The Bulls will pick seventh in next month’s NBA draft, after falling far from their projected number four pick in the draft lottery Tuesday night.
Coming into the lottery, the Bulls had a near 25 percent chance at earning a top two pick. The draft lottery ping pong balls fell differently, dropping the Bulls below even their initial draft spot based on record standings.
The surprise of the night came when the New Orleans Pelicans were awarded the number one pick; they had just a six percent chance at the number one pick heading into the night. Filling out the top five is the Memphis Grizzlies, the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Some major draft order movements, likely due to the updated draft lottery system, included the Grizzlies and Lakers, who both jumped significantly. But the Bulls weren’t the only team to fall, the Suns fell from their projected second pick to sixth, an even larger decline than the Bulls.
The current draft order is sure to change on draft night in June, as teams continue to vie for the sure number one pick, Zion Williamson.
The Bulls’ drop from Zion-range, a shock to all that anticipated at least a top-five pick, will put the front office in the hot seat once again. Another season of losing was riding on getting a top pick in this year’s draft. Twenty-two losses later, the Bulls are picking seventh for the third year in a row.
And although their pick was much lower than expected, there is a bit of good news for the Bulls and their fans. Three of the four top draft picks, barring trades, will be heading to teams out west and will only be facing the Bulls twice a year each. Only two top five picks, the New York Knicks at number three and the Cleveland Cavaliers at five, will be in the Eastern Conference.
General Manager Gar Forman and Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson will have difficult choices to make over the next month as they try to decide whether or not to make a trade to move into the top five. Some recent mock drafts have Cam Reddish, Coby White, and Jarrett Culver near the seventh pick.
Follow Katy on Twitter (@katyduffy_) for more Bulls news and opinion.