Bulls can't replicate Lottery success from a decade ago, will select 7th in 2018 NBA Draft


Bulls can't replicate Lottery success from a decade ago, will select 7th in 2018 NBA Draft

The Bulls weren’t able to replicate their Lottery success from a decade ago and will select seventh in next month’s NBA Draft. The Bulls entered Tuesday night’s drawing at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago with a 5.3 percent chance at the first pick and an 18.3 percent chance at a top 3 pick, tied for the sixth best odds in the league.

But the balls didn’t bounce the right way and instead the Bulls will move back a spot from where they were at the beginning of the evening. It’s a disappointing finish, all things considered, for a team that began the year 3-20, traded its leading scorer and saw its remaining three leading scorers miss a combined 102 games.

Still, the Bulls picking seventh marks the highest they’ve selected since a year ago. They drafted Lauri Markkanen with the 7th pick in last year’s draft after dealing Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves.

The Bulls will also pick 22nd overall with the draft choice they acquired in the Nikola Mirotic trade in February. The Bulls have not selected and kept two players in the first round since 2011, when they left that draft with Nikola Mirotic and Jimmy Butler.

There appears to be two consensus top-3 picks in Arizona center Deandre Ayton and Slovenian guard Luka Doncic. Assuming both players are gone, the Bulls will still have their pick of players such as Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., Michigan State center Jaren Jackson, Duke’s Marvin Bagley, Texas center Mo Bamba, Villanova wing Mikal Bridges and Oklahoma point guard Trae Young.

At his end-of-the-year press conference in April, John Paxson said the Bulls would likely look at a wing with their first pick. He said the Bulls felt comfortable with their depth at point guard in Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne, and both Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis look like foundation pieces for the future.

“I think we need to look at the wing position. That would be an ideal spot. Size and length at the wing as a shooting component, a defensive component, would be something that, if you’re looking at an area we would like to improve, that would be it,” Paxson said.

But Paxson also added that “it’s hard to overlook talent even when you’re looking at a specific need.” The Bulls are a month removed from a 27-win season and don’t exactly have a surplus of talent past Markkanen, Dunn, Portis and Zach LaVine. Taking the best player available is always a winning move, especially that high in the draft.

The Bulls could also trade up using that 22nd overall pick, though a pick that late in the round doesn’t hold as much value in a league where top-tiered talent reigns supreme. Trading down is an option, perhaps with a team like the Clippers, who hold the 12th and 13th picks.

John Beilein reassigned to a different role within Cleveland Cavaliers organization


John Beilein reassigned to a different role within Cleveland Cavaliers organization

Coaching in the NBA is hard, even if you are one of the best college basketball coaches in the nation. It is something that basketball fans—especially those in Chicago—are reminded of time and time again, and John Beilein is the latest in the line of NCAA-to-NBA head coaches to make a failed transition. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Beilein were parting ways after he resigned as head coach of the team. Charania later added that for the time being, Cleveland will be reassigning Beilein to an alternate role within the franchise. 

Beilein's NBA coaching career lasted 54 games, 216 games less than current Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg, who lasted 270 games with the Bulls after leaving the Iowa State program in 2015. Beilen's struggles were similar to Hoiberg in the fact that they both struggled to transfer their college coaching styles to the NBA, where they would be dealing with grown men rather than young college students. During Hoiberg's tenure with the Bulls, Jimmy Butler infamously called him out, stating that the Bulls needed to be "coached a lot harder at times," and that incident looks a lot like the dispute between Cavs center Tristan Thompson and Beilein, which boiled over during a game this season. 

There was also an incident this season in which Beilein mistakenly referred to his Cavaliers players as "thugs" in a film session, reportedly leading to the team intentionally playing songs with the word "thug" in it, further exacerbating an already difficult situation.

The big takeaway here is that there is a lot more than the X's and O's that goes into NBA coaching, and with player movement at an all-time high, college coaches are finding NBA roles more challenging than ever.

Beilein was one of the hottest coaching names in the business in 2019, coming off yet another successful season at the helm of the Michigan Wolverines, who were coming off of an Elite 8 appearance after making the National Title game the year before. Now Beilein is back out of NBA coaching, and the Bulls' rivals in Cleveland are now even more firmly entrenched in the rebuilding phase than they were before with relatively young (40 years old) J.B. Bickerstaff taking over. 

Beilein has three years and $12 million left on his Cavaliers contract, and sources have told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski previously that the Cavaliers and Beilein have agreed on a deal to pay him a portion of his 2019-20 salary. It has not yet publicly been stated what Beilein's new title within the Cavaliers organization will be. 

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NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Top of the 2020 NBA Draft still a mystery


NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Top of the 2020 NBA Draft still a mystery

One thing we know for sure about the 2020 NBA Draft: no team executives will be losing sleep on the eve of the lottery hoping to land the first or second pick like a year ago when the top prizes where generational power forward Zion Williamson and point guard extraordinaire Ja Morant.

Matter of fact, teams might prefer not to land one of the top three picks so they can pay less guaranteed money to a player who may not have a huge impact,

As we get closer to the start of conference tournaments around the country, no player has really distinguished himself as the clear cut No. 1 choice. Georgia’s Anthony Edwards gets credit for being available to play all season, but his poor shooting percentages from the field and the 3-point line for a bad college team hardly scream top overall pick.

Injuries and eligibility questions have kept a few of the top prospects off the court, so NBA executives will put more emphasis than ever on the information they gather during the draft combine and individual workouts.

Here’s a snapshot at where things stand in late February with our fourth mock draft.