The NBA Draft Lottery has come and gone, and the Chicago Bulls will indeed owe their 2021 first-round pick (which landed No. 8 overall) to the Orlando Magic as part of the trade for Nikola Vučević.
But they won’t be completely idle on July 29.
By virtue of a pick swap with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Bulls own the 38th pick in the draft, the eighth selection in the second round.
Oddly enough, that’s a slot the franchise has had success in the past. Daniel Gafford was the 38th pick in the 2019 draft; Chris Duhon went 38th in 2004.
And, as has been well-documented, Artūras Karnišovas cut his teeth in a Denver Nuggets front office that unearthed second-round successes in Nikola Jokić (No. 41 overall in 2014) and Monte Morris (No. 52 in 2017).
In the wake of the lottery, experts across the internet pushed out mock drafts, multiple of which included second-round picks. Here’s a quick glance around where the Bulls stood in those mocks:
Jonathan Givony (ESPN)
Roko Prkačin: PF, Cibona Zagreb
Prkačin has been playing professionally since age 16 and, now 18, just finished up a nice season for KK Cibona in Croatia. In 54 games between Liga ABA and A-1 Liga, he averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and two assists, shooting 50.4 percent from the field, 35 percent from 3-point range and 61.8 percent from the charity stripe.
Nimble for a power forward, Prkačin boasts playmaking potential, but questions exist surrounding his shot. Given that Cibona plays in the same league as Marko Simonović’s club, taking a flier would keep with Artūras Karnišovas’ MO of international expertise.
Jeremy Woo (Sports Illustrated)
Greg Brown III: PF, Texas
Brown is a jump-out-the-gym athlete that produced some of the most vicious posters in college basketball last season. Add in flashes of fluidity as a ball-handler and jump-shooter, plus a wingspan that just eclipsed 7-feet when measured at this week’s combine, and it’s easy to see the intrigue.
Experts question Brown’s two-way feel — though he has the tools to be excellent defensively and on the glass — and decision-making with the ball in his hands. Most mocks seem to peg him ahead of the Bulls’ second-round slot, but he’d be an interesting upside play if he fell.
Jonathan Wasserman (Bleacher Report)
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: PF, Villanova
The Villanova well is always a surefire place to look for immediate NBA contributions. Robinson-Earl brings everything you’d expect: Tremendous IQ, defensive instincts, passing chops and competitiveness.
Limited athleticism and self-creation ability is what makes the 20-year-old, two-year product a potential second-round target. And standing 6-foot-9 but more of a forward-center than forward-wing, it’s fair to wonder what his best position will be in the NBA.
Daishen Nix: PG, G League Ignite
Nix, ESPN’s 21st-ranked recruit in 2020, nearly wound up at UCLA but instead opted for a stint with the G League Ignite. There, the 6-foot-5 lead guard shouldered on-ball responsibilities and flashed creativity as a facilitator in pick-and-roll and transition.
The glaring issues were Nix’s shooting percentages — he hit just 38.4 percent of his attempts from the floor and 17.6 percent from 3-point range — ball security and defensive aptitude. All are blaring alarm bells given the Bulls’ needs at the point guard spot, but he’s another interesting upside play.
Sam Vecenie (The Athletic)
Marcus Bagley: SF, Arizona State
Bagley would be an interesting flier on the wing for a Bulls team in need of length, versatility and shooting in that department.
As a freshman at Arizona State, he played in only 12 games because injuries limited him to just one appearance between February and March. In those contests, Bagley shot 34.7 percent from 3-point range on six attempts per game (a decent percentage given the volume) and looked comfortable in catch-and-shoot situations. The team that plucks him will hope he can grow into the type of 3-and-D wing so many covet.