The Chicago Bulls will enter July 29th’s NBA draft without a first round pick. Their initial pick, slated as 8th overall, went to the Orlando Magic when the Bulls traded for Nikola Vucevic. The loss of a lottery pick stings, but the Bulls will still have the opportunity to add talent with the 38th overall pick. Here are some of the guard prospects the Bulls could look to add in the second round in no particular order.
Option One: Miles McBride, PG, West Virginia, Sophomore
Measurements: HT: 6’2.5″, WT: 195, WING: 6’8.75″
Key Stats: 15.9 PPG, 4.8 APG, 1.9 SPG, 41.4% 3-point
First and foremost, McBride is a fringe-first-round pick. It is possible he is off the board in the mid-20’s, so the Bulls would need some luck to land him. Still, the Bulls should be interested if McBride is on the board, or if Artūras Karnišovas is serious about moving into the first round.
McBride is a dynamic on-ball defender. He wants to lock guys up and get in their face all game long. He fights through screens well, which should honestly be enough to make Bulls fans fall in love with him after watching essentially every player on the team get destroyed on picks.
Beyond defense, McBride developed into a solid scorer. He feels comfortable creating his own shots off the dribble, and he doesn’t turn the ball over much. Plus, he has experience facilitating an offense, which will be a bonus for Chicago. Furthermore, he is effective in catch-and-shoot opportunities. He was 30-65 (46.2%) on catch-and-shoot opportunities which is great for an offense that puts the ball in Zach LaVine’s hands so frequently.
Of course, the weaknesses exist. McBride loves jumpers, and he isn’t big on attacking for layups. He doesn’t get a ton of separation driving, and he will need to improve his floater game as a result. Still, a point guard who can facilitate, does well off the ball, and plays lock-down defense is a priority for the Bulls this offseason. If McBride is available, the Bulls are interested.
Option Two: Ayo Dosunmu, PG, Illinois, Junior
Measurements: HT: 6’5″, WT: 194, WING: 6’10.25″
Key Stats: 20.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.3 APG, 39% 3-point
Dosunmu sits in a similar draft stock situation to McBride. He could be a first-round pick, but there are enough questions about him that lead to his possible fall to early-second-round status. In terms of positives, Dosunmu is a player who is more than capable of creating his own shot off the dribble. He attacks the lane well and has improved his verticality – posting a 39″ vertical jump at the NBA Combine. Add on the fact that Dosunmu raised his 3-point percentage from 29% as a sophomore to 39% as a junior, it is possible to overlook that fact that his jumper is a bit unorthodox. Dosunmu also fits the needed mold of a defensive guard. He gets around screens and hustles to catch up to his man, and his length allows him to guard multiple positions.
Still, a 6-foot-5 point guard with those numbers potentially being available in the second round has to come with flaws. His ball handling needs to tighten up as he currently keeps it looser and wider. He had a usage percentage of 29.5 his junior year and turned the ball over 3.3 times per game. In Illinois’s tournament loss to Loyola Chicago, Dosunmu turned the ball over six times. For comparison’s sake, in Coby White’s freshman season at UNC, he had a usage percentage of 26.8 and turned the ball over 2.7 times per game. Also, regarding the 39% 3-point shooting, that average came while taking only 2.9 attempts per game. Dosunmu shot a decent 36.2% (17-47) on catch-and-shoot opportunities, but the question will linger about whether his jumper will exist at the professional level.
Option Three: Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn, Freshman
Measurements: HT: 6’1″, WT: 180, WING: 6’1″
Key Stats: 20.2 PPG, 8.1 APG, 4.3 RPG, 22.8% 3-point
Another prospect that could go late-first or early-second round, Sharife Cooper is a bit different than the first two guards on this list. Cooper is a playmaker and an absolute baller as evidenced by the 20 and 8 averages as a freshman in college. Granted, Cooper only played 12 games, but still. Cooper is one of those players you just enjoy watching from his full-court passes to tear-drop layups off the top of the glass. He has a stellar handle and great court vision. Plus, Cooper took an outstanding 8.6 free throw attempts per game. Even more, he made 82.5% of them, implying his shot can develop. His ability to attack the defense and find open shooters would be a great fit on the Bulls.
