The Bulls’ front office is no stranger to falling short of expectations.
So there better be a Plan D if Year 3 of the rebuilding program doesn’t find its way back onto the tracks.
The 2020 NBA Draft doesn’t have a Zion, but what it does have is a number of point guards for teams interested in that market. It’s an aisle of the department store that the Bulls could very well be shopping in come June.
LaMelo Ball, Theo Maledon, RJ Hampton, Nico Mannion, and Cole Anthony. One Bull is acquainted with the last name on that list.
Not only did Anthony take over the guard duties from Coby White at North Carolina, but they competed against each other at the AAU level for years.
“He’s everything that was advertised,’’ White said on Saturday. “Good, athletic, strong, can knock it down, gets it done defensively, rebounds the ball.’’
The 6-3 Anthony has shown off all those skills in the Tar Heels’ three games. He has averaged 27.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists, and White is more than taking notice.
Impressed? Yes. Surprised by the freshman? Not in the slightest.
“I would say no,’’ said White when asked if he were shocked by the point guard’s numbers. “It’s there for him. Coming in [to UNC], he was the man. He knew that in order for them to be good, he’s going to have to go and play, and coach is going to have to let him rock. Coming in, it’s his team. He’s doing a good job of leading them. He’s real vocal and gets the job done.’’
No wonder NBA scouts are already drooling.
Anthony has been compared to a poor man’s Derrick Rose just because of his athletic ability. With the new weighted lottery system and the inconsistent direction the Bulls seem to headed in, could the franchise pick back-to-back UNC products?
It’s not as if they don’t have a need at that position.
Tomas Satoransky has had some moments, but he doesn’t seem to be the permanent solution at the point-guard spot moving forward. Zach LaVine likes to assume the point-guard duties late in games, but he still makes shaky decisions. Then there’s White, who looks to be more two-guard than lead guard in both his style of play and his mentality.
Anthony would seem to be the perfect solution to a lot of problems that have plagued this organization since the rebuild started.
“It should be,’’ White said, when asked if Anthony’s game could smoothly translate to the NBA levely. “He loves playing in space, and he’s strong and fast, so it should be good for him.
“One key thing is he knows how to create his own shot and knock it down. At this level that’s a big factor.’’
More PG talk
White watched Kyrie Irving growing up, so he would have liked the opportunity to share the court with him Saturday. That didn’t happen with Irving being held out by the Nets, but that didn’t stop White from talking about Irving.
The main topic? Don’t even try and compare their games. They both like to score but that’s where the similarities end, White said.
“No, he’s different,’’ White said with a laugh. “His game is unique. Most people say he’s the best ballhandler in the world, and that’s just not my . . . I can’t play like him. Growing up I liked to watch him play, but I knew his game, we’re not really similar.’’