Chicago Bulls: 2019 NBA Draft Lottery odds
Entering the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, the Chicago Bulls are armed with the fourth-best odds at nabbing the top overall pick. Will they get a chance to draft Zion Williamson?
The Chicago Bulls are heading into the NBA Draft Lottery for the third consecutive year, territory no franchise really wants to enter. To be fair, in 2017 they were in the lottery after trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the seventh overall pick, which became Lauri Markkanen.
Last spring, the Bulls entered the lottery with the sixth-best odds at the top pick but slipped one spot when NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum pulled the Bulls logo from the envelope for the seventh selection. This season, drafting seventh overall again would be a major disappointment for Chicago fans and a setback for the organization.
In 2019, Chicago has the fourth-best odds of the No. 1 selection and the right to draft Duke sensation Zion Williamson. The Bulls cannot draft lower than eighth, and actually, have better odds for the top pick than they do for No. 4. With the new lottery odds in place for 2019, here’s how their chances look for the top eight selections:
- 1st: 12.5%
- 2nd: 12.2%
- 3rd: 11.9%
- 4th: 11.5%
- 5th: 7.2%
- 6th: 25.7%
- 7th: 16.7%
- 8th: 2.2%
The NBA instituted new rules for the lottery to discourage teams from tanking, which is why we see the Bulls have a 25.7 percent chance of getting the sixth pick and a 16.7 percent chance for the seventh pick, their highest overall odds for the entire lottery. That might scare some fans, but hey, at least there’s only a 2.2 percent chance of falling to eighth?
Of course, if Chicago wins the lottery, Zion would be the expected selection. After all, how many draft-eligible players are already known on a first-name basis? He’s the clear No. 1 prospect and the message to the very unpopular GarPax (president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman) if they find themselves in this position would be simple: Don’t overthink it. The last time the Bulls held the top selection was 2008 when they drafted Derrick Rose.
After Zion at No. 1, however, the options remain plentiful. The most obvious need for the starting lineup is at point guard. Kris Dunn hasn’t lived up to his status as a former fifth overall pick and is probably best suited for sixth man role going forward. Ja Morant of Murray State would be the most likely selection at No. 2. With a combination of Morant and Zach LaVine in the backcourt, though, let’s just say the Bulls would be defensively challenged.
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Beyond the top two picks, things get a little murkier. The age-old question of best player available (BPA) vs. team need starts to creep into play. BPA options would include Duke’s Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, Darius Garland of Vanderbilt and Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver. Of those, only Garland is a point guard, and he could end up being the best fit.
If the Chicago Bulls were to actually defy the odds and fall to eighth, Coby White would be an intriguing option. He’s a 6’5″ point guard from North Carolina and would be a nice fit on both sides of the ball.
May 14 has been circled on most fans’ calendars for quite some time now, and it’s nearly here. It’ll be a big night for Chi-Town since the lottery is being held in the Windy City. Winning the lottery would change the fortunes for the franchise for the foreseeable future.