2019 NBA Draft: Chicago Bulls missed Oregon’s Bol Bol?

(Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

One of the more interesting cases in the 2019 NBA Draft was the Oregon Ducks center Bol Bol falling all the way past the Chicago Bulls in the second round.

The second round of the 2019 NBA Draft was very interesting to say the least. The Chicago Bulls nabbed a second round steal with the former Arkansas Razorbacks lanky and athletic rim-running center Daniel Gafford with the No. 38 pick. But the Bulls also had a number of other targets to look to with the No. 38 pick. Was the former Oregon Ducks big man Bol Bol worth a look at No. 38?

We can always look back with 20/20 hindsight and say that a prospect like Bol was more worthy of the No. 38 pick than Gafford. The problem in the Bulls case is that picking Gafford over Bol fit the profile that John Paxson and Gar Forman draft with almost always. Gafford was by far the safer pick over Bol.

What Gafford brings to the table is a big man that will be solid off the bench in transition, and could also protect the rim and hit the glass hard. A role player like Gafford will always be valuable for a team with a thinner frontcourt rotation that needs building, like the Bulls at the moment. But Gafford also doesn’t have that much upside.

Gafford is going to be one of those prospects that has a very high floor for a second round pick, but a pretty low ceiling at the same time. Meanwhile, Bol will have a very low floor in the NBA thanks to the injury and frame concerns with his thin 210 pound weigh-in at the NBA Combine.

What Bol brings to the table, otherwise, is one of the best pure shooting and scoring touches in the 2019 NBA Draft class. If he bulks up and toughens up in the paint, Bol could very well have All-Star level potential in the NBA. The problem is we have absolutely no clue how likely it is that he will reach that potential.

It’s clearly difficult to find a seven-footer like Bol who can shoot at a 50 percent clip or better from beyond the arc in the basketball world. Although it was a sample size of just nine games, Bol did shoot 52 percent from three-point land at Oregon. He also averaged 21.0 points per game and 9.6 rebounds.

The consistent effort and motor need a lot of work for Bol, but it’s a completely different story for Gafford. If nothing else, Gafford will always leave it all out on the floor. The Nuggets will be happy if Bol can leave it all out on the floor while staying healthy for three or five games in a row.

The Bulls could afford to take the risk in this draft class to take Bol if the front office felt like it was the right move. GarPax could’ve also traded for another second round pick to snag Bol, as the Nuggets did.

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There’s always going to be situations in which NBA fans look back at their team’s draft strategy with 20/20 hindsight. But the Bulls had a clear path to upgrading the frontcourt with young and potent talent here if Bol was either the second round pick instead of Gafford, or if they traded up ahead of the 46th pick to nab him.

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