By Adam J. (aka A.J. Dove)
So after much anticipation (maybe only by me) the NBA draft went off with a bang. Danny Ainge filled the point guard spot with a past lottery mistake in Sebastian Telfair. Some drunk guy in a Knicks jersey called Isiah Thomas a bum, and nobody even blinked an eye (rightly so). And the Blazers, ah yes the once mighty Blazers seemed willing to trade anyone on the roster not named Zach Randolph. Which begs the question: Since you’re taking out the garbage why not get rid of some dead weight in Randolph as well?
In all honesty though I do think the Blazers were right to make so many moves (even if my Bulls took advantage of them like a three year old kid playing marbles in a prison yard). They were awful last season, and there is an obvious reason why they are called the “Jail-Blazers”. That squad is in definite need of a huge shake up.
Now on to the topic of my afore-mentioned Chicago Bulls. Going into the draft they needed to get a lot longer, and way more athletic. Done and done.
Now starting at forward for your Chicago Bulls, at 6 foot 9 out of Louisiana State University… TYRUS “FREAK OF NATURE” THOMAS!!!
Many people will look at the pick of Tyrus Thomas as just a more athletic Tyson Chandler, and they are probably right, but here’s the thing; Tyson Chandler, despite being a bonafide defensive presence (especially at the end of games) has found it impossible to learn how to play offense in the Bulls system. In fact I’m not even sure if there is a system he would feel comfortable in. Scott Skiles lost his last vestiges of hair watching Chandler fumble pass after pass out of bounds, or worse yet into the hands of opposing players the last couple of seasons. It got so bad at times it looked like Tyson didn’t even want the ball on offense. This from a guy with a huge contract, and the only legit seven footer (besides that Australian Yetti Luke Schenscher on the bench) on a squad that features Michael Sweetney and Othella Harrington in the post. Two guys who measure 6’8” and 6’9” respectively. I know the NBA is getting smaller inside and taller outside, but that’s plain ridiculous.
With Tyrus the Bulls should have a bit more flexibility in the post as teams will have to be aware of him on the floor at all times. It’s one thing to box out a smaller Othella Harrington and grab a rebound, it’s another thing to box him out and then end up in a Tyrus Thomas poster because he slips in and yolks it on your face! Tyson Chandler may have just become expendable, and with Ben Wallace looming in free agency I can already envision John Paxson licking his chops in a sign and trade.
Tyrus Thomas should also not have Chandler’s offensive problems. He is still very young (as is Tyson), but Thomas hasn’t been coached by Scott Skiles yet. All indications right now are that the kid is hungry to learn and develop into a multi faceted player. If that happens look out! His freakish athleticism might someday be described as a cross between Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion. Anybody doubting his upside need only watch his highlight reel from LSU and watch how fast he gets up. His reaction time on defense is unreal, and his ability to attack the rim for put back dunks on offense can only mean more playing time next to a shot happy Ben Gordon. Sure, he could someday be described as a just more athletic Tyson Chandler, but let’s wait and see. I for one will be tuning in to find out, and that’s exactly the way John Paxson and Jerry Reinsdorf want it.