Continuing an already exciting offseason, this draft day deal saw Jimmy Butler and the No. 16th pick go to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and the No. 7 pick being sent to the Chicago Bulls. The T-Wolves pick up a top-20 player they can slot into the SG/SF position, while the Bulls kick-off their rebuild, adding three talented players with a lot of upside.
The Minnesota Timberwolves
Several sources believe that Minnesota won this trade big time. The T-Wolves got 3x NBA All-Star and 3x member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, Jimmy Butler. The T-Wolves did not have to give up any of their starting 5 in order to make this deal happen, making this trade a victory for them.
Butler will reunite with his former Bulls head coach, Tom Thibodeau. Coach Thibodeau could be the most influential person in making Jimmy Butler the player he is today. In the 2014-2015 season, Butler averaged 6.9 more points than the previous season, in the same amount of minutes played. Additionally, Thibodeau converted Butler into a stout defender, with Butler averaging at least 1.6 steals per game over the previous four seasons. Butler’s game has continued to advance as a playmaker. Butler’s assist total has increased every season and may continue to rise with the pool of talent he be will surrounded by next season. It will be exciting to see how Coach Thibodeau integrates Butler into the starting lineup and how he meshes with Andrew Wiggins on the wing.
Justin Patton, the No. 16 pick, was a solid pick, who will act as a backup to Karl-Anthony Towns for the Timberwolves. Patton, who comes out of Creighton, averaged a solid 12.9 points and 6.2 rebounds, while shooting 68% from the floor. Patton may also be an asset as a stretch-5, shooting 53% from beyond the arc. He also proved to be a solid defender, putting up 0.9 steals and 1.4 blocks per game in his lone college season (via draftexpress). Although he is not the flashiest pick in the draft, Patton will likely be a nice addition to the T-Wolves bench.
The Chicago Bulls
The Bulls received ultra athletic combo-guard, Zach LaVine, who finished the season averaging 18.9 points. There were high hopes for LaVine, whose season was cut short due to a ACL tear. This ACL tear will likely force him to sit for the start of the 2017-2018 NBA (via basketball-reference). A reason behind his trade to Chicago may have been how much he relied on his athleticism before the tear. This means that for the rest of his career, LaVine could be affected and tormented by this injury. He may return with far less quickness and jumping ability. At this point, the Bulls can only hope that LaVine has a full recovery and returns to his regular self.
Kris Dunn was also a very important player in this deal. Dunn, the No. 5 selection in the 2015-2016 draft, came into the NBA seen as a top prospect. He was only given 17 minutes a game last season, due to his bench role behind Ricky Rubio. Dunn scored less than 4 points a game last season, a number expected to really increase with more opportunities in Chicago. Still, NBA fans are yet to see the upside from Kris Dunn, who will most likely begin the season as the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls. However, Dunn has huge potential as a defender, playmaker, and scorer, so Bulls fans should start getting excited about seeing him play.
Lauri Markkanen, the No. 7 pick in the 2017 draft, will help the Bulls at PF and C, a rather weaker position for them. Markannen averaged 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 3-pointers a game at Arizona. He will immediately provide the Bulls with offence and an impressive inside-outiside game at his position. He works effectively off pick-and-rolls and may be able to become an important target for Kris Dunn, on the wing (via NBAdraft). Still, there are questions about his ability to defend at the NBA level since he had trouble covering quicker, more explosive players, in college.
Overall, both teams got an exciting package of players that will allow them to transform their franchises over the next couple years.