nba draft

NBA mock draft: Who Bulls are projected to pick at No. 11

From Isaiah Collier to Cody Williams, players talk strengths, weaknesses at NBA Draft Combine

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Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

NBA scouts, executives and draft observers are united in their belief that beauty could be in the eye of the beholder come June.

In a draft pool light with guaranteed starpower but potentially deep with solid contributors, this year's NBA Draft has a wide variance. One team's draft board could vary widely from another's; the 11th pick could be interchangeable with, say, the fifth pick.

The Chicago Bulls are slotted at No. 11 following Sunday's NBA Draft Lottery. Mock drafts have linked them to players as varied as Tennessee shooter Dalton Knecht to USC point guard Isaiah Collier and more.

With the NBA Draft Combine ongoing all week at Wintrust Arena, NBC Sports Chicago talked to several draft prospects linked to the Bulls. Here's what they had to say:

Isaiah Collier, G, USC

Collier said he has a meeting scheduled with the Bulls this week. Regardless of where he lands, he doesn't lack for confidence.

"I feel like I'm still one of the best players in this draft," he said. "I mean, the jumpshot didn't fall as well as I wanted it to in college. But I've been working and the shot has been falling and I'll continue to work. Reps after reps. Staying in the gym every day, putting up thousands of shots every day."

Collier said he believes that his basketball IQ and strength will translate to the next level. He said he has been a natural floor leader with an ability to see the floor well from his days playing youth basketball.

"It's a blessing being here," Collier said. "I'm enjoying the process."

Collier listed Ja Morant, Anthony Edwards and LeBron James as players he admires. Collier played with James' son, Bronny, at USC before a heart incident cut short Bronny's season and led to a turbulent season for the Trojans.

"We definitely had to deal with a lot of adversity with the season we had," Collier said. "I think it was a learning experience for me. I definitely learned a lot for the point guard position."

And, yes, Collier knows and is friends with Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Williams from their shared days at USC.

Kyle Filipowski, C-F, Duke

The big man has made Chicago his training base for weeks because his agency is based here. He even has already thrown out the first pitch before a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

"It was super cool," Filipowski said.

Filipowski said his basketball IQ and shooting range are his biggest attributes that can translate to the next level.

"Just working out here the last few weeks, I've gotten so much more confident and comfortable shooting the 3-ball at the NBA line," he said.

In fact, Filipowski said former Bull Lauri Markkanen is one of the current NBA players he admires and tries to pattern his game after somewhat. He also tries to emulate parts of Nikola Jokić's game.

"I think what's so cool is that those two players are so different from one another. But yet I have pieces of each of their games," Filipowski said. "That's why I think I'm so unique and teams can utilize me in so many different ways."

Filipowski said he loves Chicago and has drawn some pointers from Duke coach Jon Scheyer, who grew up in Northbrook.

"He tells me if I'm ever in a bad situation, just say his name and I'll be taken care of," Filipowski joked.

Cody Williams, F, Colorado

It's not often you hear a draft prospect cite a defensive-minded role player as one of the NBA players he tries to model his game after somewhat. But that mindset is what has scouts so intrigued with Williams, the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen.

"I want to be an elite-level defender no matter what. That's my main focus," Williams said after citing Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels as a role model. "His length and versatility on defense, he's picking up fullcourt and guarding one through five. That's something I can definitely be elite at.

"People don't realize the impact (McDaniels) has on the floor just disrupting plays. I think it's interesting that not a lot of people pay attention to the defensive end. I've been blessed with the size and length to be a great defender, so I'm going to take advantage of it."

Williams grew up in a household filled with Los Angeles Lakers fans, so he cited Kobe Bryant as his all-time favorite player. And he's thankful to have the influence and example to follow with his brother in the league.

"I for sure feel like I have an advantage," Williams said. "He's given me a lot of wisdom and knowledge throughout this whole process of how to get better, the ins and outs of what he did to get to where he is. I'm taken all the knowledge he's giving me and working hard to get better and attacking every rep like it's a game."

It's not a bad week for Cody: He's interviewing for his future job this week with NBA teams while watching his older brother compete in the NBA playoffs at night.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.

Dalton Knecht, G-F, Tennessee

Known primarily as a shooter, the 23-year-old said he's hopeful to use this week to showcase his athleticism and versatility. In fact, his favorite player and one he has looked up to for a long time is Kevin Durant.

"I want to showcase that I can score on all three levels, not just space the floor," Knecht said. "Playing above the rim will help and creating shots for me and my teammates too."

Knecht said he's also adept at rebounding and pushing the ball upcourt himself, something he hoped to show in the scrimmages scheduled for this week.

"My passing is another strength as well," he said.

Improving his defense and learning the pace of the faster NBA game are on his to-do list.

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