Bad trades, scouting decimated the Bulls

Updated: December 3, 2004, 8:36 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Chad Ford's Thursday chat wrap in SportsNation.

Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson's decisions to call it quits might have been the motivating factor to break up the Bulls.

But it was former Bulls GM Jerry Krause, who smugly predicted that he could rebuild the franchise without either guy in no time, who put them in the quagmire they're now in.

What's so troubling was that things started off so well for Krause. The first year after Jordan and Jackson left, he was able to clear major cap room, collect a plethora of first-round picks and field a team that would ensure the Bulls the best shot at a No. 1 pick.

In 1999, the Bulls got the No. 1 pick and used it to draft Duke forward Elton Brand. They also had the No. 15 pick and used it on St. John's swingman Ron Artest.

The Bulls were looking for a building block and Brand was the safest choice. They passed on some talented guards, including Steve Francis and Baron Davis, and a few talented swingmen like Lamar Odom, Richard Hamilton and Shawn Marion. But in retrospect, they got this one right.

Artest was also the correct choice. He would go on to win the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award and turn into one of the most complete wing players in the NBA. Yes, his off-the-court stuff has turned him into a mess … but there was very little evidence of that when he was drafted.

It would be the last instance that things would go right for the Bulls in a long, long time.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer