Chicago Bulls: It’s time to pay attention to Cassius Winston

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls brass needs to pay close attention to Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston, who is headed to the Final Four.

Sunday afternoon, the Michigan State Spartans knocked off no. 1 seed Duke, led by head coach Tom izzo and point guard Cassius Winston. The Spartans are now headed to the Final Four in Minneapolis, yet something still feels off about the whole thing.

If you’re a fan of the Chicago Bulls, chances are, you’ve paid more attention to the 2019 NCAA Tournament than pro basketball in recent weeks — that’s perfectly fair, too. The Bulls are throwing together starting lineups from the local Jewel Osco grocery joint at this stage.

Back to Michigan State, and specifically Winston.

If you look around at recent mock drafts and prospect rankings, Winston’s name is very rarely found. If it is, Winston’s name is probably found late in the second round, if not left out of the top 60 prospects altogether.

They say March Madness is the time where future NBA stars are born, and if Winston’s recent play has anything to say about his draft stock, it’s that it should be on the rise. In his last six games overall, Winston has either scored at least 20 points or finished with a minimum of eight assists.

Sunday against Duke, Winston posted 20 points, 10 assists and four steals while playing 40 minutes. Two days earlier, he put up a strong 17 points and eight assists while nailing three triples in a route of LSU.

Roughly two weeks ago, in the Big Ten Championship Game against bitter rival Michigan, Winston put together another double-double with 14 points and 11 dimes.

That was against one of the nation’s top defenses, mind you.

Look, the Bulls need a point guard, correct? Let’s say they wind up with the third overall pick — even the fourth. Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are already off the board. At that point, the Bulls are likely staring at one of R.J. Barrett, Jarrett Culver or Cameron Reddish as their pick. Morant is the clear-cut best point guard in this year’s draft, but after him, the Bulls would have to go best player available.

In the second round, where many picks end up going wasted (because, let’s be honest, they’re mostly shots in the dark at that point), why not take a chance on Winston?

The Bulls would be getting a guy who comes from a winning program where a coach like Izzo consistently churns out NBA talent. Winston is a phenomenal shooter (43 percent from beyond the arc throughout his collegiate career) and an impressive passer.

Next. Bulls: One draft prospect from every Sweet 16 team. dark

Coming off a season in which he was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and is now two wins away from a National Championship, how is Winston continuing to go overlooked? If the Bulls were smart, they’d peg Winston as their go-to pick in the second round, so long as he’s there.