With the second pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls selected one of the best Power Forwards in the NBA today. LaMarcus Aldridge was a Bull, for all of about 15 minutes, until they traded his rights to the Portland Trailblazers for the no. 4 pick in that same draft and Viktor Khyrapa. The pick the Bulls got turned out to be Tyrus Thomas.
“What if’s” are so entertaining. Nobody can be for sure on what would happen, but we continue to speculate on what we think would happen. So, what would the state of the Bulls be if they had never traded Aldridge for Khyrapa and Thomas?
Looking at Aldridge’s stats compared to Thomas’ while he was on the Bulls, Aldridge averaged almost 10 points more per game than Thomas, while also pulling down about 3 more rebounds per game. Obviously, even from an early age, Aldridge was a much better player than Thomas. Since Thomas has left the Bulls, his stats crept up, as he averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds per game with the Bobcats, but then took a huge dip. The Bobcats used their one Amnesty Clause opt-out on Thomas in July of 2013, and he currently doesn’t have a team.
Aldridge’s stats would add to almost 4 wins per season over Thomas, which could have completely altered the team. These wins would have moved the Bulls from a .017% chance of winning the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery to a .008% chance. Assuming the team with the Bulls’ percentages ended up with the same lottery draws as the Bulls, Derrick Rose would be a Brooklyn Net right now. That same season, the Bulls would have ended with a 45-37 record and would have been the no. 5 seed instead of the no. 7. That would have meant a first round series with the Atlanta Hawks, and no classic Bulls-Celtics series.
Aldridge’s presence would have made it unnecessary to sign Carlos Boozer, which could be saving the Bulls a lot of money right now. Even if the team needed to sign Aldridge to a contract at the same level as Boozer, the production favors Aldridge who has outscored Boozer in every season since Boozer has been in Chicago while also playing much better defense. This also would have cleared space for the Bulls to attempt to attract another top-level free agent to the city.
Again, this is all just a big what-if, but still, trading Aldridge could go down as one of the worst draft day trades in Bulls history.