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Bulls in tough lottery position

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

May 27, 2004
The Chicago Bulls suffered a blow when they ended up with the third pick at the NBA Draft Lottery on Wednesday night. Talk about being in a tough position.

Tyson Chandler
The Bulls have too many kids like Tyson Chandler on their team to be successful.
Chicago made a good choice last year by grabbing Kansas guard Kirk Hinrich. He will be a solid NBA player for a decade. It's so important these days to have players capable of knocking down the open shot the way Hinrich can. It has become a dilemma throughout the NBA.

Just look at the scores during this year's playoffs ... the shooting has been Brick City, USA! Yes, the defenses have become much more sophisticated and much more aggressive in the way they attack offenses.

But the basic fundamentals of shooting the ball are not emphasized in the same way today, because too many kids try to do the fancy things. That's why Hinrich was an important pick.

Now Bulls GM John Paxson is in a tough spot as he tries to find the next piece of the puzzle. Rebuilding the Bulls is not easy.

I figure that at No. 3, Chicago won't have a shot at UConn center Emeka Okafor because Orlando will probably take him at No. 1.

The Los Angeles Clippers hold the key to Chicago's draft, and that's so ironic when you look at the big deal these two teams made when Elton Brand was dealt for the rights to Tyson Chandler in 2001. I didn't like that deal for Chicago because the team chemistry was questionable when the club brought in two high schoolers at once -- Chandler and Eddy Curry.

That's one reason why the Bulls at No. 3 have a problem if high-school big man Dwight Howard is still on the board. Will the Clippers take Duke forward Luol Deng at No. 2 with the Duke connection of Brand and Corey Maggette already there?

The Bulls need someone to give them immediate help, someone who has been through the battles of college basketball. This is not a knock on the talented Howard, but experience is needed when Chicago adds that next piece of the puzzle.

Chicago has some talent on the roster. It's a matter of time before it meshes together. This next move at No. 3 in this draft will be important. Perhaps the Bulls will entertain trade offers for a veteran or two. Stay tuned.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he has been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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