If you've been following the onslaught of NBA mock drafts this offseason, you may recall Tyler Ulis was once a very popular pick for the Chicago Bulls at No. 14.
And the funny thing about mock drafts, sometimes people have it right early, but try to get cute and/or buy into all the lies and deception NBA teams release leading up to draft night.
Why do I bring this up?
Well, the Bulls don't exactly have a point guard right now, at least one they're going to win with now or in the foreseeable future. The Bulls made a mini blockbuster deal Wednesday by trading Derrick Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, as well as Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round pick, to the New York Knicks for center Robin Lopez, wing Jerian Grant and point guard Jose Calderon.
Now the Bulls need a point guard, and it looks very likely that will be their pick at No. 14, which means Ulis is very much a possibility there. I'd venture to say it's almost certain than a PG goes here, and the decision will come down to Ulis, Notre Dame's Demetrius Jackson, or Vanderbilt's Wade Baldwin IV.
There's no question that Ulis was the better college player of that group, but his size and possible hip issue could lead to Chicago passing on him in favor of one of those other guys.
Still, getting rid of Rose has certainly increased the odds that Ulis hears his named called at 14, and it would be a best-of-both-worlds situation for him. He'd be a lottery pick while still going to a team not completely in rebuild mode while also possessing enough talent to push for a winning season and playoff berth.
It's actually kind of eerie how similar the situations were between Rose and possibly Ulis landing in Chicago. Rose went to a Bulls team in 2008 that was full of talent, had a veteran point guard (Kirk Hinrich then), and were on the verge of many postseason berths if the right pieces were found.
This time, Ulis would join a team with an All-Star guard in Jimmy Butler along with several other quality players, including Calderon, who isn't someone you want as your full-time starter, but it a great veteran who could mentor the team's new point man in Ulis.
While Ulis wouldn't necessarily be the starter as a rookie, he'd easily be getting 20+ minutes per night and be a significant contributor to a team that should be in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
And then there's the John Calipari connection. Cal coached Rose at Memphis and has remained a strong support of the Bulls guard throughout his career.
Cal also has many connections and status in NBA circles, so you know he's hounding the Bulls to take his latest point guard prodigy. There may not be a better salesman on any level of basketball than that of Calipari, so if any coach can help steer his guy to a certain team, it's Cal.
But even without that, Ulis is still someone who deserves strong consideration for the 14th-overall pick in a draft regarded by many as one of the weakest in recent memory.
Again, it's untelling where Ulis will go Thursday night, but you can't deny Chicago would be as good of a situation for Ulis to land in as he can hope for.