Bulls

2016 NBA Draft: Vincent Goodwill's mock draft 2.0

2016 NBA Draft: Vincent Goodwill's mock draft 2.0

1. 76ers: Ben Simmons, F, LSU

Who cares if he’s not working out for them, they have his medicals and his game film. Everything else is window dressing.

2.  Lakers: Brandon Ingram, F, Duke

 He’s confident, with a long wingspan and scouts think he can score in bunches. There’s a reason people consider this a two-player draft.

3. Celtics: Jaylen Brown, G-F, California

This is where it gets uncertain as the Celtics could try to flip this pick for a veteran in win-now mode. Brown could join a pretty good set of swingmen and play immediately—boosting his trade value

4. Suns: Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington

Opinions on him go across the board, but there’s no denying his gifts and talent. He could fall, but could make teams regret it, too.

5. Timberwolves: Kris Dunn, G, Providence

For Tom Thibodeau’s first draft pick, passing up a guard with defensive instincts could be too much to resist. His offense and shooting has progressed but Thibodeau will likely salivate at what Dunn can do for a defense.

6. Pelicans: Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky

The Pelicans had injuries across the board but especially in the backcourt, so Murray will be able to play both positions and get a chance to compete immediately as a scorer off the ball.

7. Nuggets: Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma

An explosive shooter, Hield maxed out at the college level as a four-year player. And as a professional, has good size for a shooting guard as he’ll play more off the ball as opposed to creating on his own.

8. Kings: Skal Labissiere, F/C, Kentucky

We all know the Kings’ owner loves picking up John Calipari players and this athletic big could join DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein in the frontcourt rotation.

9. Raptors: Dragan Bender, F, Croatia

If Raps truly believe they can win now, perhaps they’ll package pick in trade for a veteran. Bender is so intriguing because he can play all frontcourt positions and his transition may not be so gradual.

10. Bucks: Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah

Back to the basket scorer, Poeltl could join an athletic and rangy Bucks team without having to fit the usual profile. How he performs defensively protecting the basket could be his greatest value down the line.

11. Magic: Denzel Valentine, F-G, Michigan State

The Magic want to start winning now, so if they keep this pick, a pro-ready player with maturity will be a better bet. Valentine’s medicals are a cause, but he’ll be productive to start.

12. Jazz: Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Gonzaga

The Jazz love stockpiling bigs who can protect the rim and score inside and Sabonis is this year’s man of mystery, an intriguing prospect.

13. Suns: Henry Ellenson, C/F, Marquette

 With Tyson Chandler aging and if they take a wing at four, they could go big here with Ellenson, a skilled big who could learn behind Chandler and develop at his own pace.

14. Bulls: Wade Baldwin IV, G, Vanderbilt

The rumors of a promise from the Bulls are getting louder and louder as Baldwin can play both guard positions but is primarily a point guard with good range and decent athleticism.

15. Nuggets: Taurean Prince, F, Baylor

With Wilson Chandler’s health in doubt, the Nuggets could draft Prince as an insurance policy. Prince is mature (22 years old), and fits the profile of a 3-and-D guy.

16. Celtics: Timothe Luwawu, F, France

A guy the Celtics can stash overseas if need be, if the Celtics don’t package it. Luwawu is a good athlete who finishes in traffic and can be an elite defender in time.

17. Grizzlies: Demetrius Jackson, G, Notre Dame

Who knows if Jackson actually sticks around this long but with Mike Conley facing free agency, Jackson could be new coach David Fizdale’s hand-picked point guard who could develop in this slowdown system.

18. Pistons: Thon Maker, F Australia

If Denzel Valentine is here, wouldn’t be shocked if the Pistons took him as a backup point guard. But Maker is a project who could play down the line next to Andre Drummond.

19. Nuggets: Cheick Diallo, F, Kansas

Seems a bit of a stretch but if they go with Hield early, they can take a big later and swing for the fences with Diallo. Shot blocker and rebounder but will take time to develop.

20. Pacers: Tyler Ulis, G, Kentucky

The Pacers want to play fast, and there’s no better training ground than the dribble drive system in Kentucky. Ulis plays with pace and is a great distributor in the open floor.

21. Hawks- Deyonta Davis, F, Michigan State

He’s got length and athleticism and can play above the rim. He’ll certainly take a minute to develop but the Hawks can afford to take a chance on a young kid with these attributes.

22. Hornets: Malachi Richardson, G, Syracuse

According to reports he’s been shooting well in workouts, and being one of the younger players in this draft, he can go in the mid-teens or later than this projection.

23. Celtics: Zhou Qi, C, International

With size that’s scary in a good and bad way (7-foot-2), Qi has potential as a shot-blocking center who can cover a lot of space in little time.

24. 76ers: DeAndre Bembry, F, St. Joseph’s

Taking a local product in Bembry could help replenish the weakest point of the 76er roster—the wings, which has been historically bad in the Sam Hinkie era.

