Malaki Branham bursts onto the Chicago Bulls’ draft day radar

Malaki Branham, Chicago Bulls (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Malaki Branham, Chicago Bulls (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Generating a lot of hype as a potential lottery pick, Malaki Branham has surged up draft boards and looks poised to break out as a dynamic offensive weapon in the NBA. Seeing this potential, the Chicago Bulls invited the freshman from Ohio State to private workouts to better assess Branham as a prospect.

Recently mocked to the Bulls by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony in his final mock draft, Branham is a name that’s even beginning to draw some attention in Chicago. But is that attention warranted? Let’s break down Malaki Branham’s 2022 NBA Draft Profile.

Physical Measurements

  • Age: 19
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 195 pounds
  • Wingspan: 6’10″
  • Standing Reach: 8’6.5″

Box Score Statistics

  • Points: 13.7
  • Rebounds: 3.6
  • Assists: 2.0
  • Blocks: 0.3
  • Steals: 0.7
  • Field Goal Percentage: 49.8%
  • 3-Point Percentage: 41.6%
  • Free Throw Percentage: 83.3%


As the college season wore on and we got to see more and more of Branham, it became impossible to continue limiting his minutes with the Buckeyes. After a breakout game on December 11 against Nebraska, Branham dropped 35 points on a ridiculous 13-for-19 shooting, proving he’s got what it takes to become an elite shot creator. From then on, the Branham show never slowed down. Malaki has the makings of potentially becoming the best shooter in this draft class and has time on his side to continue fleshing out the other areas of his game.


Not to be too critical, but calling Branham a traffic cone on the defensive side of things may be offensive to traffic cones. His shooting is enough to offense his deficiencies as a defender, but it’s something he is going to need to address if he wants to become a player worthy of a starting position in the NBA.

Scorching-hot shooting makes Malaki Branham one of the most interesting prospects the Chicago Bulls may select at the 2022 NBA Draft.

Potential Fit on the Bulls

If the Chicago Bulls were to draft Branham, he’d join the logjam of talent in the backcourt and probably struggle to find minutes in the rotation out of the gate. With Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, and Alex Caruso set to dominate most of the minutes at guard, the opportunities in Chicago are slim. That’s before factoring in Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White, another pair of guards that have earned the coach’s trust.

In a year where the Bulls are clearly trying to add every piece possible for a playoff push, it’s hard envisioning a player as talented as Branham being forced to ride the bench. Drafting the best player available over team fit is a viable strategy, but there needs to be an actual pathway to Branham seeing the court in order to make this pick make sense. If the Bulls do draft Branham, I’d expect subsequent trades to follow.

NBA Comparisons

  • Tyler Herro
  • Khris Middleton
  • Caris LeVert

Should the Bulls Consider Drafting Malaki Branham?

I do find it interesting that in the same draft the Bulls are looking to potentially trade Coby away, one of the best options available in their draft range is a player who fills the same role as Coby. While there are a lot of things to like in Branham’s game, the Bulls would be wise to only draft him as a last resort if other preferable options are already off the board.

If for some reason all of Chicago’s draft targets have already been taken, trading down may better behoove the Bulls⁠—Memphis’ 22nd and 29th picks would make for a solid return, for example.

Verdict: No, there should be a better fit available still on the board. However, Branham should make some other team quite happy.

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