Before the end of second round of the NBA draft, Chicago Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson phoned Stu Lash, Bouldin’s agent regarding his availability. As predicted by most of us, none of the teams in the 2010 draft selected Matt Bouldin. The NFL draft is all about getting players that can help you now. The NBA draft is often about getting a player with potential even if he cannot help you in the immediate future.
The 2010 free agent market and fear of a lockout in the upcoming season turned the 2010 NBA draft into something very different from the 'usual' event. No longer were teams concerned with getting the best players or improving their rosters. Now teams were looking at clearing cap space to sign free agents and reducing their contract obligations in anticipation of upcoming NBA contract negotiations.
Going into the NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls were not just another team, they (and many others) felt they had a shot to rise to the very top of the NBA through the acquisition of THE free agent on the market: LeBron James. The Bulls cleared the decks in anticipation of signing LeBron plus one other top free agent. The players jettisoned to make way for the King included Ben Gordon, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich. Right now, the Bulls really do not have a proven shooting guard on their roster.
Enter Matt Bouldin. I suspect most NBA scouts rated Matt Bouldin as a known quantity. To those that have not closely followed his college career, Matt may appear to be 'finished product'. A good solid player but not the kind of guy that is going to develop into something special. Matt's critics often point to his lack of athleticism and inconsistent outside shooting. Those of us that know him better can tell you Matt just kept getting better and better each year that he played. I don't think the Mark Few ever thought Matt would be playing point guard by the time he was a Senior, but when the time came, there were very few college guards that could play the point any better.
Now Matt goes to a new league, a new role and will be required to develop a new skill set. With Derrick Rose and Jannero Pargo manning the point, Matt will need to develop his outside shot if he is going to see any minutes with the varsity next year. There he will compete with Devin Brown 6'5" (8.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.3 APG); Acie Law 6'2" (4.3 PPG, 0.7RPG, 1.0 APG); and Ronald Murray 6'3" (9.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.8 APG).
At this point, the Bulls seem to be more concerned with their front line (signing free agent Carlos Boozer) and a lot less concerned about their back court. Now that LeBron James has been removed from the free agent market, the Bulls may make additional moves to shore up the shooting guard position. Until that happens, Matt Bouldin has landed in a position of considerable opportunity. If we know anything about Matt at all, we know he's going to make the most of that opportunity!
In other news, it looks like Ronny Turiaf will be playing on the east coast next year. David Lee, the All-Star Knicks forward will be traveling west to the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal. Apparently Lee will get a six-year, $80 million contract and the Knicks will acquire Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf.