Bulls Rumors

Combine Notes: Porter, Bamba, Young, Hutchison

The Clippers have their eyes on Michael Porter Jr. and are hoping to use their picks at No. 12 and 13 to trade up in the draft, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. The Missouri forward, who missed almost the entire season with a back injury, could give L.A. a reliable scorer in the frontcourt. O’Connor notes that team owner Steve Ballmer stopped his session with the media at the combine to listen to Porter’s interview.

Porter, who is projected at No. 8 to the Cavaliers in the latest mock draft by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, told reporters he had combine interviews scheduled with 13 teams, including the Clippers. He also stated that he believes he’s “the best player in the draft.”

L.A.’s challenge is finding a team willing to trade down. O’Connor cites the Grizzlies, Mavericks, Magic and Bulls — who hold picks four through seven — as teams in need of multiple assets. However, it’s not clear if any of them is willing to move back in the draft, and O’Connor has heard that Memphis is planning to keep its No. 4 pick. The Grizzlies are looking for size, O’Connor adds, but are the only team in the top eight not to ask for a meeting with Texas center Mo Bamba.
O’Connor’s recap on the combine is filled with interesting tidbits. Here are a few of the highlights:
  • Bamba believes he could form a dangerous combination with Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr., but Dallas may not be interested. With Dirk Nowitzki returning for another season, the Mavs will try to rebuild quickly to put a contending team around him. That means targeting a free agent big man such as DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins or Julius Randle, which would make a scorer like Porter more attractive in the draft. O’Connor notes that Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, has strong ties to the Mavericks. Of his 12 clients, five have played in Dallas and another was with its G League affiliate, Jaleel Cousins, who is DeMarcus’ brother.
  • The Knicks are interested in Oklahoma point guard Trae Young if he falls to the ninth pick. They see him as a good fit alongside last year’s first-rounder, Frank Ntilikina, who can take on the tougher defensive matchup and help space the floor for Young to drive to the basket. However, the Magic at No. 6 and the Cavaliers at No. 8 both need point guards, so Young could be off the board before New York’s selection.
  • It still isn’t clear who made a draft promise to Boise State forward Chandler Hutchison, but O’Connor was told he won’t drop into the late first round. Hutchison, who is expected to be taken between the 18th and 24th pick, held workouts for the Timberwolves and Bulls before withdrawing from the combine. It may or may not be a clue, but Hutchison’s agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, is a friend of Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and has represented many Chicago players.
  • Kostas Antetokounmpo showed a lot of similarities to his older brother Giannis Antetokounmpo in his combine workouts. Kostas, 2o, could be a second-round pick and may be a valuable asset for a team to have when Giannis hits free agency in 2021.

Chandler Hutchison, Mitchell Robinson Made Promises?

As we relayed on Wednesday, two notable NBA prospects, Chandler Hutchison  and Mitchell Robinson, withdrew from this week’s 2018 NBA Draft Combine in advance of the event. We also heard on Thursday that Hutchison was reported to have found a “safe landing spot” in the late first round.

Now, according to a tweet from NBADraft.net and a story from Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, it appears that promises may have been made to both players by teams picking in the 20’s of the upcoming draft. Hutchison is rumored to have received a promise by the Bulls at pick No. 22 while Robinson’s promise is purported to have come by the Lakers at pick No. 25.

It remains fairly early in the draft process for teams to be making promises to prospects, but the report at least provides a bit of context as to why Hutchison and Robinson may have withdrawn from the combine.

Zipser Undergoes Surgery; Sexton The Pick At No. 7

  • Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago takes a look at the fit of Alabama point guard Collin Sexton, aptly nicknamed “Young Bull,” as the pick for the Bulls at No. 7. Sexton, who was coached in college by former NBA coach Avery Johnson, averaged 24.2 points on 53 percent shooting, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in five postseason games this past season.
  • And speaking of the Bulls, Dan Santaromita of NBC Sports Chicago reports that reserve forward Paul Zipser underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a broken left foot. Zipser has a non-guaranteed contract worth just over $1.54MM for next season.

