Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Bulls (Part 1)

Fear not...I haven't forgotten this blog. On to the Bulls!

The Chicago Bulls. The team of the 90s. When you hear the name, you see Jordan preforming his spectacular moves, Pippen coming along with him. You see Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, and, more recently, Derrick Rose. To review one of the best NBA teams, we invite you to read on.

(1) 1996 Chicago Bulls (72-10)
We give out another bye (as there are 45 teams), to the ’96 Bulls, famous for breaking 70 wins when Jordan returns for a full year. Jordan showed no sign of baseball when he made 30-7-4 (plus 2 steals) a night. Pippen was his ideal mate, giving needed Defense, and 19-6-6 a night (with nearly 2 steals). Dennis Rodman proved the risk was worth it (though only in 50+ games) when he gave a jawdropping 6-15-3, and Toni Kukoc gave 13-4-4 on a team that won the Finals against Seattle.

(2) 1997 Chicago Bulls (69-13) vs. (45) 2001 Chicago Bulls (15-67)

The next year may not have produced the same winning percentage, but was successful, as a 33 year old Michael Jordan scored and grabbed 30-6-4-2 (steals). Pippen was up there is age (31), but he still got 20-7-6-2. Toni Kukoc only had 57 games, but he had 13-5-5 in them. Luc Longley only played limited games also, averaging a respectable 9-6-2 in them. This was another title team, this time beating Utah.

The young Bulls were built around Elton Brand. Unfortunately, Brand wasn’t good enough to lead a team, even though he had 20-10-3 this year. He had some good teammates, like Ron Mercer (20-4-3) and a young Ron Artest (12-4-3, and 2 steals), plus Marcus Fizer (10-4-1), but it got them nowhere at all.

(3) 1992 Chicago Bulls (67-15) vs. (44) 2000 Chicago Bulls (17-65)
’92 was the second of the Bulls champs. I personally think these teams (pre-baseball) were better than post baseball, no matter what wins say (as it was a more diluted league). This (based on win percentage), is the best of pre-baseball. (Remember the Shrug from the Finals this year?). Jordan was obviously better now, he put up 30-6-6 (and 2.3 steals) in a great year, and Pippen was better too, as he put up 21-8-7-2. Horace Grant was still here; this was the year of 14-10-3. B.J. Armstrong had 13-2-3 a game, while Bill Cartwright added veteran presence with his 8-5-1. Maybe top heavy, but they were great, no denying.

The Bulls were really, really bad directly after Jordan (I mean the second time). This stretch is the worst in Chicago history. These guys may have had Elton Brand (20-10-2, almost 1 steal, and less than 2 blocks a game), and (a less crazy) Ron Artest (12-4-3, plus almost 2 steals), but they had no one else (consistently) there to back them up (only 5 other players played over 55).

(4) 1998 Chicago Bulls (62-20) vs. (43) 2002 Chicago Bulls (21-61)

The Last Dance for Jordan, who had a really-great-for-34 season, making 29-6-4 (and 1.7 steals) happen every night. This is where amazing happened. Scottie Pippen had only 44 games this season (disputes with Krause etc…), but he had 19-5-6-2-1 (steals and blocks) in them. Toni Kukoc had 13-4-4 a night, and along with point Ron Harper (9-4-3) and Luc Longley (11-6-3), they won a championship.

The year says 4 years apart, but these teams could not be more different. The team had more recent troubles too. Brand had gotten traded during the off season, and Artest and Miller got traded during the season. Jalen Rose came in for the end of the year (24-4-5, in 30 games). Marcus Fizer helped with 12-6, and down lower in the lineup, you will find 19 year olds Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler.

(5) 2011 Chicago Bulls (62-20) vs. (42) 1999 Chicago Bulls (13-37)

This year was led by the MVP Derrick Rose (25-4-8), who had to lead the team at the beginning of the season due to injuries to Boozer and Noah, who were good in the season, averaging 18-10-3 and 12-10-2 apiece. Luol Deng was crucial also at the beginning; he had 17-6-3 during all 82 games. This team, though, lost to Miami in the ECF.

The year after Jordan had virtually no bright spots. Toni Kukoc was the best (which says something), though it was a 19-7-5. Brent Barry (11-4-3) and Ron Harper (11-5-3), both missed around 15 games, and they had Dickey Simpkins (epic name) for 9-7-1, and Mark Bryant for 9-5-1………

(6) 1991 Chicago Bulls (61-21) vs. (41) 2004 Chicago Bulls (23-59)

Michael Jordan got his first elusive champ this year (over LA). MJ was brilliant (32-6-6, and ((wait for it….wait for it..)) 2.7 steals). TWO POINT SEVEN!!!), as was Scottie Pippen (18-7-6, and ((wait for it….wait for it…)) 2.4 steals!) to a lesser extent. Horace Grant was fundamental to the success as he had 13-8-2 a day. Bill Cartwright was great for them; he had 10-6-2. John Paxson (9-1-4) and B.J. Armstrong (9-2-4) split PG duties. (BJ’s actual name is Benjamin Roy Armstrong Jr.). Per 36 minutes, every player would average over 10 a game….pretty good.

