While the debate continues over whether Derrick Rose will return this season, it’s somewhat comforting to know that we can actually have this discussion. It was almost five years ago when the post-Jordan Bulls took a turn that nobody saw coming.
You might remember that the Bulls had only a 1.7 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick, but you probably don’t know who was in the boardroom representing the Bulls in the lottery that wasn't shown on TV.
Brandon Faber, who was in his last week as a Bulls employee and writing down the numbers as the ping pong balls were being picked, said, “There is no way I did this right.” The next thing Faber heard was, “Chicago, you have the first pick, and I shouted, 'We’ll take it!'"
Faber had information that would change the course of the Chicago Bulls, but he wasn’t able to share it with anyone. He was sequestered in a boardroom for the next hour until the TV version of the lottery began.
Bulls Executive VP of Business Operations Steve Schanwald represented the team for the TV version of the draft lottery. His night got off to a rough start when Doris Burke called him “Stan.”
“I thought it was perfect, story of my life, I shouldn't be here anyway, humiliated on national TV," Schanwald recalled. "I'll never live this down from friends and family, but I just had to laugh about it. You'll see me laughing on the replay. It was just too perfect."
[TURN BACK THE CLOCK: NBA.com's coverage of the 2008 NBA Draft]
John Paxson didn’t even watch the draft because he knew the Bulls were slotted to pick ninth, and had almost no shot at the top overall pick. Paxson told us how his son yelled to him upstairs in his bedroom when the Bulls were passed over at the No. 9 selection and guaranteed a top-3 pick.
"Even at that point I thought we would get the third pick in what everyone said was a two-player draft,” Paxson said.
Derrick Rose’s reaction was priceless as he watched the draft selection show from Los Angeles. It’s a never-before-seen video that has Rose's jaw-dropping reaction when the Bulls landed the No. 1 pick.
Schanwald showed us how his staff joked with him when he got back from New Jersey with a “Stan is the man” headline on the team's season ticket holder magazine.
Schanwald sums up the lottery experience by saying, “I’ve been here 26 years, been a part of six titles, watched every game of Michael and Scottie, have been on trips to the White House, but nothing for me can ever top that day. Hopefully it'll culminate in a world championship someday.”