Survey says ... Brandon Roy. The results of my unscientific survey show that Bulls fans prefer the team draft the U. of Washington guard over big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Tyrus Thomas.
An unscientific survey, by the way, is usually where we make up the results. That differs from a scientific survey in which professional pollsters make up the results. Really, who are all these people answering these stupid questions? And who really believes them? I take my survey answering rules from former Tribune columnist Mike Royko, who had the best idea: Lie to the pollsters. Then we wouldn't have to see these stupid polls anymore.
But this is serious since it involves me. Not that I was doing any survey, but I'd say about two-thirds of those e-mailing since the lottery drawing preferred Roy with a sprinkling for Aldridge, Thomas, Andrea Bargnani and trading the pick.
I have long been leaning toward one of the big guys given that the Bulls are so small on the front line. But watching the playoffs and the way the rules changes with no contact above the free throw line has changed the game and opened it up for smaller players, I'm getting on board. I always saw the need for someone like Roy, though I didn't see enough of him to know if he could be a big-time shooting guard. All the pro scouts I talk to assure me he can be. And I'm not a big fan of continuing to add rookies to a team with so many young players.
Anyone who reads here knows that even though I really do like Ben Gordon and appreciate his skill, I've tried to move him for some time because he is not the ideal shooting guard, especially one who can defend and allow Kirk Hinrich to concentrate on shooting guard.
I'd still prefer a trade for a veteran, but that remains a long shot. So I'll throw in for Roy for the three-guard rotation and count on the Knicks being lousy again, get a high pick and get a big guy next year, maybe even Greg Oden or even my U. of Florida guy Joakim Noah.
Or Zydrunas Ilgauskas. It's not often teams trade in the division, and my guess would be the Bulls would be leery of the risk of his age and former health issues. The Cavs never figured out how to use him with LeBron James and an unimaginative offense. The talk is they'd like a center like Jamaal Magloire, but the Bucks might not want to trade in the division, either. The Bulls could probably get Ilgauskas for the No. 2 draft pick, though I doubt they'd do that.
Sam, I must say your trade scenarios for the Bulls are a joke. Heat, Pistons will be tough for three years. Bulls won't stand a chance until 2009. Pick Thomas, JJ Red, sign Joe Pryzb., and two guard. 2007 NY pick. You and I could coach that team to east finals. Give Deng, Gordon 2-3 more years here come the bulls! FORGET Ben is too short. That's bull. If Pax wants to do something good deal TC. He's not a game changer. --Tom Petros, Sycamore, Ill.
I think I get all the abbreviations, though I thought out there in Sycamore you guys had more time to sit down and write out a complete sentence. First of all, you never know what will happen in three years. Guys could leave in free agency, be injured. And I think the East is wide open. I think the Pistons appear to have lost their edge and will make changes in the offseason. If the Heat is in the Finals, it will give Shaquille O'Neal the excuse to take half of next season off, making it difficult to get 50 wins. If they win a title, I can see Pat Riley walking away. LeBron's running mates aren't very good. The Bulls' core now has enough experience if you add a player or two; I can see them making a serious run next season. You never want to sit and wait, and this NBA in the coming years looks like it will be as wide open as ever.
FINALLY! A trade that makes sense for the Bulls. After your goofy ideas to ship off Ben Gordon for stiffs and question marks, your idea to swap for Ray Allen is the ticket. Both first-rounders and a mid-range guy for salary reasons (i.e. Sweetney) would be a sweet deal. Then the Bulls could grab a guy like Przybilla or Nazr to shore up the middle and they'd be in good shape. --Sean, Rock Island, Ill.
The truth is I really do this because of all the kindness of strangers that I get. I really believe it would be a good deal for the 'Sonics, too, given their financial uncertainty and ability to re-sign their free agents, like Chris Wilcox, and get building with an interesting young core. Bringing back Allen, they're still nowhere near the Spurs, Dallas and the Suns, especially if Amare Stoudemire is healthy. So get something developing for when Tim Duncan and Steve Nash begin to slow in a few years. The problem I see is I'm not sure the Bulls are interested. I'm getting the feeling they'd rather keep building with what they have and add the veterans through free agency.
What are the chances the bulls get Pat O'Bryant of Bradley and Tyrus Thomas of LSU? --Dan, Normal, Ill.
I've been thinking much of the season that if they got the chance they'd go with Thomas because of his great athletic ability and possibilities in today's game to guard all three front court positions -- a bigger version of Ben Wallace. Wouldn't that be nice to have? We're still a month away and anything is possible in this draft. Because you have five or six players I've had GMs tell me they'd pick No. 1, I think there's going to be more misinformation spread this year than perhaps any other draft and the mock drafts are going to be a mess. There's been a lot of talk these days about NBA parity making it like the NFL where more teams have a chance to win. I'm getting the feeling this is going to take on that militaristic, secret-code nature of the NFL draft. As for O'Bryant, everything I'm hearing now is he'll be gone before the Bulls' pick at No. 16, but he sure looks like a long-term project to me.
