NBA Draft analyst predicts Chicago Bulls will use first-round pick on replacement for Lonzo Ball

Chicago Bulls
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A new 2024 NBA Mock Draft points to the Chicago Bulls holding on to their selection in Round 1 and taking a gifted ball handler to replace Lonzo Ball.

While Lonzo Ball never reached the potential of a second overall draft pick, when he arrived in Chicago three years ago, he seemed to be a key part of a Bulls resurgence. Ball, Zach LaVine, and DeMar DeRozan were a formidable trio during the 2021-22 season and the team has never been the same since the point guard went down with a season-ending knee injury.

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Unfortunately for the organization, Ball’s mystery knee injury cost him the next two seasons and it is still not a guarantee he will suit up in the fourth and final year of his contract — although there is renewed hope. However, whether he does return or not, Yahoo Sports NBA Draft analyst Krysten Peek expects the team to use their top pick on a potential replacement for Ball.

In her latest NBA Mock Draft, Peek predicts the Chicago Bulls will select Serbian guard Nikola Topić. “Topić re-injured his knee last month and might be giving teams pause in the first half of the lottery. When healthy, he was one of the best passers in the Serbian league and has great size,” she wrote this week.

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Topic is a gifted ball-handler and playmaker who has outstanding talent scoring on the inside with both hands. Unlike many players today he is also exceptional when taking contact. In some ways, his game is similar to New York Knicks superstar Jalen Brunson.

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However, unlike Brunson, his shot needs a lot of work and it has led to opposing teams sagging off him on defense, which is similar to what teams have done with Ball during his career. However, while Ball is a reliable defender it is not a plus part of the Serbian’s game.

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