Saturday, June 25, 2022

Bulls is considered an NBA Draft Fit for Big 12 Player of the Year

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The Chicago Bulls may want to turn to Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji in the June 23 NBA draft. Even with Lonzo Ball’s knee and Zach LaVine’s free agency (and knee) stealing headlines, the draft is ahead of free agency and the draft combine began Monday, May 16.

We’ve seen suggestions that they pick Auburn’s Walker Kessler, a 7-foot shot blocker. There were also calls to leave for prolific Ohio State forward EJ Liddell.

Agbaji could offer the bulls the improvement in margins they are looking for.

Especially given the growing concerns about the health of the Bulls’ backcourt. He wouldn’t be a bad pick for the Bulls with the 18th overall as mocked by Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley.

Agbaji spent four years in Lawrence Win a national championship this past season. He had 12 points with three rebounds in that game while putting down 3 of 5 threes and having an assist, a block, and a steal.

The 6-foot-5 wing led the Jayhawks in averaging 18.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in his final season.

He also preserved 40.7% of his views from across the arc.

Agbaji averaged 15.3 points with 4.6 boards, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks while hitting 38.6% of his triples in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. That would tick off a few things on the Bulls’ offseason needs list.

Kyle Irving of The Sporting News wrote about Agbaji’s development while in Kansas.

This is no longer the case and Agbaji can cash in.

One of the perks of caring for a prospect like Liddell was that as a 22-year-old prospect he should be more willing to contribute immediately than a younger prospect like 20-year-old Kessler who owns more upstairs.

Agbaji is also 22. But that extra experience showed on the court for Kansas and translated immediately.

We saw something similar last season with Ayo Dosunmu after the Bulls picked him with the 38th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft. The difference is that Agbaji is a higher rated prospect with more refined skills.

Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s flawless, as explained by NBADraft.net’s Jorrye Nixon.

Instincts and some of the more skillful aspects of the game are difficult to teach. But physical tools – like Agbaji’s 6-foot-10 wingspan – cannot be taught.

What’s so interesting about the Bulls’ offseason is also what makes it so unnerving for Bulls fans. The uncertainty surrounding Ball and LaVine still needing to improve will not be an easy list.

Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said in his exit interview that the front office has proven aggressive and will “investigate everything” this offseason. This could include Big 12 Player of the Year and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in Agbaji.

While this could also include trading for 18th overall, they should have several options for players that could be factors available to them in the next season.

There’s a good chance Agbaji will be one of them.

What’s so interesting about the Bulls’ offseason is also what makes it so unnerving for Bulls fans. The uncertainty surrounding Ball and LaVine still needing to improve will not be an easy list.



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