My favorite part of the fake media drafts that we consume every day and weeks before the draft, although it is particularly striking with NFL models, is the fluidity.
It’s not that common in the NBA where Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero have practically held steady as the top three picks for Thursday’s NBA draft.
With the NFL it is ridiculous as ESPN declares every week, a “new number 1”.
How does it happen? Do they win more coupons at the launch of Chuck E. Cheese?
It also happens in the NBA, albeit more for selections like where the Bulls are at number 18.
I called a colleague about not signing up with ESPN to ask who had selected the Bulls at number 18. On Monday he told me it was Jalen Williams, the versatile Santa Clara winger. On Tuesday, he called to say ESPN had switched to Ohio State Shooting Guard Malaki Branham. We speculated that Branham may have changed his fork with his left hand during a dinner with a team to show his ambiguity, if even his ambiguity.
The Bulls have several apparent needs, such as size, especially in the frontcourt, perimeter shot and physical play. That pretty much sums up NBA basketball. So it’s no surprise that half a dozen or more players have been regularly linked to the Bulls at number 18.
The most popular pick was Ohio State striker EJ Liddell, an undersized physical striker more ready to play than Paul Millsap.
Which is another of my favorite parts of the pre-draft process. Players are generally compared to All-Stars and Hall of Famers. Few are compared to busts. If you listen to the ESPN draft broadcast with Jay Bilas, almost all of the selected players seem headed for the All-Star Game. It’s rare when there’s a hesitation, like in 2014 when Fran Fraschilla after the Toronto Raptors selected Bruno Caboclo at number 20 said he had two years left to help a team. Front offices don’t like hearing it during the night on duty. Fran is no longer on TV. Now with his fourth team, Bruno remains more than two years apart.
Jalen Williams has been popular as a Bulls pick for a while. Then there was a little bit of Tari Eason and now a little bit of Ochi Agbaji.
Here’s a look a day before the draft at some of the fictitious drafts. Which I assume will change in the next few hours.
Sports Illustrated: Ochai Agbaji
Bleacher Report: Ochai Agbaji
NBA draft room: Ochai Agbaji
Basketball News: Ousame Dieng
Basketball News: Tari Eason
Netscouts Basketball: Tari Eason
NBC Sports Chicago: EJ Liddell
Sports news: EJ Liddell
Sports 24/7: Jean Montero
Consent NBAdraftnet: Jalen Williams
Atletico: Mark Williams
Rookie Wire: Mark Williams
HoopsHype TyTy Washington
CBS Sports: These guys are smart because they have four guys to pick. The picks for the Bulls last week were Jean Montero, Walker Kessler, MarJon Beachamp and Malaki Branham. This week the same four were Jalen Duren, Kessler, Beauchamp and Branham. They seemed to add a fifth voice that Ousame Dieng chose. I like some of the CBS crime shows, so this maybe not so much for who did it, but who it will be.
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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the Chicago Bulls. All views expressed by Sam Smith are his own and do not reflect the views of the Chicago Bulls or his basketball operations staff, parent company, partners or sponsors. His sources are unknown to the Bulls and he has no special access to information other than the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited media member.