You probably already know Cooper’s first area for improvement. His outside jumper needs tons of work. Again, Cooper only played 12 games in college, but 22.8% on 4.8 attempts per game is not great. Add in the fact that Cooper is 6’1″ and doesn’t really jump when he shoots, that could scare teams away. By all accounts, Cooper is working overtime leading up to the draft to improve his shot, and it has looked pretty good in workouts, but that 22.8% is going to stick out like a sore thumb for Cooper’s draft stock. Beyond shooting, Cooper turned the ball over a lot. 4.2 turnovers per game won’t cut it, even when dishing out eight assists each night.
Option Four: Joel Ayayi, CG, Gonzaga, Junior
Measurements: HT: 6’5″, WT: 180, WING: 6’7″
Key Stats: 12.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.7 APG, 38.9% 3-point
While the previous three players could go round one, Ayayi is a prospect who should be available when the Bulls pick in the second round. Furthermore, he is one of my favorite options and a player who can definitely contribute right away. Ayayi is a solid shooter who hit 40.5% of his catch-and-shoot opportunities. He especially crushed it getting passes from the post, which would be exciting to pair with a player like Vucevic. He has a consistent jumper and NBA range to go along with it. He’s also a very efficient scorer at the rim (69.8%) and doesn’t take a lot of bad shots. Ayayi is also a fantastic passer both in the open court and off the pick-and-roll. Defensively, his length means that he can likely guard 1-3 as he builds strength.
Sticking with defense, Ayayi gets caught on screens often. This would be frustrating for fans to watch but, honestly, seems like the Bulls’ preferred type of player. He doesn’t have the best quickness or overall athleticism either, so his defensive flaws could be exploited further at the NBA level. Ayayi also is not much of a shot creator for himself. He will be more reliant on off-the-ball opportunities for his buckets. Of course, that wouldn’t be a problem with LaVine having the ball in his hands most of the time, but he will still need to develop that skill to succeed in the NBA.
Option Five: Nah’Shon Hyland, CG, VCU, Sophomore
Measurements: HT: 6’3.5″, WT: 169, WING: 6’9.25″
Key Stats: 19.5 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.9 SPG, 37.1% 3-point
Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland is first and foremost a shooter. He will pull up from just about anywhere, and the ball often finds its way in. 37.1% shooting from deep doesn’t scream amazing shooter, but he did that on 7.8 attempts per game and would casually pull up from beyond NBA range frequently. Also, opposing teams would often game plan specifically to interrupt his shooting, and Hyland shot 43.4% from three as a freshman on 4.7 attempts per game. Surround him with LaVine, Vucevic, and even Patrick Williams as three-point threats, Hyland would see a lot more open looks in the NBA. He also finishes strong at the basket and has a complete offensive arsenal.
The main problem with Hyland is his playmaking. He is great creating for himself. However, he is not so great creating for others. Despite the offense flowing through him and a 31.8 usage percentage, Hyland only averaged 2.1 assists per game. His career high in assists in college was just six. Granted, he also scored 20 and had 12 rebounds that game in a win against Richmond. Still, facilitating is a major need for the Bulls, and Hyland does not have it developed yet. Throw in some crucial defensive issues that go beyond his impressive steal numbers, you have difficulty envisioning units with Coby White and Hyland on the floor at the same time.
None of these options are superstars who can come in and start for the Bulls right away. Still, there are multiple interesting options that could be available. Outside of Cooper, all of these players have played multiple college seasons and could step in to contribute off the bench right away. The lone freshman, Cooper is an outstanding playmaker working on his shot, and – while he may not be a guy who gets a lot of playing time season one – he could wind up being a very solid lead guard in the future. Stick with us at On Tap Sports Net for all your Bulls draft coverage and analysis.