It's been a running joke for two years (so tyger doesn't get too happy about that shoutout, a year later he had this crappy prediction). The joke about the hard-worky-bleedy guy being a perfect fit for the Bulls. The Bulls, with their incessent blathering about character and John Paxson's lazy scouting method (i.e., watching CBS for a couple weeks in March). Hansbrough, with his lauded resume accentuated by attibutes such as tenacity, energy, perserverence, and other nice ways to say he's not very good but, hot damn, he tries.
And in the past week, we've had two stories linking the Bulls and Hansbrough. At first, it's cringe-inducing. But when stripping away the hype (which has pretty much died down anyway in regards to his one-time status as the best player in the nation) I see how Hansbrough can be a fit.
To me (and, after all: the only one lazier than John Paxson with the draft is me) this draft is about getting someone with a high floor, at the expense of a higher ceiling. Someone who can immediately be in outer rotation (spots 8-12), and can contribute in short stints. Someone who doesn't need to be coached to play hard, and ideally doesn't need to be coached at all. Yes, that's a dig at Vinny.
And it's not because the Bulls are so set that just need to fill in those spots. With two picks in the lower half of the first round, it's extremely rare that you 'draft potential' and get someone better than that anyway. And thus, this draft should be about preparing for the big trade to come. If the picks themselves can't be part of a mega-package for a frontcourt star, then draft the guys who'll help replace whoever on the roster needs to go in said mega-deal.
It's what Danny Ainge smartly did in consecutive second rounds of '06 and '07, getting guys like Leon Powe and Glen Davis. And when he had to gut his team to acquire KG, there were capable players to fill the remaining holes.
Obviously that's not what won them a title, KG did. But there is a difference in filling out a rotation with average role players instead of production sinkholes (think Mikki Moore this season for the Celtics, for instance).
And I still see that being where the Bulls go first this summer, consolidating and getting an established big man from a cost-cutting team. And if it doesn't happen this summer, it could happen at the trade deadline, or 2010. Or maybe Tyrus Thomas becomes that guy by then.
Either way, the team will then need guys like Hansbrough, not someone who needs development to someday be better. That is unlikely to be had at #16, and with the Bulls development track record, even less likely. So I'm ready for the Tyler Hansbrough era, even though a couple years ago I would've thought it to be a joke.