Combine Notes: Young, Carter, Knox, Walker, Bowen

Trae Young claims the Sixers are interested in him, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Oklahoma freshman point guard was interviewed by Philadelphia at the NBA draft combine. “They are looking for a playmaker all-around,” Young said. “I know they are interested in me. But you never know how things will fall.”

Given the composition of the Sixers’ roster, it’s hard to see how Young would fit in. They have budding superstar Ben Simmons and last year’s No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz along with valuable backup T.J. McConnell to share the ballhandling duties. The Sixers hold the No. 10 and No. 26 picks in the first round and Young is currently ranked No. 6 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, so Philadelphia would likely have to move up to draft him if the interest is genuine.

In other combine developments:

  • Duke center Wendell Carter Jr. and Kentucky forward Kevin Knox met with the Knicks on Friday, Al Iannazzone of Newsday reports. The Knicks own the No. 9 pick. Carter is ranked No. 7 by Givony while Knox is listed at No. 15.
  • Carter also interviewed with the Bulls, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets, and the Sixers, according to Pompey. The Bulls have the No. 7 pick.
  • Miami shooting guard Lonnie Walker met with the Magic, Bulls, Sixers and Knicks, all teams with Top 10 selections, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype tweets. The Clippers, who hold picks 12 and 13, are also interested in Walker, Kalbrosky adds. Walker is ranked No. 14 by Givony but those meetings could indicate that he’ll go higher in draft day.
  • The Trail Blazers interviewed forward Brian Bowen, who sat out last season after his controversial recruitment by Louisville, Jason Quick of NBCSNorthwest tweets. Bowen is still mulling whether to attend South Carolina or remain in the draft, Quick adds. Bowen barely cracks Givony’s Top 100 at No. 96.
  • Top point guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Collin Sexton and Young were interviewed by the Suns, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic relays. Phoenix has the No. 1 and No. 16 selections. Texas center Mohamed Bamba, Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and Carter are some of the other prominent players who met with the Suns.

Combine Notes: Bridges, Sixers, DiVincenzo, Sexton

Michigan State wing Miles Bridges, a probable lottery pick, interviewed with the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Cavaliers, Spurs, Nuggets, and Clippers earlier this week, and was set to meet with the Sixers, Hornets, and Knicks on Friday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Bridges is one of several intriguing prospects the Sixers are meeting with in Chicago this week, according to Pompey, who adds Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., Michigan State power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., and IMG Academy guard Anfernee Simons to that list. Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo was also scheduled to interview with Philadelphia on Friday, Pompey tweets.

Finally, Pompey has details on Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, who has been impressing NBA evaluators at this week’s combine and says he’s received plenty of “positive feedback.” According to Pompey, DiVincenzo has had meetings with the Lakers, Magic, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, Spurs, Hawks, and Grizzlies in Chicago.

Here’s more on meetings taking place at the combine:

2018 NBA Draft Picks By Team

While the Sixers were knocked out of the 2018 playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the underdog Celtics, few teams are better positioned in this year’s draft than Philadelphia. The 76ers own six of the 60 picks in the 2018 NBA draft, including a pair of first-rounders.

