4 Draft sleepers for Chicago Bulls to scout entering early offseason

Sam Merrill, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
Sam Merrill, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images) /
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Sam Merrill (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
Sam Merrill (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images) /

3. Sam Merrill, Guard

The lone senior that is on this list among the draft prospects that are worth looking deeper into for the new-look Bulls front office is the former Utah State Aggies 6-foot-5 and 205 pound guard Sam Merrill. Really loading up on the accolades in his last two seasons at Utah State, Merrill started to improve his NBA Draft stock late in his college career.

Merrill was the 2018-19 Mountain West Player of the Year and a two-time Mountain West Tournament MVP. He played in 32 games last season (starting in all of them). Merrill averaged 19.7 points per game, 4.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.1 blocks. He shot 46.1 percent from the field, 41.0 percent from beyond the arc, and 89.3 percent from the free-throw line.

That amounted to an effective field goal percentage of 56.6 and a 62.5 true shooting percentage. And that solid true shooting percentage was actually not even close to the best of his career.

The other advanced metrics were very solid for Merrill during his last season in college too. He registered a career-best box plus/minus rating of 9.9, .255 win shares per 40 minutes, 7.1 total win shares, 25.0 player efficiency rating, and a sparkling 129.7 offensive rating/96.3 defensive rating.

If there is any prospect that would be worth taking a flier out on, as it appears now, and that the Bulls would reach on in the second round of the 2020 draft, then it should be Merrill. He’s a natural scorer, that can even frequently create his own shots. And he’s also a pretty potent two-way wing that is an underrated defender. But Merrill is not the best rebounder, and lacks the overall athleticism to compete on the perimeter and driving to the bucket that a lot of other guards will have at the next level.

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