General

NBA Draft may be Bull, but make Rose one too

Okay, so the Chicago Bulls — coincidentally located in the NBA’s third-largest market, without a head coach, and, hmm … with fan interest waning once again in the Post-MJ Era — had a 1.7 percent chance to win the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night.

So, naturally, the Chicago Bulls won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night.

Yeah, so maybe the NBA Draft is fixed.

But if that is the case, I suppose I won’t complain too much this year.

After all, if Bulls GM John Paxson uses this miracle pick to draft miracle point guard Derrick Rose, I might even — will miracles never cease? — start regularly watching NBA games again.

Over the next several weeks, some people no doubt will call for the Bulls to take Kansas State power forward Michael Beasley with the first pick.

Beasley, the nation’s leading rebounder and a 26-point-per-game scorer as a freshman, is ridiculously talented, and will almost certainly be a fabulous NBA player. But if the Bulls don’t take Rose, they’re crazy.

Because, believe me, you’re more likely to uncover a Beasley elsewhere in the NBA than you are to dig up another Rose.

Back in the days before I was a newspaper columnist, I spent seven years as a sports writer.

I’ve seen more prep basketball games than I can count, watching hundreds of kids hoop it up in both cavernous big-city arenas and crackerbox gymnasiums in towns where you probably didn’t even know there was a high school.

Or a town.

Most of the players I’ve seen were mediocre. Some were good. A few were even great.

But only one of them was Derrick Rose.

Most of the world got to know Rose this past March when the fab frosh came within a whisker of leading the University of Memphis to a national title. I first got to know Rose, however, back in December 2004 when he was a high school sophomore playing in the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

On that winter night, the wiry point guard from Chicago Simeon was as raw as could be — Rose committed eight turnovers in the game — but he also flashed athletic gifts beyond belief.

Rose’s first step off the dribble was the quickest I’d ever witnessed in person — and that includes Big Ten college players.

And during the game — while on a fast break with a defender attached to his hip — Rose appeared that he’d go in for a layup, maybe a one-handed dunk attempt, but instead erupted off the floor for the most shocking two-handed slam that I’ve ever seen.

So startled was the crowd that the entire Pontiac High gymnasium gasped in unison.

During this year’s NBA playoffs, precocious point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams have showed how important a talented, young quarterback is for today’s NBA game.

And, while Beasley will no doubt be great, Rose is the guy who can take your breath away.

Just ask the folks in Pontiac.

Rose is a perfect fit for the true-point-guardless Bulls.

So, don’t think twice, Pax.

Draft the kid No. 1.