JakeWatts23's Wiz-Blog

Please Oh Please Bulls – Don’t Mess This Up! | June 22, 2010

10 days until the madness ensues, 10 days until the King can be courted, 10 days until teams will take shape in the form of either a ‘roided out superfreak or like a fat video gamer eating Wendy’s JBC’s, and 10 days until the start of what will be the reconstruction or power shift of the NBA. So if you haven’t figured it out by now, in 10 days, NBA teams can start legally pursuing free agents. There is no doubt that on the top of every teams grocery list stands Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson, Dirk Nowitzki etc… but, an event that should not be overlooked is the NBA draft. Exactly one week before free agency starts, and two weeks before free agents can sign with a team, the NBA draft is where we will get to see what teams are serious and going in the right direction leading up to free agency, and what teams are in position to lure the jackpot but really have no idea how to reel the big fish in. Fortunately and unfortunately the Bulls are one of those teams. Past history shows that in times like this we, as Bulls fans, can trust the fact that Jerry Reinsdorf is giving GarForPax the green light into making moves (see the failed Ben Wallace experiment, at least he experimented), or at least he has a list of players that he is saying “here’s my list, I will spend all the money I need for them and if you can’t bring me Lebron James or Chris Bosh, and if you settle for Joe Johnson and Al Harrington, consider yourselves Vinny Del Negro’d”. So to make a quick point come back more full circle, when Reinsdorf can “date the model” that is Ms. Opportunity, he wines and dines and does what he can to make opportunity his.

But let’s leave the major free agency talk until after we can breakdown the Bulls moves this Thursday. So this entry is dedicated to future young Bullies and the rumors surrounding the No. 17 pick.

So let’s dive right down into it. What do you want to go with first, the candidates or the rumors? Let’s go with the rumors and analyze each one.

Chicago Bulls trade Luol Deng to the Orlando Magic for frenchman Mickael Pietrus and overzealous, cheerleading, big man Marcin Gortat.

This rumor was brought to my attention yesterday and I am still not sure of how realistic it is, or how official the rumor is, but like gossip in 7th grade, rumors are always brain twisting and fun to mess with so we’ll go with it. Perhaps what makes this trade rumor most legit is that it works on the NBA’s Trade Machine, so it’s got the Chronicles stamp of approval. Analysis: The Bulls are actively looking to ship Captain Kirk and Lu Deng around the draft, not only move positions, but more importantly to free up cap space to sign two major free agents (Kirk and Deng combine for about 20 million in annual salary, an average of 28 PPG, and a consistent production of inconsistent results). I was on the record last year saying how I wish they would not have resigned Deng for that much money so I am all for this trade with a couple of alterations. If you told me that the Bulls were going to trade Deng for Pietrus and Orlando’s 2nd round pick I would be much happier. Why? Well because the Bulls are actually coming out in the red of this trade and absorbing more money than they had originally invested in Deng, thus making it more difficult to get that #2 max contract. Pietrus is the golden child in this trade. Already off of a playoffs where he should have played more, he can play both the 2 and the 3, he can start but he is better off of the bench, he is one of the best defenders in the league, and he brings a consistent outside perimeter game that the Bulls are in need of. If the Bulls take Gortat, I like his size and what he adds to the big man rotation, problem will be that Kirk will now need to be traded for nothing if we want to free up cap space. Either way I really like what this move signals more than anything. That would be the Bulls are even more serious in adding Lebron. Dispensing of your starting small forward, adding a top caliber, proven bench stud who fits in perfectly defensively to a new coach who is considered a “defensive genius and architect”. This will be one right move that will help shape the 2011 Bulls.

Chicago Bulls trade the No. 17 pick to Portland for the No. 22 & No. 34 pick (escalation of trade throw in Kirk Hinrich and Rudy Fernandez)

Correct me if I am wrong on this but last Summer Portland had expressed interest in acquiring Hinrich via trade. We can assume that a season later they would still seriously consider a trade proposal being thrown their way. The more overriding rumor regarding this specific trade is that the Bulls are once again looking to trade Hinrich or Deng, along with that No. 17 pick to free up as much cap space as possible for free agency. I read this morning that Portland is looking to trade up in the draft and they already swapped 2nd round picks with Golden State, jumping 10 spots, looking for any kind of moving up leverage they can get. But in my days of watching drafts, 2nd round picks can only boost your status a few picks. Chad Ford if you don’t believe that they can’t jump that many spots, “They like some guys at No. 34, but could package with No. 22 to move up a few spots.”The No. 22 and the No. 34 pick are not enough to crack the lottery, and additionally with their outward desire to move up in the draft indicates that they one player higher up on their radar and they feel he won’t be available at 22. So why not swap picks? The Bulls don’t have just one player on their board, it seems that they have a few guys they would be happy with, and it is reasonable to assume that anywhere between 1-3 of those players will be available at 22. What I threw in at the tail-end of this trade was that if the Bulls wanted to repackage the offer to include Kirk to Portland and Rudy Fernandez to the Bulls. I am sure that they could use Portland to their advantage in this situation. Off of just the player swap alone the Bulls would save 8.34 million dollars in salary cap space, and with the 22nd pick the Bulls would save about 300 thousand a year over the course of the rookie’s contract (remember what your grandpa told you: a penny saved is a penny earned).

Fill in your Rumor here….

