Why you should root for the Bulls to land the second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft

Why you should root for the Bulls to land the second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft

Zion Williamson is from Wakanda. Like Khalil Mack, he is a direct descendant of the Jabari Tribe (No not Jabari Parker. Please watch the movie)  He's a specimen — 6-foot-8, 285 pounds. He's built like Larry Johnson (Google him), can shoot and has a good basketball IQ. He can jump through the roof, he runs the floor like a jacked up cheetah.

Williamson blocks shots, is unselfish and from what it looks like is a solid young man. He's a clear No. 1 pick. There is no way the Bulls, or any team for that matter should pass on Zion. So am I rooting for the Bulls to get the first pick? Nope; I’m rooting for them to get the second. Why? Simple: I want Ja Morant.

Contrary to what my ex-girlfriends have stated, I’m not a complete idiot. If the Bulls get the first pick, draft T’Challa’s cousin. No question about it. That's a no brainer. But in my head that is not happening, which makes it even simpler for my brain and heart to want Ja. He lacks the size of Shuri’s kinfolk but makes up for it in a myriad of other ways. Morant is an all-around player. He’s explosive, unselfish and a great ball handler. He'll rise up and drain a three in your eye just as fast as he would jump over you and dunk on your entire life.

Morant has amazing court vision and led the nation in assists. The nation, at Murray State. He averaged 24 points per game, shot 50 percent from the field, 36 percent from the three point line and averaged two steals a game. Again, at Murray State. Since they started keeping assists as a stat in 1983, do you know how many college players have averaged 20 points per game and 10 assists per game? One: Ja Morant.

Morant lives to have the ball during pressure situations. When the game is on the line, he wants the ball. When the team needs a boost in the second half because they are down by 15, he wants the ball. When they are up by 20, he wants the ball. However, it’s not just him wanting it. Its wanting it and coming through. In a win against Austin Peay (where John Paxson was in attendance), Morant's team needed his scoring and leadership.

So, of course, Morant went out and scored 18 in the second half and ended up with 32 points six rebounds and seven assists. He has a desire and a will to be great that can't be measured. He was not recruited heavily in high school. He was part of the best AAU team in the country. One of his teammates? Killmonger’s nephew. The next year, Zion was gone and Ja was left with the responsibility of leading his team. So what did he do? He balled out, averaging 41 points per game on the best AAU team in the country. He is special.

In a loss against Alabama, a game in which he threw down a dunk so gross you would spit it out, Ja dropped 38.

“We saw him on film and nine times out of 10 when we see guys on film and they come in the building, they aren’t the same," Alabama guard John Petty said when asked about what it was like to play against Morant. "But he was exactly the same. Tremendous player. He’s a great player. I can’t describe him.”

Not enough for you? How about the words of then head coach of Alabama Avery Johnson:

“I saw flashbacks of a lot of guys I played against,” Johnson said. “Whether it’s the old Isaiah Thomas — the Detroit Pistons’ Isaiah Thomas — that craftiness and cleverness. John Stockton’s passing ability. Russell Westbrook’s athletic ability. My God. When I saw him on film…to watch him play in person… it was better than on film.”

Whenever I hear people compare Zion to NBA players, I get Shawn Kemp and Larry Johnson. Both were incredible specimens and excellent players. When I hear comparisons for Ja, I get Thomas, Westbrook and Stockton—Hall of Famers and MVPs.

As far as where he fits with the Bulls, that's pretty obvious. The first glaring hole has been plugged with the addition of Ottomatic. He's been great since coming over and a steadying force on both ends. Point guard is the last hole to fill in the starting five. My goal with all of this is to build around the one true King of the North. If it doesn't fit Lauri, then I'm not really checking for it (with a few obvious exceptions of course).

I need a player that's unselfish. One that's not worried about getting his but CAN get his undoubtedly. One that can run a fast break and recognize mismatches. Understands where teammates want the ball, when and where they need it. One that can feel the pressure and bathe in it. One that will lead the Bulls. The point god from South Carolina can do all of that and then some. I want Ja Morant on the Chicago Bulls. And you should too. Wakanda Forever.

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Bulls' Coby White has 7th best odds to win 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year

Bulls' Coby White has 7th best odds to win 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year

The 2019 NBA Draft has finally come and gone, and we now have a much better idea of how the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year race will pan out.

Of course, Zion Williamson has been the frontrunner to win ROY in most sports books before the draft even happens, and not much has changed since then at the top, with Williamson listed as a -450 favorite to win the award via Caesars. But when perusing through the rest of the top ROY odds, it is interesting where the split comes in terms of Caesar’s confidence in each first-year talent.

The top five in the odds were pretty much chalk, with the top five draft picks having the best odds in order, besides No. 5 overall pick Darius Garland finishing ahead of No. 4 overall pick De’Andre Hunter. Garland’s +1000 odds are likely the result of the general expectation that he and incumbent point guard Collin Sexton will be the driving forces of the Cavaliers’ offense.

Meanwhile, Hunter is sure to serve in more of a supporting role as a wing opposite Cam Reddish (+2500 odds) and 2018 NBA ROY runner up Trae Young, who possess much more in terms of ball handling and shot-creating ability. Speaking of ball handling and shot-creating ability, Bulls No. 7 overall pick Coby White comes in tied for 7th with +3000 odds to come away with the ROY award. 

White has the same odds as No. 8 pick Jaxson Hayes, and only slightly better odds than No. 9 pick Rui Hachimura and No. 15 pick Sekou Doumbouya. Historically, the ROY award goes to whichever first-year player has the most productive season in terms of raw numbers. White is expected to compete for the starting point guard job with Kris Dunn and whatever veterans the Bulls front office brings in.

While it is true that Coby White is not guaranteed a starring role in Chicago, the average-to-below-average guard play that the organization has received over the years would seem to indicate that the speedy first-year guard will be a fixture in the rotation all season long. 

When bettors first glance at White’s +3000 odds, they make look at it as a normal line and reasonably stay away from the longshot. But if you--like Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson--believe that White is an extremely coachable talent who will help get the entire Bulls team to commit to a more up-tempo style, then rolling with White’s odds in the ROY race is a no-brainer.

Waiting to see how free agency shakes out would be a prudent move on the part of bettors, but have confidence in White, who figures to be a crucial part of the rotation whether or not the Bulls go with a veteran starter or the incumbent, Kris Dunn, in the lead guard spot. 

Bulls Talk Podcast: Coby White and Daniel Gafford join Mark Schanowski


Bulls Talk Podcast: Coby White and Daniel Gafford join Mark Schanowski

Mark Schanowski is joined by Bulls top draft picks Coby White and Daniel Gafford after they were introduced to the media Monday at the Advocate Center.

0:50        White on how he thinks he can help the Bulls

1:25        White on his meeting with Jim Boylen

2:00        White on joining a very young roster

2:30        White on the influence of his father

3:33        White on the viral video of him reacting to Cam Johnson being drafted

4:50        White on his teammate first personality

5:38        White on looking forward to playing w Gafford

6:42        Gafford on his skill set

7:15        Gafford on watching the NBA when he can

7:40        Gafford on evolving big man role

8:47        Gafford on if he can do more offensively

9:20        Gafford on Bobby Portis, and some of their similarities

10:30     Gafford on some of his highlights from Arkansas

11:10     Gafford on Jim Boylen

11:30     Gafford on pick n roll game

12:00     Gafford on Coby White

12:40     Gafford on falling to the 2nd round, how getting drafted by the Bulls worked out

13:22     Gafford on throwing out 1st pitch at an upcoming Sox game

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast