Bulls Rumors: Deni Avdija Seen by Some as CHI's Preference over LaMelo Ball

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 3, 2020

Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv's Deni Avdija controls the ball during the Euro League basketball match between Olimpia Milan and Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv, in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

The Chicago Bulls could have a chance to select LaMelo Ball with their first pick in the 2020 NBA draft, but there's another player they might have their eye on. 

Per Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, Israeli wing Deni Avdija "could be the playmaker the Bulls covet" in this year's class even if Ball is still on the board at No. 4 overall.

There is growing speculation that Ball could fall out of the top five, with O'Connor noting the 19-year-old has "struggled in workouts and interviews" with teams leading up to the draft.

Another potential issue is Ball's skill set doesn't necessarily fit with what the Bulls roster needs. He's seen as a top prospect by draft analysts, including B/R's Jonathan Wasserman, because of his size as a point guard (6'7") and his passing talent. 

One of the concerns for Ball's transition to the NBA is his shooting ability. He shot just 37.5 percent from the field in 12 games last season with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia.

Wasserman has Avdija ranked as the sixth-best player in the 2020 class: "With a strong, 6'8" frame, Avdija's skill set checks boxes, including transition ball-handling, pick-and-roll playmaking, downhill driving and set shot-making. And though he isn't the quickest laterally, Avdija competes defensively, getting low into a stance around the perimeter and using his body to bang in the post."

Coby White, Chicago's first-round pick in 2019, looks ready for a bigger role after finishing last season strong. The North Carolina alum averaged 24.7 points and shot 40.7 percent from three in 10 games after the All-Star break. 

Tomas Satoransky is a quality backup point guard who has shot 36.9 percent from behind the arc for his career. 

White and Satoransky joined Chicago under the previous regime led by general manager Gar Forman and head coach Jim Boylen. 

The Bulls are entering their first season with Arturas Karnisovas as vice president of basketball operations and Billy Donovan as head coach.    


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