The Bulls won their tiebreaker with the Kings and now also own the 22nd pick from the Pelicans after the NBA conducted random drawings Friday to break ties for draft order.
The Bulls and Kings each own an 18.25 percent chance to move into the top three and a 5.3 percent chance to win the No. 1 overall pick at the May 15 draft lottery in Chicago. If neither team — nor any slotted in the eighth through 14th lottery slots — moves up, the Bulls will pick sixth.
The lowest they could draft is ninth. There’s a 77 percent chance the Bulls draft sixth or seventh. The Pelicans’ pick, acquired in the Nikola Mirotic trade, could have been as high as No. 20 if that tiebreaker had broken at its most advantageous.
No matter what, it’s an important draft come June 21.
“We’re confident we will find two players we like,” executive vice president John Paxson said at Thursday’s season-ending news conference. “There’s talent; (getting it is) on myself and my staff. We’ve done a lot of work, but you get into deeper things with players once the pre-draft camp starts (in May) and the interviewing process (begins).”
Paxson said the Bulls need to “look at the wing position” but later added that talent trumps all. Like many franchises, the Bulls historically have relied on the best-player-available drafting philosophy. The most glaring example came in 2015, when the Bulls focused mostly on point guards in a draft deep at that position and then selected Bobby Portis at No. 22 because they were surprised and pleased the forward dropped.
“Not that positions are going by the wayside, but the lines are blurred,” Paxson said. “You no longer really have center-power forward; you need versatility. Our game has changed that much. We can use versatile players, guys (who) have length, size and a shooting component.”
Nice touch: David Nwaba supplied a pizza lunch this week for multiple behind-the-scenes staffers, everyone from strength and conditioning coaches to members of the ticketing and community-service departments.
Nwaba, a restricted free agent, quietly had a strong season. The Bulls have said they’d like to re-sign the athletic guard.
High standards: Zach LaVine said he’d grade his season a “C” because he’s “never satisfied with whatever” he does. LaVine said he planned to take a short break before beginning offseason workouts that will focus on basketball, not rehabilitating from left ACL surgery.
He also addressed the possibility of the Bulls making the 2019 playoffs.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t because we’re talented enough,” LaVine said. “This summer is big for all of us. Individually, I get the full offseason to look at things I did well, even going back to last year in Minnesota, and improve on conditioning. I need that 100 percent consistency of legs, jump shot, handles (and) finding spots on the floor.
“I’ll sit down with (general manager Gar Forman and Paxson) and (coach Fred) Hoiberg and figure out the exact spots I want to be in so there’s no confusion. We’re going to be all good on those parts.”
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