View Full Version : Bulls eyeing Euro Finley?

Ummmmm Ok
06-10-2003, 11:56 AM

Bulls eyeing 'Euro Finley'
By Mike McGraw Daily Herald Sports Writer
Posted June 10, 2003

Quite obviously, the NBA draft is no longer just for college seniors.

Without any high school players likely to be chosen among the top 20 picks this year, attention has been focused on the International Men of Mystery.

Few Americans have even heard of these players, let alone watched them in action. But several foreigners could end up among the top 10 picks in the June 26 draft.

One of the most intriguing prospects for the Bulls' No. 7 pick is Mickael Pietrus, a 6-foot-6, 21-year-old swingman billed as the most athletic player in Europe.

Bulls general manager John Paxson is planning to visit Pau, France, soon to watch Pietrus in the French league playoffs. Pietrus' team, Pau Orthez, begins a best-of-three semifinal series tonight against Gravelines.

Pietrus will be serving a one-game suspension and won't play. His Chicago-based agent, Herb Rudoy, said Pietrus was the victim of a cheap shot during a game last week and was suspended for retaliating. It's probably not a big deal to NBA scouts.

"He'll go anywhere from No. 5 to 10 (in the draft)," Rudoy said. "This is a big-time prospect."

In cases like this - Pietrus in general, not the suspension - it's difficult to separate fact from legend. So in search of an accurate scouting report on the flying Frenchman, a connection to the Chicago suburbs was found.

One of the two Americans playing for Pau Orthez is Kyle Hill, who starred at Eastern Illinois and Argo High School. Reached at his apartment in Pau, a town near the Spanish border, Hill was happy to discuss the NBA potential of his touted teammate and didn't refute any of the stories crossing the Atlantic.

"I think he's a young Michael Finley, something like that," Hill said. "He's got a lot of athleticism. He can jump. He's strong. He's a strong defender. He has a nice shot; a picture-perfect shot. He's not a great shooter, but he just turned 21."

Finley, for one, showed that if a player has remarkable athletic talent, it's worth waiting for the basketball skills to follow. After all, the Dallas Mavericks guard lasted until the 21st pick of the 1995 draft.

Pietrus shot an impressive 57.9 percent overall and 40.4 percent from 3-point range during the French league regular season. In the more challenging Euroleague, his numbers dropped to 44.9 overall and 35.4 on 3-pointers.

"He's probably the most athletic in Europe, him and his brother," Hill said. "His brother's about 6-7, bulkier. They both jump like crazy."

Pietrus' older brother Florent, 22, is not regarded as a first-round prospect, but he has been in the U.S. working out for NBA teams, including the Bulls. The brothers grew up on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

Asked to provide some sort of jaw-dropping example of Mickael's athleticism, Hill felt there were too many possibilities.

"Every day it's something," he said. "Sometimes he'll come down the lane and jump over everybody - two hands (dunk). Just about every day we're talking about what happened in practice yesterday."

Pietrus averaged 12.2 points during the French league regular season. That may not seem impressive, but remember that Pau Gasol averaged 11.3 points for FC Barcelona in the Spanish league, then won NBA rookie of the year with Memphis the following year.

"We just have a good team," Hill suggested. "We have eight or nine guys who can play."

Another Pau teammate, 6-8 Boris Diaw, also has declared for the NBA draft. Diaw was named MVP of the French league this season but is not expected to be a top-15 pick.

"If Boris had the same intensity (as Pietrus), he'd be picked higher," Hill said.

According to eyewitnesses, Pietrus' best trait is his defense. Hill says his teammate loves the challenge of taking on point guards, shooting guards and small forwards.

It's no wonder, then, the Bulls have been watching Pietrus. They have been missing a versatile wing defender since trading Ron Artest to Indiana last year. Pietrus is well aware of the Bulls' interest.

"Me and Mike, we talk a lot," Hill said. "He asks about Chicago. He's interested. I think it would be a good pick for the Bulls. That would be funny if he goes to my hometown."

Ummmmm Ok
06-10-2003, 11:58 AM

France's Pietrus draws attention from NBA scouts
By Mike McGraw Daily Herald Sports Writer
Posted June 06, 2003

Bulls general manager John Paxson is considering making a second scouting trip to Europe to watch French swingman Mickael Pietrus.

So far, international scout Ivica Dukan is the only member of the Bulls' scouting staff to watch Pietrus in person, but that could change.

It is unlikely Pietrus will visit the United States before the June 26 NBA draft. The French league playoffs are still underway, and Pietrus' team, Pau Orthez, is favored to win the championship.

Talk of Pietrus, 21, has been burning up Bulls message boards for the past month. A native of the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, Pietrus is regarded as the most athletic player in Europe, an aggressive defender and one who has an improving outside shot. He averaged 12.2 points and shot 58 percent from the field in French league play.

"He has special athletic ability," said Gary Brokaw, director of player personnel for the Orlando Magic. "He'll be one of the better athletes coming into this draft."

"He's a 6-6, two or three man (shooting guard or small forward) that comes in and starts in this league," said a Western Conference scouting director, who asked not to be identified. "He's a top-10 pick for sure."

Paxson traveled to Greece in May to watch 7-foot Yugoslavian Darko Milicic, who will likely be snapped up by Detroit with the No. 2 pick.

Where to work out: Here is one example of how things have changed under the Bulls' new leadership: Center Eddy Curry has been doing his off-season workouts with Tim Grover, renowned as Michael Jordan's personal trainer.

During his senior year at Thornwood High School, Curry transformed himself from an overweight teenager into the No. 4 pick in the 2001 draft while working with Grover.

Under former general manager Jerry Krause, Bulls players were strongly encouraged to work out at the Berto Center, and Grover's Hoops the Gym was declared off-limits for pick-up games.

Bulls busy in second round: The Bulls will have three second-round picks in the June 26 draft. Their own selection is No. 36 overall. They also have the No. 45 pick from Phoenix from the Jake Voskuhl trade, and the No. 57 pick from Miami for Sean Lampley.

06-10-2003, 12:09 PM
Am I smoking something or was Kyle Hill one of our 2nd round drafts picks a couple years back? Is he the one that went to Houston when we traded for Eisley and NY and Golden State were involved too?

Or some such. I think I'm combining too many things.

Tony tha Mavs fan
06-10-2003, 01:07 PM
It's good to hear people starting to compare players to Fin and the big three. It shows how much the Mavs have grown.

06-10-2003, 01:16 PM
It's good to hear people starting to compare players to Fin and the big three. It shows how much the Mavs have grown.

yeah, Pietrus is the next finely, Luke ridnour is supposed to be the next Nash, and some one else is supposed to be the next dirk.

Who's the next Popeye Jones?

06-10-2003, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by: MavsFanFinley
Am I smoking something or was Kyle Hill one of our 2nd round drafts picks a couple years back? Is he the one that went to Houston when we traded for Eisley and NY and Golden State were involved too?

Or some such. I think I'm combining too many things.

i believe you are right. he was until he flamed out in our summer league games 2 years ago.

Ummmmm Ok
06-10-2003, 02:13 PM
Kyle Hill was drafted by the Mavs in 2001 with their first pick which was the 44th pick of the draft. Kyle Hill is a 6-2 180 PG/SG from Eastern Illinois.

06-10-2003, 02:17 PM
Memphis may try to trade up with Chicago to get Petrus....supposedly, West is in love with him and isn't sure he'll be there at 13. All this from Sam Smith in Chicago (who I don't care for)...so just take it as a rumor out of Chicago.

06-10-2003, 02:33 PM
I wonder if Pietrus can drive to his right.