- We’ll update our Team Capsules with more specific info once the lottery is complete.
2008-09 Record: 41-41; 2nd Central
Draft Picks: 16, 26
Key Free Agents:
Aaron Gray (Restricted)
Jerome James (Player Option)
PG: Derrick Rose
SG: John Salmons
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Tyrus Thomas
C: Joakim Noah
Key Bench: Kirk Hinrich, Brad Miller, Tim Thomas
How they got here and what they need:
A single ping pong ball changed the future of the Chicago Bulls organization last May, providing the Bulls with the number one overall pick. The Beasley-Rose debate soon ensued, with Derrick Rose (rightly) becoming the pick. After a very impressive first season in which he was named Rookie of the Year, Rose has put himself in position to join Chris Paul and Deron Williams as the best point guards in the league. With their franchise superstar now in place, the Bulls look to solidify their supporting cast.
2008-09 was a crucial year for Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah and Ben Gordon. Thomas had spent two years without emerging as the full-time acrobatic superstar he was expected to be when they traded for him on draft day in 2006. While he’s not a superstar, he’s certainly now a reliable starter who should average about 14 points and 8 rebounds next year. The first half of Noah’s season was hard to watch, but by the end of the year he was playing like a top 10 pick should. He still needs to add muscle (10-15 pounds, minimum), however he may have solidified his future as the Chicago Bulls starting center. Ben Gordon had a strong year, but may be headed out due to his refusal to sign any of GM John Paxson’s offer sheets. Whether he will be allowed to walk or will be dealt in a sign-and-trade remains to be seen.
The big trade right before the trading deadline filled some of the teams needs. If Gordon does in fact leave, John Salmons will assume his spot as the starting shooting guard. Kirk Hinrich provides excellent relief for Rose at the point, and the front court is backed up by Brad Miller and Tim Thomas. This team is still lacking some bench support, which was evident by the fact the roster was only going 7 deep the last week of the regular season.
Who they take:
The Bulls don’t have a lottery pick for the first time since 2005. In a relatively weak draft class, this means you don’t know who’s going to be around at the Bulls’ picks. The key for GM John Paxson is to not try to hit a home run with a project and find the bench support his team is going to need for future playoff runs. A lot depends on how the Bulls handle their offseason moves. If Hinrich is traded, there will be a big void at the backup point guard position. A player like VCU’s Eric Maynor would be a great fit as he’s the most seasoned and effective true point guard in the draft, and could slide a bit as teams target the draft’s better athletes earlier in the first round. Should the Bulls decide to focus on the front court, a player like Pitt’s DeJuan Blair makes a lot of sense as he can provide both rebounding and post play. The Bulls look unlikely to draft a center, as they made a draft day trade last year to acquire the rights to Turkish center Omer Asik, and all the center prospects after Hasheem Thabeet are major projects.
10 Year Draft History:
2008: Derrick Rose (1st); Sonny Weems (39th)
2007: Joakim Noah (7th); Aaron Gray (49th); JamesOn Curry (51st)
2006: Tyrus Thomas (4th); Thabo Sefalosha (13th)
2005: No picks
2004: Ben Gordon (3rd); Luol Deng (7th); Chris Duhon (39th)
2003: Kirk Hinrich (7th); Mario Austin (36th); Matt Bonner (45th)
2002: Jay Williams (2nd); Roger Mason (31st)
2001: Eddy Curry (4th); Trenton Hassell (30th); Sean Lampley (45th)
2000: Marcus Fizer (4th); Dalibor Bagaric (24th); AJ Guyton (32nd); Jake Voskuhl (33rd); Khalid El-Amin (34th)
1999: Elton Brand (1st); Ron Artest (16th); Michael Ruffin (32nd); Lari Ketner (49th)
Stephen Curry - PG/SG - Davidson
Tyreke Evans - PG/SG - Memphis
Blake Griffin - PF - Oklahoma
James Harden - SG - Arizona State
Jordan Hill - PF - Arizona
Ty Lawson - PG - UNC
BJ Mullens - C - Ohio State
Ricky Rubio - PG - DKV Joventut
Brandon Jennings - PG - Arizona
Hasheem Thabeet - C - UCONN