Analyst: 2021 NBA Draft Features a LaVine-Like Athlete


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James Bouknight shoots against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half in the first round game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

What the Chicago Bulls participation in the 2021 NBA Draft will look like remains unclear, but one prospect is earning comparisons to their All-Star guard.

Yet it’s unlikely the Windy City welcomes a rookie into the fold this season, with their first-round pick likely headed to the Orlando Magic as a part of the trade for Nikola Vucevic.

As of now, Chicago’s slated to have just one pick in this year’s draft, their own second-rounder.


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The Next LaVine?

In his latest mock draft for The Athletic, Sam Vecenie went through and made picks for all 60 first and second-round selections, and provided fit commentary for the initial 30.

At 13th overall, he had the Golden State Warriors select guard James Bouknight out of Connecticut. In his description of the 20-year old, Vecenie mentioned Zach LaVine as a comparison:

Bouknight is an athlete more in the vein of Zach LaVine, a smooth, floating explosiveness mixed with an authoritative finishing skill. He’s not quite as elite an athlete as young LaVine, but he’s going to throw down some monster dunks that raise eyebrows as a rookie.

Bouknight is coming off of a strong sophomore campaign, where he averaged 18.7 points and 5.7 rebounds. He’s the 20th ranked prospect on ESPN’s Top-100.

And instant offense is his calling card, according to Vecenie:

In general, the best skill Bouknight brings to the table is his shot creation. He averaged nearly 19 points per game this past season. He has a strong first step and has real finishing craft around the basket. He hit 62.7 percent of his shots at the rim in half-court settings, in part because he was able to get a lot of shots at the basket off cuts due to his intelligent off ball movement.

There are certainly parallels in Bouknight’s game to that of LaVine, who earned his first All-Star appearance this season behind a career-high 27.5 points per game average.

Nothings certain about the Chicago Bulls future. Zach LaVine’s only under contract through next season. If they feel he could be on his way out, it never hurts to start looking into skillset replacement.


With the 38th Pick in the 2021 NBA Draft…

Sam Vecenie has the Chicago Bulls taking Luka Garza with their second-round pick, currently slotted at 38th.

The 6-11 big is 22 years old and coming off of a senior campaign where he averaged 24.1 points and 8.7 rebounds.

Chicago could no doubt use some depth at the five, particularly with Daniel Theis’s future still up in the air.

Garza was actually dubbed “a poor man’s Nikola Vucevic” by nbadraftroom.com, ironically. He’s the 55th ranked prospect on the aforementioned Top-100 list at ESPN.


Updated Bulls Playoff Odds

After their latest loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Chicago Bulls drop to 26-39.

That’s good for the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference, and three and a half games back of the 10th seed Washington Wizards.

Five Thirty Eight has the Bulls’ playoff chances at less than one percent.

Elsewhere, Tankathon.com has Chicago’s remaining schedule as the 10th most difficult in the entire NBA.

Action Network gives them just a 10 percent chance to land in the 10th seed, and punch their ticket to playoffs.

As well as a 47.7 percent chance to finish 11th, and a 39.6 percent chance to finish 12th.

So the odds are stacked against the Chicago Bulls, who are 4-6 in their last 10.

Seven games to go.

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