Pau Gasol: Chicago Bull
No need to be mellow, fellow Bulls fans. Pau Gasol is coming to Chicago.
Any Bulls and Billy Madison fans out there? Hah!
I personally am very positive about the signing of Gasol. With Melo going back to New York, I think he’s the next best option. Gasol’s clear strengths are on the offensive end as he has developed post moves down low, is a deadly high post passer like new frontcourt mate Joakim Noah (Noah and Gasol were #1 and #3 in assists by a PF/C last season), and is now the best pick and roll partner that Derrick Rose has had in his career. He can roll or pop and shoot with range. Here it is all on display just last season versus Miami.
And though I acknowledge we have a greater need for a secondary perimeter creator and scorer, I don’t trust any of the other options that are available at the moment, namely Lance Stephenson. The talented 23-year-old free agent could have been a Bulls target and fits the mold of the description above, but I’m not as high on his game as some because of disappearing quarters and a lack of 3-point range (him and Butler starting would really bring the defense in for Rose.) And of course, there’s the antics, which admittedly are a tad bit overblown (no pun intended), and the stories of him being selfish last season with the Pacers. These attachments have scared off much of the league in the first part of free agency and make it clear that he’s not a fit for the Bulls’ “culture”. There’s a chance I’ll rue these words as early as this season, but it’s not a chance I would personally take.
But back to Gasol. By no means is he the Carmelo Anthony piece that vaults the Bulls into undoubted favorites of the Eastern Conference, but there’s also no doubt he’s going to help the Bulls’ lack of scoring. It’s just going to come from different ways than dribbling at the top of the key and creating. The way the Bulls are currently constructed, you’ll see a mix of Rose and ball movement with two of the game’s best big-man passers. And there’s a certain NBA Championship team that no one’s talking about right now that just won the title with a team-first offensive attack. Why can’t the Bulls improve in that direction with the additions of Gasol, Mirotic, rookie Doug McDermott, Dunleavy (if we keep him) and internal improvement from Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell?
On top of that, Gasol is widely regarded as one of the league’s good guys. His farewell blog to Los Angeles was great (no one’s touching LeBron’s letter though) and there’s countless stories of him as an intelligent, community-first citizen.
Lastly, there’s also this.