Trae Young makes his case to be a Bull as draft intrigue grows
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Oklahoma point guard Trae Young said all the right things Thursday.
After his private workout for the Bulls at the Advocate Center, the shoot-first, ask-questions-later Young praised Michael Jordan, gave a shout-out to Derrick Rose’s ‘‘beast-like’’ high school career at Simeon and sold himself as ‘‘someone different, someone that everybody would like.’’
What he didn’t do was grow. He’s still 6-foot and change in his bare feet. He didn’t have a chance to show that he has any defense ability, which was a big knock on him in his one season with the Sooners. Finally, until he’s actually in someone’s camp and going head-to-head against NBA talent, there’s no way to gauge if he lacks athleticism at his position.
‘‘I think everybody has things people want to look at and things like that, and I think that’s an area of concern for people,’’ Young said of his size. ‘‘My job is to go out there and prove that it’s not. I mean, that was a concern for people coming into college, and I didn’t let that be a factor.’’
He also responded to critics who have been picking on his defense.
‘‘I don’t think there’s really a way to improve defensively going 1-on-0 [in these workouts],’’ Young said. ‘‘Work on my body, continue to work on my speed and just show from Day 1 that I’m going to change the narrative. That’s my goal and my job — to change the narrative on that.’’
The Bulls and general manager Gar Forman, who handled most of the heavy lifting in scouting the prospects for the NBA Draft on Thursday, have to hit a home run if this rebuild wants to move forward. The Bulls have the No. 7 and No. 22 picks in the first round.
And what they need to figure out with Young is whether his ability as a point guard and long-range shooter can translate from college to the NBA, where soft, undersized point guards end up playing overseas after they’re exposed.
Just in case things weren’t cloudy enough for the teams in the lottery, it was reported that forward Michael Porter Jr. — also a prospect the Bulls have done a ton of homework on — had to cancel his second pro day because of muscle spasms in his hip area. Porter missed all but a few games with Missouri last season after having back surgery.
Porter was considered a top-two pick in this draft when he entered college last fall, but now there’s a lot of uncertainty about where his value is.
And the Bulls still have some concern about the work habits point guard Kris Dunn has shown early this offseason. Multiple sources told the Sun-Times last week that the coaching staff was less than impressed with Dunn so far this summer.
Dunn was a workout warrior after the Bulls acquired him from the Timberwolves in a draft-night trade for Jimmy Butler last year. But with his second season in the books, he reportedly was ‘‘shortcutting’’ his way through May and early June enough that the idea of the Bulls drafting a point guard is back in the picture.