Am I the only one who sees Luol Deng as this draft's third potential star? Not only does he fill a need for the Bulls, but he brings far more talent than anyone else available. Everyone talks about trading this pick for a veteran, but even a "good" trade would likely keep us out of the playoffs all the same. Would adding someone like Michael Finley or Al Harrington make this a playoff team? I doubt it. -- Paul Cronin, Champaign, Ill.
Both are available. I think you're right about a trade not putting the Bulls in the playoffs next season. It's too hard to "win" a trade of that magnitude. I disagree with you on Deng being a star. I think he will be a solid NBA player eventually and might even be able to help some next season because of his length and maturity. But I never see him being an NBA star. But that's why the draft has gotten so difficult in recent years -- projecting where high school players and 19-year-olds will be in several years. Imagine being a GM instead of a meager sportswriter. What I do know is that Paxson's only goal from this draft is to add an asset. The Bulls have so few of them right now that the only way back to respectability is to start stockpiling legitimate NBA players. Deng certainly will be that eventually.
Bulls management seems to be set to draft Luol Deng of Duke. Deng seems to be another Shane Battier -- an average athlete who played at a high profile college basketball program. I understand they have not had the best experience in drafting high school players, but when you have high school talent like Josh Smith and a savvy college player like Josh Childress available who could become All-Stars, why would you want to settle for a player of Deng's ilk? -- Thomas Terry Jr., Boston
Deng is not a sure thing by any stretch. He's one of three or four players the Bulls are considering at No. 3 and a trade is still a possibility. The only high school player the Bulls would even consider drafting and keeping is Dwight Howard, so Josh Smith is out. And how is Josh Childress better than Deng? Both have strengths. Both have weaknesses. That's my take, at least.
I haven't heard anything about Chris Duhon with regards to the draft. I think he'd be a nice backup to Hinrich, and could really provide speed and energy off the bench. Is he a potential 2nd round pick? -- Seann Perez, Aurora, Ill.
He's a borderline second-round pick, which is why you haven't heard much about him. He didn't fare too well at the predraft camp. Some team likely will use a second-round pick on him because he's one of those rarities -- a four-year college player from a great program. But he doesn't really stand out in any category except perhaps his court presence. So he'll be lucky to be in the NBA in five years. Think Trajan Langdon.
The Pistons' victory over the Lakers sure was sweet. However, it wasn't too long ago that the Pistons were as far away from a championship as the Bulls appear to be now. How was it done? Are there any lessons in the way Joe Dumars built his championship team that Paxson & Co. can emulate? -- Craig Dillon, Chicago
Yes. And it's what Paxson and Skiles are trying to do -- building a team rather than cultivating superstars. In fact, when Paxson got hired, I wrote a story where I talked to Dumars about the model his team used and how Paxson publicly stated he wanted to emulate that process. So I'm thinking Bulls are world champions in, oh, four seasons. Or maybe not.
How do you feel about Andre Iguodala? For some reason I get Ron Artest vibes about him -- a player not heralded for his offensive game, but someone whose body and defense is ready. He was a track star in high school and it seems like he's still learning. Think the Bulls will nab him? -- Mark, Pittsburgh
Hey, one question only, especially for someone who doesn't include their last name. Just kidding. First, my feelings about Iguodala are that he is a very intriguing prospect but I think he will slip in the draft. He and Okafor are probably the most defensively ready of the lottery picks. And he is physically solid as well. But there are questions about his offensive skills and his aggressiveness on the offensive end. That should answer your second question.
Are the Bulls seriously considering Ben Gordon? If yes, why? A wing player would seem much more important than a backup point guard or small 2-guard, despite his obvious talents. -- John Cohen, Sydney, Australia
Paxson always has said he will draft the best player available. Yes, they desperately need a wing. And, yes, Gordon and Hinrich would rarely make sense together in the backcourt. But Gordon had a great workout for the Bulls and he has them thinking. I still don't see them taking him at No. 3. But ask anyone who has worked this player out and they will tell you that he will be a scorer for many years in the NBA.
How good are Shaun Livingston and Dwight Howard? Although I don't like the thought of drafting more high school players, I would very much regret missing out on a very good player especially for our future. However, doesn't Shaun Livingston seem like a slightly taller Jamal Crawford? -- Jay, Bethany, Okla.
I've never seen either player play, so I'm only going off of what I've heard in talking to people around the league. But it's pretty much the consensus that these two players have the potential to eventually be the two best players in the draft. Livingston has a great presence about him and already has added 20 pounds since his high school season ended. He measured 6-7½ in shoes at the predraft camp. Howard's talent has most scouts drooling. But I don't see how the Bulls could take another high school player.
Who looked good at the NBA predraft camp? Also, is Hakim Warrick from Syracuse on anyone's radar? -- V.A., Chicago
Two questions from someone with initials? What the heck is going on here? But if I answered two questions from a guy in Pittsburgh, I have to do so for a guy from Chitown.
As for who looked good at the predraft camp, most anyone will tell you that Slovenian guard Beno Udrih helped himself immeasurably. Jackson Vroman from Iowa State may have played himself into the early second or late first round. Michigan's Bernard Robinson played well, although he is still a second-rounder. And Washington's Nate Robinson played well, although he is returning to school.
As for Warrick, not mine and not the Bulls.
How's Chandler's back holding up? Also, what do you think of using Crawford as sign-and-trade bait for a solid small forward? -- Bill, Skokie
I guess this is the two-question session. You people are wearing me out. Thus, the answers will get shorter.
Chandler's back is improving. He works out five days a week and has looked strong in drills and in rehab.
Crawford may be used for that exact purpose depending on what happens in the draft and what kind of interest he garners in the free-agent market. That idea is definitely on management's mind, though.
I saw Fizer outside Wrigley this week and he was wearing red Bulls game shorts and a white Bulls practice jersey. Does this man own clothes? -- Adam Caldarelli, Chicago
Wow, Bulls pride all the way to the end of his tenure here. You gotta love Marcus.
Thanks for your questions. Talk to you after the draft, K.C.
K.C. Johnson on the Bulls
The Tribune's Bulls writer answers readers' questions throughout the NBA season
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