Top undrafted rookie Justin Lewis signs team-friendly deal with the Bulls

Justin Lewis, Chicago Bulls, 2022 NBA Draft (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Justin Lewis, Chicago Bulls, 2022 NBA Draft (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

Although the Chicago Bulls entered the 2022 NBA Draft with just the 18th pick, they were not content to exit with just one promising rookie. Chicago was not able to find a trade partner for the 18th pick to acquire additional trade assets, but it turns out they didn’t need to, as the dynamic forward Justin Lewis out of Marquette fell in their laps as an undrafted free agent.

Lewis has garnered a lot of interest as a prospect due to his freakish 7’2.5″ wingspan and versatility as a fairly well-rounded player. He’s got all the intangibles teams are looking for in the NBA, it’s just a matter of whether or not Lewis can find the consistency to hit open shots, play good help defense, and do the little things a team like the Bulls will ask of him.

Lewis rated 37th on The Ringer’s big board, was projected to be picked 42nd by DraftExpress creator and ESPN analyst Jonathon Givony, and was ranked 43rd by The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie on his personal big board. To put it simply, Lewis is a genuine talent that probably should have been drafted, but the Bulls will happily make out like bandits here.

Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news of the signing following the conclusion of the second round of the draft.

The Chicago Bulls have signed another promising rookie in Marquette’s Justin Lewis.

Lewis was a dominant force in the Big East this past season, winning the conference’s Most Improved Player award and being named to the All-Big East First Team. As a sophomore, Lewis averaged 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He was also a willing shooter and floor spacer, attempting five 3-pointers per game, though only knocking them down at a slightly below-league-average rate of 34.9%.

As the best player on this Marquette team, Lewis led the Golden Eagles to a 19-13 record, the most wins the school has achieved in the last three years. On the Bulls, Lewis would not have to be a primary option, and it’s likely we might see his efficiency improve in a role with less pressure.

As you may remember, the last time Chicago acquired a rookie from Marquette, they certainly didn’t regret their decision. That player of course was Jimmy Butler, the Bulls saw something in him that all 29 other teams did not. This isn’t to say we can just assume Lewis will become a multi-time All-NBA player, but what I am saying is that I don’t think we should write Lewis off just because he wasn’t drafted.

Either way, this move has zero risk with Lewis being on a two-way contract, so I’m extremely happy to see the Chicago Bulls swing for the fences here.

Next. Grading the Bulls’ surprising decision to draft Dalen Terry. dark

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