So will the Bulls be able to find their Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus or Duncan Robinson?
It’s the unknown heralded foursome that helped drive the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals despite none being selected in their NBA drafts.
That’s where the Bulls are, at least for now, with the NBA Draft on Thursday.
The Bulls don’t currently own a first- or second-round draft pick, but thanks to the Heat’s postseason success, the undrafted is suddenly going from dirt to de rigueur.
The Bulls have embraced the undrafted with Alex Caruso, Javonte Green and Derrick Jones Jr. on the roster and mostly in the regular rotation the last two seasons. But the Bulls haven’t done as well — or given as many opportunities — to undrafted players in recent seasons. But with no draft picks for now, even as the Bulls continue to be rumored to be involved in potential trades that could yield a draft pick, it’s an important time for the Bulls to do some extra homework among the general undesirables, if not undesirables . Because the Heat showed that the overlooked can make a team look much better.
And it could be for these Bulls, who especially lack long-range perimeter shooting. Miami’s undrafted ensemble were all shooting specialists, suggesting it’s a talent often overlooked in the NBA draft with so much emphasis on athletic ability and the so-called “high ceiling.”
That’s likely why other shooting specialists were similarly overlooked in the draft, like Seth Curry, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale and guards like Lu Dort, TJ McConnell and Austin Reaves.
So here’s a look at some of the specialists and maybe a power forward or two, another Bulls priority, who may become available this summer as undrafted free agents. The Bulls’ main priority is a point guard, but it’s rare to find – or trust – an undrafted point guard to lead your team. Most of the Scouts aren’t great, but they aren’t too bad. It’s usually specialists who get demoted, often due to a lack of athleticism or speed, a so-called tweener with skills that don’t fit a position, size deficit or being too old at 22. But many of these diamonds in the rough have shown that they can sparkle given enough light.
Some will be grabbed in the second round of the draft. But when a player is considered a second rounder, he can also easily fall out of the draft because teams often use those picks for international players they might want to bring to the NBA later. Usually if a player is not expected to be in the top 35, he can fall out of the two rounds. So there are options. This is where the real work and scouting begins. Everyone can get top 10 right, or close. But if a team can hit someone not in the top 60, it’s really a slam dunk and a shot in the arm when you’re doing your job.
—— Seth Lundy, Penn State. The 6-6 guard/forward is projected in the mid to late second round. He’s a catch-and-shoot guy, the type the Bulls generally lack and want.
—— Amari Bailey, UCLA. The 6-5 UCLA guard was a highly touted prospect and likely won’t fall out of the draft, but he appears to have fallen out of the first round. The left wing is a good shooter who can do something facilitating.
– Keyontae Johnson, Kansas State. The 6-6 swingman is an excellent shooter from distance, but he is the mystery of the draft as to whether teams will take the distance. He’s the feel good story coming back from collapsing on the field while in Florida and being in a coma to being medically cleared and having a great fifth year as a 23-year-old. While they are often demoted in the draft due to their age, many of the successful undrafted players tend to be upperclassmen who are more mature and experienced.
—— Adam Flagler, Baylor. Maybe just 6-2, but a big time shooter shooting more than 40% on threes since transferring to Baylor four years ago from Presbyterian in South Carolina.
—— Jalen Pickett, Penn State. Another Nittany Lion, the fifth-year 6-4 point guard has good enough size to be a shooting prospect and has shot well enough. He started in little Siena and is 23.
—— Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan. The next George Gervin? Nah, but the same college, after there was likewise some doubt, and for once very Bates proclaimed a transfer and an arrest. He’s a big kid, maybe close to 6-10 and thin with an aggressive shooting mindset.
—— Landers Nolley II, Cincinnati. Bounced around to three high schools and is 23, and at 6-7 not the biggest athlete. But compared as a shooter and type to Orlando shooter Dennis Scott.
—— Isaiah Wong, Miami. The 6-4 guard plays a bit at both positions, but is more of the undersized shooting guard. He is a four-year college player who got his long-range shooting close to 40% as a senior.
—— Adama Sanogo, Connecticut. No, not a shooter, but the Bulls could also use some interior size and toughness, and the 6-9 forward could provide that.
—— Mouhamed Gueye, Washington State. Another big guy. At maybe 6-10 or 6-11, he’s thinner and more fluid with some shooting ability.
—— Terquovion Smith, NC State. The 6-3 guard is thin but shows excellent shooting skills. But because of his size, he could go anywhere from late first to out of the draft.
—— Jalen Wilson, Kansas. The fourth-year 6-8 big man has an improved shot and has been a tough rebounder who can score.
—— Ricky Council IV, Arkansas. The 6-6 guard showed more promise as a shooter earlier in his college career before a transfer that could drop him out of the second round to give a team perhaps a free agency steal.
—— Drew Peterson, USC. The 6-8 fifth-year senior is another who developed to stay in college and transfer, shooting nearly 40% on threes the past two seasons with a good feel for the game.
—— Drew Timme, Gonzaga. Not much of a shooter, but the 6-10 forward was the big guy for several years with big games and won’t shy away from the moment.
—— Brice Sensabaugh, Ohio State. The 6-6 forward is likely to be drafted because of his excellent shooting. But he’s above various draft projections because of his wider frame and limited athletic ability.
Just some ideas and suggestions. Now it’s up to them.
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