If the Bulls look to move down in the 2019 NBA Draft, they will be looking to grab a prospect who slips further than they should based off of injury, poor performance, poor coaching or a combination of all three. But more important than the perception that the player slipped, is that they fit with the Bulls core and long-term vision. Indiana’s Romeo Langford is the exact type of player who fits this mold.
In any trade down move, the Bulls would be receiving an additional asset or two. With these additional assets in tow, the Bulls would be able to invest in a prospect with higher upside, even if the fit isn’t immediately apparent. Fortunately for the Bulls in regards to Langford, he would mesh with their lineup whether they decided to bring him off the bench or try to integrate him as a long term starter.
Romeo Langford stats per Hoop-Math.com
64.1 percent at the rim
40.0 percent on 2-point jumpers
27.2 percent on 3-point shots
72.2 percent on free throws
The place to start with Langford is the fact that he played the final 26 games of the 2018-19 IU basketball season with a torn ligament in his right thumb. This injury likely played a factor in his awful 3-point shooting numbers. But even going back to high school, you see the potential for Langford to be a solid 3-point shooter. He flashed the proper footwork in high school to create clean 3-point looks off the dribble or coming off of screens.
Romeo Langford drops a stepback 3 pointer. Goodness. pic.twitter.com/6Twk6ZPyOI— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) December 16, 2016
Look at the work Romeo Langford does to get open for this corner 3. pic.twitter.com/KZzNRXmmS6— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) December 16, 2016
Langford hit 72.2 percent of his 194 free throws in college and has shot better than 70 percent from the charity stripe throughout various high school and FIBA events.None of these free throw shooting marks indicate a knockdown 3-point shooter at the NBA level, but they do forecast a player who can at least develop into a sufficient threat from deep.
That idea lines up with his projected 3-point percentage via Tankathon, which is a modest 33.8 percent.
Even if the 3-point shot doesn’t come along, Langford would serve a useful purpose on the Bulls. For starters, he is a player whose offensive strengths start with his ability to get to the rim and finish through contact at an above average level. At IU he took 36.7 percent of his field goal attempts at the rim and converted at a 64.1 percent rate once he got there, which would rank near the 70th percentile for an NBA wing per Cleaning the Glass ($).
The Bulls led the NBA in FGA on drives per game (24.6) and Langford would fit right in with the mindset of getting to the basket as a first line of attack. He gets great extension on his drives and utilizes his 6-foot-11 wingspan to finish with soft touch around the rim, even in big moments.
You can’t help but to imagine Jim Boylen being a fan of Langford when you see quotes like this:
Tough, IU coaches are telling NBA scouts who ask for a word to describe Romeo. Also: Unselfish.
If the Bulls wanted to go the route of the Phoenix Suns and Devin Booker and try out Zach LaVine as the lead ball handler for a full season, Langford would be a great option to play the 2-guard spot next to him. His fit next to LaVine starts with his ability to play high-level defense.
Langford will play tough defense on-ball when he is locked-in, though his focus does wane at times. When it comes to off-ball defense, Langford really shines. His steal percentage (1.3) was not great but he was quite proficient when it came to generating offense once he got a steal.
HALF | Indiana 37, Northwestern 33.— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) December 1, 2018
Hoosiers turning defense with 12 points off 9 Northwestern turnovers.
Juwan Morgan leads Indiana with 10 points & 6 rebounds, Romeo Langford has 9 points & 4 rebounds at the break. #iubb pic.twitter.com/69lFXtR8qq
In the event that the Bulls pick up Langford with a pick later in the lottery, the more likely scenario is that he becomes a central piece of a revamped bench unit. Chicago's best bench scorer in the 2018-19 season was Jabari Parker with 14.3 points per game over in 22 games off the bench. After Parker, Bobby Portis was the best bench scorer of the bunch and as I’m sure you all know, neither is still on the roster now.
Heading into the 2019-20 season, Langford and any combination of solid veteran free agency acquisitions would give Jim Boylen and his new-look staff a functional bunch that could actually hold on to leads. Picking Romeo Langford at No. 7 would be somewhat of a reach based off of pre-draft rankings. But selecting Langford anywhere in the No. 8-to-14 range is a move that doesn’t have much downside in terms of opportunity cost