By Benjy Lipsman on Jun 29, 2007 2:27PM
The NBA's annual draft took place Thursday night, and the Bulls added three new faces to the roster.
With the ninth pick--which the Bulls had via the Knicks due to the Eddy Curry trade--they selected Joakim Noah from Florida. If nothing else, he certainly made the biggest fashion statement of the night with his seersucker suit, bow tie and crazy hair.
Picking Noah was certainly consistent with GM John Paxson's style of going after players coming out of winning programs. Noah helped lead the Florida Gators to back-to-back NCAA titles the past two seasons. Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon and Tyrus Thomas all had Final Four experience as well.
"Joakim is a proven winner," Paxson said. "The guy plays hard every single night. We understand what the concerns are from an offensive standpoint. The guy is an energetic, athletic 7-footer. With his energy and enthusiasm on the floor, we think he fits in perfectly with us." Is Noah the right guy for the Bulls? While they need size and he is a seven footer, he isn't the post scorer that they desperately need. But he can rebound and does seem to fit into Paxson's overall plan.
In fact, the Bulls would have targeted Noah with the second pick last year, had he chosen to enter the draft following his breakout sophomore season that included the NCAA Final Four MVP. With a sub par tournament this season, he slipped a bit and the Bulls were able to grab him at the ninth spot.
We also like this pick, because we do believe that chemistry, character and hard work go further than pure talent. The Bulls progress over the past few seasons has shown that and we think Noah continues to move the Bulls in the right direction. Plus, the Bulls get a character who should be the most fun to watch off the court -- but in a good way -- since Dennis Rodman. And if nothing else, he might be a valuable chip in some future trade Paxson might be working on.
The Bulls added two more players in the second round, grabbing Pittsburgh center Aaron Gray and Oklahoma St. guard JamesOn (Apply directly to forehead!) Curry. The Curry pick is perhaps the most interesting pick of the entire draft, given Paxson's style and Curry's history.
In high school, Curry was convicted of two felony counts for selling marijuana to an undercover cop. In addition to serving three years probation and 200 hours of community service, he had his scholarship offer to North Carolina was rescinded. The Bulls spent extra time interviewing Curry about the incident and on ESPN radio recently, Paxson did explain that he felt comfortable that Curry's problems were in the past.
Our overall take on this year's draft? We'd give it a B. The Bulls need low post scoring and they didn't get that. But they did add two seven footers to their undersized roster. We believe that Noah will be better than many expect. And Curry could be a surprise, too. He slipped because his past scared off many teams. But if Paxson truly did his homework, he could be the steal of the draft.