Chicago Bulls: Tyrese Haliburton’s looming NBA Draft declaration is crucial

The 2020 NBA Draft strategy for the Chicago Bulls will be largely impacted by the cancellation of the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament.

The 2020 NBA Draft is where a lot of basketball fans are turning their attention to of late given all the novel coronavirus precautions put into place. A good portion of the sports world, including Chicago Bulls basketball, has been put on a hiatus due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The NCAA Tournament and all of the college basketball conference tournaments were some of the more significant events that were either canceled or put on hiatus.

One of the most notable NBA Draft prospects for the Bulls that has a looming decision and will clearly be impacted by the COVID-19 precautions is the Iowa State Cyclones standout sophomore point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

A little bit past the midway point of the 2019-20 college hoops regular season, Haliburton had a season-ending wrist injury back in early February. Haliburton got to play in 22 games during the season that was. In that span of games during his sophomore campaign, Haliburton averaged 15.2 points per game, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.5 assists, while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from beyond the arc.

As a former three-star recruit and Oshkosh, WI, native, Haliburton rose up draft boards about as fast as he possibly could have. The Bulls also seem to prioritize programs from the midwest when considering head coaching and NBA Draft talent to add to the organization.

The Bulls last head coach, prior to Jim Boylen, was a rise to fame product of the Iowa State basketball program. Fred Hoiberg is currently the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but his rise to prominence to get the Bulls job came during his time in Ames.

In the last decade or so, the Bulls selected a number of college prospects hailing from schools in the midwestern portion of the United States. Denzel Valentine and Gary Harris are both Michigan State Spartans products and Norris Cole is a Cleveland State product. They could go that direction once again, especially with the Reinsdorfs still in charge and Gar Forman still in the front office.

However, there are legitimate positives to the Bulls selecting Haliburton in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft. In a thin draft class across the board, the Bulls could do well to get a fairly well-rounded prospect like Haliburton in the lottery. The only problem they would have is the direction of the rebuild with Tomas Satoransky, Coby White, and Zach LaVine already manning the backcourt rotation.

But first, before the Bulls set their sights on drafting Haliburton, he has to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft and forego his junior year at Iowa State. Haliburton might have business left to do in Ames, especially considering the way his season, and the entire program’s, ended in the midst of injury and the COVID-19 precautions.

Iowa State was not going to make the NCAA Tournament unless they won the Big 12 Tournament. But they were ousted in one of the two games of the Big 12 Tournament that was actually played, which came against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on March 11.

Haliburton is about the best 2020 NBA Draft prospect that will be coming out of the deep conference that is the Big 12 this year. The Kansas Jayhawks have a handful of others, including center Udoka Azubuike and point guard Devon Dotson.

However, his two-way nature and versatile offensive game makes him one of the more intriguing draft prospects in this class. Haliburton also has a very solid frame for an NBA point guard in the modern game, at 6-foot-5 and 175 pounds. He’s also a quality shooter from three-point range and from the charity stripe.

Once Haliburton does announce his NBA Draft decision, it will come with a lot of national attention. The halt in the NBA season and the college basketball tournaments makes NBA Draft declarations one of the more interesting storylines to follow at the moment.

Next: What's next for the Bulls after COVID-19

The latest 2020 NBA Draft prospect rankings from ESPN have Haliburton as the No. 7 prospect in this class. And the latest 2020 NBA Mock Draft from Bleacher Report has Haliburton going fifth overall to the Detroit Pistons.

The Bulls would have to get fairly lucky in the draft lottery to ensure Haliburton would fall to them.

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