While throwing back a few Coronas and braggin’ about Insideplays last night, a couple of my third-tier friends were complaining that I never reviewed the Bulls Draft. Since my only suggestion box is located wherever I’m bellied-up to the bar, I promised the dude (whose name I always forget) I’d give him a full breakdown today if he let me bum a couple smokes. So, as a man of my word (50% of the time) and before I give away some more winners and hotties, I give you the 2007 Bulls Draft breakdown:
JOAKIM NOAH - 1st Round 9th pick
PF 6-11 232 lbs. Age: 22 Florida
A two-time defending National Champ, Joakim Noah fits the bill of the Paxson, Skiles, & Co. era: Tireless worker/gym-rat, athletic, developed at a big-time program, and not likely to be spotted at places like the Admiral Theater or late night in China-Town. While the majority of Bulls fans seem disappointed in the pick with some even despising the animated style of Joakim’ness, his value is high around the league and rarely do find an athletic frontcourt player with coordination and court-sense this high in the draft. Even with a low-post game similar to Bill Cartwright with two left-hands, Noah’s a solid rebounder with remarkable defensive awareness and already better than most NBA Bigs on the dribble and with the pass. With that said, I honestly believe he’s a perfect fit alongside a low-post scorer and has the most value to a team without a defensive presence, and last time I checked…aaahhh…we have plenty of one and not the other. Paxson now has three players (Tyrus Thomas, Ben Wallace, & Joakim Noah) that are all better defensively than most teams top frontcourt defender, and I have a feeling GMs are drooling to get their hands on one of them. In the NBA, the only way to trade for a veteran low-post stud is to give-up a young frontcourt phenom and throw-in some short-dudes with respectable contracts….and you know what, we can do that. Give Skiles a behemoth on the block and we’ll have an Eastern Conference Title in Chicago by next year. I know it’s easier said than done, but with all the young assets the Bulls have stockpiled it’s easier then it’ll ever be. Overall, I’m a bigger fan of Noah than most, but with this Bulls crew, if they pass the trading deadline this season and all three of their no-offense bigs are on the roster, for the first time, I’m not happy with Paxson’s draft.
AARON GRAY - 2nd Round 49th pick
C 7-1 270 lbs. Age: 22 Pittsburg
The senior from a solid Pittsburg program has averaged 14 ppg and 10 rpg over the last two seasons, and could currently be considered the best low-post threat on the Bulls roster. Unfortunately, he makes Michael Sweetney look like Carl Lewis and hasn’t improved much physically over the last few years. While thick enough to bang-down low, he’s very undefined and doesn’t have any spring in his legs. While polished with an array of moves with his back to the basket, he doesn’t have a mid-range game and actually had his worst season at FT line (55%) in his four-year career…not a good sign. I know the Bulls need size and some low-post scoring, but I can’t see how Gray’s athletic shortcomings enable him to see the floor in Skiles’ up-tempo system. At the same time, not much of a risk her at #49, and he would have been a late first round selection last year had he stayed in the draft.
JAMESON CURRY - 2nd Round 51st pick
G 6-3 190 lbs Age: 21 Oklahoma State
I’m definitely not a fan of undersized two-guards, especially ones that are turnover-prone and have a poor shot-selection. While Curry lit-it-up this season for an undermanned Cowboy squad (17 ppg, 41 3pt%), he’s the definition of a streaky shooter and rarely gives much of an effort at the defensive end. Most easily compared to the Nets Eddie House for his ability to score in bunches and not really play the point, Curry has also had some documented problems with the evil weed and should struggle to stay-out of Skiles’ doghouse…if he even makes the team. Especially, if the Bulls gets rid of Chris “I over-slept” Duhon as has been rumored, they’ll need a true-point to spell Captain Kirk. With the 51st pick, I’m guessing Pax figured the risk/reward was better than most left on the board, but I was shocked he went with an undisciplined poor man’s Ben Gordon.
HOUSTON ASTROS @ CHICAGO CUBS (-1.5) (+120)
Astros hurler Jason Jennings has seen his ERA rise in each of his last 5 starts and has been giving a few more free-passes than normal. As for the Cubs, Big Z on the mound, the Big Three Bats (Soriano, Ramirez, & Lee) striding to the dish at home, and Greggy G in the crowd making the magic come to life!...Cubs by 3-5 runs
NEW YORK YANKESS (-150) @ TAMPA BAY D-RAYS
(If I lose, my record adds 1.5 to the loss column)
FYI, I’ll be playing the Yankees straight-up or minus 1.5 runs for the next 20 games. Who wants to bet I go at least 14-6?...Yanks by 3-5 runs