- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
- 0 Shares
DANDENONG, VICTORIA, Australia -- Having won three NBA championships playing alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, former Bulls guard Ron Harper knows all about how to fit in as a starting two-guard around superstar players.
That's why, contrary to popular belief these days in Chicago, Harper believes his former team can succeed without the scoring two-guard that so many fans are clamoring for to play alongside reigning MVP Derrick Rose in the backcourt next season.
"They don't have to have a two-guard who scores," Harper said Friday morning after a breakfast at Dandenong Stadium. "They got Derrick and Derrick Rose scores enough. They need probably a two-guard who can demand respect [that] they can score, but they need a guy who's a fit and what his role is. That's what they need. When you've got a guard like Derrick Rose, you've got Luol Deng, you've got [Joakim] Noah. You've got guys that know how to play, and I think that's the key."
Harper, who along with various other former NBA players and coaches, has been in Australia all week serving as a coach and spokesperson for the league's first ever official camp on the continent, is convinced that the Bulls simply need more time to grow as a team.
"They're not missing anything," he said. "I just think they're not an experienced team. They've got a very great point guard. They've got a good two-guard and a small [forward] [in Deng]. They just got to just fit into the roles they have and once they grow into a team and figure out the roles they have. I think they're going to be all right."
That sentiment was shared by other former Bulls at the camp as well.
"I don't think they're missing much," former Bulls center Luc Longley said. "They're a young team, effectively. [Carlos] Boozer's not young. But they're young together, they've got young leaders. I just think they've got to be galvanized by going through the wars a little bit more. I think they did great last year.
"I think if you think about the Jordan/Pippen years, they had to be galvanized by going through the Detroit Piston thing. They got beaten up a couple times and that's what they need, and they'll be better this year."
Former Bulls power forward Horace Grant agreed.
"I think with the experience that they had in this particular playoff it's going to help them for the next year and the years to come," Grant said. "And I say that just because they didn't have that experienced level of NBA basketball play that they needed to get past a team like Miami."
While all three former Bulls agreed the future is bright, they acknowledged that it wouldn't hurt the Bulls to add another piece or two. Although nobody is quite certain which player would put them over the top.
"You can always add a piece," Harper said. "It wouldn't hurt them. It's good to have a 1-2 punch, but it's [better] to have a 1-2-3 punch, too. The more good players you have, it will not hurt your team I don't think."
Harper is convinced Rose can fill the role Jordan used to undertake as being the go-to guy for Chicago during multiple title runs.
"He's definitely the face of the Chicago team," Harper said. "He's the face of the NBA, too. He's a quality young man who knows how to play. I think that he can lead that team. I think the more players that they build around him, that will allow him to grow more, too. He is that No. 1 guy for the Chicago Bulls ... when he plays good, they play good."
Longley believes that Rose's image in Australia will skyrocket if he is able to win an NBA title in the next few years.
"His profile isn't as big as some of the others [right now] ," Longley said. "There's a lot of [Dwyane] Wade and [LeBron] James out here, jerseys, getting around. To my way of thinking, he's one of the top 10 guys, but he hasn't taken over like a [Michael] Jordan did or a Wade did. But I think that's in him yet. I think [if he wins] a championship, he'll go through the roof."
Ron Harper says his former team doesn't need a scoring two-guard.