Every time I try to get away from the Chicago Bulls, they find a way to bring me back. I just can’t quit them. But never in a million years did I expect today to be the day that would revitalize my excitement for the Red Oxen.
Against all odds — well, at least against 98.3 percent of the odds — the Bulls have somehow landed the top pick in the NBA Draft. Amazingly, they never managed to pull that off in all the years that Rusty LaRue played for the team. But now that they have a quasi-decent (albeit underachieving) roster, the luck finally turns their way.
But picking first ain’t always easy. Just look at Kwame Brown. Fortunately, the Bulls won’t be going after anyone of that caliber, as this year’s top pick will be a far more enticing choice between Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley. So it’s time for me to do a poor man’s tale of the tape and determine who is the better choice.
Pros: This guy is as legit as point guards come. He will be the next great floor leader in the NBA, a la Jason Kidd in his prime with the Nets. Or maybe Steve Nash, if I’m allowed to compare Nash to people who aren’t white or Canadian. Rose’s leadership would be the perfect tonic for the lackluster (and still coach-less) Bulls.
Another huge factor working in Rose’s favor is that he was born and raised in Chicago, graduating from Simeon High School a whole year ago. For the Bulls to pass up the PR bonanza that would come with Rose making his way back home seems plain stupid, especially after all the negative press the team got throughout this miserable season.
Cons: The Bulls already have a decent point guard in Kirk Hinrich. And perhaps in some weird way, coming back to Chicago could be the only thing stopping Rose from being one of the top 10 players in the NBA. Too many friends trying to hang onto his coattails… too much of mom’s home cooking… too many gummy bears…
Pros: Michael Beasley is a man-beast. Not even a man-child. A man-beast. If GI Joe was picking a modern athlete to make an action figure out of, they’d probably pick Beasley over, say, The Fridge. Oh, his averages of 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds a game in his one year of collegiate play don’t hurt either.
He also fills a tremendous void for the Bulls. As of this moment, the top power forward listed on the depth chart is Drew Gooden. And quite frankly, I completely forgot that he was even on the team. In fact, there is even a chance I never realized he was on the Bulls in the first place.
Cons: People always talk about character issues when it comes to Beasley, though I have yet to see anything concrete indicating this is fact. However, it does seem like he’d at least have a chance of falling susceptible to the laziness that seems to linger throughout the Bulls locker room since power forward isn’t a natural “team leader” position.
Contrary to the choice made in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there is no bad pick here. John Paxson and the franchise probably won’t turn into dust, figuratively speaking, if they drink from the wrong chalice.
But there is one choice who will be the Holy Grail for the franchise. One that will allow everlasting life, and the chance to create a sequel several years after the original trilogy. And that pick is Derrick Rose.
Sure, he’s only 6’3″. He’s not a freak of nature in the same sense as Beasley. But he’s a point guard who has won at every level he’s ever played on, and at no other position do skill and wins go more hand-in-hand.
As a scrappy white guy, it pains me to say goodbye to Hinrich, who is the protoypical scrappy white guy. But Rose is such a vast improvement it’s not even funny. And I’m pretty sure Hinrich has decent trade value — enough to get packaged in a deal for the big man that the Bulls currently lack.
Plus, how painful would it be to see the two best Chicago-raised guards of their generation, Rose and Dwyane Wade, playing for Pat Riley’s organization?
If the Bulls make the right choice, Derrick Rose will be the best Chicago native son to don his home team’s uniform since Dick Butkus. The only question is whether he’ll leave an even bigger impact on his position.