Chicago Bulls: 4 biggest draft mistakes ever by John Paxson

Denzel Valentine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Denzel Valentine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bulls
LaMarcus Aldridge (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) /

1) Biggest Chicago Bulls draft mistakes under Paxson: Trading LaMarcus Aldridge

This one will always be the biggest draft night mistake for Paxson during his time as a lead voice in the Bulls front office. Shipping off the former Texas Longhorns star power forward and potential future Hall-of-Famer LaMarcus Aldridge to the Portland Trail Blazers for way too slight of a return back in the mid-2000’s cost this franchise over the long-term.

While the Blazers had a solid cornerstone building block for their franchise in the mid-to-late 2000’s behind Aldridge, the Bulls were still looking to draw frontcourt depth from other sources. Imagine what a modern frontcourt rotation would look like for the Bulls in the early 2010’s featuring the likes of Noah, Aldridge, and Gibson at the top.

The Bulls were the team that originally picked Aldridge second overall in the first round of the 2006 NBA Draft. And all that the Bulls got in return for Aldridge was big man Tyrus Thomas and forward Viktor Khryapa. Aldridge wound up being a seven-time NBA All-Star selection (including this past season), and a five-time All-NBA Team selection. And there could be more accolades on the way for the 35-year-old Dallas, TX, native Aldridge.

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Aldridge has now spent nine seasons of his NBA career with the Blazers, and five under legendary head coach Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs. He had a solid run with the Spurs during the 2019-20 season. Aldridge averaged 18.9 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.6 blocks, during the 2019-20 regular season.

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