The Chicago Bulls have actually drafted well over the years with headliners including Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah, and Kirk Hinrich. Sure there have been rough spots but by and large, they’ve done a decent job. Or let’s rephrase that. They’ve done a decent job in the 1st round. One of the areas of Bulls drafting that doesn’t get enough criticism is how poor they’ve done in the 2nd round.
Sure, it’s not an easy area to find talent but time has proven it can be mined for help by good teams. San Antonio found Isaiah Thomas. The Clippers found DeAndre Jordan. The Lakers (back when they were good) drafted Marc Gasol. Phoenix (also back when they were good) drafted Goran Dragic. Last but certainly not least? Golden State found Draymond Green.
Since the NBA moved to a two-round draft system in 1989, the Bulls have drafted only one notable player. That was Toni Kukoc back in 1990, who became a key member of their second three-peat from 1996 to 1998. Nobody else has even come close, and one could argue it has hampered their ability to build a proper championship team.
That problem may have finally changed this year.
Daniel Gafford can break Chicago Bulls 2nd round drought
It may be only the Summer League, but Daniel Gafford has not looked like a typical 2nd round pick. He’s shown there is more to his game than raw athleticism. He’s averaging 13.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.80 blocks so far in extended action. All while shooting a respectable 68% from the floor. Some may consider this an anomaly, but is it?
People seem to overlook how good Gafford was at Arkansas. His sophomore seasons was excellent with 16.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. All while shooting 59.1%. So what he’s doing isn’t just some fluke. It followed him from college and has improved in some aspects. Is he ready to have instant success? Doubtful but the potential is already shining through.
NBADraft.net wasn’t shy about singing his praises in their scouting report before the draft either.
“One of the best big man athletes available for this year’s draft. His length and athleticism will allow him to stand out at the next level … At his best, Gafford evokes memories of Marcus Camby … Gafford’s length and fluidity are too formidable for many on the college level, but he will need to expand his skill set in order to find the same success at the next level. Expanding his shooting range, and adding some post moves will help his cause.”
For those who don’t remember, Marcus Camby was 2006-2007 Defensive Player of the Year and a four-time member of the All-Defensive team. He also averaged a double-double in six of his career seasons. He was the 2nd overall pick in 1996. So for the Bulls to get somebody of that potential in the 2nd round shows how much of a steal Gafford could be.