Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Chicago Bulls Officially Swipe Major Scoring Help With 11th Pick


The Chicago Bulls probably were not going to get the franchise-altering star they needed to change the culture, but it appears they did far better than people expected. At one point in time, Lithuanian native Matas Buzelis was considered the best prospect going into the 2024 draft. An ankle injury and a slow start to last season played parts in his drop. Not that the Bulls are complaining. They’ve just secured an athletic shooter with scoring versatility. He is terrific on the fast break and has good ball-handling skills. While his outside shot needs some work, he has tons of potential.

The primary concern is his frame. Buzelis is quite thin for somebody 6’9 at 208 lbs. Some fear his body may not hold up to the physical contact of the NBA. However, he’s quick on his feet on defense, can elevate for shot-blocking, and understands how to finish at the rim. He averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in his lone year with the G League Ignite. The potential was obvious. If he learns to play with more aggression and improves his shooting consistency, Buzelis will be a really good player.

The fact he compares to Bulls legend Toni Kukoc doesn’t hurt.

Buzelis was literally born to play for the Chicago Bulls.

After all, he was born in the city on October 13th, 2004. He grew up watching the peak Derrick Rose years and is a lifelong fan. Arturas Karnisovas already had some good fortune taking a homegrown product like Ayo Dosumu. There is no reason to think he can’t find similar success with Buzelis. Much of what happens with the rookie depends on the Bulls’ actions moving forward. Right now, Zach Lavine and Patrick Williams are penciled in at small forward. That could quickly change if one or both are traded, which is a possibility.

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Despite this being a draft widely considered weak by NBA experts, the Chicago Bulls actually came away with one of the more exciting talents. Buzelis was recruited by Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida State, and Wake Forest. His decision to play in the G League was an interesting one. He comes from proven athletic stock, too. His grandfather, Petras Buzelis, won six Lithuanian League championships. This young man has high-level basketball in his genes. Chicago appears ready to make him a core part of their youth movement.

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