One-and-done in? With its makeup, this Bulls roster is not an easy fix

The Bulls have spent the last four drafts bringing in one-and-done college players. With the gap between college and NBA styles as wide as ever, and none of those picks being a generational talent, coach Billy Donovan has his hands full.

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The Bulls have been drafting one-and-done college players — including Coby White and Lauri Markkanen — in recent years. The huge differences between the college and pro games create long learning curves for the players.

The Bulls have been drafting one-and-done college players — including Coby White and Lauri Markkanen — in recent years. The huge differences between the college and pro games create long learning curves for the players.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. is still trying to understand his spacing on drop defense — a scheme he admittedly never played before.

Guard Coby White is still getting confused by his defensive checklist on pick-and-rolls.

Forward Lauri Markkanen, in his fourth NBA season, is still getting comfortable in the post.

Patrick Williams? The 19-year-old rookie forward is still trying to figure out the easiest route to the Advocate Center through Chicago traffic each morning.

These are the realities that coach Billy Donovan and his staff are working through.

College one-and-dones have been flooding into the league for years, but they seem to be coming less and less prepared, given what may be the largest style divide ever between the college game and the NBA. Sure, there are exceptions such as Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and Trae Young, who bring uncommon size, athleticism or shooting. But most one-and-done draft picks are more like Carter or White. And the Bulls have used their last four drafts to load up on them.

“I think going from [coaching]college [myself] and being up here now, there’s so much of the . . . NBA game that just doesn’t translate to college at all,” said Donovan, a longtime successful coach at Florida before the Thunder hired him in 2015. “It’s so much different. You see in college, a lot of times, these big guys that are playing near the basket, and that’s not the way the game is played up here anymore. . . . Certain guys are posting, but you don’t see the true center posting up as much anymore.

“I think there’s a lot of difficulties because of one, the widening of the lane; two, the three-point line and how deep it is; and then the fact there’s no defensive rules [in college]. So you can just stand in the middle of the lane. I think that’s why the scores are so drastically low in college basketball — because it’s really hard to score because you can load up on best players and there’s no rules, and then the three-point line is in, the lane is tighter, and pick-and-roll coverage, the way the game is played defensively, in a lot of ways there’s just no carryover.’’

Is that why the Bulls won just 22 games last season and have started this season 0-3? No, but it definitely makes their rebuild a bigger undertaking than originally thought.

“In the college game, it’s just different,” Carter said. “We don’t really worry about time management in college. But every possession really matters in the league. In college, you can kind of piss away two or three possessions and still get the ‘W.’

“It’s tough, but it’s a beautiful struggle, in my opinion. I feel like with us all going through it at the same time, we’re all going to get through this tough time all together. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We all see it. [And if] we all put the work in, we’ll all eventually get there.”

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