Over the coming days, we're going to employ 20-20 hindsight and look back five years at how Chicago teams drafted in 2007. Five years is usually a good benchmark to look for quality and return on investment, so we'll begin looking there.
In the first piece of the series, we examined the 2007 Draft of the Chicago Cubs. The second piece of the series broke down the 2007 Draft of the Chicago Bears. Now, in this third installment of the series, we're going to look back at the 2007 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. How did they do, and what could have been?
While some other sports' drafts were loaded with talented superstars, the NBA was a contradiction. The top overall pick in this class was center Greg Oden, who has become almost as infamous in Portland draft history as Sam Bowie; this time, instead of taking Bowie instead of Michael Jordan, the Blazers opted to take the injury-prone Oden instead of Kevin Durant. Oops.
At the time of the draft, the Bulls actually had the 23rd overall selection. But because Isiah Thomas is an idiot and made one of the worst trades in Knicks history to acquire Eddy Curry, the Bulls had the option to swap first round picks with New York. And they did, moving up to the ninth overall selection.
Round One - Pick 9: Joakim Noah, C, Florida
Lots of folks questioned picking Noah, who was a great college player who won a ton at Florida but didn't appear to translate well to the professional ranks well (sound familiar, Broncos fans?). However, looking back now, only two other players from the first round of the 2007 class are anywhere close to being as effective in the NBA as Noah, and both were gone by the time Chicago's pick came up. Durant and Noah's teammate at Florida, Al Horford (selected third by Atlanta) have had nice NBA careers to date.
Of the players that followed Noah in the first round, only a few have had an impact in the Association. Spencer Hawes, selected tenth by Sacramento, is just now starting to show big league ability. Rodney Stuckey (15th to Detroit), Nick Young (16th to Washington), Wilson Chandler (23rd to New York), Aaron Brooks (26th to Houston) and Aaron Afflalo (27th to Detroit) have been decent in the NBA, but nowhere near the impact players that Noah has been.
In fact, a case could be made that three of the better players in the 2007 Draft were selected in the second round. Carl Landry (31st to Seattle), Glen "Big Baby" Davis (35th to Seattle) and Marc Gasol (48th to the Lakers) have been serviceable players.
The Bulls actually had two players in the back half of the second round that year. Rarely do players from the bottom of the second round make an impact in the NBA, and the Bulls' selections held true to that rule.
Round Two - Pick 49: Aaron Gray, C, Wake Forest
Round Two - Pick 51: JamesOn Curry, G, Oklahoma State
Only one player picked after these two has been an NBA player worth much. Ramon Sessions, selected 56th by Milwaukee, has been a decent guard. Have the Bulls missed Gray or Curry? Not really. Would things have been different if they had selected Sessions? Doubtful.
Looking back now, the Bulls selecting Noah might have been one of the most questioned picks in this draft class, but it's turned out to be one of the better selections made that year.