Nobody knows what the Chicago Bulls will do on draft night (and it’s OK)

Arturas Karnisovas, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Arturas Karnisovas, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

Mere hours from the 2020 NBA Draft and fans and media alike have no idea what the Chicago Bulls will do on Wednesday night.

This shouldn’t be this complicated for the Chicago Bulls, right? By now we should have a pretty good bead on where this thing is going. Right? Not really for anyone who has been following this organization since at least early April.

That’s when Arturas Karnisovas was hired to undo the nearly two decades-worth of damage to a brand with six championships done by the previous regime.

No pressure.

Karnisovas moved swiftly, hiring Marc Eversley to be the general manager along with a slew of other well-received hirings (and firings) in the front office. Most notably on both fronts was hiring cap-specialist J.J. Polk to be the assistant general manager and firing long-time trainer, Jeff Tanaka.

Then everything got quiet.

Jim Boylen inexplicably had escaped the swift dismissal that so many of his co-workers had gotten. On the outside, we were being told to prepare for another year of trying not to “double lose” from media members and even ownership.

Mercifully, the Bulls parted with Boylen not too long after the conclusion of the season and replaced him with Billy Donovan, formerly of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Donovan brought instant credibility to Karnisovas; some of which had waned during Boylen’s limbo. The staff assembled by the coach, which includes Chicago native, Maurice Cheeks, should be worlds better than the previous group. Donovan alone accomplishes that though.

As we have approached the NBA Draft, however, we have reached an impasse.

Come to find out, lids are as annoying in sports as they are in politics. The silence from the Bulls camp is deafening and that’s because it’s allowed for rampant speculation as to what they’ll do.

We’ve heard everyone (and everything) from international forward Deni Avdija at four to trading up for the mercurial LaMelo Ball (who says he didn’t work out for them, trading the pick for an impact player.

For what it’s worth, this space has been used to push both Tyrese Haliburton of Iowa State and James Wiseman, formerly of Memphis.

The most recent story that they’ve given the impression to 6-foot-8 Florida State forward Patrick Williams that they will take him at four or trade back to take him later in the draft.

That last one has a bit of a 2018 ring to it. They had two first-round picks in that one without trying though, taking Wendell Carter Jr. seventh overall.

All of this only adds to the confusion. Alongside Carter, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, and to a lesser extent Zach LaVine are all young enough to cast doubt on certain players at certain positions. This line of thinking alone is cause for pause on the Williams talk.

A pick like that could signal one of Carter or Markkanen is on their way out. The former is a good but not great player and the latter is more potential than player at this point.

We also have to consider the backgrounds of the three men in charge of making this decision.

Karnisovas helped build a contender out of the Denver Nuggets by seeing more than others in guys like Jamal Murray and finding gems like Nikola Jokic. He also took chances on players like Michael Porter Jr (who the Bulls passed on in favor of Carter) Bol Bol, both with promising early ROIs.

Eversley comes from an organization that committed itself to be as bad as possible to get as good as possible. They did their best to turn “tank” from just another four-letter word. Many teams would take being “burdened” by having to figure out how to maximize Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Donovan might be the biggest wild card. OKC had made five playoff appearances in a row, including an NBA Finals appearance, before his arrival. He was a highly successful college coach, though, so the question begs to be asked if he’d prefer to help this core group grow? Or is there another blockbuster move on the way that will push this team into immediate contention?

The individuals. Three different stories. Three different (successful) points of view.

How they come together on draft night (and going forward) will be fascinating. Because of what those running the show have done in their recent pasts there is a different feeling in See Red Nation.


The Michael Jordan glory years have given way to 22 years of futility; the lone glimmer of hope provided by Derrick Rose snatched away from the fans. Now, even being far from actually realizing it, they have the potential to get one of the premier franchises back on track.

Will they? Who knows. We’ll get our first real glimpse on Wednesday. Until then, fans will just have to hope.

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We’re but a mere hours away from the NBA draft and nobody knows what the Chicago Bulls are going to do.

And that’s ok.