As March Madness is finally set to tip off today, we’ll be treated to a showcase of the nation’s best young talent. The good news here is that the Chicago Bulls have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft. The bad news, however, is that neither pick is guaranteed to convey and the Bulls may be left sitting this one out on the sidelines altogether.
Still, the front office must continue to do their due diligence in the event either pick does end up coming back to the Windy City. This means we’ll primarily be looking at players in the 1-4 pick range in case the Bulls move up in the draft lottery, as well as picks in the 14-20 range in the event the Portland Trail Blazers qualify for the postseason and convey their owed pick to Chicago in the process.
It’s also worth noting that the Bulls could also always buy a second-round pick. As we saw at last month’s trade deadline, second-rounders seem to be the hottest currency in the league right now and it wouldn’t be too difficult to acquire one if the Bulls are truly enamored with a prospect still available on the board after the first round concludes.
While March Madness is impossible to predict and I believe each and every game is worth watching, these are the players I believe are most worth your time as a fan of the Chicago Bulls.
Considering a few gems break out each year in March Madness, now is a great time for the Chicago Bulls to begin focusing in on the 2023 NBA Draft.
4. Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois
I know, I know, this may seem like pandering simply based on the team Terrence Shannon Jr. plays for and the city where he grew up, but there’s legitimate merit to his case for an NBA roster spot as well.
As the leading scorer for the Fighting Illini, Shannon Jr. has done a lot more than simply average 17.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for this team. He’s helped propel Illinois to a 20-12 record this season, continuing a streak of four consecutive 20-win seasons. Under his guidance, Illinois also ranks 24th in SRS and 30th in BPI, seemingly indicating that this is one of the country’s best teams.
Shannon Jr. is projected to be a mid-second-round pick right now, but that could certainly change if he sets the tourney ablaze. Although I’ll be rooting for Illinois in March Madness, it would help if Shannon Jr.’s stock remains low so the Bulls can swoop in and acquire a second-round pick on draft day for cash or minimal assets.
The Bulls currently have a significant lack of shooters and capable ball handlers, but Shannon Jr. could address both of those needs off the bench for this team. The Chicago-born talent transferred to Illinois after three years at Texas Tech, so it’s clear he wants to be home. If the Bulls finally decide to get in on the NBA’s second-round pick gold rush, it’s not too far-fetched a hope to think they could scoop up a player like Shannon Jr.