The Chicago Bulls Biggest Mistake in the Past Ten Years

Mistakes happen. We sleep in a little too late or we forget to do a project. But for us, mistakes are simply, just that – mistakes. For the thirty NBA teams, mistakes cost them, potentially, tens of millions of dollars, a playoff appearance, or even a championship. They have been riddled throughout history. It can be draft picks (Blazers fans know what this is like), it can be free agency (can I get an amen from Knicks fans?), or it can be virtually anything else (in the case of the Kings, EVERYTHING ELSE). Thus, we present the worst mistakes from each NBA team over the past ten years.

The Chicago Bulls Biggest Mistake in the Past Ten Years

On draft night in 2006 the Chicago Bulls were picking second overall. With the second overall pick the Bulls selected a power forward from the University of Texas by the name of LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge would have been a fantastic pick by the Bulls had they kept him. He is averaging just under 20 points a game for his career at 19.2. Aldridge is a five time All-Star in the NBA. He was the face of the franchise for the Portland Trail Blazers for nearly a decade. As an unrestricted free agent last summer, Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs and helped them re-gain their status as a top tier team in the Western Conference.

The Regretful Trade

So you may ask: “Where did it all go wrong for the Bulls?” Well, after the Bulls selected Aldridge second overall, the Trail Blazers drafted power forward Tyrus Thomas out of LSU with the fourth overall pick. Following that pick, the Bulls and Trail Blazers agreed to swap Aldridge and a future second round pick for Thomas and Viktor Khryapa. Everyone knows the career of Aldridge; he went on to play nine great years in Portland. For Thomas, it’s been a different story.

Thomas played just four seasons in Chicago, averaging 7.9 points per game with the Bulls. He never developed into anything more than a solid backup power forward. Aldridge, meanwhile, has blossomed into one of the best power forwards in the game. Thomas last played in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2014-15.

Thomas’ college career, however, was very good; he averaged 12.3 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game and 3.2 blocks per game. The blocks were important as many NBA scouts thought Thomas could be a very good defender in the NBA. However Thomas just couldn’t put all his tools together at the NBA level. He never lived up to the high expectations placed upon him after Chicago acquired him on draft day in 2006.

What Could Have Been

Had Chicago been able to have Aldridge for nine years like Portland did, the Bulls may have taken the leap from an elite regular season team to a championship team. Maybe one of those years – with Aldridge in the lineup – the Bulls would’ve been able to defeat LeBron James and get by the Miami Heat in the playoffs. The Bulls haven’t made a lot of mistakes in the past ten years. However this one sure stings in Bulls fans hearts. They almost had LaMarcus Aldridge on their team. In fact, they did have him on their team. They just traded him away before he ever wore a Bulls uniform.

It could be argued that had the Bulls kept Aldridge, they wouldn’t have been bad enough in 2007-08 to land the first overall pick in 2008 and draft Derrick Rose. However, the Bulls went 33-49 in 2007-08 and had just a 1.7% chance to land the top pick. As a rookie, Aldridge probably wouldn’t have impacted their lottery chances too much. The possibility of fielding a lineup of Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng could have been very realistic.

Stay tuned with the Last Word on Sports basketball department to see the other 29 NBA teams’ biggest mistakes in the past ten years.

 

 

Main Photo

Oct. 12, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) reacts on the court during the game against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Trail Blazers 104-93. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE