By Richard Kagan
The Chicago Bulls made a safe and strong pick at the No. 7 slot to bring Wendell Carter, Jr., to Chicago.
The Bulls had Michael Porter, Jr. on the board yet opted not to take him and went with a complement to Lauri Markanen. Carter, a forward/center adds rebounding skills and rim protection at the hoop and he is a finisher. Markkanen has great ball skills and a soft three point touch. It spells good things for this young Chicago roster.
Carter played at Duke and was part of the one-two punch with Marvin Bagley III in the front court. Jay Bilas, the ESPN analyst, called Carter “an absolute workhorse.” He played just one year at Duke before he declared himself for the draft. He averaged 13.5 points, 9,.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 26.8 minutes per game.
At 6′ 10″, Carter brings size and athleticism to the team.
Chicago also drafted Chandler Hutchison of Boise State for its 22nd pick. Hutchison, a 6’7” wingman, is athletic and can produce points. He averaged 20 points and 7.7 rebounds his senior year. He also had 7.5 assists. This pick gives the Bulls some depth and offensive punch. He moves well without the ball and should figure in Fred Hoiberg’s offense.
Hutchison is the first Boise State player to be drafted in the first round in the NBA draft.
Overall, this first round was a solid one for Chicago. They didn’t gamble but brought in some solid players who can contribute to the Bulls offense immediately. There were games last season that were almost painful to watch. The Bulls just didn’t have the talent base on its team. With Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn missing multiple games, the task fell to F Lauri Markkanen to pick up the slack. Markkanen made the first team for Rookies last season. Now he will have some help. The Bulls will be more competitive. There should be less routs and closer games.
Wendell Carter Jr. brings a winning pedigree to the Bulls who are in a transition and rebuild.