So the Chicago Bulls struck gold. The Bulls are a pretty good team who collapsed this season. They were a playoff team with a bright future at this time last year and now they get to add Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose. Mike D’Antoni can’t be pleased. But who should Chicago take.
If the Bulls take Beasley they will be getting a 20/10 big man who will give them the post scoring they have always lacked. He is athletic and can run and would fit in pretty well with the Bulls existing talent. He would create a little big of a log jam at the 4, with Drew Gooden, Tyrus Thomas and Beasley all competing for time, but a starting lineup of Beasley, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Kurt Hinrich would be frightening. Beasley could dominate on the block, Gordon and Hinrich are outstanding long range shooters who can space the floor and Deng is a good slasher. Noah provides energy and rebounding. The bench of Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni, Chris Duhon and Tyrus Thomas would be one of the best second lines in the NBA, providing the same mix of post scorer (Gooden), shooters (Duhon, Nocioni), slasher (Hughes) and energy man (Thomas) as the front line. Thats a pretty damn good team.
On the other hand, Rose would necessitate a bigger rethinking of the Chicago strategy. A starting lineup of Rose, Gordon, Deng, Gooden and Noah would be pretty solid, but Gooden isn’t really mobile enough to run the kind of fast paced game that the rest of that lineup is built for. On the other hand, Thomas is built for it and would make the team a nightmare on the break, but a front court of Deng, Thomas and Noah wouldn’t provide the low post scoring the team would need. Also, that starting lineup would lack a consistent long range shooter beyond Gordon. To run the break really effectively they’d need to find another spot up shooter who could trail the play and hurt teams that collapsed on the lane. Hinrich or Duhon would certainly have to go, probably Duhon, given that he’s a free agent and not as good a shooter. Nocioni and Hughes would fit in well on the team, providing solid shooting and dynamic scoring on the break. Overall, its not as strong a team, but it would be more fun to watch and have a bigger potential for growth, especially if Rose grows into a Chris Paul type point who can bring out Tyrus Thomas’ potential. The biggest issue would be Gooden, who is not a great fit for this type of scheme and already seems to be on the downside his career, having regressed each of the last three years after his breakout 2004 season (though his numbers did improve once he landed in Chicago).
The Bulls will be good with either player. They are both unique players who will be major contributors in the league. The Bulls would be scary good with Beasley as currently constituted. He’d be a better fit with the team they have now and would make them Eastern Conference contenders again immediately. Rose is a little tougher. They don’t have someone who can effectively give them what they need from the power forward position if they get Rose. Gooden is too slow and Thomas doesn’t have the offensive skills yet. But a Bulls team with Rose has a much higher potential. He will jump start the development of Thomas, improve the games of Gordon, Deng, Nocioni and Noah and give them an overall higher ceiling. Its a tough call, but I’d guess Derrick Rose makes the most sense for the Bulls.