1. The Chicago Bulls are still a long way from being a championship contender
In reality, winning the lottery would’ve been a shortcut for the Bulls. It would’ve been a glorious one, but a shortcut nonetheless. Zion embodies everything a franchise stuck in a rut needs to get kickstarted. Presumably, the New Orleans Pelicans are going to benefit from the former Duke sensation’s high-voltage energy.
For the Bulls, it’s back to the drawing board. Really, it just means they’ll have to put in the work necessary of any team that wants to stay out of the lottery in the future. With the top pick, the Pelicans probably already have their draft card filled out. For Chicago, the work is just beginning.
For a return to the playoffs, or even just to playoff contention, the Bulls need a lot of help. The roster is talented, but it’s still very young. This draft is just part of the equation. Free agency is another. Chicago native and current Los Angeles Clipper Patrick Beverley embodies what this team needs as a fierce and feisty veteran point guard who will light a fire off the bench. Pair him with a young lead guard and the key building blocks are in place.
The biggest lesson from Tuesday’s event showed how far the Chicago Bulls still are from contention. The dream scenario of securing either of the top two picks has vanished. Whoever dons a Bulls hat on draft night will arrive with much more scrutiny and far less fanfare than Zion or Ja ever would have.
What’s clear, though, is no matter whose name is called on June 20, he’ll only be part of the solution, not the answer everyone was hoping for.