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A few adjectives came to mind. Among them: indescribable, surreal, life-altering, lucky -- hell, these aren't doing the trick. I'm starting to think nothing will. These feelings have transcended accurate description -- frankly, it's a tad frightening. (Frightening. There's your adjective.)
The moment it happened, I knew -- barring an early case of Alzheimer's, knock on wood -- that it wouldn't be a moment I'd easily forget. I ususally enjoy every aspect of the NBA Draft, so -- call me a loser, go ahead -- more often than not, I actually tune in to the Lotto. (I like ping pong, sue me.) Not today. My team had a 1.7% chance of landing the top pick, was currently not in karma's good favor, and not likely to end up with anything better than the 9th pick -- not exactly must-see TV. So I went against my better judgment, and headed over to see my high school's girls soccer sectional game. Midway through an uneventful first half, a group of fans ten rows below me erupted.
"BULLS GOT THE FIRST PICK!" I heard. Also, "NO WAY! YEAH, GO BULLS!"
In that one moment, my thoughts were sent scurrying.
"The Bulls and the first pick? Wasn't it a 1.7% chance? No, no, it can't be true. It just can't. These jokers down there think they're hilarious. Real funny, guys!"
What were the odds this was nothing more than a sick prank? What were the odds of my now-sky high hopes being crushed upon the realization of the cruel truth of the matter? I couldn't wait for an answer. Without missing a beat, my group of friends and I furiously texted and dialed other friends sitting at home, hoping they had heard and could confirm the news.
They had. It was true.
In a miracle to top all miracles, the Chicago Bulls had beaten the 98.3% chance of landing a pick anywhere other than first -- hey, when's the last time the Bulls beat anything?
It was and still is an incredible feeling. If you think I'm just rubbing it in, tough -- although you would have a legitimate case. Chicago is the luckiest town in the sports universe tonight -- and by lucky I mean completely undeserving of this pick, considering the lousy play throughout all of last season, the disgusting display of disrespect for the game of basketball in general, and the load of quitters lining the team's roster at the current time. Despite all that, and the fact that -- exluding the tanking Hall of Fame nominee Heat -- the Bulls were probably the least worthy team vying for the first pick, I'm going to sit back, relax, and soak all this unearned and undeserved glory in.
Okay, I'm done soaking. Now the real fun starts.
Barring what would certainly be the single worst decision in the entire history of sports -- something John Paxson is doubtlessly more than capable of achieving -- the pick is between 6-10 Michael Beasley from Kansas State and 6-3 Derrick Rose from Memphis. It's between the smooth front court behemoth that scores at will and the cunning point guard born to run the show. Between the player that would address the team's biggest flaw and the once in a generation point guard. Between the questionable character issues and questionable outside shooting. Between two players with already-ferocious groups of supporters in Chicago. Between two players that would both look incredible in Bulls jerseys.
Frankly, as of right now, I don't know which side I support. I wasn't exactly prepared for my team to be in this situation, so I wasn't exactly ready to be choosing between Beasley and Rose. I was thinking more like Kevin Love and Ty Lawson. So, while I'm certainly enjoying the upgrade, no, I haven't been swayed one way or another -- yet. In the coming weeks, keep an eye out for a fiery column in support of either Rose or Beasley from me, but it won't be today.
All things considered, it's quite the horrifying conundrum. It is my fondest wish that this decision was the responsibility of anyone other than John Paxson -- Benny the Bull, are you available? -- but it's not. So we'll be forced to clench our teeth and endure the endless workouts and the tedious, neutral press conferences. It's going to be a long wait, one you can be sure will be full of heated exchanges concerning Rose and Beasley. Don't be surprised if this takes precedence over the Cubs' and Socks' current stays in first place; this city loves their Bulls, and with such an enormous decision hanging over the usual summer proceedings, a city-wide, month-long debate wouldn't be a shocker. In fact, I expect it.
When you think about it, though, shouldn't Chicago just sit back and enjoy it all? It's a wonderful problem to have: a choice between two future all-stars; each with flaws -- Beasley's character and Rose's jumpshot range-- yet qualities that redeem said flaws in full. Both are going to be All-League type pros -- there truly is little room to dispute that claim -- and one will suit up for the Bulls next season. What more could Chicago want? (Well, other than Mike D'Antoni.)
It's going to get intense. That much is for absolutely certain. Upon hearing the news tonight, the sectional soccer game was banished to the back burner in favor of arguments concerning the pros and cons of these two starlets. Beasley's athleticism solidifying a front court that's been begging for aid since God-knows-when? Rose's unbelievable knack for making the right decision, added on to the fact that he's only a year removed from playing high school basketball right here in Chicago? We were getting feisty, and the Bulls had only owned the pick for mere minutes! Think what'll happen in a month!
It's certainly an incredible decision. And it's weighing on not only Paxson's, but the city's mind. Mine too. (Paxson's matters a tad more, though.)
Today, though, I'll remain neutral. Instead of touting B-Easy or D-Rose, I'll marvel at the opportunity Chicago's been handed. Today is a day for Chicago to rejoice together, to give praise and thanks to the Lotto gods, and to appreciate what we've been given -- deservedly or not.
Rose? Beasley? Who cares! Now's the time to sit back and enjoy this fantastic problem -- while we can.