Wednesday, May 23, 2007

No Such Luck

Long shots were all the rage at last night's NBA draft lottery. Unfortunately, the Bulls weren't one of the teams cashing in. The Portland Trailblazers and Seattle Sonics each overcame long odds to jump to the top of the draft. Aside from the joy that I take (bizarrely) in seeing Bill Simmons and the rest of the Celtics' fan base suffer, I lament that the Bulls were an Eddy Curry tip-in from having Portland's odds of winning. Oh well.

The ninth pick remains an insanely valuable chit given this year's deep draft. Rumors are that Roy Hibbert will withdraw from the draft, which is a shame. I thought an athletic front line of Hibbert, Ben Wallace and Tyrus Thomas blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, and throwing outlets to Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni was probably the Bulls' best bet to be something unique and very, very good.

Nevertheless, good options remain. I suspect the Zach Randolph rumors are nonsense. Still some kind of sign and trade packaging Andres Nocionin and whoever the ninth pick is for Randolph would make a modicum of sense. Portland will have Greg Oden and Lamarcus Aldridge to man the middle, and Nocioni would allow them to part ways with Darius Miles, which the Blazers would apparently love to do. The Bulls meanwhile would have Wallace, Randolph and Thomas up front, with Deng, Sefolosha, Gordon, Hinrich and Duhon in the back court. That team contends for the Eastern Conference title.

A more realistic option, I believe, is the Bulls moving up, probably with the Celtics, to take Yi Jianlian. John Paxson apparently loves the tall, versatile Chinese forward. He is big, and can score from anywhere on the floor. Yi will not be a foreign bust. I also think he'd fit in well with the Bulls high paced attack. If Thomas can guard centers, and there are few in the league right now big enough and skilled enough to be a problem, then he and Yi could make a dynamic duo for the future. Thomas, Yi and Deng might be the most athletic, exciting, and talented front line in the NBA one day.

But what would the cost be to move up? And is it worth paying when a player meeting the Bulls' immediate need will likely be available at nine? The Bulls need a guy who can settle on the block and score in the half court when teams slow it down and take away the Bulls pick and roll/pop game. Spencer Hawes is the most gifted post scorer in this draft, and he's a really good one at that. Everyone compares him to Vlade Divac. Don't you think Divac would have helped this team? Plus, he's a good enough face-up jump shooter to play pick and pop with Hinrich too. Again, Wallace, Hawes, Thomas, Deng, Nocioni, Gordon, Hinrich, Sefolosha and Duhon is the rotation of a legitimate contender.

The ping pong balls may not have bounced the Bulls' way last night. But that's no reason not to be very excited about this off-season, and the team's future.


Blogger Jeff Novak said...

I for one am glad we didnt get one or two, these were my thoughts prelottery. I think Spencer is a great fit.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Oops Pow Surprise said...

"Thank God we're not getting Oden or Durant" is the language of fools, Novak.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I am sure a lot of bulls fans would be PISSED if they ended up with Durant or Oden.

The Bulls would suck for the next 10 years.


4:38 PM  
Blogger Derrick said...

Am I the only Bulls fan who thinks Ben Gordon is our best trading option?
He's a terrific scorer, but very streaky. He is not a very good ballhandler. He is a liability on defense, especially against the bigger guards that the Bulls will continue to have to face in the postseason (Detroit, NJ, Washington, etc).
I think a package of Gordon and the 9th pick would be enough to get Randolph. If you added next year's #1 and Duhon, you might be able to squeeze Garnett even.
I'm just not sold on Gordon's ability to be a consistent enough scorer to offset his defensive and ball-handling liabilities.

5:30 PM  
Blogger msquared said...

To call Gordon a "liability" on defense is quite misleading. Sure, if you pair him up against a big, bruising guard like Chauncey Billups or Dwayne Wade, he'll get worked. But that's what Kirk Hinrich is for, isn't he? Gordon's best on defense when using his quickness on the ball or chasing people running through screens.

And while I think it's established that Gordon can't consistently carry a team with his offense, he's still a damn skilled player, and the more other options we have on the court, the better he'll be. As Deng develops and draws more attention, and even more importantly, if the Bulls get a low post threat or two (this could be hawes, it could also be a developing deng or thomas), Gordon's value immediately skyrockets, because he can just bomb away.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read shit like this and I'm glad John Paxson is the GM and not some of you. Giving up Gordon AND the No. 9 pick for Zach "Cancer" Randolph? Are you serious?

12:48 AM  
Blogger Criminal Appeal said...

Greg Oden, especially, would have been a perfect fit. I suspect his offensive game will surprise us when he hits the NBA because I think his injuries and lack of conditioning really hampered him last season. Kevin Durant would have required some shuffling, but you do that for a singular talent like Durant. Nevertheless, I really think Hawes is a pretty solid consolation prize.

As for trading Gordon, he became a pretty reliable scorer this year, which shouldn't be totally obscured by his struggles against Detroit. And, yes, he struggles from time to time defending, especially against big guards. But, yes, that's part of Kirk Hinrich's job, and that is definately what we got Thabo Sefolosha for.

As for Zach Randolph: I think its a mistake to disregard a player who contributes as much as he does just because the media says he's a locker room cancer. Stories like that are easy fall-backs for writers who don't want to seriously analyze performance. If he can be acquired affordably, Randolph could be a great fit for the Bulls. But I agree that I wouldn't be willing to pay too high a price. This team can become a legitimate contender just through the continued development of Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas, and Thabo Sefolosha; and the addition of a post scorer like Hawes.

10:03 AM  
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