At last month's draft combine, two executives interviewed by the Tribune were under the impression that the Suns, drafting sixth, had promised to select White. But that chatter has died down over the last few weeks, particularly with some scouts split as to whether the 6-foot-5 White is more a scoring guard than a facilitating one.
With Paxson trading for Lauri Markkanen's draft rights and selecting Wendell Carter Jr. at the aforementioned two previous No. 7 picks, Hayes may seem duplicative to some. But there's genuine intrigue for him, sources said.
Though raw, having just turned 19 last month, scouts say the 6-11 big man runs the floor well and projects to be a potentially elite rim protector. Though his mere 10 points per game in his lone season at Texas came mostly from putbacks and dunks -- he shot a ridiculous 72.8% -- his shooting form while connecting on 74% of his free throws shows promise.
The deep free-agent class at point guard could nudge the Bulls back to their -- and, really, many franchises' -- philosophy of drafting the best player available. Darius Garland, this draft class' top-ranked point guard, is widely expected to be off the board by No. 7, though he also had been Linked to the Lakers at No. 4 and the Pelicans, the new owners of that pick, likely don't need him.
The Bulls also own a second-round pick at No. 38.
Drafting the best player available and addressing the remaining needs -- including one more shooter -- via free agency would fall in line with Paxson's oft-stated patient approach to the rebuild. It also would place the onus back on significant internal improvement, which management remains optimistic for in regards to Markkanen, Carter and Zach LaVine.
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