The Chicago Bulls could use a good perimeter scorer, someone who can really light it up from deep. Even though Kirk Hinrich played out of his mind for a couple games of the first round series loss to Cleveland, he's not that guy.
John Salmons was not that guy either, and the Bulls haven't had "that guy" since Ben Gordon left town. Chicago doesn't really shoot a whole lot of threes, because there isn't anyone truly dependable out there beyond the arc to consistently drain them. Whoever replaces Vinny Del Negro needs to add this dimension to the offense next season.
Oklahoma State's James Anderson, who should be available when the Bulls pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, could just be "that guy."Obviously this offseason is all about the free agent derby (you've heard a thing or two or three million about that, right?), but the Bulls could also find the long-distance marksman they need on June 24; seven days before the free agency period begins.
Anderson, the Big 12 Player of the Year, is a surefire first-round pick who could go as high as the mid-teens. His athleticism is not at the elite NBA level which could drop him into the 20s, but he is a great scoring guard who could complement Derrick Rose and whatever big name free agent Chicago is able to land. I caught up to the 6-6 shooting guard at Milwaukee's Bradley Center, following the final game of his collegiate career.
I asked Anderson if there was anyone he looks up to in the league, and his answer was a former Bull, the most famous of all. "I looked up to Michael Jordan ever since I've been a child, that's about it," Anderson said.
His biggest strengths include his pull-up jump shot, the quick release he has on it and the fact that he doesn't need much space to get it off. He's a great free throw shooter, possesses ideal size for an NBA two-guard, and is an effective slasher to the basket (granting him more offensive versatility) and a smooth finisher in transition.
Conversely, he has some weaknesses, including his tendency to dribble too much, his lack of creativity off the bounce and always favoring the left hand in driving to the basket.
But perhaps the biggest reason he's a good in fit in Chicago is that Johngar Paxman (GM Gar Forman and Executive John Paxson actually make all personnel decisions together, so I just morphed them into one person) always likes to draft big school players, often stressing character issues. And character is perhaps Anderson's biggest strength. Read the ringing endorsement his collegiate coach Travis Ford gave at the NCAA Tournament:
"If all my players were the type of person he is and as responsible and accountable, as nice, coming ready to practice every day as James was makes it a lot easier. As I've said, he's the most coachable young man I've ever coached, and that's a broad term and I can get into what that means. In my two years of James, I've never had to call him into my office one single time for something he's done wrong or been late to or anything like that. I've never had to tell him something twice.
Anytime you see James, he's extremely humble and very polite, in a good mood. He's a "no, sir/yes, sir." You tell him to do anything, he does it. Yes, it makes my job easy coaching a young man with his talent level, but also the type of young man he is. It makes everybody around him better. Makes me a better person. It makes his teammates better players and better people. There's not many James Andersons that come around every day, there's really not."
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My top 5 players in order