Scoring. Buckets. Offensive Production.
This season, the Bulls ranked dead last in points per game (PPG) with an average of 93.7 points. The Utah Jazz were next to last, averaging 95 ppg. Granted, former MVP and consistent 20-point scorer Derrick Rose only played 10 games this season, but scoring the least amount of points in the entire NBA for a team that is more talented than most in the league is a real problem.
With two picks in the middle of the first round, I expect the Bulls to address their scoring need with both picks, regardless of position.
T.J. Warren, a wing player from North Carolina State University, would be a great fit for the Bulls, and should still be on the draft board when the team picks at number 19.
The 6-foot-8 forward is known for his scoring ability, particularly getting into the lane and finishing. In his sophomore season, Warren averaged nearly 25 points per game and seven rebounds. He is certainly not a finished product and isn’t nearly as athletic as some other wing players in this year’s draft, but he is clearly the best pure scorer at his position in this class.
Warren, like most players coming into the league, will need to improve and adjust his game to the NBA style of play. His shooting from 20 feet and out from the basket needs to improve (shot 26.7% last season from three), as well as his free throw shooting (69.0%). Warren is an underrated defender, but his skills on that side of the court will be tested thoroughly if he lands in Chicago.
Overall, Warren is the kind of pure scorer that the Bulls desperately need. But more importantly, the team has a strong foundation of core players and coaches in place that can help Warren learn and play the game the correct way. Not every young drafted rookie gets the opportunity to grow and learn in today’s league that is dominated by young stars that are expected to perform from day one.
If the Bulls decide to draft Warren, he and Tony Snell may be battling for playing time early on next season behind/along side Jimmy Butler.