With the Chicago Bulls playoff hopes now fading away pretty fast, the attention is starting to fall on their lottery odds for the 2021 NBA Draft. The reasoning for this; the Bulls traded away their 2021 first-round draft pick in a deadline deal with the Orlando Magic.
The Bulls shipped off two first-round picks in the deadline day deal back on March 25 along with veteran small forward Otto Porter Jr. and third-year center Wendell Carter. In return, the Bulls got star center Nikola Vucevic and forward Al-Farouq Aminu. But each of the first-round draft picks that the Bulls sent to the Magic had some protection on them.
For their 2021 first-round draft pick, the Bulls have top-four protection. And given their rapidly declining playoff and play-in tournament chances in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls do have at least a chance now to land in the top four of the draft lottery.
The Bulls currently have a 32 percent chance to land in the top four of the draft lottery (as of the morning of May 3) and a 7.5 percent chance to land the No. 1 overall pick. So with that in mind, the Bulls could actually have a roughly one in three chance to get their pick back from the Magic this year.
Are those odds fantastic?
Would getting this pick back be very valuable for the new way this roster is building into the future?
It’s hard to figure out which route would actually be more beneficial to the Bulls’ future between contending for a spot in the play-in tournament or essentially tanking for better draft lottery odds. The easier and more likely route, though, surely seems to be the latter of the two.
Chicago Bulls 2021 NBA Draft Lottery odds and simulation
At this point of the season, the Bulls sit in a very familiar spot. Bulls fans are either way too familiar with either picking seventh overall in the draft lottery or having those odds on lottery night.
However, this is the situation we find this franchise in once again in 2021. And with that, we ran 10 draft lottery simulations through Tankathon with the current odds at hand.
What we found is that the Bulls landed in the top four 40 percent of the time, which meant they kept the pick four out of 10 times from the Magic with the protection in place. Of those four picks that landed in the top 10 for the Bulls in this simulation, one was No. 1 overall, and another one was No. 2.
All told, the Bulls nearly kept their pick half of the time. And the average pick throughout the 10 simulations was around 5.4. That’s not too bad given the way the odds looked a few weeks ago.
The Bulls currently hold a record of 26-38 following their May 1 road loss at the hands of star point guard Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. They ride a three-game losing streak heading into a key meeting at home at the United Center on May 3 with the Philadelphia 76ers.