With only one selection in the 2022 NBA Draft (barring any trades), the Chicago Bulls will need to make the most of their 18th pick on June 23.
Last year, the front office knocked it out of their park with their pick up of Ayo Dosunmu, who somehow fell to 38th despite his high ceiling. He ended up playing a big role in Chicago’s early rise this season and looks like he’ll be crucial toward their future improvement.
To strike gold again, the front office will need to use their one shot on another promising young talent that hasn’t shown elite enough talent to be considered a lottery pick but might possess something others aren’t seeing. After all, the reigning two-time MVP was taken 41st overall.
With the draft only weeks away, let’s see what direction a couple of the major outlets have the Chicago Bulls going when they’re on the clock, starting with a wild card pick.
Jean Montero, Overtime Elite
Date of Mock: 5/12/22
In the most recent of all the mocks I looked at, SI.com’s Nick Crain had the Chicago Bulls taking 6-2 guard Jean Montero out of the Overtime Elite league.
Where Montero really excels is his presence as a floor leader and someone who can run the show with the ball in his hands. His basketball IQ is on full display on both ends of the court, although he does have his lapses on defense from time to time.
Montero might be a bit of a wild card and not worth a lottery choice, but if he is in range for Chicago at 18, he could be a name worth monitoring at the NBA Combine starting May 16th.
More realistic first-round target for Chicago Bulls
EJ Liddell, Ohio State
Sites: The Ringer, CBS Sports
The only repeat selection I came across was 6-7 forward EJ Liddell out of Ohio State. Kevin O’Connor’s mock draft for The Ringerupdated almost daily, and David Cobb’s mock from May 9 for CBS Sports both believe Chicago is the next stop for the 21-year-old.
“Liddell is a slightly more athletic version of Grant Williams,” said Cobb in his blurb. “He brings a lot of the same goodies as Patrick Williams,” added O’Connor, “except he’s older and more seasoned. Getting Williams some help with another big wing defender should be a priority.”
Defense is certainly an area in which Liddell excels, as he’s switchable onto just about everybody, which is becoming increasingly more important in the modern NBA. His 19.4 points and 2.6 blocks per game at Ohio State show what he’s capable of as a two-way player.
Should Liddell slip that far, it’d be hard for Chicago to pass him up at 18 when you consider what he brings to the table.