Sam, I think you've got the Bulls' second pick wrong. Brandon Roy is probably the most NBA ready of the prospects in this draft and offers the complete package. He's quick, has size, plays defense and his shooting improved markedly while at UW. If he continues to improve his outside shooting, I don't see a hole in his game. He may not help the Bulls in the post but he still fills a big need for them. Drafting him would take pressure off Hinrich, allowing him to guard guys his own size. He would receive significant playing time in a three-guard rotation of Gordon, Hinrich and Roy. Could Thomas and Aldridge be the Hakeem and Sam Bowie of 2006? And if not quite on MJ's level, how high do you see Roy's ceiling and why? --Mike, Evanston, Ill.
Yes, I've long argued to get Hinrich some defensive help and get him a shooting guard, though I'd prefer a veteran. If they can't get a veteran or two, I know Roy would help. But rookies take time and I see an opening to make a jump in the East now. I'm not sure on Roy; the college game is way down from where it was. I can't say I know that much as someone who really watched Pac 10 basketball. Though everything I hear is positive and I agree he's most ready. If one of those guys is Hakeem, though, grab him. Look, Bowie had a decent career even with the injuries and was mocked more because he went before Jordan. Thomas and Aldridge both appear to be players who will make significant NBA contributions, though not right away.
Hey, Sam, what are the odds that the Bulls end up coming to their senses and realize that Aldridge and Thomas aren't going to contribute until a few years down the road and go for Roy or Gay instead? We have enough money to get a better big man via free agency rather than someone with no experience. --Neeraj Chhabra, Indiana
I think they may be getting there. Have you been sitting in on the scouting and personnel meetings?
So far you have thrown a lot of ideas out there about what the Bulls should do with their draft picks. At first, I wanted the kid from LSU, believing in his upside. But they did that already with Curry and Chandler and look how that has turned out. I think Roy would be a great pick for this team, because he gives them size at guard, more maturity and readiness, and depth or trade options with Gordon. Plus, do you really think that, even though it is probably their biggest need, that the bigs are worth the No. 2 pick? --Steven Schnakenberg, Carbondale, Penn.
Stop, enough already. But you guys better be right on Roy.
I think the trade with Portland idea would be a great for the Bulls. I would trade both first-round picks to Portland for Zach Randolph and the No. 4 pick, which the Bulls could use to get Roy. That would fill two needs. I hate the ideas of trades involving some of the Bulls young talent like Gordon or Deng. --Phil Antinori, Conway, Ariz.
Hey, do you know Scottie? I can see Portland wanting to do that to get out from under Randolph's money and attitude. You'd say if there's a coach who might get him going it could be Scott Skiles and his MSU background. But Nate McMillan is a tough guy, too, and got nowhere with Randolph and I'm guessing the Bulls don't want to take a chance on that kind of guy. They haven't under this regime. Tim Thomas is not a bad guy, perhaps just casual at times, and they wanted no part of him.
Sam, is there any chance the Bulls will try to sign Nene? I know he might not be as good as Al Harrington, but I believe he is a better fit. He is much bigger and stronger. He would give us some inside presence. How do you feel? --Morris, Hinsdale, Ill.
They've long had an interest in Nene, but I don't hear much about him anymore, which could either be a smokescreen or not a smokescreen. See how sophisticated this NBA analysis can get? My guess is they're uncertain since his knee injury last season and though he's on their list, he's moved toward the bottom.
Sam is it me, or did the Bulls play the heat tougher than anyone else? Are they better than we think? --Dan, Carolina
I think the East is worse than we think. It's not so much the Bulls are advancing to great heights, but the talent has thinned out and the better teams are coming back to the pack. I truly believe with a couple of good moves in the draft and free agency, the Bulls could compete for the East title next season. Of course, I also believe seven other teams can. You are right, though. Skiles laid out the blueprint of how to play them and no one has followed it. You have to run them. The Nets, stunningly, ended up walking the ball up and taking the ball out of Kidd's hands a lot to give to Vince Carter, which was a huge mistake, and for some reason the Pistons have also gone to a half-court game with little action. The Bulls have given them by far the best series and with a little more talent would have beaten them in Game 5 with the Heat on the ropes. And then who knows?
I've seen videos of Andrea Bargnani and read some scouting reports online of him, and he seems to be a gifted passer and jump shooter as well as a guy who can block some shots. But I understand he doesn't have a back-to-the-basket game. Is this a common critique of European players who have the bigger trapezoidal lane? If you want to get fed in the post, you are likely going to get slapped with a three-second violation if you don't get the pass as soon as you get to a spot? And if that's the case, for a guy like Bargnani, can the back to the basket game be developed at this point, or is he too old of a dog? --Charlie, Chicago
I don't watch a lot of international basketball, but that's certainly one of the reasons. The European game seems to involve more cutting and passing and the big guys seem to learn first to shoot, though Nocioni told me in Argentina they learn first to flop. I haven't seen a European guy come over with a classic post game, even someone like Sabonis who dominated there for many years. But it's becoming less and less important in the NBA the way the rules have gone too far in protecting the perimeter players and allowing too much contact in the post. And don't get me started on those ridiculous calls against post guys with so much flopping. That would be my first rule change suggestion. That's not defense. It's acting.
