There were only a couple of teams who truly “deserved” to win the lottery this year. Minnesota comes to mind: they weren’t going anywhere with Garnett, but were able to get a nice piece (Jefferson) back when trading him away. They have had some bad luck with injuries to their young guards in the past couple of years (McCants, Foye), and as a result were honestly miserable again this year.
Most of the other teams found themselves in lottery hell due to their own devices, thus hardly warranting any good karma. Miami turned in a superlative tank job (Stephane Lasme, Kasib Powell, Earl Barron, etc.). Memphis gave away Pau Gasol and got virtually nothing in return. The destruction of both the Knicks and Sonics from within has been well-documented.
You can add the Bulls to that list as well. Over the past 7 years, the Bulls traded both Elton Brand and Tyson Chandler away, only to watch both become stars on different teams. They’ve repeatedly failed in their quests to add impact players to the roster (see Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant). They signed Ben Wallace to a cap-strapping free agent deal, only to watch his skills and value go down the tubes. This season, the team sagged under playoff expectations, culminating in the firing of coach Scott Skiles and the trade that jettisoned Wallace and Joe Smith in favor of Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes. To top it all off a few weeks ago, the Bulls dragged their feet while recruiting Mike D’Antoni to fill their coaching vacancy, then whined when the Knicks swept him off his feet with an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Again, no way that recent history warrants good karma.
Karma or not, that the Bulls won the lottery is certainly a boon to NBA columnists and bloggers everywhere. The Bulls are one of the handful of teams that could go either way between Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley with the #1 pick, so let the opinions and speculation fly!
Beasley instantly fills a need that the Bulls have had for years: an offensive presence down low. They would be able to plug him into the starting lineup with Hinrich, Hughes, Deng and Noah, with Duhon, Gordon, Nocioni, Gooden and Thomas coming off the bench. Not a bad rotation, huh? Case closed?
Not so fast.
I am of the opinion that Rose is the better pick for the Bulls. Upgrading at the point guard position is probably the quickest and most effective way to improve your team. Kirk Hinrich took a step (or two) back last year, when he should have been elevating both his and his teammates games to the next level.
The Bulls have plenty of talent on their roster; it would seem that they just need a unifying force that can make everyone else better. With Rose at point, I see Deng finally fulfilling his potential, and Tyrus Thomas finally beginning to.
Look, neither points the caliber of Rose nor forwards like Beasley are exactly falling out of the sky — but in the big picture, points like Rose come along less frequently and are more valuable. I know who I’d be rooting for if I were a Bulls fan.