This article was written 6/20/18, on the eve of the NBA Draft.
The 2018 NBA Draft is finally here! The Chicago Bulls ended their season just over two months ago but Bulls fans have been waiting for the draft since arguably the beginning of the year. Everyone knew this was a rebuild year, and with the potential of this year’s draft, many Bulls fans were hoping to “Embrace the Tank” and get a top 3 pick this year.
Unfortunately, due to an unexpected hot streak from a former player that shall not be named, the Bulls played well in December, and that ultimately is the difference between them choosing in the top 3 and the current #7 pick that they have now. The bright side is, the Bulls young players showed some development, and the feeling around the league is that the Bulls may be closer to turning around the rebuild and maybe even become players in free agency this year. (For the record, I do not believe this and I think GarPax need to be extremely careful with the moves they make this summer.)
But this is all stuff that fans know.
What we don’t know is who the Bulls will choose at #7 on Thursday night. Every single mock draft that I’ve seen has someone different so there is sure to be a lot of drama and suffering for Bulls fans. Michael Porter Jr is the fan favorite, but the back issues have to raise some concern. Trae Young seems like a pick that’s destined to fail, and Mo Bamba and Jaren Jackson will more than likely be gone by the time the Bulls pick. So who does that realistically leave? Allow me to introduce Mr Carter, Mr Wendell Carter.
Now let me just start by saying that when the Bulls traded away Jimmy Butler, most fans probably were not thinking about Wendell Carter being the draft selection the year after. That is a completely different topic for a different day, but I really believe fans will fall in love with Carter’s game.
He averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in his lone freshman year at Duke. He’s a versatile big man and one that won’t get eaten alive by teams that choose to go small. Many scouts have compared him to Al Horford and while that’s not the most exciting name, ask any Boston fan who they think is the most important player on the team and many of them will say Al Horford.
Carter’s key strengths on defense (rim protection, rebounding, defensive IQ) would be a perfect fit next to Lauri Markkanen. He is also a very good passer for his size which adds another wrinkle into Coach Hoiberg’s pace and space offense. He’s one of those players that has a greater impact than what you see on the stat sheet. In addition, albeit this is a smaller sample size, he did shoot roughly 41% from 3 last year at Duke. If Carter can develop a consistent three point shot, that will do wonders for the spacing that the Bulls will have on offense. I can’t reiterate enough how much of a perfect fit he is for this current Bulls roster.
With all the positives, there is still some concerns associated with Carter. He isn’t as athletic as other bigs in the draft, so it appears his upside will more than likely be a solid multi-year start with a chance at making an all-star game rather than a bonafide superstar. He also had showed some questionable decision/shot making while at Duke, but I think that’s an easy fix with experience and proper coaching.
Historically, Bulls fans have fallen in love with players of Carter’s mold, the do everything, hard working, whatever it takes to win kinda guy (shoutout to Joakim, Taj, and Luol). Many Bulls fans may not be thrilled to hear Carter’s name called on Thursday, but I guarantee you come December, they will realize how much of a perfect fit he really is.
Wanna talk Bulls? Tweet me @jdez_xo.