When our hometown Bulls defied the odds (probability was a mere 1.7%) and snagged the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft lottery, a debate began immediately. Should they take Kansas State’s Michael Beasley, a power forward who averaged 26.5 points and an NCAA-leading 12.5 rebounds during his “one and done” college career? Or pick Derrick Rose, the excessively athletic playmaker from Memphis? Check out any local publication and you’ll see that all the polls are heavily slanted (usually about 67%-33%) towards picking Rose. I find this fascinating because our home team currently has a guard surplus and a severe lack of frontcourt scoring. Taking Beasley over Rose makes utterly perfect sense, yet most casual fans and my fellow sports geeks voice their desire for the opposite. Why you may ask? Derrick Rose is a hometown hero. He owned the courts of the Chicago Public League while attending Simeon high school, a hoops factory that produced stars like Nick Anderson, Deon Thomas and Calvin Brock. Rose has electrifying quickness that even a video game couldn’t exaggerate. Bringing this franchise player back to ‘the Chi’ brings excitement back to a franchise filled with negative emotion.
Like Poison told us in the 80s, “Every Rose has its Thorn,” and in this case the thorn (a glut of guards) is the Bulls current roster. If the Bulls draft Rose they should (MUST actually) trade away some of their extra guards for a proven low-post scorer. In the league’s “Bull Market” Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Larry Hughes and forward Tyrus Thomas are the most dealable commodities. The player they would need to shop most is Hinrich, the current starting point guard and a serviceable player who regressed somewhat this past season. However, he’s an excellent defender and a decent passer who would still be regarded as an upgrade at the one position for many teams. To look at some possible deals and how they would build a lineup around Rose go here.
From a marketing perspective, a #1 overall pick playing pro ball in his hometown is HUGE! It hasn’t happened in my lifetime, and the closest we’ve seen is Akron, Ohio native LeBron James playing for Cleveland. You’ve seen what he’s done for branding the Cavaliers. Here, a similar situation is possible.