Bulls

Joe Cowley’s annual ‘NBA Mock Draft Surely to Go Wrong by Pick No. 2’

Maybe the days of playing it safe on draft night are truly over for the Bulls.

They displayed an aggressive all-in style last year at this time, sending Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves and finally initiating a rebuild, so it’s possible that general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson will continue swinging for the fences.

Let’s hope so because playing it safe really wasn’t working out for the duo.

Well, we’re all about to get that answer.

But if Wendell Carter Jr. is sitting alongside Grayson Allen at the team’s introductory news conference next week, the Bulls will have reverted to their conservative ways.

So here it is, the annual “NBA Mock Draft Surely to Go Wrong by Pick No.  2.”

1. Phoenix: C Deandre Ayton, Arizona

The big man hasn’t worked out for any team other than the Suns. No-brainer here, right?

2. Sacramento: G Luka Doncic, Slovenia

A second ballhandler to push the pace, as well as a player with the highest basketball IQ in the draft.

3. Atlanta: F Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State

Hearts break in Atlanta with Doncic gone, but Jackson is a great consolation prize — a high-ceiling, two-way power forward.

4. Memphis: C/F Mohamed Bamba, Texas

Do the Bulls jump up here and take on $50 million of Chandler Parsons for the next two years? Likely not.

5. Dallas: F Marvin Bagley III, Duke

Crazy that he’s still on the board, as the Bulls again might make that aggressive phone call.

6. Orlando: G Trae Young, Oklahoma

The series of mistakes at point guard continue for the Magic as they chase the Young hype.

7. BULLS: F Michael Porter Jr., Missouri

The medicals on Porter are clean, the talent is there and maybe Bulls fans start warming back up to Forman. Maybe.

8. Cleveland: G Colin Sexton, Alabama

How do you fill the LeBron void? You don’t. Ever. But a young, fearless point guard is a starting point for a new era.

9. New York: G/F Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky

Could end up being the best two-way lead guard in the draft. Still, it’s the Knicks, so they’ll screw it up.

10. Philadelphia: F Mikal Bridges, Villanova

The perfect type of player for “The Process.’’ Can focus on defense first and grow into the offense.

11. Charlotte: C/F Wendell Carter Jr., Duke

This organization needs a purging. His “Airness” was a great player, but he’s an awful talent evaluator.

12. Los Angeles Clippers: F/C Robert Williams, Texas A&M

The Clippers are attempting to rebuild on the fly, and Williams is a good starting spot.

13. Los Angeles Clippers: G Lonnie Walker IV, Miami

Donovan Mitchell-like athleticism, especially if he finds some sort of consistency.

14. Denver: F Kevin Knox, Kentucky

All this roster needs right now is depth, especially at small forward.

15. Washington: F Miles Bridges, Michigan State

The backcourt needs some help up front, and Bridges adds scoring and toughness.

16. Phoenix: G Aaron Holiday, UCLA

How do you keep your newest big man happy? Get him a guy who gets him the ball.

17. Milwaukee: C Mitchell Robinson, Chalmette H.S.

The Bucks love to gamble on talent, and no player is as big a gamble as Robinson. The ultimate high-risk, high-reward selection.

18. San Antonio: G Elie Okobo, France

A French point guard to the Spurs? How could they say “non.’’

19. Atlanta: G Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech

An off-the-charts athlete, Smith brings another defensive element to the Hawks.

20. Minnesota: G Khyri Thomas, Creighton

A tough, defensive-minded player who has a developing offensive game? Tom Thibodeau will love him.

21. Utah: G Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova

Ricky Rubio is entering the final year of his contract, so it’s time to groom the next point guard.

22. BULLS: G Kevin Huerter, Maryland

The Bulls need outside shooting, especially off the bench, and that was Huerter’s major at Maryland.

23. Indiana: G/F Troy Brown, Oregon

Can guard multiple spots, and he’s a player who will do all the dirty work on both ends of the floor.

24. Portland: F Dzanan Musa, Bosnia

A great offensive-minded player, his defense has been catching up … slowly.

25. Los Angeles Lakers: F Jacob Evans, Cincinnati

Will have a great chance to learn behind LeBron.

26. Philadelphia: G Jerome Robinson, Boston College

A guard who can space the floor and doesn’t need the ball in his hands.

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27. Boston: G De’Anthony Melton, USC

The Celtics will need backcourt help defensively after they let Marcus Smart walk.

28. Golden State: F Chandler Hutchison, Boise State

Go ahead and get his ring size.

29. Brooklyn: F Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State

The Nets continue copying the Milwaukee model, adding length at every position.

30. Atlanta: G Gary Trent Jr., Duke

After adding defense, the Hawks grab a floor-spacer in Trent Jr. and are still in the lottery next year.