2008 NBA Draft Round Table: Chicago Bulls No. 1 Pick
Obviously, this article is here to answer the obvious question that has been on the minds of Bulls fans everywhere.
Did Paxson really just hire Vinny Del Negro as head-coach? Really, come on Pax, I know a story’s going to come out in which you let go of Vinny because you don’t want to ruin your friendship and hire a real head coach.
All kidding aside, we all know the reason why I have assembled some of the finest NBA minds for this discussion. The most important move of John Paxson’s GM career will occur tonight as he chooses between Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley for the first pick in the NBA draft.
Before March Madness, Beasley was a lock to go number one overall as he put up ridiculous stats as a freshman at Kansas State, even better than the freshman phenom of last year’s draft, Kevin Durant.
However, during the Big Dance, Derrick Rose exploded in the Memphis Tigers run to the Final Four, instantly skyrocketing his draft value, as everyone was enamored by the thoughts of a stud point-guard running wild in today’s NBA. (See Steve Nash, Deron Williams, and Chris Paul)
It started out as tightly contested battle, but Rose has picked up more momentum than Barack Obama after Super Tuesday and looks like he’s headed to Chi-town to be the hometown savior.
Can Rose lead the Bulls back to the promised land last seen during J.C. (Jordan Championships)? Or are they making a mistake by passing on the prodigious talent of Michael Beasley?
I sat down with four dashing NBA oracles to find out the answer: Andrew Kneeland, Joe Willett, Sam Wenk, and Eric Blasco.
Andrew Kneeland: Derrick Rose
I would say that Chicago has to go with Derrick Rose. Not only is he a hometown boy, but Chicago fans are calling for him. He's not the worst pick either. He is a great scorer, and will instantly provide numbers as soon as he is drafted. Rose also just received another endorsement from coach Mike Krzyzewski. I don't see how Chicago can go any other way.
Joe Willett: Derrick Rose
Everybody loves a great point guard, and Rose is just that. The Bulls should follow the example of the Suns, Hornets, and Jazz by grabbing a PG to help distribute the ball. He isn't a great shooter just yet, but neither was Chris Paul coming out of college.
The shot can be taught, the instincts can't. Rose is going to be able to distribute the ball to Deng, Gordon, and the inside players to help spread the defense. I have seen that he is going to be the next Jason Kidd, and I don't disagree with that statement.
Sam Wenk: Derrick Rose
A leader on and off the court and will be the face of the Bulls franchise for the next ten years. Rose was able to take Memphis to a near undefeated season and helped them reach the NCAA Championship game.
Remember though, Rose is only 19 years old and is still known for his mass consumption of gummy bears. The Bulls can slowly integrate Rose's game into their system and allow him to blossom into the super star point guard John Paxson hopes he can be. The next Chris Paul or Deron Williams? Only time will tell...
Eric Blasco: Derrick Rose
The Chicago Bulls fortuitously find themselves in the predicament of which top-tier draft prospect they should select with their number one overall pick in Thursday’s draft. However, the choice is easier than it seems. Despite Chicago’s gaping hole for a post player, Michael Beasley hasn’t displayed the maturity or the leadership needed to carry a franchise to the Promised Land.
Arrogant and brash at Kansas State, Beasley often made boastful claims that weren’t backed up. Plus, Beasley had the tendency to disappear in games when he wasn’t the main focus of Kansas State’s gameplan.
Kirk Hinrich is expendable and should be packaged with Ben Gordon out of town. If Rose is as good as scouts say he is, the Bulls will have their starting point guard for the next decade.
Alright, so it turned out not be that much of a discussion, as everybody picked Derrick Rose to be the Bulls pick. To make it fair, I’ll play devil’s advocate, and say that the Bulls should draft Michael Beasley
I don’t understand why everyone is selling on Beasley just because he has a personality. He has better stats than Durant, playing in the same conference and on a weaker team, and yet he’s not receiving the same love as Durant did last year.
Why? People think Beasley is brash because the man isn’t afraid to speak his mind, unlike Durant who did all the right things last year, by basically not saying anything before the draft. If you watch the Rookie, you’ll see a fun-loving character, but also a man who works very hard at his craft.
