Bulls preparing for an uncertain draft and need to hit big at No. 11


A few big-named assistants added to the coaching staff, another contract extension done behind closed doors for general manager Marc Eversley, and some changes to the training room.

Window dressing at its finest for the Bulls so far this offseason.

But in a few weeks, things finally start to get real.

That’s when executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and Eversley will have to go into an underwhelming draft class and try to pull out a gem.

They’re out there, and that’s why this class is so difficult to evaluate. A team can land on the best player at No. 14, while No. 1 and No. 2 can easily turn into busts.

Karnisovas & Co. are hoping that breakout talent hits at No. 11.

What remains to be seen, however, is what direction do the Bulls go? Do they prepare for DeMar DeRozan possibly leaving in free agency or if he does return — the more likely scenario — draft his heir apparent at the small forward position? Do they grab a big to replace the expected vacancy with Andre Drummond looking for a new team, as well as some youth to push starter Nikola Vucevic?

What about adding the best scorer available, knowing that there is a chance that Zach LaVine can be traded this summer?

Or do they simply address weaknesses and look to add a pure point guard or a three-point shooter?

There’s a lot of different directions the Bulls can go, and these are the players that best fit those directions at No. 11:

Ron Holland | 6-7 | SF/PF

There was a time when Holland was considered one of the top players in this draft class but choosing to play with G-League Ignite rather than Texas proved to put a few dents in his game. His three-point shooting was terrible (24%) and his decision-making was head-scratching at times. Still, his ability to score and his athleticism screams high-ceiling talent. If he slides out of the Top 10 he’s almost a must-grab.

Devin Carter | 6-2 | PG

If Karnisovas and coach Billy Donovan want to continue adding a defensive presence to the backcourt and are not sold on a miraculous Lonzo Ball return, Carter is their guy. The Big East Player of the Year has been linked to the Bulls for a few weeks after a stellar showing at the combine and can play either guard spot, giving Donovan lineup versatility.

Cody Williams | 6-7 | SF/PF

If the Bulls re-sign Patrick Williams —again, a very likely scenario — it’s time to give him some real competition. The Torrey Craigs and Javonte Greens have been token veterans put in place to push Williams but haven’t really lit that fire under the former Florida State prospect. Cody Williams could. The younger brother of Thunder standout Jalen Williams brings a defensive presence, and he could turn into a versatile wing that excels on both ends of the floor.

Donovan Clingan | 7-2 | C

The only way the Bulls enter the Clingan sweepstakes is if they move up, which has been discussed at the Advocate Center, according to a source. The problem is what do they really have to give to make that jump? What Clingan would give them, though, is an elite rim-protecting big that embraces physicality and doing the dirty work in the paint. Even if his offensive game comes along slowly, he is an instant presence on the defensive side of the floor.

Dalton Knecht | 6-6 | SG/SF

Need outside shooting? It starts and finishes with the Tennessee long-range sniper. Knecht could be picked anywhere from No. 5 to No. 12, and if he does fall to the Bulls he will be very hard to pass up.

Zach Edey | 7-4 | C

Could they? Would they? Are the Bulls desperate enough to find rim protection that they reach for college’s best player the last two seasons? Edey is an NBA player —make no mistake about that — but is he a top 11 player? The questions are many for Edey, but the same can be said about the Bulls and their recent draft strategy.





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