Bulls’ floor player comparisons for Julian Phillips and Adama Sanogo
Following the decision to send two future draft picks to Washington to get back into the 2023 Draft at No. 35, Arturas Karnisovas was quick to sing Phillips’ praises regarding how he can make an impact on the Bulls next season. “He can step in right now and probably defend on our level,” Karnisovas said. For a team in need of all the defensive talent it can get to support a system that revolves around three poor defenders in Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic, I understand the sentiment here.
However, just like we’ve seen with Alex Caruso, Patrick Beverley, Derrick Jones Jr., and Dalen Terry in spurts this past season, if you can’t threaten to hit open threes and stretch the half-court, no amount of defensive talent can compensate for what has been lost on offense.
Julian Phillips’ Floor Comparison: Dillon Brooks without the confidence
Despite Sanogo’s elite collegiate pedigree, we have seen that’s not necessarily a recipe for success in the NBA. The most recent parallel that comes to my mind is Illinois’ own Kofi Cockburn, who was a two-time All-American and led the Fighting Illini to a first-place finish in the Big Ten as a junior before declaring for the draft.
Despite Cockburn being an elite player in the NCAA, averaging 20.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, he was unable to convey these skills to the next level. As a slow and plodding big man, Cockburn wasn’t able to be an effective defender in drop coverage, which is coincidentally one of the biggest concerns with Sanogo’s game. Cockburn now plays overseas in Japan, so Sanogo would be wise to work on these areas of his games if he doesn’t wish to share the same fate.
Adama Sanogo’s Floor Comparison: Kofi Cockburn