Bulls get a bounce with top selection

DEERFIELD, Ill. --- John Paxson was upstairs in his bedroom when he heard his sons Ryan and Drew scream. Moments later, they dragged him downstairs to watch the draft lottery.


The Bulls had just vaulted from the ninth pick into the top three, and what looked like a rather mundane drawing to Chicago's general manager took an interesting twist. Then, they hit the jackpot and wound up with the No. 1 pick despite a 1.7 percent chance Tuesday. That means they will likely choose between Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley, barring a knockout trade offer.

"I was kinda shocked," Paxson said Wednesday. "When I saw the third pick go, I was like, 'Oy.' If you get your hopes up, it's wasted energy."

And suddenly, after a dismal season, the Bulls' hopes are high again.

Expected to contend in the Eastern Conference after reaching the second round of the playoffs last season, Chicago plummeted, losing 49 games.

Coach Scott Skiles got fired in December, and interim coach Jim Boylan lost his job after the season finale. But suddenly, luck seems to be smiling on the Bulls.

They hit a big jackpot this week, and Paxson hopes to strike again in a coaching search that is moving at a deliberate pace. Chicago was prepared to make Mike D'Antoni an offer, only to have him accept the New York Knicks' job before the Bulls made their presentation.

Now, Paxson has interviews this week with Tyrone Corbin, Dwane Casey, Jeff Hornacek, and Chuck Person, although he's in no hurry to make a decision.

"I think being patient right now, I've got nothing to lose," Paxson said. "I didn't want to jump right into something. I want to hear. I want to listen to philosophies. ... I'm not in a hurry. I don't feel a timeline is necessary."

He said having a coach in place before draft is not "a be-all, end-all" and pointed out that Seattle did not hire P.J. Carlesimo until early July, after drafting Kevin Durant with the second pick.

"In a perfect world, I'd love to have a coach in place," Paxson said.

Will the draft pick impact his decision on a coach?

"I'm not willing to go there right now," Paxson said. "I don't know if that will factor in."



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