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NBA Speed Dating: Chicago Bulls

Would Tyrese make sense on the Bulls?

Tyrese Haliburton is a young bachelor, in terms of NBA employment. A slew of potential suitors are lining up nicely for him in the NBA draft lottery. His partner will be determined on draft day, November 18, 2020. For now, we’ll speed date around the NBA teams finding the best fit for our beloved point guard, and which team he could end up with, for years to come. So spritz that cologne, floss those teeth, and work on your pick up lines. It’s speed-dating time.

We chatted with Vijay Vemu of Blog a Bull.

1- Billy Donovan has come on as the coach in Chicago and certainly bringing a new mindset and philosophy with him. With the collection of talent they already have and now Donovan added to the mix. Does this team need a guy like Tyrese Haliburton?

A: I believe so, I think Haliburton would be a good fit on the Bulls. Chicago needs a point guard who can get other players easy shots and run an offense. Haliburton showed he can not only do that but can also thread the needle with his passing. He seems very adept at finding little pockets of space and pushing the ball through there into the hands of a teammate. With Zach LaVine being Chicago’s main perimeter threat to get to the rim, having a guy like Haliburton, who can shoot, will help. He will have to be ready for kick-out opportunities and that is key when defenses collapse on LaVine. This could open up shooting opportunities for players such as Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, and even Wendell Carter Jr. himself. The offense will still most likely run through LaVine but Haliburton gives the Bulls another guy who can handle the rock and initiate offensive sets.

Donovan seems to be a coach who adjusts his system to his team’s strengths so I’m sure he will find a way to fit in Haliburton in the mix. With Tomas Satoransky as the starter, he might not get heavy minutes to begin with but he will get more and more playing time as the season goes on. Haliburton would be an absolutely amazing fit if Chicago was on the cusp of contenting for an Eastern Conference title but still he would be a super solid addition to the Bulls young core.

2- What would you classify as the Bulls biggest need? Us Iowa State guys know Tyrese is very versatile in his game but is it necessarily fitting in the need of the Bulls immediately?

A: The Bulls biggest need heading into the draft is one of two things and they sort of overlap. It’s wing or guard depth and a lead ball handler. White was fantastic in his rookie season but he showed that he is more of a shooting guard than a point guard. The Bulls need someone who get guys in the right spots along with getting their own offense from time to time. Or Chicago could choose to address their lack of wings in the draft and find their small forward of the future. Otto Porter Jr. will be a free agent next summer and Chandler Hutchison is in year three of his NBA career but hasn’t shown any signs of being a starting small forward in the league. Denzel Valentine rode the bench for much of last season so his future with the Bulls will be up in the air after the season ends as well. With that in mind, the Bulls really don’t have any concrete options behind Porter Jr. in the depth chart. A rookie could easily come in and get minutes as the back up three for Chicago. So those are the two pressing needs for Chicago at the moment, I would argue getting a lead ball handler is the bigger one but finding a potential star wing is up there as well.

In terms of draft strategy, Chicago chooses to stay put at number four, they should be looking to go with the best wing or guard player available at that time.

3- We have seen Billy Donovan be pretty successful using two point guards last season in Oklahoma City. Coby White showed sparks last season as a scorer but not so much as a distributor. Would a guy like Tyrese Haliburton and Coby White coexist in the same format that Donovan ran in OKC?

A: Obviously Haliburton and White are not Chris Paul and SGA but I do believe the duo could be a good fit in Chicago. White is a dynamic scorer who can hit jumpers off the dribble, a key skill in today’s NBA, and can get hot from the field quickly. He’s looking to be a decent shooter and on defense he’s shown signs of being a solid team defender. White will struggle in one on one matchups defensively due to his lack of wingspan but will rotate over to the right places to provide help or to cut off a passing opportunity.

Haliburton doesn’t seem to be a guy who creates off the dribble in terms of jump shots, which is White’s bread and butter (or at least that is how it was his rookie year, we will see how he improves his game in his sophomore campaign). But like with LaVine, he will be there for kick-out/spot up opportunities. Haliburton also seems to be a decent defender so playing those two together won’t result in Chicago leaking points from the perimeter defensively. However a downside in a Haliburton-White backcourt offensively would be the lack of drives/scoring at the rim. Neither player gets to the rim often enough for them to be considered a threat to go past defenders into the lane. Teams will know this and force both players to shoot and take a contested shot or pass it off to a teammate. But we will see how Haliburton and White adjust their games moving forward. White has shown that he isn’t a true point guard and Haliburton’s skillset is of a player who can be a good ball handler in the NBA along with someone who can run an offense. I do believe a Haliburton and White can not only co-exist but be a decent enough duo on both sides of the floor to where it’s not a negative when both are in the backcourt for Chicago.

4- As a Bulls fan myself, the last 20 years have been increasingly frustrating. Now with Arturas Karnisovas taking over the front office, it feels like a ton of bricks has been lifted off the Bulls shoulders. Now the real question everyone wants to know. How far are the Bulls truly from competing in the playoffs in the east?

A: I think Chicago has a solid roster and even with Jim Boylen as the head coach, they showed signs of nabbing the 8th seed despite crumbling right before the season was shut down. Obviously there are holes in this Chicago roster no doubt about it. Their ceiling at the current moment is a 6th to 8th seed in terms of being a playoff team. Given how the past few years have gone, getting into the postseason itself would be a huge victory for Chicago. However, in terms of actual playoff contenders, which I take as competing for a chance to go to the Finals, I would say the Bulls are about two pieces (aka stars) away. Yes, that’s a lot but that’s just the way it is with Chicago at the moment. They have a nice roster of good young talent but none of those guys are really in the star category as of yet. Compared to teams like Milwaukee, Miami, Toronto, Boston, and Philadelphia, the Bulls are still a bit behind those teams in terms of having a solid shot at beating them in a seven game series. Things have changed for sure with a new front office and it’s an exciting time to be a Bulls fan. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t work to do with this roster.

5- Would you be ok with the Bulls moving up? Would you be ok with the Bulls moving back? Needless to say I don’t think any of the options are off the table.

A: I do agree that none of these options are off the table for Chicago in terms of what they will do with the fourth overall pick. Either staying put at four and taking the best player available or trading down to acquire more picks and assets would be the moves I would be ok with. Trading up, in all honesty, would be a huge risk for Chicago. Assuming LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards are the top two prospects of this class, the Bulls would ideally be trading up for either of them. I’m not too high on either prospect in terms of thinking that Chicago should be willing to make a deal with the Wolves or Warriors to take either one of them. Now if they fall to No. 4 then I would have no qualms about it but the price to move up into the top three seems like a steep one. Chicago would obviously have to not only give up number four but also most likely a player on their young core along with more picks. For me that seems like too big of a haul to give up to move into the top three. There are a ton of solid prospects who will be there at four for Chicago (like Haliburton!) if they choose to stay put. While their may not be one true superstar prospect in this class, there are still a lot of good options for Chicago to choose from. Trading down works too if they feel that there isn’t a guy they like enough to take at four and want more picks back. But trading up would feel like too big of a swing for the Bulls to make