For those of you advocating the Bulls play another season for draft lottery position, let's take a closer look at Wednesday night's opponent, the Phoenix Suns.
Since the run of playoff teams led by Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire came to an end, the Suns have tried to rebuild through the draft with little success. The organization is hoping winning the 2018 lottery to land 7'1" center Deandre Ayton, then swinging a trade to add Villanova swingman Mikal Bridges will finally be the moves that get the Suns back to being a consistent playoff team in a couple years.
But there are no guarantees.
Here's a look at the players the Suns have selected in the first round since 2011, most of them in the lottery....
2011: Markieff Morris (No.13 overall, later traded to Washington)
2012: Kendall Marshall (No. 13 overall, out of the league)
2013: Alex Len (No. 5 overall, never developed, now with Atlanta)
2013: Nemanja Nedovic (No. 30 overall, out of the league)
2014: T.J. Warren (No. 14 overall, still with Suns as a productive rotation player)
2014: Tyler Ennis (No. 18 overall, traded to Milwaukee, now out of the league)
2014: Bogdan Bogdanovic (No. 27 overall, traded to Sacramento where he's now a productive rotation player)
2015: Devin Booker (No. 13 overall, this is the Suns' big hit, one of the best young guards in the NBA)
2016: Dragan Bender (No. 4 overall, still with the Suns, but a total bust)
2016: Georgios Papagiannis (No. 13 overall) & Skal Labissiere(No. 28 overall), both traded to Sacramento in a draft day deal for Marquese Chriss (No. 8 overall), who's now with Houston.
2017: Josh Jackson (No. 4 overall, Suns passed on D'Aaron Fox and Lauri Markkanen to take Jackson, who's coming off the bench as a non-shooting athlete)
2018: Deandre Ayton (No. 1 overall, Suns are hoping Ayton and Booker can develop into Shaq-Kobe, Part 2. Not likely.)
2018: Zhaire Smith (No. 16 overall, traded to Philadelphia for Bridges who joins a crowded wing group that includes Warren and free agent addition Trevor Ariza.
Booker is an outstanding shooter and Ayton has all the physical traits to be a dominant NBA center over the next decade, but it could take several years before the Suns become a serious playoff contender in the West. And, it's already been 8 years since Stoudemire left for New York in 2010 free agency.
Most teams that spend the better part of a decade drafting in the lottery do so because they never added quality veterans to the roster or found the right coaches to develop all the young talent on hand.
Sure, the Bulls would be happy to add a Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett in next year's draft, but they already have enough young players on their roster and would be better served to look for veteran help through trades or free agency. Next summer figures to be a crossroads in the future of the franchise.
But as for Wednesday's game, here's what the Bulls need to do to keep Phoenix from earning its first road win of the season.
1. CONTAIN BOOKER. The 2018 3 point shooting champ already has a 70 point game on his resume, and he poured in 38 in the Suns' loss at Philadelphia on Monday. Booker has one of the quickest releases in the game, and he's also taken on more ball-handling responsibilities because of the team's shaky point guard situation. The Bulls' big men have to be prepared to offer aggressive help when Booker comes off screens.
2. CONTROL THE BOARDS. The Bulls had been among the league's best rebounding teams over the last half dozen years, but that's been become an issue this season with so many smaller line-ups on the court. Ayton is still learning the ins and outs of the NBA game, but he could wreak havoc on the offensive boards if the Bulls don't make a focused effort to box him out.
3. ZACH ATTACK. Let's hope sitting out last Saturday's game against Toronto and a few days of rest will cure what was ailing Zach LaVine. The Bulls' leading scorer said he probably shouldn't have playing last Friday in Milwaukee because of the way he was feeling, and whatever illness he experienced was probably compounded by his heavy work load carrying the Bulls' offense. Hopefully, a re-energized Zach will be ready to attack the paint, and get back to the double digit free throw attempts that marked his early season scoring spree.
Don't forget, you can watch Wednesday's Bulls-Suns game on NBC Sports Chicago and the My Teams by NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 when Kendall Gill, Will Perdue and Stacey King join me for Bulls Pregame Live from the United Center Atrium. Then after the final buzzer, stay tuned for Fred Hoiberg's media session and player reaction from the locker room on Bulls Postgame Live.