With the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft looking more loaded than ever in recent years, it should come as no surprise that several teams around the league already have their eyes set on the future. After a disappointing 26-33 start to their season, perhaps it’s time the Chicago Bulls join the club and try bottoming out to bounce back stronger next year. To justify that decision, however, they need to be sure there’s a player in this draft worth tanking for in the first place.
It’s important to remember the Bulls don’t actually own the rights to their 2023 first-round pick, as they traded it to Orlando in exchange for Nikola Vucevic. That being said, the pick is top-four protected, which means Chicago can still make a selection this year if they move up in the draft lottery.
This protection will come in handy, as it’s probably better to just convey the pick now and get it over with if the Bulls don’t luck out in the lottery. This team needs a true franchise-altering player, not another 7th overall selection.
The Chicago Bulls could select a true franchise cornerstone to build around if they commit to increasing their 2023 NBA Draft Lottery odds now.
Fortunately, their odds of keeping the pick aren’t as bad as you might expect. Chicago currently has a 32% chance of moving up in the lotto and is only a single game ahead of the Pacers who hold 37.2% odds. If the Bulls really stink from here on out, it’s entirely possible they manage to surpass the Magic, who are just 1.5 games behind Chicago and have a 42.1% chance of landing in the top four. Losing a few extra games for an additional 10% chance to keep the pick is a price I’m more than happy to pay.
Of course, it would be extremely unfortunate to tank just for the pick to not convey in the end, that’s the unavoidable truth here. But at this point, these odds seem far better than Chicago’s chances at making noise in the playoffs. It’s probably best to rip the band-aid off and commit to a direction now regardless of the end result. I believe these four prospects are good enough to justify gambling in the draft lottery.