Amidst all of the chaos of the 2017 NBA Draft last night, with the dreams of many ballers becoming a reality as they hear their name called by a team, one very important trade was made. The Minnesota Timberwolves were involved in a trade for Jimmy Butler with the Chicago Bulls which involved Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn, and the Wolves number 7 pick in the draft. A lot of speculation was made regarding where the two-way superstar would end up, after we found out that Butler was on the move, although everyone assumed it would be to the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Boston Celtics.
I love this trade for the Wolves, I mean, it makes so much sense from a Big 3 sort of standpoint. Minnesota finally get that big 3 that they’ve been waiting for since picking up KAT and Andrew Wiggins, somewhere where Zach Lavine just fell short of making the trio a force in the league due to injuries and inconsistency. It’s likely that Jimmy will slide into the 2 position, replacing the Chicago-bound Lavine, which is certainly an upgrade from the 2x Dunk Contest Champion. Minnesota get an All-Defense calibre guard, who’s also able to lead the offense in a way Lavine couldn’t, as we’ve seen from his past season with the Bulls, and has built himself into one of the more clutch players in the league. His defensive ability is on another level when compared to players such as Lavine and Dunn, and, combined with his new-found offensive stardom, Butler completes the Minnesota big 3 that we’ve all been praying for. Not only do the Wolves get rid of an injury prone Lavine and inconsistent Dunn, don’t get me wrong, they’re great players, but they also pick up a top ten player in the league, who still has room to add a significant jumper which would complete his offensive game and turn him into one of the league’s best. Regardless, the Timberwolves new big 3 is about to be a terrifying force in this league, as all members, KAT, Wiggins and Butler, can compete effectively on both sides of the floor, while filling up the stat sheet consistently.
The Bulls, on the other hand, didn’t get such a great trade for their two-way superstar. I mean, they did okay, picking up two guards who have shown that they have potential if they stay healthy and become more consistent in the league. But that’s the big question, isn’t it? Can Lavine stay healthy, and can Dunn, who is still quite young, become more consistent as he’s likely to get a lot of minutes in the broken Chicago squad. I just feel that these two weren’t enough to fill the huge void that was left behind by the club’s former leader in Butler. But, if they can reach the potential that they’ve shown flashes of from their time in Minnesota, who knows, maybe they can become reliable replacements. Although, it’s unlikely that either of these two will match Butler’s current stardom, considering both of these players are truly awful on the defensive side of the court, which seems to be the trend in NBA guards over the last few years. Although, the Bulls did snatch the Timberwolves number 7 pick in the trade also.
This number 7 pick translated to Chicago grabbing Lauri Markkanen, a Finnish 7-footer who is extremely similar in frame and play style to NBA demigod Kristaps Porzingis. He’s a good pick for Chicago, and is likely to fit well into a stretch four role alongside Robin Lopez, with his ability to step out and shoot the three consistently likely to be a valuable asset to the Bulls squad, who lacked shooters last season. But, with Markkanen’s slim frame and short arms for a 7-footer, he won’t be able to slide into the 5 position as a replacement for Lopez, as he averaged less than half a block per game in college. And, while he’s proven in pick and roll defense, he’s not quick enough to guard out on the perimeter, meaning he won’t be a significant player on the defensive end of the floor. This means that Chicago have just given up one of the best all-round players in the league, for 3 offensively capable players who can’t fill space on the defensive end of the floor. So, while most may say the Bulls have picked up 3 valuable shooters and offensive threats, it’s easy to argue that they’ve given a lot more than they’ve taken, as all 3 of these players are close to non-existent on defense. Only time will tell if Markkanen can become a capable defender with his 7-foot frame, which could back up Chicago’s decision to lose Butler.