3 dynamic prospects Bulls should trade up for in 2022 NBA Draft

Jalen Duren, Chicago Bulls 2022 NBA Draft Rumors (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
Jalen Duren, Chicago Bulls 2022 NBA Draft Rumors (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images) /
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Jalen Duren, Chicago Bulls 2022 NBA Draft Rumors
Jalen Duren, Chicago Bulls 2022 NBA Draft Rumors (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. C. Jalen Duren. 12 PTS, 8.1 REB, 2.2 BLK. 1. player. 451

Jalen Duren is one of the most intriguing players in this year’s draft and should attract a lot of attention as a top-10 pick. In a class that’s perceived to be weaker than the crop we just saw in 2021, Duren is one of few prospects who seems to have true star potential.

As a freshman, Duren led Memphis to a third-place finish in the AAC while averaging team-highs in points, rebounds, and blocks per game. His superior size and strength made him near impossible to stop at the collegiate level, but he’ll have to add some finesse to his game if he wants to succeed in the NBA.

It’s impossible to deny Duren’s natural talent, but he’s still seen as a very raw prospect with a lot of polishing left to do in his game. He’ll have to work especially hard to succeed in an NBA that’s moving farther and farther away from traditional centers. Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti has even made an effort to specifically not have a big man on the floor, instead opting to play lineups of five individuals who can all space the floor and share ball-handling responsibilities.

Considering OKC holds both the No. 2 and No. 12 pick in this year’s draft, Duren is going to have to work even harder to receive consideration in the lottery.

To make things clear, I do not expect Duren to slip out of the top 10. That being said, it also wouldn’t be the most surprising thing to see happen. Lottery teams like the Thunder, Pacers and Kings will be actively ducking drafting a center. Other lottery teams such as the Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, and Pelicans will likely want to draft someone who can come in and help contribute immediately. Even then, the teams that are willing to take a swing on a risky high-upside player may prefer to instead gamble on an aggressive scoring wing such as Duke’s AJ Griffin.

Because of all these factors, I believe it’s feasible that Duren may end up taking a draft day tumble closer to Chicago’s No. 18 selection. If he falls out of the top 10, the Bulls would be wise to pull out all the stops in order to jump up in the draft.

Duren would be able to come in and immediately fill the hole Chicago has at the backup center slot behind Vucevic. His athleticism makes him a perfect pairing for the Bulls as a transition lob threat, and he would make a huge impact in regards to fixing this team’s rebounding woes.

Perhaps most importantly, Duren would be given time to grow and develop in a bench role without being thrown to the wolves from day one. With a young core of Duren, Lonzo Ball, Patrick Williams, and Ayo Dosunmu, the Bulls would have ample ammunition to not only contend now but also build a winning team for years to come as the roster develops over time.

All three of these prospects should be highly sought after on draft day, so it’s probably unlikely the Bulls eventually do manage to trade up in the draft. However, Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley have already proven themselves to be a crafty front office force, so if anyone can get a deal done to secure the team’s future, they are the ones we want on the job.

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