08 December 2010
But 20 games in, the Bulls biggest need is still at the shooting guard position. Keith Bogans isn't good at basketball anymore, Ronny Brewer has an inconsistent offensive game, and Kyle Korver is a shooting specialist and is best limited to 20-25 minutes a game.
While the Bulls find themselves in a playoff race, the Memphis Grizzlies find themselves at 8-14 and quickly falling out of the race. The Grizz were a popular pick for the playoffs, with Rudy Gay returning to a join solid core of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and O.J. Mayo. Turns out Mayo isn't exactly part of the core anymore. The former 3rd overall pick has been coming off of the bench while rookie Xavier Henry starts. With recent extensions to Gay and Conley, the Grizzlies are looking to move some salary for flexibility in the future.
I'm under the impression that Mayo is available, and would be moved if the Grizzlies brass gets the right offer.
Let's make the assumption that he is available in order to move salary and acquire pieces for the future. Are the Bulls a match? The Bulls assets are their first round pick, Taj Gibson and James Johnson. Of those three, I'd rank the value in order - Gibson, Pick, Johnson. I'm sure the Grizzlies would not move Mayo for Johnson. The Grizzlies have a version of Gibson in Darrell Arthur, so they may not want Gibson, nor would it be wise for the Bulls to trade him. But the first round pick is intriguing.
Let’s also project that the Bulls will be picking 20th. The top prospects at that spot are lengthy, hybrid forwards. Names like Tyler Honeycutt, Trey Thompkins, Jordan Hamilton, CJ Leslie, Chris Singleton and others might be on the board at that point. Is that a particular need for the Bulls going forward? Given the current state of the Bulls, those players would be fighting for minimal playing time. The Bulls have Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Gibson at those spots for the next four-plus years. Plus, the only shooting guard worth mentioning at that spot looks to be Alec Burks, and he's still raw.
Another issue with this year’s NBA draft is that many experts are labeling it weak due to the uncertainty with the NBA bargaining agreement. A lot of players may stay in college because of this, and it could hurt the level of talent in the draft.
The other question is, can the Bulls find enough time for Mayo? I find it hard to believe that the Bulls would trade Brewer a few months after signing a 3-year deal with the Bulls, and Korver deserves to play, too. There's a bit of a logjam at that position, and the way Thibideau plays the hot hand, I'm not sure you could guarantee 25+ minutes for Mayo.
Finally, there's a reason Mayo's been moved to the bench and isn't apart of the projected future of the Grizzlies. He's not a good enough passer, nor is he fast enough to be a point guard. He's not known as a good defender and doesn't do much on the boards. His best attribute is his shooting. My first question is, after looking at the stats, how much is he better than Kyle Korver? 88% of Mayo's field goals have been jumpers. Sounds a lot like Kyle Korver.
By "buying low" on a guy like Mayo, all you're buying is the name. It wouldn't be a wise investment at the time. Waiting until closer to the trading deadline could help the Bulls, as teams are going to be looking to cut payroll if they're out of it. My hope -- the Suns fall out of contention, and the Bulls can make a move for Jason Richardson.
Regardless, save the pick, resist the temptation and see how far you can go with the three-headed monster at SG. Make a move when you ultimately have to.
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