The team may have been bad, but they started on the path to being relevant (47-35 the next year). Jalen Rose ended up getting traded, so this was Jamal Crawford’s team (17-4-5). Eddy Curry was pretty good (15-6-1) (hopefully that is the last time I will say that….though if he wasn’t “injured” all the time and he lost some weight, I might be a fan of him), and rookie Kirk Hinrich was pretty good also (12-3-7). Elders Kendall Gill (10-3-2) and Antonio Davis (9-8-2) were great for Chicago.

(7) 1972 Chicago Bulls (57-25) vs. (40) 1976 Chicago Bulls (24-58)

Our first pre-Jordan teams…It’s a great team (and no one will give them a chance because of Jordan)….but they got swept by LA in the first round (hey, they were champs….but hey, they were swept…..). They had many weapons, led by Bob Love (26-7-2) and Chet Walker (22-6-2), plus master-defender Jerry Sloan (16-8-3). Norm Van Lier had point duties (12-4-7), along with Bob Weiss (11-2-5). They had critical boards from Tom Boerwinkle (7-11-4) and Clifford Ray (7-11-3). Bet they get pretty far here.

Ahh…what four years of age can do. Bob Love was 33 (but still leader with his 19-7-2 nightly) and Mickey Johnson stepped up from less than 5 points a game as a rookie to 15-9-2. Norm Van Lier was crucial for 13-5-7 and Jack Marin managed 11 points at 31. Tom Boerwinkle was hardly any older, still having 9-11-4 (in fact, he improved). Sloan limped to 22 games, ending his career.

(8) 1993 Chicago Bulls (57-25) vs. (39) 1984 Chicago Bulls (27-55)

Another Jordan era champ (and the last on this list), one that rounded out the first 3-peat. Led by an MVP caliber performance by Michael Jordan (33-7-6, and 2.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks!! But he lost MVP to the 26-12-5 of Barkley). Pippen was a star for them, as he had 19-8-6-2-1 (steals and blocks). Also starring (to a lesser extent) was Horace Grant, shining for 13-10-3-1-1. This year had BJ Armstrong taking over point duties, as he was the last double figure scoring (12) while he put in 4 assists. John Paxson was sent to the bench to let BJ shine.

The team that got them Jordan…And one of the innovators of tanking. Orlando Woolridge was the best of the Bulls this year as he put up 19-5-2. Quintin Dailey was another “leader”, as he had 18-3-3. Dave Corzine and Dave Greenwood were the centers (12-7-3 plus 1.5 blocks for Corzine, and 12-10 for Greenwood). Star Reggie Theus got benched this season, and was traded to the Kings later in the season. He had 25 points per game the previous year to his benching by coach Kevin Lougherty.

(9) 1990 Chicago Bulls (55-27) vs. (38) 1983 Chicago Bulls (28-53)

Welcome to the final year before the first three-peat, a year that doubles as Phil Jackson’s first year, and the year Chicago got knocked out by Detroit (Pippen’s infamous migraine), and the one that got Jordan seriously training to be tougher (read the Jordan Rules for more…). Jordan already looked like the best (one on one) player ever (34-6-6 and 2.8 STEALS!). Scottie Pippen was the ultimate sidekick (17-7-5, and 2.6 steals and 1 block), and Horace Grant was the big boy on them (13-8-3-1-1). Bill Cartright was the veteran leader of the Bulls (11-7-2). John Paxson was the point, (because Jordan liked his willingness to pass off to Jordan, as he had 10-2-4). The team wasn’t very big after that (Stacy King was the only averaging above 20 minutes a game, and he had only 9-5.

See! This is the year Theus averaged 25 a game, along with 4-6, and almost 2 steals…Woolridge played 57 games of 17-5-2. Also crucial, Dailey had 15-3-4, Corzine had 14-9, helped by the 10-10 of Greenwood, and the Rod Higgins 10-5-2. Pretty bad team though…

(10) 1994 Chicago Bulls (55-27) vs. (37) 1968 Chicago Bulls (29-53)

The Bulls weren’t really bad without Michael Jordan, only 2 games worse! Scottie Pippen assumed lead role, improving to 22-9-6, not to mention 2.9 steals…Horace Grant was still ripping up the boards, he had 15-11 this year. Armstrong was the starting point all 82 games, in which he put up 15-2-4 nightly, neglecting Paxson to just 27 games. Kukoc joined the NBA this year, and wept when he heard MJ left, by he fought through his tears to have a half decent 11-4-3 year. The team lost to Ewing and the Knicks in the semis, but didn’t look as good off next year, with Bill Cartwright (aged for only 6-4) leaving, and Paxson retiring, not to mention the big absence of a big man when Grant leaves for Orlando, leaving Luc Longley and Bill Wennington being the big men.

Year Two of the Bulls wasn’t that bad. Bob Boozer was a scoring machine, having 22-10 every day. Chicago acquired Flynn Robinson (for Guy Rodgers) to put in 16-4-3. Jerry Sloan (defensive stopper, before All-D teams were started), had a great 13-8-3 year. Other major players: McCoy McLemore (13-6), Jim Washington (13-10), and Keith Erickson (12-5-3). Their coach was Johnny “Red” Kerr. Not a bad team….

Part 2 soon...

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