3. Julian Phillips
Although the Bulls entered the 2023 NBA Draft without a pick to their name, a last-second trade with the Washington Wizards netted Chicago the No. 35 pick in exchange for two future second-rounders. Considering this pick will almost certainly be higher than either of the two future seconds, this was a deal that was easy to get on board with for most fans.
The Bulls ended up using this pick to select Julian Phillips out of Tennessee. In his freshman season with the Volunteers, Phillips averaged a relatively unremarkable 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. But what he lacked in statistical production, he made up for with his defensive intensity ability (3.8 DBPM) and ability to draw fouls. 36.5% of all of Phillips’ points scored came via free throws, knocking them down at an elite 82.2% clip from the charity stripe.
The Bulls will be counting on Julian Phillips to provide much-needed depth at the forward positions.
It’s no secret that Julian prides himself on his defense and versatility. Standing just shy of 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot wingspan, Phillips’ athletic profile will allow him to be utilized in a multitude of situations from the jump. He seemed acutely aware of this in a post-draft presser as he prepares for Summer League action.
Unfortunately, we have yet to see Phillips take the court for Summer League action just yet. As he has yet to officially sign his contract with the Bulls, he has remained sidelined for now. This could be a sign Chicago isn’t done making trades and needs the roster space, or it could just mean the Bulls are still discussing contract terms — either as a member of the full-time roster or on a two-way contract.
Hopefully, we’ll see Phillips suit up before tonight’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. If he sits out again tonight, his next chance will be on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings.