Saturday, July 24, 2010
Chicago Bulls: NBA All-Time Starting Fives
PG- Norm Van Lier (12.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.9 apg, 1.4 spg in 535 games)
Van Lier was the Bulls’ #3 overall pick in the 1969 draft, and was immediately traded to the Cincinnati Royals, where he led the NBA in assists in 1971. He rejoined the Bulls the next season, and went on to be selected to three All-Star teams and eight All-Defensive teams (three 1st Team selections) in six and a half seasons with the team.
Less of a pure point guard than Norm Van Lier, Reggie Theus has the highest scoring average among Bulls’ PGs (18.8 v. 18.7 for Rose), made three All-Star teams and averaged a fair number of assists (5.6). But Theus played for some terrible pre-MJ teams and didn’t make much of a mark on the organization.
An interesting side note- the Bulls’ all-time leader leader in assists per game? Not listed above. It was Ennis Whatley, who averaged 7 apg in 150 games.
SG- Michael Jordan (31.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.4 apg in 930 games)
All right, just for fun, let's run through the credentials- six rings, six Finals MVPs, five regular season MVP awards, 10-time All-NBA 1st Team, 14 All-Star appearances, three All-Star MVPs, nine-time All-Defensive 1st Team, 1988 Defensive Player of the Year, 1985 Rookie of the Year, a pair of Olympic gold medals and viewing experience the likes of which we’ll never see again.
The best ever.
SF- Scottie Pippen (17.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5.3 apg, 2.1 spg in 856 games)
He owns the same six rings as Michael, and he put his stamp on the Bulls’ dynasty- stifling Magic in 1991, creating problems for Stockton in 1997 & 1998, crashing the boards in the East Finals against Indiana and playing through a serious back injury in 1998. Jordan didn’t just lean on Pippen in the aftermath of the “Flu Game”, he depended on his wingman for the entirety of their respective primes.
As the world lines up to slam LeBron James for surrendering alpha dog status, we should remember Scottie Pippen’s championship performances, without which the greatest ever would never have reach such heights. Scottie Pippen may not have been the quintessential superstar, but he’ll be remembered as the epitome of a champion.
PF- Horace Grant (12.6 ppg, 53% FG, 8.6 rpg, in 546 games)
As impressive as all of these guys were, this spot belongs to Horace Grant, a guy whose stats barely stack up against any of them. A tough defender and rebounder with a great mid-range jumper. More importantly, Ho Grant grew up with the Bulls’ dynasty, battled the Pistons and the Knicks, and learned to become a champion, earning his first three rings as MJ did. While there’s a case to be made for a handful of other Bulls’ PFs, Horace Grant was there as the Bulls found their way to the top.
C- Artis Gilmore (19.3 ppg, 58.7% FG, 11.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg in 482 games)