With free agency just around the corner, how do you think these players will fit and help the Cavs in their next playoff run? Chris Wilcox, Jamal Magloire, Speedy Claxton, Josh Smith, Royal Ivey and Ryan Gomes. --Jaime, Manila, Philippines
Ah, help for LeBron. The truth is he needs it; I feel the Cavs spent poorly last offseason. Their goal was to make the playoffs, and they did and had a nice run to the second round. But in spending on Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones, they don't seem to have much room for growth. I believe they'll make a run at Magloire because he has one year left and can man the post for now. That would enable them to trade Zydrunas Ilgauskas, which is the rumor. I don't see them having much shot at the other guys, most of whom are not free agents. Maybe Speedy with the exception, but he'll get other offers. But with LeBron, they are guaranteed to be good for a long time.
With the stellar play of Lebron James, Boris Diaw, and Dwyane Wade during these playoffs, plus the solid contributions of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Kaman, and the Bulls' own Kirk Hinrich and Chris Duhon, how do you feel the draft class of 2003 will go down in history? Sorry for the run-on sentence, but I'm from DeKalb! --Mike Jeffries, DeKalb, Ill.
Yes, we all understand. I respect your courage for even dabbling in punctuation. Yes, it's 1984 all over again. Not the book. But it is a scary class. Especially when you add someone like Diaw, who is a shocker. James and Wade are going to be the big dogs in the East for years to come and their battles, like the one game this season, are going to be of the epic Jordan-'Nique type battles we saw for many years.
The Bulls will get a great player at the No. 2 pick no matter which guy it is, but the No. 16 pick gives them the chance to get a budding star who should be available--Saer Sene of Senegal. Big, wingspan deluxe, young, and super athletic. He might grow to be the best center of his generation, or he might not. But at this pick it certainly is worth the chance. With the No. 2 pick and a free agent or two the Bulls are in a great position to take a chance on this guy. --Phil Marks, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
I agree the Bulls will get someone useable at No. 2. Hey, what's the deal, are you on vacation? I didn't think anyone really lives in those places. But I don't see them going the Senegal way. I think this management is not into development after watching the Chandler-Curry fiasco. Paxson was a broadcaster most of those years and we all remember him mumbling about trying to raise basketball kids. I'd say he stays away from projects.
Hey, Sam, I love your trade proposals and I love these Bulls, so here's a trade I've been thinking of: Why not trade Deng (I hate to trade him but has value), our second first-rounder, and maybe some cash for that fourth pick of Portland. That way we could get either LaMarcus Aldridge or Tyrus Thomas (I prefer Aldridge, whom I read would love to be a Bull) and then with the fourth pick go for Brandon Roy. So now we have a good tall guard, a promising big man, go for the veteran help in the post in free agency, and save the rest of the money to pursue Lebron James or resign our core (Kirk, Ben, Nocioni). Please could you give a Mexican Bulls fan your opinion about that? --Gustavo Plascencia, Tijuana, Mexico
This is the most mail I've gotten from Mexico since I suggested Acapulco as an NBA expansion franchise. What, you think we're happy with Minnesota? I don't see them giving up Deng unless it's in a deal for a big-time veteran like Kevin Garnett. I don't see them wanting to take on too many rookies to be in potential starting positions, but this always happens as the draft gets closer. Teams begin to fall in love with prospects and what once was a poor draft now becomes an "I've got to have that guy thing." It's the inherent flaw of the draft. You get to test these kids more than any veteran you'll ever have a chance to get. It's a job interview for them and most are on their best behavior. They rarely work out in a team concept, so you see their athletic ability and shooting talent and project it into the game, which you cannot unless they actually play in a game. They look you in the eye and tell you how hard they'll work. And you fall in love. And teams forget they are rookies. I can see it happening with the Bulls, though I believe they won't want to stock up on rookies. So they'll probably use No. 2 and hope for just some sort of role player at No. 16 for the end of the bench.
What about this, trade down off the number two pick for a lower first round and a second-round pick. Use them to draft Tiago Splitter and James Augustine with first-rounders and then pick up Dee Brown in the second. Sign Drew Gooden or Pryzbilla, as Splitter might wait a year and experiment with Luol Deng at the two. I know the Bulls rarely go for the local products but Augustine and Brown are proven and could replace Malik Allen and Jannero Pargo easily. --Anthony Quinones, Tamuning, Guam
Here's the point about this summer, which you touch on. No disrespect to them, but you figure no matter whom the Bulls add, they'll be an improvement on Othella Harrington and Malik Allen. Augustine is actually a nice fit for them, though Brown is probably too small for them because they're tired of the small guards. You from the U. of Illinois, by the way? I heard there's a regional campus in Guam. Splitter may not come for a year or two and management is too impatient for that.