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Columnist
Why not get Calipari to coach Rose?
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 5/22/2008 12:12 AM

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The Bulls have other issues, dare we say, that are just as big as Derrick Rose vs. Michael Beasley.

There is the matter of finding a coach and a franchise philosophy.

Perhaps, even a direction.

It is admittedly pointless today to wonder how good Rose would have looked playing for Mike D'Antoni, but as painful a reminder as that is, the Bulls would do well to hire a coach equally willing to put the ball in Rose's hands, allow him to run the game, and allow the players to run the floor.

If they hire another coach who's going to stifle their creativity and bore them to tears, insisting on the same bad plays over and over again, it's not going to matter much whom they select.

Sure, it's Christmas morning at the Berto Center, but the Bulls still can foul this up if they're not careful.

In fact, they've made such a mess of things the last few years that they essentially have no choice but to draft Rose, who's a great player and probably the best available.

But you win in the NBA -- traditionally -- with a go-to, low-post presence, something the Bulls still don't possess, and why Beasley would have been a nice choice if Jay Williams, Jamal Crawford or Kirk Hinrich had satisfied the point-guard position they were selected to fill.

After all, in the last 30 years of NBA champs, only the two Isiah Thomas title teams in Detroit ('89 and '90) featured a point guard who dominated the opposition and was by far the best player on his own squad.

And as good as Chris Paul and Deron Williams are, and they're spectacular, they're also home right now.

We offer this not as a criticism of picking Rose, who is brilliant, but rather as some perspective, a dose of reality knowing the Bulls have work to do to surround Rose with championship players.

Nevertheless, unless GM John Paxson trades the pick or remakes the roster, it has to be Rose since Beasley wouldn't have anyone to get him the ball.

If Hinrich can find his Kansas game under a new coach, that'd be a bonus, but it's likely that the arrival of Rose means the Bulls will shop Hinrich, hoping to find a taker for his contract.

We assume Hinrich was not at fault and merely following orders, but a lack of player progression on the Bulls was at least partially due to Hinrich's incessant dribbling and his constant possession of the ball.

Promoted for years as the team's best player and the face of the franchise by the GM and coach, Hinrich also has regressed and now a major club transition is inevitable.

Maybe the best move is to deal the pick and get three from New Jersey (10, 21, 40), rebuilding the team and finding a star in a trade, but that kind of radical thinking doesn't seem possible given Paxson's deliberate nature.

All this might be easier if the Bulls had a coach in place, and it wouldn't be as crazy as you think to steal John Calipari from Memphis, since he understands Rose and would certainly know how to employ him.

As many faults as Scott Skiles may have had, Paxson did him no favors drafting and signing players Skiles couldn't coach, or with whom he couldn't communicate or relate.

Calipari shouldn't have that trouble coming straight from the NCAA, nearly a decade removed from his ugly stint in New Jersey. Another shot at the NBA might find him a lot more relaxed and prepared for the style.

In any case, it has to weigh on Paxson, and while watching and listening to him the last few months, you get the feeling that he has had his fill of this entire business.

The guy who said for years he never wanted the job prior to taking it finally is looking his age, and you feel bad for him when you note his complete lack of enthusiasm, even after the impossible lottery hit.

Of course, if Paxson gets this pick or coach wrong, it probably will be the last time he has to worry about it.