The Chicago Bulls are in the driver's seat.
With a little over 24 hours remaining until Draft Day 2008, the Bulls, specifically GM John Paxson and coach Vinny Del Negro, are strapped in safely and are ready to ride into the future—a future they hope will include a championship.
In terms of who the Bulls want in the passenger seat to take the ride with them, that picture is clearing up more and more. The number one pick tomorrow will be, when it's all said and done, Derrick Rose of Memphis.
The stars will align and the Southsider, born and raised, will hear his name called by commissioner David Stern. He and his family will no doubt cry tears of great joy, knowing that their boy is home to stay.
He'll come to the stage, with the crowd on its feet, and he'll be handed his uniform for his new career as the Chicago Bulls' franchise point guard, and more importantly, franchise face.
Believe it or not, though, the real intrigue to the 2008 NBA Draft for the Chicago Bulls won't begin until after they make that number one pick.
Mock drafts for the second round are quite an unnecessary process. The second round of the NBA Draft has three categories of players in it.
First are your Gilbert Arenas's of the world—second-round gems who fall under the radar and, through the course of their careers, give the teams who passed them over fits.
Second are your foreigners, or as I call them the San Antonio Specials. These are the international projects who are drafted and stashed away safely until they develop a little more.
The final and majority group of second rounders are the college players whose stock has either slipped or not moved in prior weeks. These are fine young men, but they are never drafted for any other reason than to fill out a bench. However, a small few do turn into solid rotation players (e.g. Chris Duhon, Glen Davis, etc.).
The Bulls hold the 39th pick, the ninth pick of the crap shoot known as Round Two.
NBADraft.net, probably the most venerable of NBA mock sites, has the Bulls selecting George Hill, a point guard from IUPUI. All I have to say to that is...um no.
Even if Rose's selection means the demise of Kirk Hinrich—combined with the no-doubt departure of Chris Duhon—you never back up a rookie with a rookie.
When I think about who I want the Bulls to select in Round 2, I look at ESPN's Chad Ford because it appears he's speaking my language. Ford has the Bulls opting for Ryan Anderson of Cal. Anderson is long, athletic, and can score from the outside and...dare i say it...the inside as well.
He's a guy Jay Bilas even spoke about yesterday on ESPN as a guy who should be mentioned as a pick in the 20s, not the 40s. Who wouldn't want a 6-10 forward with all-around offense to boot?
It seems the only thing Anderson needs is a little meat on his 235-pound frame, and that's easy enough to manage. Besides, it's a faster game now. He may not even need the extra weight.
If Anderson is there at 39, which is definitely in the realm of possibility, Paxson would be crazy to pass on him. The only justifiable reason to pass on him would be Aaron Gray, who was very serviceable when he had his chances and put up nice rebounding numbers in his rookie season, as well as flashes of a offensive post-game.
If Paxson does in fact pass on Anderson (which he shouldn't), I then see the Bulls either drafting an international player to stash away (Nikola Pekovic, a center from Montenegro) or a college veteran-type (Gary Forbes or D.J. White) who can provide some maturity to what was an otherwise immature 2007-08 roster.
No matter what John Paxson decides on tomorrow, he'll know full well that his decisions will have an important impact on the future of the franchise, and possibly even the future of his job.