Bulls’ drafting of Matas Buzelis could signal a rebuild: Instant reaction, analysis

2024 NBA Draft - Round One
2024 NBA Draft - Round One / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The Chicago Bulls entered the 2024 Draft with the 11th pick and plenty of questions hanging over them.

The Bulls may have tipped their hand with the trade of Alex Caruso, which landed them 21-year-old Josh GIddey, a sign that more changes may be coming.

WIth DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine's futures with the team in doubt, this draft was a chance for the Bulls to take the first step in a new direction.

They may have taken that step by selecting Matas Buzelis with the 11th pick. Buzelis was mocked to go much higher by most draft experts and there was speculation that the Bulls may have to trade up to get him.

Buzelis, who grew up in Chicago, is a jumbo, athletic wing who can make plays. He needs to tighten up his handles and his long-range shooting is a work in progress, but he is a high-upside prospect, which is something the Bulls desperately need.

Buzelis is definitely a project, not a guy who is necessarily going to make the Bulls better right away, so this pick may be further indication that the Bulls are going in a new direction.

What does Bulls' selection of Matas Buzelis mean for DeMar DeRozan?

The Bulls were reportedly high on Buzelis, who also has connections to Arturas Karnisovas. At his point, he does his best work in the mid-range. He's 6-foot-10 and can jump out of the gym, can protect the rim and pass, but he's not going to space the floor right away with his jumper.

He doesn't sound like a guy who is a great fit with DeMar DeRozan, who is now the odd man out on the Coby White, Josh Giddey, Patrick Williams (pending) and now Buzelis timeline, all young players who theorectically fit together.

Buzelis wants to be in Chicago and has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, so Bulls' fans should be excited to get a high-upside guy. He could end up being a bust, but it's better than reaching for a potential role player who might be a better immediate fit.

It's a sign the Bulls may finally be going in the right direction. It's also a sign that they are hoping to keep next year's protected pick, as Buzelis is going to take time.

The question for the Bulls is what is next after drafting Matas Buzelis: Instant reaction, analysis

If this is a sign that the Bulls are embracing some kind of rebuild, then this could spell the end for DeMar DeRozan in Chicago.

I'm sure the Bulls will continue to explore the market for LaVine, but if a palatable market doesn't develop, he is an interesting fit with a young group that is now very athletic.

The Bulls may decide to try and play two timelines by keeping DeRozan as a bridge between the present and future, but given that talks have reportedly cooled, this could finally be the rebuild fans have been asking for.

If the Bulls can keep their top-10 protected pick in a better draft next year to add to this group, they will have the start of something, so it may be worth their while to embrace a youth movement and try build around a young core and future cap space.

We'll know more soon, as DeRozan's extension deadline is rapidly approaching. For now, welcome to the Bulls to Matas Buzelis. We'll have more as it develops.