It is true like Eric said, that Beasley made a boastful claim of beating Kansas last year. However, he did back it up, as Kansas State upset the then-unbeaten Wildcats at home. In their next game at Kansas, the Wildcats lost, but it wasn’t Beasley’s fault as he put up a whopping 39 points and 11 rebounds.
In terms of personality, Beasley is an ideal fit inside a Bulls locker room that is sorely lacking confidence after last year’s disappointing run. The Bulls are also missing a vocal leader ever since Ben Wallace was traded to the Cavs.
Sure Joakim Noah yaps, but he doesn’t even deserve to talk since he doesn’t know how to shoot a basketball. Chemistry is a huge factor in any sport, and Beasley would definitely add to the chemistry of the team because of his infectious personality.
The “experts” have also gone south on Beasley’s draft stock because of his height. The NBA listed his official height, as 6'8" and 1/4, less than an inch shorter than Durant. He is also twice as muscular than KD, and will be more effective than Durant in the post, who is skinnier than a toothpick.
He’s 6'8" and 240 lbs, yet people are acting like he’s a midget. I remember another gifted and brash PF, the Round Mound of Rebound, Charles Barkley who was only 6’4, yet he was one of the greatest players of all-time.
Don’t forget another 6'8" PF with personality, the Worm, Dennis Rodman, who was one of the greatest defensive players of all-time. I’m not saying he will be as good as Barkley or Rodman, but being 6'8" is certainly not a barrier to becoming a great PF in the NBA.
(How about the Bulls last No. 1 pick, another 6'8" PF, Elton Brand, who Bulls fans have regretted trading for the last seven years.)
He’ll also crash the boards, improving the Bulls measly +0.4 rebounding differential. Also, he’s ambidextrous, which is not just a cool sounding big word, it means he can use both hands equally. That’s an exceptional quality for an NBA player to have. It’s really hard to guard a player if you don’t know which way he’s going, just look at Paul Pierce.
Even if you place him at SF, the Bulls can trot out an impressive line-up of Noah/Thomas, Gooden, Beasley, Deng, and Hinrich. This would leave the team with a solid bench of Thomas/Noah, Nocioni, Sefolosha, Gordon (if he is not traded), Hughes (see Gordon), and Duhon.
You could even slowly bring him off the bench, and have Deng and Hughes starting at the 2 and 3 spots. If Beasley is drafted, the Bulls don’t have to make any moves, which is a scenario right up Paxson’s alley. (See Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant)
If you draft Rose, Paxson has to trade Hinrich and obtain a post-up player in return. The only good one available is Brand, and if Paxson doesn’t obtain him, the Bulls are stuck with a plethora of guards, and no inside presence. This would leave the Bulls with the same exact problem they’ve had for the last seven years. (Coincidentally, it began when they traded Brand away)
As Bulls fans vehemently can attest to, Bulls fans sorely need an inside presence. (If your not a Bulls fan, you can find out more here).
Even if Beasley plays SF, he has the offensive skills to play inside and draw multiple defenders. This would leave open shots for shooters like Deng, Gordon, and Hinrich, finally giving the Bulls a legitimate offense to go along with their already strong defense.
The major issue that worries me about Rose is the fact that he’s a hometown kid. It makes for a great story, but it adds a lot of pressure and distractions to a player already living under the weight of being the number one pick. It’s what doomed Eddy Curry’s career in Chicago, and Bulls fans don’t want to go down that road again.
Alright, that’s my case for Beasley, even though it looks like the Bulls will draft Rose. In an ideal world, I would love to have them both. Since Miami is looking for a PG, give them Hinrich, Gordon/Hughes, Thomas/Noah, and next year’s number one for Beasley.
The Heat will get the PG they want in Hinrich, add another shooter in Hughes/Gordon, and get a young big who still has lots of potential (wink) in Thomas or Noah. The Heat could trot out an opening-day line-up of Hinrich, Wade, Marion, Haslem and Thomas, a potentially devastating line-up in the East.
Either way, the Bulls will get a quality player. Well, unless the ghost of Jerry Krause strikes again, and the Bulls end up with both Lopez twins as the Chicago Twin Towers Part two. The horror! Just kidding, that couldn’t possibly happen, right?
We'll find out tonight.
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