3. Jarace Walker, Houston
We move from second-round territory to a projected top-10 pick at the very minimum here, so the Bulls will almost certainly need to win out in the draft lottery if they want to land Houston’s Jarace Walker. Although a few players at the top of the draft appear locked into the top few spots, Walker headlines the next group of prospects looking to break into the top 3-5 picks.
Walker averages 11.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for this well-rounded Houston squad that prefers distributing the ball over letting one player take on the bulk of the offensive load. What he lacks in offensive output, however, he makes up for with efficient shot-making and exceptional defensive ability. Walker currently maintains a 4.3 box plus/minus on both ends of the court and has the intangibles necessary to become a valuable two-way player in the NBA.
Standing 6-foot-8 with a 220-pound frame, drafting a player like Walker would finally grant the Bulls a player with the size to hold down the power forward slot full-time. Walker possesses many of the qualities that made me so high on Tari Eason just last year, or why Jerami Grant was an often rumored trade option for Chicago to explore in the past.
A strong performance from Walker in the tourney could help him vault up draft boards, but a poor showing could just as easily have teams looking elsewhere at the top of the lottery. As the most sought-after prospect on the top-seeded team in the Midwest region, all eyes are sure to be on Walker. Whether or not the freshman can live up to the pressure is one of the most interesting storylines worth following leading up to this year’s March Madness.