BlogABull 5th Anniversary Retro-Post: "The 2004 Draft"

It's true (and a bit strange, to be honest): BlogABull (including its previous independent blogspot incarnation) is celebrating its 5th anniversary. Rather than merely the usual single self-serving post, this year I've instead decided to extend my self-congratulations through the summer. I'll be picking out some landmark posts through the years for reflection and laughs about the blog and the franchise it's covered in that time. So consider it my thanks to all the readers over the years: needless to say, it's more fun for me with all of you around to share it.

The Bulls had 2 top-ten picks in the 2004 draft, and I had assumed that it was a precursor towards dealing for veteran help (I was a big Al Harrington guy, yuck). At the time I had serious reservations over the Bulls being such a young team, and after several years of watching Curry/Chandler/Crawford (and coach Cartwright), culminating in the complete disaster that was the 2003 season, I was likely just wanting some competence back in the organization.

This was originally published 6/25/2004:

meh. that's it. just......meh.

After being brow-beaten with trade rumors, like last year....there was just draft picks, like last year. Especially after the deal for Phoenix's #7 pick, I was expecting at least one or two veterans to be heading to Chicago by today. But looking at it as simply draft picks, getting Gordon at 3 and lucking out with Deng at 7....that's not bad. That's basically as good as it can get.

Mixed feelings abound. Like I said yesterday, I'm not sure a Gordon-Hinrich backcourt can last defensively. And couple that with Deng's supposed unathleticism, a scoring wing player could torch the Bulls. But that is assuming Deng is going to be relied upon heavily, which he shouldn't. This offseason (and tradeseason) should still be looking for a defensive-minded 3. Since Deng has been praised for his maturity and background it has been masking the fact that he is still only 19. He won't be starting this season.

I wanted Iguodala at #3 instead of Gordon, but I also wanted Michael Pietrus last year instead of Hinrich. So I am willing to give Paxson the benefit of the doubt here. As much as wing defense was needed, scoring was perhaps needed even more. When Jalen Rose was shipped out, it was the green light for Jamal Crawford to be the primary scorer on the team. He didn't come through, so hopefully Gordon can help him out.

Or will Crawford even be around? I am guessing that Crawford will either be signed to an exorbitant offer sheet by teams under the cap like the Bobcats, Hawks, or Nuggets. And there's always the possibility of a sign-and-trade. Maybe that's the way Paxson gets his wing defender.

And then there's the character issue. All the talk today has been about the Paxson-Skiles mold. Getting character guys from big-time programs with maturity and hard work ethic and all that garbage. As much as the organization feels burned by malcontents like Curry and Crawford, I am hoping Paxson still is going for talent over anything else. Don't draft Luol Deng over Iguodala because Deng developed maturity escaping from war-torn Sudan or learned how to be an upstanding young man from Coach K. Draft him because you think Deng is *better*. 

You know who was a mature guy from a big-time program? Jay Williams. And before he went Evil Knievel on us, he turned out to be a spoiled brat who couldn't handle the NBA life. So I am hoping Paxson isn't putting too much stock into the character issue.

So all in all, I'm pleased. Kindof. Maybe. At the least the Bulls got 2 guys that should help soon, and are 'assets' (the buzzword of the week) that can possibly be moved for a star. The team still has holes, but Crawford may be dealt and there's still free agency.

Notice I haven't mentioned Chris Duhon. Well, if he beats out Jannero Pargo in camp, more power to him. Oh I forgot, Duhon has 'court-savy'. Why does my hometown team have to be "Duke, the pro years"????

And when you're watching the Draft and you see Xenophobe Dick Vitale (I don't think ESPN got those letters I sent last year) giving your team an A++++++, its hard to get that excited. 

Of course, Crawford was signed/traded later that summer, for cap relief, and the Bulls went into that year with a very young squad. The fact that Gordon and Deng (and Skiles) came in and made the team winners while still being that young...maybe that's why I'm more hesitant to deal away youth nowadays. While my stance on younger players may have changed, looks like some things haven't: I've never given too much effort into draft analysis, have always been worried about Pax's 'character' rhetoric, and the Hinrich-Gordon defensive backcourt is an issue here to this day.

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