Front-office changes could give Bulls advantage in draft — eventually
It’s uncertain when and how the NBA Draft will go down, but the Bulls could have one of the more prepared front offices around. Four heads are better than one.
It’s a below-average draft.
And we’re being kind in describing this incoming class the NBA has to sift through.
On top of that, there are all the impediments the coronavirus has added to the mix: less film to watch because of the shortened 2019-20 college season, predraft camps likely canceled and the inability to get prospects into facilities for individual workouts and interviews.
You’d better have a really good scouting department in place or some really lucky dice to throw against this wall.
Then there’s the question of when this draft will take place now that everything is on hold.
As if new Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas didn’t have enough challenges on his plate already.
“Well, it’s obviously difficult,’’ Karnisovas said last month. “I am actually a part of all the calls that the league organizes. We’ve had numerous discussions. But at this time, there are no timelines.
‘‘We’re going to keep our staff busy. We’re going to evaluate players on video. We’re going to discuss them. We’re going to rank them. We’re going to do all the things we can do, expecting the draft is going to be on June 25 until a further announcement is made.
“In our profession, everything’s connected to a timeline. And now, not having that timeline, it’s obvious everybody’s in shock. You always have the trade deadline, the end of the regular season, playoffs, combine, draft, free agency on the schedule. And all those things are now in question. So it’s very difficult, but we’ll try to do our best to keep everybody busy during this hard time.’’
That’s what Karnisovas and members of the Bulls’ new-look front office have been doing by all accounts.
There have been frequent Zoom meetings with the scouting departments — college and pro — with new general manager Marc Eversley or new vice president of player personnel Pat Connelly in charge of the proceedings.
With the housecleaning at the top, new blood means different intel from multiple organizations, so the Bulls will benefit from that variety of perspectives. Karnisovas and Connelly were with the Nuggets before they were hired, Eversley was with the 76ers and JJ Polk came from the Pelicans.
That’s four heavy hitters bringing in three batches of intel on the draft class and various ways to best decipher that information.
Then add in the members of the Bulls’ scouting department — many of whom are still in place with Karnisovas still evaluating — and there’s another accumulation of information.
So, for example, Memphis 7-1 big man James Wiseman could be tricky to evaluate for some organizations because he was suspended by the NCAA after only three games. Four organizational views coming together as one, however, could paint a more complete drafting picture.
The same could be said when it’s free-agency time.
“The luxury that we have with our current hires is that we’re coming from a lot of different programs,’’ Karnisovas said. “And we can take the best scouting practices and how we look at evaluating players. How we’re looking at player development is we’re coming from a lot of different teams, so that’s a luxury, I think, to bring the best practices in place, so we can implement that, and we can build that.
“So we’re going to share our responsibilities, we’re going to hear each other out and make a decision.’’
Measuring up: Mayoral field swells to 11 with Lightfoot, Garcia, other late filers — but now battle begins to cut that number down