The summer of 2001 was supposed to be the beginning of a new Bulls dynasty. In that summer’s draft, the Bulls acquired two high school players, one of which was the next Shaquille O’Neal and the other who was going to be the second coming of Kevin Garnett. Thanks to Jerry Krause’s maneuvering, the Bulls’ frontcourt was going to be set for years to come. It might take some time for Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler to develop, but it’d be worth it. These two were going to be superstars.
Then reality happened. Eddy Curry got super fat, developed a life-threatening heart condition that couldn’t be insured and just stopped even pretending to try to be in shape. Meanwhile, people soon realized that Tyson Chandler’s offensive game consisted entirely of dunking or running at the basket and haphazardly throwing the ball at the rim. The Baby Bulls were over as soon as they started.
Eventually, Tyson Chandler became a legit NBA center, spurred on by his development while playing alongside Chris Paul. He learned to play with in himself, become a defensive stopper and helped lead the Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA championship. And because he grew up and turned in to a real NBA player, he thinks the same can be true for his one-time draftmate. From TrueHoop:
From your perspective, what happened to Eddy?
It’s unfortunate. I still think Eddy should be a top three big guy in this league. Easily. With his physical advantage, his size and his touch and his athletic ability for being that big … it’s something that we lack in this league right now. Not a lot of big guys out here. He should be at the top of his game. He should be an impact player. I felt bad for him in New York. I felt like he never really got a shot. I don’t know what went on there, so I can’t take sides, but I definitely felt bad for him. I felt like if he had an opportunity to change things around, to show people that he was valuable … I hope that opportunity comes around for him.
You know, he is right. Eddy Curry probably should be a top three big guy in this league. He was huge, he was super athletic for being so huge (backflips anyone?) and he had good enough moves and touch around the basket that he led the NBA in shooting percentage during his second season in the league. There was a reason he was going to be the next Shaq.
But on the other hand, he was Eddy Curry. 10 years removed from the 2001 Draft, it’s almost impossible to even imagine a world where Eddy Curry was going to be one of the best players in the NBA. The guy got injured in three straight training camps and was somehow lapped in a going-through-cones drill last summer. Eddy Curry’s so bad the Timberwolves paid him millions of dollars to not play for them, and they won 17 games last season.
No matter his physical advantages, Eddy Curry will always be Eddy Curry, which is his main stumbling block towards becoming an NBA player. Other than that, totally agree with Tyson Chandler here.