The Chicago Bulls had a successful season in 2010-11 and exceeded almost all expectations by winning 62 games and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Through outstanding coaching from first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau, the team came together more quickly and better than anyone could have imagined, including management.
However, the ECF revealed what Bulls fans feared all year... that the Bulls are at least a shooting guard away from truly contending for a championship.
Since the final seconds of Game 5 of the ECF, Chicago management has been on notice that the Bulls need to do something to inject life into the shooting guard position and alleviate some of the scoring and playmaking burden on Derrick Rose's shoulders.
Sure, Keith Bogans played admirably as the starting shooting guard this past year and played great defense, but that was just not enough.
Though hitting an occasional three-point shot did keep some defenses honest, this Bulls team needs more play making and consistent scoring out of its shooting guard.
Chicago needs a two guard who can play defense, but more importantly it needs someone who can create his own shot and take scoring pressure of Derrick Rose.
These Bulls need a player who does more than knock down an open three. They need an offensive-minded player who makes defenses respect the three-point shot while also fearing that a one-on-one defender will be taken off the dribble and the Bulls guard will create for a teammate, finish strong at the rim or draw contact and get to the free throw stripe.
This article provides a comprehensive list of potentially available shooting guards that the Bulls should consider in order to take that final step to become a title favorite.
First things first though, the Bulls need to elect not to pick up Keith Bogans' team option before July 10 and save the $1.728 million owed for his 2011-12 salary. Bogans had a solid year as the Bulls starting shooting guard and is a lock down defender.
However, the Bulls are in a win-now mode with the contracts of Derrick Rose and Omar Asik expiring at the end of next year with big pay increases expected and with Taj Gibson due for a big raise the following year.
The Bulls need a shooting guard who can contribute offensively now and who is either a veteran who comes cheap or is young and in the long-term plans for the future.
Unfortunately for Bogans, he does fit that bill due to his offensive shortcomings. His best attribute is his defense, but he will be a step slower next year and does not provide anything offensively to make up for that extra lost step.
We already have Ronnie Brewer as our lock-down defender, so Bogans is expendable in that nature. Therefore, Chicago needs cut ties with Bogans and find an offensive weapon to round out the starting five.
This article breaks down 21 potentially available shooting guards who could fill the Bulls' void into four categories.
Category #1 - We understand you are available, but we're just not interested.
Category #2 - Money in your hand does not equal rings for the team.
Category #3 - Is the risk worth the reward, can you offer dollars on the penny?
Category #4 - Thank you sir, may I have another?
Each category starts out with the least desirable player in the group and advances to the most desirable.