If you ask most Chicago Bulls fans what position they need to fill, you’ll hear a lot of requests for a big man, or a versatile power forward capable of guarding multiple positions.
However, there have been rumors the Bulls have interest in adding another perimeter defender. Perhaps that’s why Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman has the Bulls selecting Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji with their first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
What’s So Good About Ochai Agbaji?
Pat McMahon of Basketball Society Online broke down some of Agbaji’s strengths as weaknesses in his scouting report.
“Ochai Agbaji is an explosive athlete who is one of the best on ball defenders in college basketball,” McMahon wrote. “His athletic ability is simply off the charts, as Agbaji possesses excellent quickness, leaping ability, and explosiveness. His quickness allows for him to stay in front of his opponent and beat him to his spot on the drive. Agbaji is very strong as well, which aids him in cutting off quick guards and prevents him from getting pushed around in the post.”
Agbaji’s defensive-minded approach and effectiveness on that end of the floor would seemingly match well with what the Bulls are looking for in a reserve wing. Even more, Agbaji’s defensive versatility is likely a draw for Chicago and other NBA teams.
“The combination of size, athleticism, and skill defensively make him very versatile on that end of the floor, a package that NBA teams absolutely love,” McMahon wrote. “He can pretty much guard every position in college, and will likely spend time guarding the one through four positions at the next level. Defensive versatility like that is rare, and a skill that is highly valued by NBA front offices.”
Agbaji is also a solid shooter. He has rounded himself into a more complete player as a senior. Agbaji’s scoring average is up to 21.2 points per game and the spike is largely due to an increased accuracy from three-point range.
On 6.5 three-point attempts per game, Agbaji is converting 47% of his long-range shots. Despite Wasserman having him plugged in as a late first-round pick, Agbaji might be among the more NBA-ready prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Where Would Agbaji Fit With the Bulls?
Agbaji’s NBA readiness should make him a strong fit for a contending team like the Bulls. As a three-and-D player, Agbaji could complement a bench unit that already includes Alex Caruso, Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. With that group, he might be asked to guard power forwards, and perhaps the team runs with a big man like Tony Bradley whose primary function would be to protect the basket.
While a bit smallish, this second unit could deliver excellent perimeter defense and good shooting with four shooters surrounding Bradley. If the Bulls could find a low-post threat to replace Bradley without a massive dip in rim protection, this is the formula for one of the most effective bench units in the NBA.
We’ll see if Agbaji remains in this range of if his strong senior season winds up pushing him up and out of the Bulls’range.
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