With the idea of finishing their season now gone, the Chicago Bulls have to look towards the future. In this case, making preparations for the NBA draft. The league has scheduled the lottery drawing for August with the draft itself to follow in October. Once again the team will hope its fortunes are a little better than landing the 7th overall pick yet again.
That aside, the question of who the team might target is significant this year. That’s because, for the first time in over a decade, Gar Forman and John Paxson aren’t the men making the picks. That responsibility goes to the new VP of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas and new GM Marc Eversley. Their requirements are almost certainly different from their predecessors.
While one would think this makes it impossible to determine who they could target, that isn’t true. All one has to do is follow the breadcrumbs. Karnisovas was hired for his obvious experience and intelligence, but also because the Bulls were hoping to expand their reach into the international talent pool. A place the man himself came from.
Combine that with their most pressing team needs? The arrow seems to point towards one notable player.
Deni Avdija seems like what the Chicago Bulls are seeking
Experts will likely say Deni Avdija is the best international prospect of the 2020 draft class. The 19-year old has already made a name for himself in Israel. This past season he averaged 10.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and one steal per 36 minutes played. ESPN points out he really improved in key areas that will appeal to the Bulls.
“Has made significant strides on defense. Covers ground well and plays with real intensity getting over screens, battling on the glass and rotating to protect the rim. Gets in passing lanes, blocks quite a few shots and rebounds well.”
The Bulls were the second-worst rebounding team in the NBA this season, averaging 41.9 per game. A big reason for that was how little they got from their small forward position. Otto Porter Jr. struggled constantly with injuries and Chandler Hutchinson missed most of the season. That position might need a reboot. Avdija, at 6’9 with good athleticism and an aggressive mentality looks like a great fit for it.
Also don’t forget where he comes from.
As Serbian-Israeli, Avdija comes from a part of Europe that has produced several quality basketball players. Among them include Vlade Divac, Toni Kukoc, Jusuf Nurkic, Drazen Petrovic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokić, Luka Doncic, and Goran Dragic among others. It’s a fairly rich area for basketball talent.
Something to keep in mind as the draft gets closer.