2017 NBA draft grades: Bulls flop with Lauri Markkanen after reported Jimmy Butler trade
The Chicago Bulls completed a .500 regular season at 41-41, falling in the first round of the playoffs after a hot start. The team faced inner turmoil throughout the season and ultimately secured a largely average year. Heading into the draft, there are plenty of places on the roster that could use some help.
Last year's draft saw the Bulls bring in Denzel Valentine (No. 14 overall) and Paul Zipser (No. 48 overall). Valentine, who dealt with an ankle injury, faced limited playing time. He underwent surgery after the season. As a second round pick, Zipser surprised with his ability to make an impact and should continue to develop entering his sophomore campaign.
Here's the full list of picks the Bulls hold in the 2017 draft, which will be updated with grades and analysis as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 7 (No. 7 overall): Lauri Markkanen (in reported trade with Minnesota Timberwolves)
The Timberwolves will make this pick for the Bulls in a deal for Jimmy Butler. The returns on that trade are not yet official (reportedly Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and this selection), but the Markkanen selection is a questionable one for Chicago by any measure. Although his considerable shooting ability at 7’0” gives him plenty of room to develop as a scorer, Markkanen’s all-around skill set needs a lot of work. There are concerns that his defensive struggles could seriously limit his upside. The Bulls weren’t looking to address a big need here, and eliminating that variable there were better prospects available at this spot. Chicago rolled the dice, and surrendered its best player in the process. It’s a tough sell. - Jeremy Woo