The 2017 NBA Draft was filled with tons of moves from a variety of teams but none was bigger than Jimmy Butler being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 5-man deal.
8th Pick (Lauri Markkanen - Arizona)
16th Pick (Justin Patton - Creighton)
Let's go through what Chicago's getting first. Last year's 5th pick, Kris Dunn, didn't get a ton of playing time behind starting guard Ricky Rubio for Minnesota this past year. Tom Thibodeau is very similar to Larry Brown in how he handles NBA rookies. There's obvisouly a learning curve for rookies coming into the league and Thibs seems very reluctant to play these guys through the growing pains. Dunn has oodles of potential with his combination of athleticism, defensive prowess, and his ability to facilitate with his drives. Dunn showed flashes of the player that he can eventually grow into but didn't get much of a played just over 17 minutes a game, averaging 3.8 ppg/2.4 apg/2.1 rpg. These aspects of his game that he struggled with college are still there with his long distance shooting (28.8% 3FG) but I think he can improve those with some hard off-season work.
Dunn will be behind NBA veteran Rajon Rondo but I think he can benefit from Rondo as their games seem to actually be very similar. Rondo is uber-athletic and has historically struggled shooting the ball. I think he can help Dunn adapt at the next level. Dunn will at least get more of a chance to play with the younger direction that Chicago seems to be headed in.
Zach LaVine has transformed himself into an exciting player with real scoring ability, averaging 18.9 ppg last year before tearing his ACL. Reports are that he is on schedule and will make a full recovery.
The Bulls used the 8th pick in the draft on Arizona 7-footer Lauri Markkanen. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but a big game named Lauri isn't exactly striking fear into anyone if you ask me. The big guy, originally from Finland, has some range for a big guy that stretches out past the three point line. He connected on 69 (nice) threes last year, which was the most made 3-pointers by a 7-footer in the last 20 years. That's a nice stat, but I'm not sure how many 7-footers he's really going up against in made 3-pointers, so it's not much of a sample size. He looks pretty slow off the dribble to me but has a nice looking shot.
Minnesota gets three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler. A true two-way player who has made three second-team all-defense squads. Last year, the Marquette product averaged 23.9 ppg/6.2 rpg/5.5 apg and made a bunch of clutch shots at the end of games. The fact that the Timberwolves lost the most games in the NBA after leading by 10 or more, makes him even more of an impact player for the team. He slips right into the 3-spot and him and Andrew Wiggins on the wings give you some outstanding perimeter defense. KAT as an anchor and Rubio playing the role of distributer round out this team really well. Everyone seems to have a role for next year's T-Wolves.
My favorite part might have been the response from one of Butler's trainers...I think he might not like the Bulls front office, but what do I know.
If that wasn't enough, somehow Minny managed to convince Chicago to also send over the 16th pick in this year's draft. I have no idea how they swindled Chicago out of that one. If Chicago's plan is to get younger (and it's not like Jimmy Butler is old anyway), then what are they doing sending out first round draft picks? Minnesota drafted Creighton's Justin Patton who reminds me a lot of Marcus Camby in his range, athleticism, and frame. He's not the same defensive player as Camby but he only just turned 20 last week and will have time to fill out his body over the next couple of years as he learns defensive schemes from freaking Thibs, one of the best guys to learn D from in the NBA.
I'm calling it right now that Patton will be a better pro than Markkanen.
Overall, I think Minnesota handily won the trade but I'm excited to see what Kris Dunn can do when given a much longer leash and playing time.
Also, that Kris Dunn Bulls jersey is going to be absolute FIRE.