Saturday, June 25, 2022

Bulls Considered Landing Site for 7ft 5 Span “Man-Child” Prospectus

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The Chicago Bulls could be a good match for Memphis Big Man Jalen Duren and vice versa. Chicago is a “safe bet” to take advantage of the 2022 NBA draft and base its pick on a prospect.

How directly they approach this might be a little different than conventional wisdom suggests.

NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson reported June 21 that if the Bulls pursue a trade on draft night, “maybe” it will come in the form of Coby White plus the 18th overall pick.

A promotion could put them in first position for a player who graduated as AAC Rookie of the Year, received AAC All Freshman honors, and was named to the regular and postseason All-Conference teams.

Johnson’s mention that the bulls could be looking to move up is not insignificant. A league executive passed on their potential interest in moving White and choosing a veteran asset like Matisse Thybulle.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony also reported that there is some belief in the league that the Bulls aren’t enamored with their projected options with the 18th pick.

SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell joined Johnson as well NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer on the June 21 episode of the “Bulls Talk Podcast.” Johnson asked him to pick a prospect for the Bulls other than EJ Liddell or Tari Eason, both of whom were popular projections.

“The guy I would love is Jalen Duren…the youngest American player in the draft. But built like an absolute man’s child. He has the physical condition to physically dominate the NBA from day one… He’s about 250 (lbs), 7ft 5 wingspan, massive hands, broad shoulders. He’s a strong, strong player.”

O’Donnell’s response drew a “sharp” from Schaefer, who added that he also likes the potential match between Duren and the Bulls.

“Everything you’re saying … is exactly what I dream about the Bulls getting a frontcourt player … even if he’s perfectly healthy I suspect at some point [last season] They would have encountered a problem of versatility and playstyle.”

O’Donnell gave a detailed breakdown of what the Bulls would add if they were actually able to position themselves to pick Duran, who he ranked as the fifth best prospect in that class.

“Right away his utility will be offensively as a lob threat and defensively as a rim guard… I think he has the potential to be a lot more. On defense, I really like his feet on the edge… I like the fact that he can play multiple styles of pick and roll coverage… I think one thing you’d want from your big man is just the versatility of Pick and roll defensive. ”

Duren’s versatility isn’t limited to defense, however, says O’Donnell.

“Offensively, I love his short roll passing ability. He just flashed it faintly. He threw about seven or eight great passes to Memphis. That is not much. But don’t forget that he was the youngest rookie in the country. He played against AAU this time last year… so I like his ball skills.

As for what he can do with his skills for his teammates despite not being an established playmaker, ODonnell had the answer.

“He’ll… open some passing windows, only with the threat of his slam ability.”

Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ vice president of basketball operations, mentioned defense, height and athleticism as things the Bulls could add this summer.

O’Donnell explains from the start that Duren may not be available at 18. However, he adds that he could slip far enough to elicit action from the Bulls if they felt he was the target for them in this class.

“This could require a trade-up. But…if you have 18, maybe Coby White, maybe the Portland selection…how high can you get with that? can you get to 13 Can you make it to 14?… Seems like he won’t make the top 10. And for a Bulls team that needs a certain size, he’s the closest thing to Robert Williams in this draft.

William’s influence was noted by his head coach Ime Udoka, who called the big man the “modern NBA hub,” according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

That the bulls will immediately detect this kind of influence from majors is debatable, notes O’Donnell.

“Duren will be shooting 19 days before the season. We’ve seen this story before. It’s just difficult for a 19-year-old to come in and contribute.”

O’Donnell pointed to former Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr., who only really got going after joining the Orlando Magic last season. But he added that majors are the kind of tune a team like the Brooklyn Nets’ Nic Claxton might want in the future.

The biggest selling major from O’Donnell is how well he would theoretically complement current Bulls center Nikola Vucevic. O’Donnell is certainly more of an offensive threat than a defender, O’Donnell noted that Vucevic’s ground-bound nature necessitates a player like Duren.

With Johnson reporting that Vucevic and the rest of the core are expected to return next season, finding ways to cover up his shortcomings is of paramount importance.

Having Patrick Williams healthy for an entire season will go a long way. But the Bulls could check several boxes, including defense and rebound, if they found a way to land Duren on June 23. With teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder in 12th overall in the back end of the lottery looking to move out, there’s certainly a possibility.

“He’ll… open some passing windows, only with the threat of his slam ability.”



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