First off, thanks to the readers out there who were commenting and diary-ing during the holiday weekend. I am admittedly behind on all the draft chatter, so I appreciate you guys picking up the slack.
So what to make of getting the #2 overall pick then? I haven't as much thought about the actual player to draft as the philosophy the Bulls should employ. Draft big? small? project? ready-made? talent above all, or fit into the system?
I think John Paxson gets an unfair rep for being too 'safe' when making his draft selections. He's been drafting players from high-profile college programs, seemingly more ready to play in the league right away. But I also think Pax has the capability to swing for the fences(or to make a lame allusion to his playing days, 'hit the big shot'). In particular, Pax has not drafted completely by team need, as in the '04 draft when using the #3 overall pick for Ben Gordon. We all know now that the Bulls have a problem with using Hinrich and Gordon together in the same backcourt, but it also was known at the time of the draft that selecting an undersized shooting guard might not be the best idea. But Pax went with who he thought was the best player then, and I wouldn't be surprised if he does the same now.
So while Tyrus Thomas strikes me as a mini Tyson Chandler, and it looks like Andrea Bargnani won't play in the post enough to help, if they (or any other) emerge in the workout process and project to be a future stud, I say go for it. That seems like a given, but I think some Bulls fans may be thinking the team is closer to competing for a title than it really is. They could make a bunch of good moves and get closer to that point, but if there is one great move to be made in this draft then it'd be a nice shortcut to the top. There may be a higher likelihood of drafting a bust, but if you can't trust them to make this pick than the rebuilding project is lost anyway.
I'm especially willing to let them roll the dice because with a competitive team already in place, the Bulls may not be drafting this high for some time. Sure, the Knicks could tank again and the Bulls could get another top selection, but that's not something the organization can count on.
Pax has said repeatedly that spectacular talent is not in this draft, but I'll hold out hope. But if he isn't blowing smoke and there truly is no star to be had, then by all means, go for need and take Aldridge. Or Roy. The Bulls have two big needs of low-post scoring and a big guard, and so either of those two guys would help. But what they really need is a superstar, and this pick may turn out to be their best shot to get one.