range, and just under 78% from the free-throw line. All of his shooting numbers improved year over year from freshman to junior year.
He’s a winning style player who meshes well with other talented guys around him on offense, which the Bulls have with LaVine and Vucevic. He’s not necessarily an elite creator, but he can score on his own, or in catch-and-shoot situations, which he’d see a lot of if he’s playing with the Bulls’ two stars.