Thursday, June 24, 2004

It's like a birthday, Christmas, and Guy Fawkes day all at once!

The NBA Draft is finally here tonight, and I cannot wait. Deals are happening, more are still on the table, and literally nobody has any idea who will even fill out the top 10. Not that I won't try and figure it out anyway.

But for the Bulls, the big news is that they've acquired #7 pick from the Suns for a second round pick(#31), a future first rounder, and some pocket change from Jerry Reinsdorf. The Suns basically didn't want to spend cap space on a draft pick, so were more than happy to ditch it on the Bulls. So what does GM John Paxson do now? Here's how I break it down, based on things I've heard (or made up).

  • Keep both Picks: Now having #7, does this mean the Bulls are ready to take Ben Gordon at #3? That way at #7 they can get the wing they want between Childress, Igoudala, Luke Jackson, or Kirk Snyder, whoever falls (or rises) to that slot. As much as Gordon wowed in workouts, I don't want him in my backcourt with Hinrich. That's just a matchup nightmare on defense, forcing Kirk to handle opposing SGs.
  • Trade #7: This is what I think Pax will do. All of his talk about not wanting any more young players would be completely contradicted by keeping 2 lottery picks in this draft. I am guessing that this pick will go to the Pacers for Al Harrington. The Pacers supposedly like Luke Jackson as well, and the Bulls were not willing to give up #3 for Harrington, so this works out for both. But a Bulls player would have to be thrown in to match salaries. Not counting the 'cap filler', here's the possibilities.
    • Pippen/Robinson/JYD - The 'crap' pile. These are basically players the Bulls don't want anyway, and would be their best deal. On the Pacers end, Pippen would be the ideal choice due to the fact that he'll retire and his contract would be off the books. However, maybe they see something in E-Rob. Somebody's gotta.
    • Crawford - This would be a sign and trade, and something I would consider. I went into the offseason pretty much expecting Crawford to go, so losing him in a deal wouldn't worry me. However, doesn't trading a talent like Crawford AND the #7 pick seem a little high for Al Harrington? I think so. Maybe if the Pacers throw back a draft pick I'll feel better about it.
    • Chandler - No. No. No.

    Well after getting Harrington from the Pacers,  what to do with #3? One word: Iggy. All of a sudden, with wing players like Al Harrington and Andre Iguodala, you have big, athletic defenders at both the 2 and 3. Add to that Hinrich's prowess, and Chandler's shot-blocking, you have a pretty good defensive team(even with Curry playing matador defense).

I'll take the median of those trade scenarios, and assume Crawford is the one dealt. So with him gone, who is your scorer in your new starting 5 of Hinrich/Iguodala/Harrington/Chandler/Curry? That's the new problem.

And what do I always say kids? If Eddy Curry is bad, it doesn't matter what else happens, the Bulls will be bad. They will have to lean on Curry to help close out games. So with development from Curry and Chandler (I know, we've heard it before), steady play from Hinrich and Harrington, and if Iggy shows some of that shooting touch he's been wowing the scouts with, the points will come. The bench will be filled in with free agents and whatever garbage the Pacers send our way.  But unless the Bulls can pull off a trade for a star, sticking with Curry and Chandler is still the best chance at greatness.

I'll be back with a mock draft later.