Several Bulls Players Listed as Pro Comps for NBA Draft’s Top Prospects

Lonzo Ball

Getty Lonzo Ball #2 of the Chicago Bulls controls the ball

The Chicago Bulls are officially back on the map after last season. After campaigns in which they started games with players such as Christiano Felicio and Walt Lemon Jr., they are now focused more on retaining their own players than searching for new ones.

Take Zach LaVine, for example. He has essentially led that turnaround on the court and is now one of the talks of a free agency period that doesn’t even officially begin until July 1.

All-Star nods in back-to-back seasons have been prime examples of his development.

LaVine is now being used as a prototype that the next generation will build off of. And he’s not alone on the Bulls, either, writes Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman.

From Talented to Skilled

LaVine’s arrival in Chicago came as a footnote to a larger plan. Acquired in the draft-night trade for star forward, Jimmy Butler, the Olympic gold medalist was coming off of a torn ACL. He was mostly a lottery ticket. The prize of the return was Lauri Markkanen whom the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted at the Bulls’ behest.

Markkanen spent last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers after the Bulls traded him in a three-team deal that brought Derrick Jones Jr. to Chicago.

LaVine has turned into the best player out of the Bulls’ return by far.

It is his raw talent and ability to hone it into a refined skill set that Wasserman sees in Kentucky freshman wing, Shaedon Sharpe.

Bounce and shot-making skills are Shaedon Sharpe’s signatures. Like Zach LaVine, Share projects as a scoring 2-guard with range, an ability to create his own jumper and springs for elevating above the rim on drives and in transition.

Wasserman also believes LaVine and Sharpe share many of the same weaknesses.

Shot selection and defense have always been question marks that hold LaVine back, and Sharpe could also struggle with both areas in the league

Could Shaedon Sharpe Be the Steal of 2022 NBA Draft? | The RingerShaedon Sharpe is equal parts electrifying and enigmatic. His short time in the public eye has produced as much confusion (and at times frustration) as it has highlight-reel material. For a top prospect in the NBA draft, we’ve seen so little of him in serious, competitive game action. Does his game substantiate the hype? The…2022-06-08T23:00:35Z

In the end, both players’ positives should outweigh the negatives on average.

On the flip side, both have a knack for catching fir and scoring in bunches, even if it’s on low-percentage pull-ups or step-backs. At worst, Sharpe should give a team a spark of instant offense who can generate his own.

LaVine was one of just five players to average at least 24.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists while shooting 38.0% or better from deep, per

The expectations are that he remains in a Bulls uniform. Still, nothing is guaranteed.

One of Many

We reported on G-League Ignite star, Dyson Daniels comparing himself to Bulls guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. Wasserman, at least partly, agrees with the 6-foot-7 combo guard replacing Caruso with Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics.

Similar to Ball…Daniels isn’t an explosive athlete. But all three use their physical tools and IQ at both ends. These are versatility specialists who can be used on and off the ball.

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Ball appeared in just 35 games this season before succumbing to a torn meniscus and bone bruise. But he averaged 13 points, 5.1 assists, and 5.4 rebounds while shooting over 42% from beyond the arc.

He also posted the second-best on-off differential amongst Bulls starters behind only DeMar DeRozan, per Cleaning the Glass.

Ball’s health looms over the Bulls’ offseason.

Patrick Williams has also been a lightning rod of sorts. His development has not happened at the pace some would like, mostly in terms of consistency. But injuries and ample talent have provided enough of an “unknown” factor that patience is in order.

Wasserman cites a Williams-like skillset for Duke’s AJ Griffin.

Griffin doesn’t turn 19 years old until August, and flashes of ball-screen play and passing ability suggest he could offer more versatility that’s similar to Patrick William’s. While both players have room to grow defensively, they also have standout tools for guarding wings and physical forwards.

Williams was the second-youngest player in his class and, at one point, the youngest active player in the league.

The Bulls have been reluctant to include Williams in their pursuit of more proven players so far. His ability is why. Hopefully, a “summer from hell” with DeMar DeRozan will pay off in the form of consistency.

Rapid Marked Improvement

The Bulls’ first playoff berth in five years was enough of a testament to the turnaround in just two seasons under vice president of basketball operations, Arturas Karnisovas. But to see so many Bulls players listed as comps, or best-case scenarios, for some of the top prospects in this draft class shows why the Bulls got off to the start that they did.

LaVine’s ascension is a part of that even though he preceded Karnisovas’ arrival. That he is just one of two players from the previous regime shows the kind of work that he has put in.

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Having multiple, young Bulls players listed is also a reminder that this team’s timeline is not necessarily just in the next year or two. They have a foundation in place and, as of now, the safe bet is that they will continue adding to it in whatever manner the situation calls for.

The Bulls have not worked out any of Daniels, Griffin, or Sharpe. Griffin’s father, Adrian Griffin did play and coach for the Bulls, though.

All three are expected to be gone by the time the Bulls come on the clock with the 18th pick, per Tankathon. But that does not preclude them from moving up to get one of them if they see fit. Or they could take one should they experience a slight on draft night.

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