Even with their first-round pick likely headed to the Orlando Magic, don’t doubt the Chicago Bulls could walk out of the 2021 NBA Draft with an intriguing prospect.
In all reality, they’ll likely have to. Because as they continue building what they hope will soon be a contender, Chicago’s going to need to make the most of their cap space—and all of it.
It’s what made dynasties like the Golden State Warriors of recent so great.
Their starting five in a number of those championships featured more homegrown talent than anything.
That starts with the NBA Draft.
With Their Second-Round Pick in the 2021 NBA Draft,…
In his latest for Bleacher Report, 3 Realistic Draft Targets for Every NBA Team, Jonathan Wasserman hand-picked three draft prospects for each of the NBA’s 30 teams.
When it came to the Chicago Bulls, he went with two lesser-known names, and one known across most households: Rokas Jokubaitis, RaiQuan Gray, and Brandon Boston Jr.
The logic for all three is sensible, starting with the overseas prospect. As Wasserman notes, Jokubaitis has displayed a high passing IQ and has had no trouble scoring the basketball in the Lithuanian Basketball League:
Jokubaitis would be a useful guard for the Bulls with his passing IQ and crafty scoring he could provide behind Zach LaVine. At 20 years old, he’s been an efficient scorer and shooter in Euroleague while demonstrating an obvious feel for the game that makes you think he’ll figure out how to overcome his athletic limitations next season.
The 20-year old guard averaged seven points and 2.5 assists per game this season.
It’s hard to see the Bulls going with a high-upside pick, even with their second-round selection. Jokubaitis presents an absolute dice roll candidate, and in a year where they can’t miss, don’t expect Chicago to roll.
Speaking of potential steals, when it came to RaiQuan Gray out of Florida State University, Wasserman labeled him as such because of his versatile skillset:
Scouts are talking about Gray as a top-40 pick, and the Bulls may want to consider whether the 6’8″, 260-pound forward has some steal potential. He could be a worthwhile gamble for the matchup problems he could can create with his unusual mix of power, agility and face-up skills.
The 6-8 forward is coming off of a strong junior campaign where he averaged 11.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.2 steals for the Seminoles.
Gray’s three-point shooting has a long way to go, but otherwise, it’s easy to see upside in every area of his game.
Wasserman’s third selection is an intriguing one, given his pedigree. Brandon Boston Jr. isn’t projected to fall too far into the second round, even after a poor shooting display in his lone year at Kentucky:
Boston’s draft range is all over the place, but it’s possible he’s still on the board through the first half of the season round. The Bulls might as well take a shot at upside, and the once-projected lottery pick still offers three-level scoring potential with his 6’7″ size and shot-making. There is a long-enough track record of prospects who left Kentucky and wound up being better pros than college players.
Currently the 35th ranked prospect on ESPN’s NBA Draft Rankings, and the highest of all three mentioned prospects, the 19-year old forward is seen with potential as an NBA scorer on all three levels.
That could help a Bulls’ second-unit averaging just 35.3 points per game.
Updated Bulls Playoff Odds
After their latest win over the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls improve to 26-35.
That makes them tied with the Toronto Raptors for the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Five Thirty Eight has the Bulls’ playoff chances at four percent.
That’s good for the second-worst odds among teams with a greater than one percent chance.
The website’s forecast heavily favors Toronto to make the postseason, with a 13 percent chance.
Elsewhere, Tankathon.com has Chicago’s remaining schedule as the fourth-toughest in the entire NBA.
So the odds are stacked against the Chicago Bulls, who’ve managed an above-.500 record without one of their two All-Stars.
11 games to go.