Friday, December 1, 2023

NBA Officially Releases Draft Lottery Odds; Bulls Receive Good News


The NBA conducted a random drawing this afternoon to determine the final few teams involved in the draft lottery on May 16th, including the Chicago Bulls. Tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder after both teams lost on Friday night, the drawing determined that Chicago would assume slightly better odds than the Thunder in the upcoming lottery selection ceremony a month from now. While those odds still aren’t very promising for the Bulls, it was better news than expected heading into the draft. How does this affect Chicago’s future, and what are their current odds?

Flashback 15 Years

The last time the Chicago Bulls had odds this low of receiving the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft was 15 years ago when they were awarded the first overall selection with only a 1.7% likelihood. With that selection, they’d select the franchise’s first MVP since Michael Jordan and the only MVP the team has had since, Derrick Rose.

Their odds in the 2023 NBA Draft are microscopically larger at 1.8% now that they’ve won the tiebreaker with OKC, but the real number that matters is landing top-four in the draft order. Those odds sit at 8.5%, which is the magic number for Bulls fans, as landing in the top four of the order is the only way Chicago would retain their draft selection. Should the massively more likely 91.5% chance come true that they’re between picks five and 14, the selection would head to Orlando as the final piece to the Nikola Vucevic deal a few seasons prior.

Finding A Way To A First-Round Pick

Although it’s very likely the Bulls will not be selecting with their own pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, there are some ways they can still find their way into the first round. Teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks have been vocal about wanting to build win-now rosters at the expense of their first-round selections. With aging rosters and superstars’ prime windows dwindling, those teams will certainly be on the phones to acquire established talent, something the Bulls can offer.

Prospect Of Rebuilding

The Bulls’ front office leader Arturas Karnisovas was asked about possibly a full-on rebuild this offseason. He quickly dismissed the idea with authority, hardly entertaining the idea at all.

“That’s been thrown around all this season, ‘blow up, rebuild’, it’s not on our minds. I think the moment we changed our minds in the 2020-21′ season to kind of focus on winning and try to build a sustainable program here, I think that’s what we’re focused on right now. We’re going to consider everything and how we can compete with the top teams.”

Arturas Karnisovas via NBC Chicago

Hearing the decision-maker for Chicago shut down the idea of any rebuild leans toward the notion that the Bulls will not be selecting in this year’s first round unless somehow their pick lands in the top four. Even then, with the desire to win-now, they could likely use the pick as leverage in a roster-altering move. Breaking up the big three has been a hot topic for the second half of this season and is almost inevitable given the payday that Vucevic and DeRozan are soon set to require.

May 16th is now the date of interest, as after that point, the phones will start ringing, and the plans will start to form. Can the Bulls repeat their luck from 15 years ago, or will they be entirely left out of the first-round?

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