THE 4TH (PICK) IS WITH THEM

Kar­niso­vas ex­cited de­spite con­sen­sus that it’s a weak class

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - JOE COW­LEY BULLS BEAT jcow­ley@sun­times.com | @JCow­leyHoops

Typ­i­cal Bulls.

They fi­nally get in­vited to the pen­t­house party af­ter years of hop­ing and pray­ing, only to find out that in­stead of a who’s who of elite prospects on the guest list, it’s just — who?

The Bulls had a 32% chance to jump from the No. 7 spot into the top four of the NBA Draft Lottery, and they did just that, hit­ting right on No. 4 Thurs­day.

But don’t tell Bulls ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball op­er­a­tions Ar­turas Kar­niso­vas that this is a weak class of prospects. He said months ago that he felt all the so-called ex­perts were miss­ing the boat.

That stance hasn’t changed. “We’re go­ing to se­lect the player that is go­ing to help us next year and into the fu­ture, for sure,’’ Kar­niso­vas said.

“Hope­fully at four we’re go­ing to get a very good player.’’

He’s also stick­ing to the no­tion that with mov­ing parts from other or­ga­ni­za­tions join­ing the Bulls’ front of­fice, as well as the left­over guys from the old regime, there will be more in­for­ma­tion to help make the best pick pos­si­ble.

“We’ve al­ready been meet­ing ev­ery week, dis­cussing the draft board,’’ Kar­niso­vas said. “Ob­vi­ously, it’s go­ing to help mov­ing from seven to four, but all the ad­di­tions in the front of­fice are go­ing to bring the best prac­tices from their teams, and we’re go­ing to set­tle on what’s go­ing to work for us. “That’s go­ing to be the strat­egy.’’ And there’s also the idea of pos­si­bly mov­ing up or down, es­pe­cially with this draft of­fer­ing up such a small di­vide be­tween a player picked No. 3 over­all com­pared to a player grabbed with the 13th pick.

“There’s a bunch of things that hap­pen in the draft,’’ Kar­niso­vas said. “Are you go­ing to move up? Are you go­ing to move down? Who knows? There’s go­ing to be a lot of con­ver­sa­tions with other teams, and it’s an ex­cit­ing time.’’

One team to keep con­vers­ing with is the War­riors, who sit at No. 2 over­all. They were rav­aged by in­juries and de­fec­tions en­ter­ing this sea­son but are poised to make an­other run at a ti­tle next sea­son with many of the fa­mil­iar faces.

They don’t need youth; they need proven com­modi­ties.

Could there be a match there if Zach LaVine wants out, even with the re­cent coach­ing move? Un­likely, but that call has to be made.

GETTY IM­AGES

Bulls ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball op­er­a­tions Ar­turas Kar­niso­vas says there’s plenty of tal­ent out there.

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