Chicago Bulls Hit the Jackpot

A bizarre season for the Chicago Bulls that was filled with more losing than anyone expected has been capped off by an improbable win.

Despite a 1.7% chance of gaining the first overall pick, the Bulls hit the jackpot and won the draft lottery. Chicago’s season began with talks about a potential Kobe Bryant trade involving a number of its young players, and most observers cite that as the cause of the Bulls’ unexpected slide.

It would be in Chicago’s best interest to choose a coach before the draft because of the fork in the road the team now faces: Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose? What style of play the coach wants to have will make that choice a lot clearer. A half court-oriented guy would probably favor Beasley; a more uptempo guy would probably favor Rose.

Beasley is a great talent, but he plays a position the Bulls are stocked at. They have Drew Gooden, who is inconsistent but talented, and Tyrus Thomas, who still at just 21 years of age could develop into a great player. They also have Joakim Noah, who despite being listed at center is really a power forward who can run. If they draft Beasley, you have to figure Gooden or Thomas will be moved.

Rose would make an easier transition into the team. Chicago signed Kirk Hinrich to an extension that paid him over $11 million last year, but his scoring and shooting dropped off. Chris Duhon is an unrestricted free agent this summer, so they could just let him go if they draft Rose. Hinrich would be awfully expensive as a backup if Rose beats him out, but thanks to Rose making rookie money it could work financially in the short term.

With the attention that Chris Paul and Deron Williams have been generating, along with the recent MVPs for Steve Nash, I have a hard time seeing the Bulls going with Beasley right now. Top-notch point guards are nearly as rare as dominant centers are, and the evolution in the NBA’s style of play combined with recent rule changes favor great point guards.

Beasley or Rose? Rose or Beasley? Whatever the outcome, you can be sure it’s a choice that Chicago is glad it has to make.

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