The 2018 NBA draft is in two days and let me begin by stating that I firmly believe that the Chicago Bulls should trade there first two picks in order to acquire a pick in the top three. Due to this situation not appearing likely, although, last year’s draft-day trade came as a surprise, I will conduct this two-selection mock draft in a fashion that anticipates the Bulls inaction to move both picks.
Pick No. 7 – Michael Porter Jr, F, Missouri
Before Michael Porter Jr. even entered college, he was regarded as a future top-10 pick coming out of Nathan Hale High School. When he entered college, he was considered the unanimous No. 1 overall pick before even playing a game. A series of injuries derailed Porter Jr.’s collegiate career, allowing him to only play in three games, so there is a lot of skepticism as to whether or not the Missouri native will even be selected in the top-10.
I am here to say that there is no way that Porter Jr. drops out of the top-10, and if the Chicago Bulls are fortunate enough to acquire his talents at the No. 7 selection, they shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. At 6’10, 211 pounds, with the ability to handle the ball and stretch the floor from deep, there is not another prospect in this draft that has the ceiling that Porter Jr. possesses. He is the exact prototype that appears to be the new rave in the association today with guys like Ben Simmons, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kevin Durant being regarded as must-haves on any legitimate contending team.
While the lack of experience at the college level is concerning, we’ve seen guys with similar paths overcome that lack of experience and injury, and still get drafted very highly in light of that: see Kyrie Irving.
Pick No. 22 – Chandler Hutchinson, F, Boise State
Here’s where things get interesting. I know I know, if the Bulls were to draft Michael Porter Jr., why the hell would they use another first round selection on a guy who’s skill set is so similar to the previous? Wouldn’t this pick be kind of redundant? Well, drafting Hutchinson would help relieve some pressure off of Porter Jr., if he’s not fully healthy the first season.
As a No. 7 selection, you will be expected to produce and produce early. While it is more probable than not that Michael will be full go by the start of the season, his lack of playing competitive basketball as of recent, can slow down his return process. Chandler Hutchinson could see playing time early in the season if Porter Jr. isn’t ready, and this could help him develop his game and confidence right away. At 6’7, 196 pounds, Hutchinson is not as long as Porter Jr., but his ability to handle the ball up the floor and consistently hit the shot from mid-range draws parallels between the two. Hutchinson has seen his production grow tremendously throughout his time at Boise State, as his senior year stats saw him average 20.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg respectively. Hutchinson was also efficient with his scoring as he shot 47% from the field and 36% from behind the arc.
In the best case scenario where both Porter Jr. and Hutchinson are ready to step in and perform immediately, they wouldn’t necessarily take away from one another’s playing time. As the small-ball lineup is becoming more valued where teams look to generate lineups with more ball handlers that can space the floor, it is certainly possible that we could see both first round picks on the court together. A small lineup of Kris Dunn (6’4), Zach Lavine (6’5), Chandler Hutchinson(6’7), Michael Porter Jr. (6’10), and Lauri Markkanen (7’0), doesn’t seam as small when you put their heights on paper. This could be a realistic starting lineup if the Bulls are willing to sacrifice a few rebounds for a faster tempo with ball handlers at every corner of the court.