Most fans are aware at this stage that the 2020 NBA Draft has a consensus top 3. That top 3 includes Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, Illawara PG LaMelo Ball, and Memphis Center James Wiseman. There’s been plenty of coverage surrounding those guys so it’s time to take a look at three other potential prospects for the Bulls. Let’s start with one of the most talked-about Bulls prospect early on.
Shortly after the draft order was finalized the mock drafts exploded onto the scene. The majority of those mock drafts had the Bulls taking Maccabi Tel Aviv Forward Deni Avdija with the #4 pick. It was almost a consensus across the board that this is the guy the Bulls would be taking. Deni has played all of his basketball internationally and has been with Maccabi Tel Aviv since 2017. In his time with Maccabi Tel Aviv he has won 3 Israeli League Championships and league MVP just this previous year.
Deni Avdija has played in a total of 110 games, he has started in 35 of those games. Over the last two seasons, he has averaged 9.2 PPG. Over the last two seasons, he averaged 47 %FG, 30 %3FG, 3.9 RPG, & 1.7 APG. So his stats aren’t exactly eye-popping. But if you watch the film of Deni you can see his basketball IQ appears to be quite high.
A taste of things to come? Here's an exclusive look at Deni Avdija's best plays from an intrasquad scrimmage showcasing the ball-handling, creativity, passing and all-around versatility as a 6'9 guard that made him a potential top-3 pick. ESPN news story: https://t.co/wOrC3aTF9C pic.twitter.com/iyjZkKXdzy
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 19, 2020
Would Deni work on the Bulls?
Deni has the size at 6’9″ to be a force on the defensive end and that’s a key piece the Bulls are missing. He is ranked as the best wing in the draft and the Bulls could use some more depth in that area. Some people even believe he will be the best player to come from this draft and the next international star. Deni most likely won’t be someone who comes in and takes over this team from day one but he will come in and be a solid role player to start. He has over 100 games of experience in the European League and he has seen size similar to the NBA. Deni can play well on offense and has improved with each season. He has a lot of potential to be something big if he can make the transition from the European League to the NBA.
The Bulls have met with Deni so he is clearly on their radar. He would be a good fit for this Bulls team and if no one snipes him before the #4 pick the Bulls should grab him.
The Chicago Bulls have talked to Deni Avdija and Yam Madar, per source.
It's unclear whether it was over Zoom or in person, but the Bulls have had contact with both prospects.
The Bulls are one of several teams that have shown interest in Madar. A potential second round pick.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) November 7, 2020
Next up on the list of Bull’s prospects is Auburn Forward Isaac Okoro. Okoro played one season with the Auburn Tigers and quickly made his presence known. He started in all 28 games that he played in averaging 12.9 PPG, 51.4 %FG, 4.4 RPG, & 29 %3FG. The Bulls have interviewed Okoro ahead of the draft.
Isaac Okoro says he’s interviewed with the Bulls. Has worked out with the Warriors, Timberwolves and Cavaliers
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) November 11, 2020
Okoro has been praised for his abilities on defense which again is something this Bulls team desperately needs. He has been heavily praised heading into this draft and has even been compared to Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler.
Okoro is my favorite prospect in this draft. The Jimmy Butler comps are legit. If he improves his outside shooting like JB did, Okoro could develop into a multiple time All-Star. https://t.co/Bn4B8HHzIF
— Mark Schanowski (@MarkSchanowski) November 11, 2020
Okoro himself touched on his jump shot and what he thinks of it.
Auburn wing Isaac Okoro — praised for his defensive prowess — called his jump shot a C+ in college because he shot "flat balls."
After more work, he calls his jump shot a B+ bordering on an A.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) November 11, 2020
It’s good to see a prospect aware of their flaws and working to improve them as Okoro stated.
Would Okoro work on the Bulls?
Like I stated above Okoro is known for his defensive skills. He was a solid defender in college and it appears it will translate well to the NBA. While his offensive numbers aren’t exactly eye-popping he still managed to score 15+ points in 8 of his 28 games as a freshman. He’s working on his jump shot and working to get better as an offensive weapon. The Bulls currently have two solid shooters in guards Zach LaVine and Coby White. Okoro could find himself in a nice position coming off the bench and continuing the scoring without having both of those guys out there. His defense will certainly boost this team.
Depending on how this draft shakes up there could still be better prospects on the board than Okoro. If the Bulls go with him at #4 Bulls fans shouldn’t be mad with the pick. He has a lot of upside and can be something special under the right coaches.
The next prospect on the Chicago Bulls list is Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton played two seasons with the Iowa State Cyclones. In his second season he averaged 15.2 PPG, 50.4 %FG, 41.9 %3FG, 6.5 APG, & 5.9 RPG. Haliburton’s stats look great across the board. The Bulls have interviewed and worked out Haliburton ahead of the draft.
Tyrese Haliburton says he has worked out for and interviewed with Chicago among three other teams.
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) November 11, 2020
Haliburton is a 6’5″ PG who shows that he can be a floor general. He is great at facilitating the ball and getting his teammates easy shots. Tyrese led the team in assists in 21 of their 32 games last season. Haliburton has a nice first step and gets himself to the basket if the defense is slacking.
Would Haliburton work on the Bulls?
Haliburton was actually asked about how he believed he would fit with the Bulls and he had a lot to say about it.
"But also, with them wanting the ball in their hands at the same time, I can be a guy that plays off the ball and knocks down shots. So whatever is needed in Chicago, or any organization for that matter, I'm ready to do." (2/2)
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) November 11, 2020
He believes that in Chicago he would be able to take some of the offensive burdens off of our primary scorers. Haliburton said he can play the floor general role while also backing off and letting them have the ball while he works to get open. He certainly showed the skill set that would make us believe that would be possible. However, there’s a concern about his size he’s listed at 175 lbs which is thin. This creates concerns about whether or not he will be able to defend well in the NBA. Haliburton will most likely be around when the 4th pick shows up. If the Bulls are high on him then I’m sure they will bite. However, with some of the other guards that could potentially be available, the Bulls may want to let him pass by.
What will the Bulls do?
We are currently stuck in a state of not knowing. There are so many rumors out there about the Bulls and who they will pick. Rumors are coming in daily about the Bulls and a potential trade. Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas is rumored as one of the most active people ahead of the draft. One thing is for sure, we haven’t heard any sort of official word from the Bulls and we probably won’t until draft night.
The thing is Karnišovas would like to keep it that way. Don’t be surprised if we don’t hear anything until NBA Commissioner Adam Silver opens up the draft on November 18th.