Options for Bulls with No. 11 pick in 2024 NBA Draft

Duke forward Kyle Filipowski has already gotten a taste of how passionate Bulls fans are.

Ben McKeown/AP

Duke big man Kyle Filipowski got a taste of how passionate Chicago sports fans are when he walked out to the mound May 5 to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field.

‘‘Needless to say, there were still plenty of boos when I walked out,’’ Filipowski said Tuesday at the NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena.

The Bulls have the No. 11 pick in the draft next month and have many needs to address, with shooting at the top of the list. Filipowski, who has been training in Chicago, said he has a meeting scheduled with the team this week.

As a freshman with the Blue Devils, Filipowski primarily played power forward alongside center Dereck Lively. He moved to center as a sophomore this past season, which was new for him.

‘‘I was required to do a lot more,’’ Filipowski said. ‘‘[I was] trying to be more of a rim protector, getting more of the rebounds, but also just being more present in every possession. But just showing teams that I can do whatever I can to help the team succeed goes a long way.’’

Filipowski averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a sophomore. He said he’s more comfortable playing power forward, which would mesh well with the Bulls, given that center Nikola Vucevic will be entering the second season of a three-year, $60 million extension.

It’s becoming viable to play two big men in the NBA as teams look for players with more versatile skills. Filipowski held up well defensively at Duke, averaging 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals this past season. He can switch out on the perimeter and hold up well against post players.

The next step in Filipowski’s development is to become a knockdown shooter. He’s adept at attacking closeouts, but if he can become a true threat from the outside, it’ll open up his game. Filipowski said he compares stylistally to big men like Lauri Markkanen and Nikola Jokic.

2024 NBA Draft
In the NBA Draft Lottery, the Bulls came into Sunday with a 77.6% chance to stay at No. 11, and that’s exactly how the balls bounced. The Atlanta Hawks will have the top pick.
Joe Cowley’s first draft forecast looks at lottery winners and losers, and whom the Bulls should take at No. 11.
The NBA Draft Combine takes place this week at Wintrust Arena.

Wing help

For the Bulls to avoid another middling season, they must add shooting to their roster. The threat of the three-pointer opens up driving lanes and makes the floor less congested.

Running a more perimeter-oriented system and acquiring more shooters should be a priority after the Bulls finished 20th in three-point percentage (35.8%) this season.

Baylor guard Ja’Kobe Walter is a 6-5 shooting guard known for his ability to make shots. Though he was up-and-down with the Bears (34.1% from three-point range), Walter’s consistent mechanics and good free-throw percentage (79.2%) are strong indicators he could be a reliable three-point shooter in the NBA. He said he has an interview with the Bulls this week.

‘‘Everybody was saying that I couldn’t really create my own shots, but before college, if you saw the tape, that’s what I was always doing,’’ Walter said. ‘‘I was just in a different role last year. I want to show people that my handle has gotten tighter.’’

Colorado wing Cody Williams is another intriguing option for the Bulls. At 6-8, he has the physical attributes of a modern wing. He said he’s been working on his jumper, which is paramount for his development.

The team could use another wing that can defend multiple positions. Williams said he’s been working on his shot in Santa Barbara and is confident it’ll continue to improve.

“With my size — being a big guard — it just allows me to see defenders and make plays, especially with my length,” Williams said. “Also, [the spacing] will allow me to show my versatility and get downfield more.”

With his size, Williams can become a threat if he develops a pull-up game, which is a necessary shot for any self-creator in the NBA.

Guard play

Despite having guards Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu, the Bulls might be in a position where they draft the best player available. USC guard Isaiah Collier said the Bulls are one of the teams he’s scheduled to meet with this week.

‘‘I feel like I’m still one of the best players in this draft,’’ Collier said. ‘‘I mean, the jump shot didn’t fall as well as I wanted it to in college, but I’ve been working and the shot has been falling. So I’ll continue to work.’’

Collier shot only 33.8% from three-point range with the Trojans, but he took the ball to the basket aggressively, consistently getting into the paint. He’s a strong, physical player who could complement White and Dosunmu in a three-guard lineup because of his court vision and decision-making.

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