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Chicago Bulls 2020 NBA Draft Lottery Preview: Will Luck Be In The Air?

While it will take a few ping pong balls and some luck for everything to play in Chicago’s favor, today is certainly an important day no matter the end number on where the Bulls’ future is headed.

It’s taken some time, but alas — the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery is finally here! With a lot of hirings and firings as of late, it’s certainly been a hectic last several months for the Chicago Bulls, who were one of eight teams not invited to the Orlando bubble for the restart of the NBA season earlier this summer.

Throughout this period, the Bulls have hired a new vice president of basketball operations in Arturas Karnisovas, completely restructured the entire front office, and most recently fired head coach Jim Boylen. The latter, Boylen, managed a .317% win rate in his two seasons under the helm and was ultimately dismissed after Karnisovas felt that change was needed for a Bulls team that struggled to mesh with Boylen’s coaching style.

Good luck and the Bulls haven’t gone hand in hand in a while, and while they haven’t been held a top-three pick in over ten years, maybe this time luck will be on their side. The lottery, which was originally set for mid-May, will determine not only where the Bulls will be picking in a month, but more so gives us a clearer picture as to what type of talent the Bulls can add to the young core of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, and Wendell Carter Jr.

The Bulls are no stranger to the lottery. They landed the seventh pick in 2017 from Minnesota, where they drafted Lauri Markkanen following the Jimmy Butler trade. In 2018, they took Wendell Carter Jr. with the seventh pick and most recently selected Coby White in 2019 with, well you already know — pick seven.

Pick seven and the Bulls have been the ultimate combo for the last three years. While the Bulls once again have the seventh-highest odds for pick one, maybe with a bit of luck and some magic worked from lottery representative Arturas Karnisovas they could find themselves picking inside the top three for the first time since 2008.

Here is how Chicago’s odds look:

  • Pick 1: 7.5%
  • Pick 2: 7.8%
  • Pick 3: 8.1%
  • Pick 4: 8.5%
  • Pick 5: N/A
  • Pick 6: N/A
  • Pick 7: 19.7%
  • Pick 8: 34.1%
  • Pick 9: 12.9%
  • Pick 10: 1.3%
  • Pick 11: >0.0

The Bulls have a 31.9% chance of moving up to the top four this year, however, it does seem likely they’ll find themselves picking in the 7-9 range assuming luck is not on their side.

Arturas Karnisovas spoke with Sam Smith from Bulls.com about representing the team at the lottery. “I don’t even know what kind of poker face I am going to bring to the virtual Lottery. Maybe a very serious Eastern European look. I’m not going to show too much emotion, but I don’t know how I am going to handle it if we have good luck by maybe moving up. I’m hoping.”

When asked about draft priority, Karnisovas told Smith that he plans on purely adding talent. “It’s a talent-driven league. Talent wins championships. So we’re going to be focused on adding talent. It’s going to be up to the coaches to maximize it. Just to get high-upside guys on our team. Looking at our roster I love what I see. The players we have now, a young core with vets like Thad and Otto. I think we can build on that. This group definitely can do better than what they’ve shown the last couple of years.”

Even though this draft class may not have many clear-cut superstars like previous years with the likes of Zion Williamson and Anthony Davis, it will definitely be interesting to see which path the Bulls lean toward. They have a gaping hole at the wing position, and with players set to be picked in the mid-lottery like Deni Avdija, Isaac Okoro, and Devin Vassell, the Bulls quite possibly could go down that route.

If Karnisovas’s history with Denver is any indication, expect Chicago to go best-available here, bet on talent, and try to figure it out later. It’s probably too soon to bail on any of the young talents before seeing how everything fits with a fresh start and a new coach. The Bulls also aren’t in any position to back on taking best fit assuming nobody on the roster is untouchable.

While it will take a few ping pong balls and some luck for everything to play in Chicago’s favor, today is certainly an important day no matter the end number on where this team’s future is headed.

The NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled to begin at 7:30 PM CT after game two between the Orlando Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks concludes. The lottery will be televised on ESPN and streamed via the NBA app.


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NBA Writer based in New Zealand.

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