Will the Bulls Draft a Backup Point Guard?

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By Paul M. Banks

If there’s one position the Chicago Bulls don’t have a pressing need at, it’s point guard. The incumbent starter, Derrick Rose is the only player on the roster even remotely close to developing into a franchise player, and (SAT scandals and gang sign gestures aside) is the guy to build the team around. But the Bulls might see backup Kirk Hinrich move on soon and in today’s NBA, the “Golden Age of Point Guards” that we currently live in, it’s good to have two reliable point guards.

As former UCLA point guard and current draft prospect Darren Collison said at the NBA Draft Combine: “This is the draft you want to be in right now if you’re a point guard. Everyone’s getting so much credit, from Jonny Flynn, to me, to Eric Maynor right on down the list because everyone knows they need point guards to win ballgames, to take that next step. And teams need a first string and a second string the whole game to be solid, and all the point guards in this draft have the potential to do that.”

For teams currently needing a point guard, this crop of prospects is deeper than any draft this decade, possibly all-time. It could produce a couple players with the same impact as current young NBA floor generals Rose, Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

On Tuesday, the Bulls looked at (among others) Maynor, Wake Forest’s Jeff Teague, Greece’s Nick Calathes, St. Joseph’s Tasheed Carr, the 5’6” David Holston from Chicago State and Bryan Mullins from Southern Illinois via Downers Grove High School.

UCLA’s second, and more hyped point guard prospect, Jrue Holiday has also met with the team and expressed a strong interest to join the team at combine media day. However, he should be long picked by the time the Bulls are on the board.

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Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn, one of the hottest point guard prospects around, figures to likely be gone by the time the Bulls pick at #16 on June 25th, and long gone when the Bulls pick again at #26. However, he worked out for the Bulls, met with the front office and was extremely vocal about his desire to play for the Bulls at the NBA Draft Combine. Flynn told the media how much he enjoys the Bulls up-tempo system and their young nucleus. He also described his game:

“I think I have some characteristics of Chris Paul. His tenacity, he’s hard as nails, fiery, fires his teammates up, he really knows how to get his teammates in position to where they can score, where they don’t have to do much to score. Look at David West and Tyson Chandler; where would they be without Chris Paul?”

As much as the Bulls need a scoring big, as much as point guard is the team’s strongest position, they have needs at guard- especially someone to be a backup running the point and/or provide scoring at the off guard position given the (increasingly likely) case that Ben Gordon departs.

Derrick Rose Explains his Flashing of Gang Sign

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By Paul M. Banks

As if the University of Memphis needed more bad PR. Headlines surrounding the program lately have been dominated by questions over whether former player and current Chicago Bull star Derrick Rose had someone take his SAT for him; as well as other stories of institutionalized corruption and malfeasance within the Memphis Tigers family.

Then the USC scandal broke and the men of Troy took the spotlight off the basketball mercenaries (well, maybe that’s a bit unfair- mercenaries are actually paid) affiliated with Memphis. So just when everyone had forgotten about Rose’s possibly cheating and coasting his way through his one year of school (seriously, doesn’t this mandated one year of college in order to get drafted rule seem even more incredibly stupid now?) we were reminded that “every Rose has its thorn.” Apologies to the ’80s hair band Poison.

I’ll let Derrick Rose explain the picture above in his own words. This is a statement released from the Bulls at 5pm  Thursday June 11th.

“Recently, a photo has been circulating on the Internet which appears to depict me flashing a gang sign.  This photo of me was taken at a party I attended in Memphis while I was in school there, and was meant as a joke…a bad one, I now admit.  I want to emphatically state, now and forever, that Derrick Rose is anti-gang, anti-drug, and anti-violence.  I am not, nor have I ever been, affiliated with any gang and I can’t speak loudly enough against gang violence, and the things that gangs represent.

In posing for this picture, I am guilty of being young, naive and of using extremely poor judgment.  I sincerely apologize to all my fans for my mistake.  I pride myself on being a good citizen, and role model, that young people can look up to and I want to urge all my young fans to stay away from gangs and gang-related activities.”

The image of Rose wilts from a minor gaffe that seems slightly offensive at worst, juvenile at best. Of course, this will blow over in a few days and Bulls fans will go back to having a man-crush on him. In the bigger picture, it’s yet another lesson about life in the internet/web 2.0/social media era. Remember, there are cell phone cameras and Blackberrys around everywhere you go, and if you get caught doing something that’s unfavorable to your public perception, it’ll spread like a virus.