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Rick didn't have a whole lot to say about the Bulls last season. What he did have to say wasn't good most of the time. Here is his latest.

A bright future

June 30, 2002


It was a blessing the Bulls had a very good pick in the NBA draft Wednesday, but not the first one.

Thus, they did not have to choose 7-5 Chinese center Yao Ming and pin all their hopes on a young man with the head of an 8-footer and the shoulders of a 6-footer.

Dreadful thoughts of Shawn Bradley, Chuck Nevitt, Manute Bol and, yes, Brad Sellers go through my mind every time I look at Yao.

You do remember Sellers, don't you? He was the Bulls' first-round pick out of Ohio State in 1986, a slender fellow who stood 7 feet tall "but played smaller,'' as excited general manager Jerry Krause curiously put it.

Sellers would go on to become one of the greatest in-bounds passers the Bulls have had. Maybe he was the best ever.

At any rate, what I see in Yao is a much weaker, less dramatic, non-cigarette-smoking Vlade Divac.

But with the second pick of the draft, the Bulls simply gobbled up the obvious in Duke point guard Jay Williams, who is 17 inches shorter than Yao but as accomplished a guard as anyone to come out of college since Utah's Andre Miller.

Miller has been on a bad Cleveland Cavaliers team for three seasons, preventing his skills from being widely seen. But he is the real deal.

So is Williams. He can't rebound like slightly taller guards such as Miller or Jason Kidd, but he has dunked when needed and has range, heft and ball skills. Plus, he already has more maturity than players such as Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis and Allen Iverson might have in a lifetime.

Williams was a great pick for the Bulls.

It doesn't bother me at all to say that. In fact, it's a pleasure.

The Bulls don't need more soft giants. They need somebody to run the show in the way that no Bulls point guard has since Norm Van Lier.

The only troubling thing is remembering how the Bulls got to the point where they could choose a quality penetrator and winner--forget Williams' missed free throws in the NCAA tournament--and become respectable again.

Utter lousiness is how the Bulls got here.

It never ceases to amaze me that in a controlled franchise system such as the NBA, blowing up your team and foisting garbage on your fans for several seasons can be the ticket to success.

Management saves salary money, stockpiles high draft choices and lets kids develop. And if the fan base doesn't mutiny (and because the sweet-natured fools have nowhere else to go; they seldom do)--bingo!--you're a contender again.

The Bulls got a leader such as Williams because they have been the worst team in the league since 1998. But attendance barely dipped at the United Center in all that time, apparently because of the pent-up demand to see where Michael Jordan once showered.

But now the Bulls might be tolerable to watch again.

I don't know what you do with still-growing point guard Jamal Crawford, except trade him or play him alongside Williams, the way the Philadelphia 76ers play Eric Snow and Iverson together.

But it's a decent problem to have.

I was speaking the other day with Orlando Magic forward Pat Garrity, a former Notre Dame player, and he said he thought No.3 overall pick Mike Dunleavy Jr., Williams' teammate at Duke, might be the Rookie of the Year.

"I could see him playing for Golden State just like Mike Miller did last year [for the Magic],'' Garrity said.

Miller was the 2001-02 Rookie of the Year.

Garrity also said he was ecstatic the Magic obtained Notre Dame power forward Ryan Humphrey in a draft-day trade with the Utah Jazz. He said he thinks the 6-6 Humphrey will bring his passion, hustle and Notre Dame grit to the NBA hardwood.

Myself, I think the draftees who will turn out to be stars are the Memphis Grizzlies' Drew Gooden, the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Wilcox, the Miami Heat's Caron Butler and the Cavaliers' Dajuan Wagner.

Gooden is silky smooth, Wilcox is physically maturing and can jump to the moon, Butler is a scorer who reminds me of Paul Pierce and Wagner is an offensive hand grenade.

Dunleavy will be good, but his defense and frailty are serious issues.

But I wouldn't be surprised if Williams becomes the Rookie of the Year. And an All-Star after that. He'll have the opportunities, and he has the skills. The Duke stuff.

In fact, I bet if you could keep together a Duke team of Williams, Dunleavy, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette and perhaps Carlos Boozer, you might have the nucleus of an amazingly good NBA team in a couple of years.

The Bulls could throw a team out on the floor today--Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler, Jalen Rose, Crawford and Williams--that averages 22 years of age, fairly normal for a senior-laden NCAA team.

So the future is looking better.

And Williams is helping to close the door on the ugly, ugly past.

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147 Posts
Telander is an idiot

He's a traitor to Northwestern University -- alums think he's a bastard that should rot in hell.

He is also an idiot for thinking of putting Yao Ming's name into the same sentence as Shawn Bradley and Manute Bol. IDIOT.

Yao Ming will be the greatest player in this draft. Except for Shaq (at least initially), he will utterly dominate the Western Conference (name me one starting center whom this guy will not cream).

Those who think Yao Ming will be a bust obviously have never seen him play. Idiot Rick Telander is only one of them.

But, I'm still pleased with the addition of Jay Williams.

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153 Posts
I agree with PJC845. Ming already has skills those other players never developed. With proper strength coaching, Ming will become a monster.

Though I am happy with JWill, I wouldn't have been crying if Ming had landed with the Bulls.

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10,836 Posts
Re: Telander is an idiot

Originally posted by pjc845
Yao Ming will be the greatest player in this draft. Except for Shaq (at least initially), he will utterly dominate the Western Conference (name me one starting center whom this guy will not cream).
Tim Duncan.
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