It is very hard to watch an NBA trade and think “hey that was fair.” Most of the time it is a look into the future versus a look at what you need right now.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls pulled off a trade on draft night that might be closer than people think. Minnesota received Jimmy Butler and the number 16 pick in the draft. Chicago received Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the number seven pick which they used to draft Arizona center Lauri Markkanen.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that this was an even trade. Chicago traded away an (established) all-star and didn’t receive one back. The package of young talent they received is note worthy.
Arguably the best shooter in this draft class. The 7’0″ native of Finland averaged just over 15 points and seven rebounds per game while shooting a robust 42.3% from three point range. He has a big frame but plays weak in the post.
His game is more suited to be a “stretch four” in the NBA. That will fit head coach Fred Hoiberg’s system just fine. He will take some time to adjust but if he can find his rhythm the Bulls have their answer at the power forward position.
The two time NBA Slam Dunk champion is already a household name. A mere third or fourth option in Minnesota, he is already talking like a kid ready to take the reigns in Chicago.
In an interview with the Pioneer Press, LaVine had this to say: “I’ve always wanted to be an all-star, wanted to be the dude that can help lead the team.”
In his third season he averaged 18.9 points per game shooting around 38% from long range for yet another season. His season was cut short by an ACL tear after 47 games. Barring any set backs from that injury, LaVine has a chance to be the main option in Chicago.
His length, ball handling skills and immense athleticism is what the Bulls are looking for. If he matures and find a way to get to the free throw line more, he will be the legitimate 20+ point per game all-star that he thinks he can be.
Dunn was a physical specimen coming out of Providence. A tall point guard at 6’4″ with a strong upper frame. He is long and able to defend multiple wing positions.
Dunn is a good ball handler with good court vision. He is not a great shooter, a weakness that scouts thought would improve as his NBA career goes along. He had one year in Minnesota and he did not get a chance to showcase his talent.
Coming to Chicago, he will have a chance to learn the game from another tall defensive minded point guard in Rajon Rondo. He should definitely see more playing time wearing a Bulls uniform.
This is all based off of potential. Having a talent like Jimmy Butler puts you ahead of most teams but would it ultimately take you to the top? A trade like this will not guarantee you a trip to the NBA Finals. The trick is getting your team three more chances to have at least one superstar that could help you to the NBA Finals.