25. Clippers: Caris LeVert, G-F, Michigan

Before he got hurt, he was thought to be a sure-fire lottery pick with his skill set and versatility. If his medicals check out, will Doc Rivers roll the dice?

26. 76ers: Dejounte Murray, G, Washington

 Murray can play both spots and has good size but is inconsistent. The 76ers will have to hope he can develop into a decent jump shooter.

27. Raptors: Patrick McCaw, G, UNLV

The Raptors are in best player available mode, and McCaw can defend multiple positions with his size and length. Now, if he can score, its an added bonus.

28. Suns: Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt

Jones could go higher in the 20’s as he has potential as a rim protecting athlete but also someone who can stretch the floor.

29. Spurs: Brice Johnson, F, North Carolina

Opinions on Johnson are mixed given his career at Carolina, but here’s thinking the Spurs won’t pass on his production as they’ll need frontcourt help and length.

30. Warriors: Juan Hernangomez, International

Fast-paced player who can make quick decisions in the Warriors’ system. But honestly, he’s a down the line option the franchise can stash away for the future and not take up cap space.

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

The door has officially been closed on the 2017-18 season for the Chicago Bulls, and the word that most comes to mind is “unfulfilling.”

Or maybe even “indistinguishable.”

Draft night was supposed to be a culmination of a painful seven-month stretch that only had occasional yet costly moments of light.

Death lineup? Meet Death March. And Death April, while we’re at it.

The Bulls brass sold everyone on a full rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler one year ago, with an unspoken promise that this draft would bear franchise-changing fruit—hence the general feeling of angst or even indifference with the solid selection of Wendell Carter Jr. and their not-so-secret affection of Chandler Hutchison.

It was why fans believe the Bulls got cold feet about trading to move up, and why they believe the Bulls weren’t being pragmatic in staying away from Michael Porter Jr.

Porter, some believe, has star written all over him given his prep ranking this time last year and the Bulls were in position to speed up this process without having to go into a painful Process.

They were desperate for a star, believing the tankathon had produced so much suffering it had to be something on the back end.

There was the fight (or the punch).

The aftermath.

The miserable 3-20 start.

The 14-7 streak that produced the audacity of hope.

The reality that 14-7 was damaging enough to the lottery chances that a 3-11 finish couldn’t rectify.

And finally, the coin flip that cost them five spots in the lottery one month ago.

So that empty feeling has less to do with Carter and Hutchison, who’ve done nothing to earn the “blah” reaction from the fan base and some media. It has everything to do with the unanswered questions over the last 82 games and lack of clarity over the three hauls from draft night last year.

It’s not that Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn underperformed individually last season, but the lack of cohesiveness due to injuries and circumstances has led to the varying thoughts.

LaVine is approaching restricted free agency and by all accounts is taking his continuing rehab in Washington very seriously.  Markkanen has added plenty of muscle since the offseason began, appearing as if he can play Michael B. Jordan’s in-ring foil in the next installation of “Creed” as Ivan Drago’s long lost son.

And despite the report about Dunn not working as hard on the floor this offseason, that would be more of a concern if this were late August, not June.

The last time they were seen together on the floor, they looked no closer to a pecking order than the day they arrived.

What we know is that they’re productive NBA players, capable of putting an individual tattoo on a game at a moment’s notice, skillful enough to take your breath away.

And for whatever reason, the expectations changed once the three displayed they could be dynamic on their own—a star needed to be anointed and groomed to go with the star they believed was coming their way after the season.

Management is fully behind Markkanen, but Paxson’s strong words about LaVine at the season-ending news conference illustrated how much it feels LaVine has to prove next season.

With his restricted free agency status looming, the Bulls’ initial offer will show how much they value him until and if he gets a better deal on the market.

And the fact the Bulls weren’t afraid to draft Trae Young while having a healthy debate about Collin Sexton on draft night has to show they have at least some skepticism about the future at point guard.

But stars—developing stars, acquired stars, drafted stars—have to do it on their own. No amount of promotion or prodding from management will validate their faith, if that’s the route the Bulls choose to go.

This has to be a meritocracy or it won’t work and, honestly, it’s time for a reality check.

All the worry about the Bulls getting back to title contention sooner rather than later seems like folks getting ahead of themselves.

The front office has taken its share of shots from media and fans, so some questioning is earned but they’re right about one thing. Rebuilds aren’t completed in a day or 12 months.

Expecting some magic potion to arrive in the form of a top draft pick isn’t going to cure what ills this roster, and it doesn’t seem likely all the cap space will result in a free agent choosing the Bulls over the usual suspects.

However, methodical building can look like complacency if not done with a sense of urgency.

And with urgency in mind, this past season was unsatisfying to say the least—heading into the next phase with two more young pieces to develop while the first three are still in the evaluation stage.

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.