CHICAGO – The Bulls needed the ping pong balls to bounce their way at Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery and they did not.
They had a 12.5% chance to land the top pick, but instead the Bulls will draft seventh for the third straight year.
Here were the team’s odds for each slot in the lottery courtesy of Tankathon.com:
“I think this year in the draft, we’re going to have to keep a broad mind in terms of how we want to go about things. Gar and I have talked about that a lot,” noted John Paxson, Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations. “I think we’ve done a really good job in terms of drafting the last couple years at seven.”
“This is one of the weakest drafts we’ve seen in a decade or more,” explained ESPN College Basketball analyst Jay Bilas. “It’s not deep at all. After you get through the first few picks, you start scratching your head as to what you should do.”
That means Ja Morant and Duke’s dynamic duo – RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson – are out of the mix for the Bulls.
“I don’t there’s ever been a player in the game anything like Zion Williamson. We can try to make comparisons all we want to, but we’re reaching. With his body, his explosiveness, his finishing ability, he’s doing things we just haven’t seen,” Bilas remarked. “Each have a unique skillset. RJ Barrett is a lot like James Harden in his ability to get to the basket. Doesn’t shoot it great yet, but I think he’s going to become a much better shooter. He’s got a knack to score and has a high-level understanding of how to play. He’s got a clutch gene in him. When the game’s on the line, he performs at a really high level.”
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson captivated all of college basketball with his freakish, once-in-a-generation athleticism, his energy at both ends of the floor and his omnipresent charisma.
The Atlantic Coast Conference player and rookie of the year averaged 22.6 points — tied for the league lead with Barrett — and 8.9 rebounds. Along the way, he became the face of college basketball this season, routinely coming up with at least one highlight-reel play or show-stopping dunk per game.
“He could not only play in the NBA right now, he could play in the NFL right now. He’s ridiculous,” Bilas said.