Chicago Bulls: To trade or not to trade the No. 7 pick?

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls are in a bit of NBA Draft purgatory, so should they trade the No. 7 pick?

We are approximately one week away from the 2019 NBA Draft and it is anybody’s guess as to what the Chicago Bulls are going to do with the No. 7 overall pick. There is so much uncertainty around what position they might be targeting, let alone which player.

The Bulls find themselves in this position of their own doing. Each meaningless game they won pushed their chances of landing one of the top impact players further back. While some might argue that there was value in the process of earning those wins, remember some of them came with a point guard they apparently no longer want (Kris Dunn) and a power forward who figures to play a role in their future but was injured (Wendell Carter Jr.).

So did the value of ‘learning how to win’ outweigh the possibility of landing a top two or three pick? Only time will tell.

Regardless, the Bulls will now have to make the best of their situation at No. 7u. This naturally begs the questions, what is the best possible outcome at No. 7 and should they consider trading the pick to move up or back in the draft.

Trading up

The first two picks of the draft are as certain as they can be right now. It would be a tremendous surprise if Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are not the first two picks. So who does that leave as potential options in the 3-7 window?

At this moment, R.J. Barrett, De’Andre Hunter, Jarrett Culver, Coby White, Darius Garland, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes, and Sekou Doumbouya are probably the players who have a chance to go in that range, though admittedly it’d be a surprise to see a few of these names called.

The New York Knicks have long been thought of as the destination for Barrett, but they are also apparently very interested in Garland. If the Atlanta Hawks move up to No. 4 as rumored, it’s not to take a point guard, nor are the Cleveland Cavaliers likely to do so. Therefore, assuming the Knicks take Barrett, the Bulls will still have a chance to get their point guard (White or Garland).

If the Knicks take Garland, the Bulls will still likely have one of Barrett, Hunter, Culver, White or Reddish (if not more) fall to them. So unless the Bulls are willing to go all in and trade up to No. 2 for Morant, a trade up might not be worth the cost that would likely include Zach LaVine.

Trading down

While above we opined that it is quite possible the Bulls will have a quality player fall to them, after No. 7 you start getting into ‘project’ territory. In other words, players who could be a home run, but also carry a substantial risk they will be a bust. Players like Doumbouya and Hayes fit this mold.

After that, there is a significant dropoff. At this point, you get into the players who not only won’t be making an immediate impact but don’t have the upside of Haye or Doumbouya. Other teams know that too and so even if the Bulls wanted to trade back, they would obviously need a partner with which to do it. This draft doesn’t feel deep enough where a team would make it worth the Bulls’ while to surrender their seventh pick.

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Bottom line

It’s unlikely John Paxson has the hutzpa to make a move up to No. 2, though he does have a history of making moves on draft night. However, based on where the Bulls sit and who could potentially be available at No. 7 and thereafter, the best course of action may just be to hold where they are.