Out in Portland, there is a 28-year-old, athletic, sweet-shooting power forward averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds per game for the second-best team in the NBA, and firmly planting himself in the MVP discussion. His name is LaMarcus Aldridge.
Somewhere, not on an NBA roster, there is an athletic but ineffective power forward who, last season, appeared in just 26 games for the very bad Charlotte Bobcats, and averaged just 5 points and 2 rebounds per game. His name is Tyrus Thomas.
In the 2006 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls selected the now-All-Star power forward, only to promptly trade him for now-unemployed power forward.
The Bulls could sure use Aldridge now. Not only would it mean a better season
currently, but their future would look much rosier it does at the moment.
And what if they already had Aldridge in the fold when LeBronapalooza was going on in the summer of 2010? Maybe the money spent on Carlos Boozer could have been spent elsewhere. Not
That’s not the only personnel decision that has come back to haunt the Bulls. C.J. Watson, Omer Asik, and Kyle Korver would all be upgrades over the replacements the Bulls have brought in for them.
Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Teague, Nazr Mohammed and Mike Dunleavy have all failed to fill the shoes of the former bench mob.
Of course, Asik was due for a raise after his successful tenure in Chicago. Asik signed an incredibly back-loaded deal with the Houston Rockets that will pay him somewhere around $15 MILLION next year.
After Watson bolted for Brooklyn, the Bulls filled the backup point guard spot by trading Korver, one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history, for good ol’ Kirk Hinrich, who can’t hit the side of a barn, currently.
Now, with Hinrich the starter with Derrick Rose out, former first-round pick Marquis Teague has been tasked with stepping up into the backup point guard role.
Teague has responded in a big way…by, um being benched for 75-year-old Mike James and now newly-signed D.J. Augustin.
You can kind of defend some of the moves the Bulls made. Notoriously thrifty owner Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t like paying the luxury tax, so letting Asik walk was a foregone conclusion. The negotiations between the Bulls and Watson got rocky, so he decided to bolt.
They have certainly made good moves as well, retaining Taj Gibson and drafting Jimmy Butler late in the first round. And Dunleavy has stepped up his play recently.
But imagine if Aldridge and Korver were out there instead of Boozer and Dunleavy or Tony Snell.
Not only would they be above the glob of horribleness that is most of the East, they would have a much more secure future with a second star next to Rose (eventually).