As our full 2018 draft order shows, the Sixers are one of seven NBA teams that holds more than two selections in this year’s draft. On the other end of the spectrum, eight teams have just one pick in 2018, while two teams – the Heat and Raptors – don’t have any selections.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2018 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 60 picks by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Philadelphia 76ers (6): 10, 26, 38, 39, 56, 60
  • Phoenix Suns (4): 1, 16, 31, 59
  • Atlanta Hawks (4): 3, 19, 30, 34
  • Dallas Mavericks (3): 5, 33, 54
  • Orlando Magic (3): 6, 35, 41
  • Denver Nuggets (3): 14, 43, 58
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 29, 40, 45

Teams with two picks:

  • Sacramento Kings: 2, 37
  • Memphis Grizzlies: 4, 32
  • Chicago Bulls: 7, 22
  • New York Knicks: 9, 36
  • Charlotte Hornets: 11, 55
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 12, 13
  • Washington Wizards: 15, 44
  • San Antonio Spurs: 18, 49
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 20, 48
  • Utah Jazz: 21, 52
  • Indiana Pacers: 23, 50
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 25, 47
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 53, 57

Teams with fewer than two picks:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (1): 8
  • Milwaukee Bucks (1): 17
  • Portland Trail Blazers (1): 24
  • Boston Celtics (1): 27
  • Golden State Warriors (1): 28
  • Detroit Pistons (1): 42
  • Houston Rockets (1): 46
  • New Orleans Pelicans (1): 51
  • Miami Heat (0)
  • Toronto Raptors (0)

John Paxson Talks No. 7 Overall Pick

  • While Bulls executive John Paxson acknowledged that versatile wings are more important than ever in today’s NBA, that doesn’t mean the club is zeroed in on acquiring such a player with the No. 7 pick. As Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Paxson said the Bulls intend to take the best available player. Paxson added that the club won’t rule out the possibility of trading up, though he admitted that’s “hard to do.”
  • In a separate article for NBC Sports Chicago, Strotman lays out a case for why the Bulls should use the No. 7 pick to select Missouri prospect Michael Porter Jr., who is recovering from back surgery.

Community Shootaround: Draft Lottery Scenarios

The 2018 NBA draft lottery will take place on Tuesday night, as we noted in our lottery primer earlier today. While the odds favor the Suns, there are 14 NBA teams that could ultimately end up with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, creating some fascinating drama.

In a piece for The Ringer on Monday, Paolo Uggetti broke down some of the most interesting potential scenarios for the draft lottery. As Uggetti observes, the two teams still alive in the Eastern Conference Finals have a chance to get some great news before they take the court on Tuesday, since the Cavaliers own the Nets’ first-round pick, while the Celtics will own the Lakers’ first-rounder if it lands at No. 2 or No. 3 overall. The possibility of one or both of those teams landing a top-three pick at the same time they’re looking to advance to the NBA Finals isn’t good news for the rest of the league.

Of course, the Sixers would keep that Lakers pick if it moves all the way up to No. 1. It’s currently 10th in the lottery standings, so the odds of it becoming a top-three pick are slim, but it would create some terrific drama if it lands in the top three, since the balance of power in the Eastern Conference could shift significantly depending on whether the pick ends up at No. 1 (Sixers) or Nos. 2 or 3 (Celtics).

Uggetti’s other intriguing scenarios include big-market teams like the Knicks and Clippers getting a top pick — L.A. could theoretically move into the top three while keeping a second lottery selection, courtesy of the Pistons. Uggetti points to the Magic or Kings getting the No. 1 pick as interesting scenarios too, since neither of those clubs has had much lottery luck in the last few years — despite several appearances near the top of the draft.

Outside of the teams we’ve already mentioned, the Grizzlies, Mavericks, Hawks, Bulls, Hornets, Pistons, and Nuggets all have a chance to land a top pick.

What do you think? What would be the most interesting draft lottery scenario? Which team deserves some good luck the most (or least)? Jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Bulls Can't Afford To Miss On Lottery Pick

  • The Bulls need to hit a home run on their lottery pick this June in order to advance the rebuilding process, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times argues. Chicago is currently slotted at No. 6 unless it gets lucky in the draft lottery. “We’re going to find out [Tuesday] where we pick in the top 10,” VP of basketball operations John Paxson said. “That will obviously be a significant pick.” The Bulls also have the No. 22 pick, courtesy of the Nikola Mirotic trade with the Pelicans.