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Ragnar
04-04-2004, 10:09 PM
http://www.hoopsworld.com/article_7823.shtml

This past week, the Chicago Bulls managed to have four players each score 20 points or more in the same game, something that had not been done since 1985. The next game, they only managed to squeeze in one 20-point performance. That inconsistency has plagued the Bulls for years, and it makes one wonder what might have been had the Bulls not swapped Elton Brand for Tyson Chandler in 2001. They donít come much more consistent than him. But would he have been the long-term answer for the Bulls?

There are many theoretical debates about the Chicago Bulls that may never have definitive answers. People can debate if the Bulls would have won eight straight championships had Jordan not retired in 1993, if the Bulls would have won another title if Jordan hadnít retired after the 1998 finals, if Jordan could win a title without Pippen, if Pippen was really one of the 50 greatest players or just an excellent sidekick to one of the all-time greats, if the Bulls could have gotten Tracy McGrady in 2000 if they had gone after him immediately, rather than trying for Grant Hill and Tim Duncan first. Itís time to add another debate to the list: which ex-Bull from the 1999 draft class is the better player, Elton Brand or Ron Artest?

In 1999, the Bulls used the first overall pick to select Elton Brand, passing on flashier players like Steve Francis and Lamar Odom. Almost from the day he was brought on board the Bulls, Elton was a consistent 20 point, 10 rebound guy. Nonetheless, people tended to overlook him. He was viewed as too small to be a traditional power forward, and though he did win Rookie of the Year honors, he had to share the award with Steve Francis. Critics also noted that anybody could put up good stats on a bad team.
Nonetheless, when he was traded to the Clippers in 2001, he managed to keep up his consistent play. Despite playing in a conference loaded with excellent power forwards, Brand did make the all-star team (although as a substitute when Shaq was unable to take part due to injury). He also joined the Olympic qualifying team, and stands an excellent chance of being among the final invitees to the Olympic squad that will go for the gold in 2004. The biggest knock against Elton, however, is his record. He has yet to even come close to the playoffs. His is the star of his team, but his team is going nowhere.

With the 16th pick in 1999, the Bulls selected Ron Artest from St. Johnís. Ron showed a lot of talent in his early seasons, but also a temper that caused several on-court incidents. Despite being a solid defender, his accomplishments were overshadowed by Brandís. After being traded to the Pacers, Ron started to be noticed for his defensive prowess, and also managed to keep his antics in check. As a result, he also earned an all-star selection as an Eastern Conference reserve. Unlike Brand, Ronís team currently has the best record in the NBA, and Ron is in the running for defensive player of the year. Heís second banana on a team that could be the NBA champion.

Although Elton is an exceptional player, the edge has to go to Ron Artest. Consider their stats first. Eltonís career stats per game are 19.4 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. This season, heís averaging 20 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. Basically, Elton is doing now what heís always done. Ronís career averages per game are 14.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. This season, heís averaging 18.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. That indicates Ron has been improving as heís been in the league. The team records also account for something. Finally, though, despite being an almost automatic 20/10 performance every game, Elton is not viewed as an elite player like Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, or Jermaine OíNeal. Ron, however, is widely regarded as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, and a player every coach would want to have.

Naturally, the Bulls would be further ahead had they not traded either player, but Ronís loss has ultimately been felt the most. While the Bulls have drafted and traded for a glut of power forwards over the years, small forward is their biggest need. Defense also comes at a premium. While the Bulls would be well served with the consistency an Elton Brand could bring, he still has not shown heís capable of being the piece teams build around. Unless thereís an upswing in the near future, he could be the second coming of Shareef Abdur-Rahim: a great player that never sniffed the playoffs.

Elton Brand was selected #1 overall, but Ron Artest wears number 23. Maybe he knew something the Bulls didn't.

indytoad
04-04-2004, 11:04 PM
You may want to fix the title from Brad vs Artest to Brand vs Artest... I thought it was talking about someone else at first.

IndyToad
Spring is here

Anthem
04-05-2004, 12:46 AM
The scary thing? Imagine the Bulls with BOTH of those players... plus Brad. And all they'd give up is Chandler.

Not much of a loss, huh?

Ragnar
04-05-2004, 10:39 AM
It is Brand -v- Artest. I have not changed it maybe one of the mods did but that is what I meant to type.