Friday, June 25, 2004

Draft Thoughts

meh. that's it. just......meh.

After being brow-beaten with trade rumors, like last year....there was just draft picks, like last year. Especially after the deal for Phoenix's #7 pick, I was expecting at least one or two veterans to be heading to Chicago by today. But looking at it as simply draft picks, getting Gordon at 3 and lucking out with Deng at 7....that's not bad. That's basically as good as it can get.

Mixed feelings abound . Like I said yesterday, I'm not sure a Gordon-Hinrich backcourt can last defensively. And couple that with Deng's supposed unathleticism, a scoring wing player could torch the Bulls. But that is assuming Deng is going to be relied upon heavily, which he shouldn't. This offseason (and tradeseason) should still be looking for a defensive-minded 3. Since Deng has been praised for his maturity and background it has been masking the fact that he is still only 19. He won't be starting this season.

I wanted Iguodala at #3 instead of Gordon, but I also wanted Michael Pietrus last year instead of Hinrich. So I am willing to give Paxson the benefit of the doubt here. As much as wing defense was needed, scoring was perhaps needed even more. When Jalen Rose was shipped out, it was the green light for Jamal Crawford to be the primary scorer on the team. He didn't come through, so hopefully Gordon can help him out.

Or will Crawford even be around? I am guessing that Crawford will either be signed to an exorbitant offer sheet by teams under the cap like the Bobcats, Hawks, or Nuggets. And there's always the possibility of a sign-and-trade. Maybe that's the way Paxson gets his wing defender.

And then there's the character issue. All the talk today has been about the Paxson-Skiles mold. Getting character guys from big-time programs with maturity and hard work ethic and all that garbage. As much as the organization feels burned by malcontents like Curry and Crawford, I am hoping Paxson still is going for talent over anything else. Don't draft Luol Deng over Iguodala because Deng developed maturity escaping from war-torn Sudan or learned how to be an upstanding young man from Coach K. Draft him because you think Deng is *better*. 

You know who was a mature guy from a big-time program? Jay Williams. And before he went Evil Knievel on us, he turned out to be a spoiled brat who couldn't handle the NBA life. So I am hoping Paxson isn't putting too much stock into the character issue.

So all in all, I'm pleased. Kindof. Maybe. At the least the Bulls got 2 guys that should help soon, and are 'assets' (the buzzword of the week) that can possibly be moved for a star. The team still has holes, but Crawford may be dealt and there's still free agency.

Notice I haven't mentioned Chris Duhon. Well, if he beats out Jannero Pargo in camp, more power to him. Oh I forgot, Duhon has 'court-savy'. Why does my hometown team have to be "Duke, the pro years"????

And when you're watching the Draft and you see Xenophobe Dick Vitale (I don't think ESPN got those letters I sent last year) giving your team an A++++++, its hard to get that excited.  I'll have more on that guy next week.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Official Bulls Blog Mock Draft:

I filled this out, and the whole time I said "wow, this is so wrong". But here it goes:

1. Okafor 16. Araujo
2. Howard 17. Josh Smith
3. Iguodala 18. Humphries
4. Livingston 19. Jefferson
5. Gordon 20. J.R. Smith
6. Deng 21. Khryapa
7. Jackson 22. Telfair
8. Harris 23. Varejao
9. Childress 24. Wright
10. Nelson 25. Ramos
11. Biedrins 26. Donta Smith
12. Snyder 27. Vujacic
13. Podkolzine 28. Udrih
14. Monya 29. West
15. Swift  

I didn't even bother to write down the teams associated with the picks, because there will be plenty of trades tonight. Or I'm lazy. Either way, scroll down to see what the Bulls should do.

Tomorrow I'll be back (with hopefully) some big Bulls news!

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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Rumors gone Wild!

From today's Herald:

The Bulls and the Boston Celtics have discussed a trade that would send three-time all-star Paul Pierce to the Bulls for Tyson Chandler, the No. 3 pick in Thursday's NBA draft and another player to even out salaries, according to a source close to the Bulls.

If such a trade occurs, Scottie Pippen, Eddie Robinson and Jerome Williams would all work as the additional player. One theory has Boston eyeing Connecticut guard Ben Gordon with the third pick.

I was willing to give Crawford in a sign/trade as that extra third player. My guess would be that Celtics would only want Pippen (and only if he was retiring), instead of taking cap killers like Robinson or Williams. If Pierce is on the team and somehow you don't need to deal Crawford, then he could be dealt for a suitable SF. Although that may get complicated.

PG: Hinrich, Pargo
SG: Pierce, ?
SF: Whoever you get for Crawford (Harrington?), E-Rob, Jefferies
PF: Davis, JYD
C: Curry,

Still got your mid-level, and your veteran exemption, so fill in the rest that way. I dunno...sounds to good to be true.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

So Long Marcus

Marcus Fizer was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats today in the expansion draft. Since he was a restricted free agent, his selection automatically makes him an unrestricted free agent, meaning he could sign anywhere. Hopefully the Bobcats sign him so he can get some playing time again.

 I said this when the writing was on the wall months ago, but I'll say again that I only wish the best for him.

Does the team get a trade exemption for his salary since he got selected? Since his was around 4-5 million, that would be a plus. But I'm not sure because of his current contract status. I'll look into that.

Another thing: I've said all along that this would be my favorite course of action. Doubt we'll see it though.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Raw Numbers

Interpret these stats anyway you want, I'm just putting them out there for you: (all numbers from Insider - sub. reqd.)

Talented Wing Player Birthdate Height w/o shoes Height w/ shoes Weight Wingspan Standing reach Bench Press 185lbs Max. Vertical Jump Lane Agility Test
Josh Childress 6/20/1983 6' 5.75" 6' 7.25" 196 6' 11" 8' 9" 11 reps 36" 11.95 sec.
Luol Deng 4/16/1985 6' 7" 6' 8" 220 7' 0.5" 9' 0.5" 5 reps 31.5" 11.46 sec.
Andre Iguodala 1/28/1984 6' 5.75" 6' 6.75" 217 6' 11" 8' 9.5" 4 reps 34.5" 11.17 sec.

Ok, I lied, I will do some analysis:

  • Deng did really bad on the strength and vertical jump. But in an NBA weight room (instead of Coach K's clubhouse) he could easily improve that.
  • I find it very interesting that Iguodala is the same height as Childress. Did anyone else think that Childress was going to be at least 2 inches taller? Although it seems somehow that he has really tall shoes.
  • That said, Childress wails on both as far as the vertical and bench press. Iggy does best on the agility test.

Does this answer anything for you? me neither. I guess I'll have to trust Pax to actually use his eyes instead of data.