While the Chicago Bulls’ late-season woes caused them to fall in the standings, it did improve their draft position. They’ll be selecting 18th in the 2022 NBA Draft, just four picks outside of the lottery. While there’s a chance they trade the pick to add extra depth, some quality players are projected to be available at 18.
The biggest glaring hole in Chicago’s rotation is the power forward position. Patrick Williams should be able to hold down the starting job, but past that, there isn’t much depth. Derrick Jones Jr. is heading into the final year of his deal, but the Bulls could look to improve in that area.
Well, ESPN’s latest NBA Mock Draft has them doing just that. Jonathan Givony projects that the Bulls will select power forward Jeremy Sochan with the 18th pick. The 19-year-old freshman (who just turned 19 on May 20) is coming off of an impressive year at Oregon.
Many mock drafts have Sochan as a lottery talent, so the Bulls getting him at 18 would be a steal. His skillset and potential fit Chicago’s needs to a tee.
Sochan Scouting Report for Bulls
In his mock draft, Givoney mentions Chicago’s lack of frontcourt depth as a primary reason for their potential interest in Sochan. He then goes on to discuss how the Oregon forward could help the Bulls in multiple areas of the game.
“Sochan brings some different dimensions for a team that could be attracted to his ability to defend all over the floor, pass the ball effectively and slide up or down positions depending on the matchup, Givoney explained.”
Throughout the course of the season, Chicago’s biggest flaw was their lackluster defense. They finished 23rd in defensive rating (113.2), and post-All-Star break, that number plummeted to 117.9. Adding a guy like Sochan would definitely help with that issue.
In addition, the Bulls ranked 19th in the NBA in assists with 23.9 per game. Sochan may not have racked up assists at the collegiate level, but his above-average playmaking at the forward position would help give Chicago a different look on the offensive end.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer is particularly high on Sochan, deeming him a safe pick with a ton of potential.
O’Connor Sings Sochan’s Praises
In O’Connor’s mock draft, he has Sochan going 10th to the Washington Wizards. He Sochan’s greatest skills as on-ball defense, off-ball defense, feel for the game, and playmaking. O’Connor also stated that the Oregon product is “versatile, intelligent, and has a motor” and went on to talk about his perfect mix of potential and NBA-ready talent.
“However, Sochan also is an upside player if he manages to blossom on offense,” O’Connor wrote. “Right now he’s largely a playmaker with size but the flashes shooting off the dribble are intoxicating. There’s a baseline for long-term success, which makes him safe in certain ways while also retaining significant potential.”
O’Connor went on to dive deeper into Sochan’s upside, discussing his potential as an “elite defensive prospect.” With Williams holding down the starting job, Sochan could provide some much-needed defensive support off the bench for Chicago.
Sochan averaged 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in his year at Oregon, shooting 47.4% from the field and 29.6% from the three-point range. With the amount of scoring Chicago already has on the roster, adding a versatile, defensive-minded forward could prove to be an ideal choice.