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Bulls Tue Jun 16 2009
After an entertaining if too-short run in the Playoffs this past season that culminated with an anti-climactic Game 7 loss in Boston in the first round, the Bulls are looking to reload in this month's NBA Draft; armed with two first-round selections, what will the Bulls be looking for? Tailgate looks into the future with some, ahem, lucidity...
First things first: Chicago, in spite of drafting Derrick Rose last year and some guy named Jordan back in 1984, does not have a track record of awesome or even adequate draft selections. Check the facts and convince me that Eddy Curry was the best the Bulls could've done with the number 4 overall pick in '01. Or, of course, there's the infamous Draft of 2000: the Bulls with three!!! first rounders, pulled Marcus Fizer, Chris Mihm and Dalibor Bagaric; guess which one is still in the league?
It's Mihm and yeah, he's doing a great job of warming up the bench for another heralded draft bust, Darko Milicic*, down in Memphis!
With that said the management have done a very respectable job with the selections in recent years, plucking Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Ty Thomas (via a trade w Portland), Joakim Noah and the aforementioned Rose last year. So what should the Bulls be looking for this year? Well, if recent history is any indicator Chicago is going to be looking for lengthy 3s or 4s (in the mold of Tyrus or even Noah) but with the 16th and 26th selections Chicago probably won't have the benefit of getting who they want (Dejuan Blair if you're keeping score at home.) So the Bulls will more than likely going after the player best fitting that damnable phrase of "best athlete on the board" type-selection. Likely candidates include former Duke Blue Devil/future NBA bust: Gerald Henderson. Former Tar Heel: Wayne Ellington, who I sorta like as a back-up 2 guard. I don't think he has the quickness to be an amazing producer on either end of the court, but he could be very adequate in the Bulls offense and wouldn't be a liability on defense like Ben Gordon. Another (very annoying) option for either the 16 or 26 pick is Arizona's Chase Budinger, who has bust written all over him. I mean, we're talking about an undersized 3 OR an oversized but burdensomely slow 2 guard, who's entire game is predicated on jumping and shooting**. His game is cotton candy soft, his speed is that of a 1987 Buick with three wheels, he has not-so-fluid movement, along with an inability to get separation from defenders spells easy-pickings for would be NBA defenders.
An entertaining wild card pick might be Florida Gator/Greece National Teamer, combo guard, Nick Calathes. If he's still available in the second half of the first round the Bulls might do well to take a gamble and roll with the 6'5", 20 year old, who at the worst could be a distributor off the bench and at his best could be a suitable two guard to complement Rose at the point.
For now Chicago's front court is in great shape, sure, they could use a little bit more offensive production from Noah, Brad Miller and Tyrus. But, the Bulls have to be hoping that either an adequate "spark plug" type reserve point guard falls into their lap, or they get lucky and find an oversized shooting guard with decent range and the ability to move the ball if he doesn't have the shot.
We'll see what Gar Forman and Paxson decide on June 25.
*Aka: The Human Victory Cigar for his vital role in the Pistons' championship run of 2004.
** "predicated on jumping and shooting." That's analysis, people!