With the #17 pick, the Chicago Bulls select…

Something that everyone needs to realize is the true value of a draft pick or a free agent. When I say true value, I am implying that fans often do not realize the importance of having a true role player unless their team is a championship contender (remember Mark Derosa when the Cubs had the best record in the league, or how about Big Baby Davis/Nate Robinson/Rasheed Wallace on this years Boston Celtics). As Chicago fans we need not put the role player on the throne, but we need to embrace the players that surround the nucleus, that give our stars a break when they need it, and the players that may pull together a few wins every year. Let’s also face facts, after we experienced Michael Jordan, the greatest superstar of all time, we became so spoiled that sometimes we have such high standards for the players that we bring on that they are doomed (when was the last true star to succeed here). So when we step into this draft, we need to acknowledge that we are drafting for the 5th best player on the squad next year AT BEST. Remember the front office has the mindset that we are going to get at least one star in July amongst others, so the incoming Rookie is not going to be expected to be anything more than a role player. The job of the front office (if they keep their pick) is to anticipate the players that are coming in via free agency and determine the teams needs ahead of time.

3 players that solve some future problems

1. James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State

The Big 12 Player of the Year is my favorite and most ideal candidate to grab with the 17 pick. He fills the biggest foreseeable need, a tall (6’6″), perimeter shooting guard, who is a proven scorer. Last season he averaged 22.3 ppg in 34.5 mpg grabbing about 5.8 rpg. Additionally he shoots 45% from the field and shoots 34% from three. The rap on him is that he will be a role player at best because he has a limited ceiling in terms of athletic potential, but in a draft where there is no proven science on how to draft for success, the best way to draft people is often times by saying collegiate production=professional production. He has done it at the collegiate level, he’s mature enough to handle the NBA because he’s 21, and he did this in one of the best basketball conferences in college, the Big 12. Draftexpress.com say that James Anderson is one of the  highest usage/highest efficient players in the league and that players like him often get overlooked in the draft but succeed tremendously in the league. The leagues comparison is a better version of Marcus Thornton.

2. Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas

Last season Henry was a lottery pick but don’t let the slight downgrade in position fool you. Experts are considering him to be a sleeper to slide up into the lottery, possibly the top 10 this Thursday. But in case teams panic and sleep on Henry, he would be an excellent fit. He stands at 6’7″ but he has a 6’11″1/4 wingspan, he can play both the 2 and the 3, and he brings to the table a higher ceiling than Anderson in terms of potential. Last season at KU he averaged 13.4 ppg while shooting 45% from the field and a very impressive 41% from three. Henry is considered to be raw, but also a sure thing, and a player who is looking to excel at the next level. If the Bulls are lucky enough to have him fall to them at the 17th pick, don’t be surprised to see the Bulls take him and have him become the starting #2 guard by years end, regardless of LBJ or not. Henry, like Anderson, is also one of the highest efficient players in the draft.

3. Jordan Crawford, SG, Xavier

I will spare you the excess of reading material on this spot by justifying myself simply with “Do you remember watching Xavier vs. West Virginia in this years NCAA tournament?”, or “Do you remember the kid who started up the fuss last year by rising up and posterizing Lebron James at his own camp?” Yeah, that was Jordan Crawford. Sure he may be a reach at 17, but at 22 he may be a steal, and if the Bulls don’t care about this pick, like they have implied, the Jordan Crawford experiment would be one that could bring lots of excitement. He would be a great fit, personality wise, with James (Ohioans run together).

Other players whom I would like (if they slipped) or at least who I wouldn’t complain about: Cole Aldrich, Patrick Patterson, Avery Bradley

3 Players that will make me lose faith in this offseason

1. Damion James, SF, Texas

What would be worse than cloning James Johnson? How about drafting a person who is being compared within the Bulls organization to JAMES JOHNSON. I mean did they watch their own team last year? James Johnson showed that if he continues down this path he is a broke man’s Donyell Marshall but worse. Drafting James would show that the Bulls have already given up on James Johnson and that they are willing to completely saturate their teams with small forwards (provided they don’t trade Deng, sign James, and don’t trade Johnson). What could only be worse is if they tried to have him play the four. Texas sucked this year under Damion James’s leadership, why would you draft that personality and skill?

2. Hassan Whiteside, PF, Marshall

A good friend of mine yesterday informed me that he averaged 13 and 11 last year in the MAC. He also is being described as raw, unpolished, unproven, extremely athletic with lots of potential. Do you remember Tyrus Thomas? Why kick yourself in the ass again? Chris Bosh, Amare, Boozer and David Lee are out there for free agents. You already have proven starters (yes starters) in Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. 2008 draftee Omer Asik (whom is reportedly good) is showing up to training camp this year and Brad Miller is said to be available at the right price. You would be adding a 6th big man to a rotation that already has 4 proven players ahead of you, and Asik who the organization took a bigger chance on than this pick. Why go big with an unproven nothing, I don’t know.

3. Larry Sanders, PF, VCU

Let me start his analysis by telling you how partial I am to Taj Gibson. For so undervalued going into last season, Gibson finished the season on the 1st team All Rookie Team, started for the team and proved to be successful, and he got valuable playoff experience. Not to mention he is a hard worker, has a strong desire to succeed, and he was the 3rd best player on the team last year. Now why would you draft someone to try and take Gibson’s position? His position is not the problem, far from it, so why draft him?

Finally just for fun I want you to picture the best case scenario team next year for the Bulls (it’s realistic too)

PG: D Rose

SG: Mickael Pietrus

SF: Lebron James

PF: Chris Bosh

C: Joakim Noah

B: #17 pick listed above

B: Taj Gibson

B: Omer Asik

B: Brad Miller

B: Rudy Fernandez or Kirk Hinrich

Go Bulls!

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1 Comment »

  1. Nice analysis, Watts. Hope you’re right about the Bulls roster next year!

    Comment by Jim Watts — June 23, 2010 @ 1:37 pm


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