In June of 1998 the Chicago Bulls won their sixth championship of the decade and finished their second three-peat. A few months later, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the icons who were the key elements of the dynasty were gone.
Since the 1998-1999 season, Chicago has seen a mass amount of players come and go. Some were drafted then traded to get a veteran who could help the team. The veteran retired after a season or two or moved on after failing to bring the bulls to a winning season. We all know how the roster played musical names in the early 2000’s.
Even though the team went through a long rebuilding period, there was still enough solid players to form a top ten, especially since the team has been to the playoffs five of the last six years.
This top 10 includes Bulls players from the 1998-1999 season to the 2009-2010 season. I would like to consider Carlos Boozer or Kyle Korver, but they haven’t played a game as a Bull. With this said, lets get to the Top 10 Bulls After Jordan and Pippen Left.
Honorable Mention: Eddy Curry, John Salmons, Tyson Chandler and if he would not have been on his motorcycle, Jay Williams.
10: JAMAL CRAWFORD 2000-2004
Crawford played with the Bulls for his first four years in the league. He battled Williams and other point guards for minutes, but he used his minutes to his advantage to market himself for other teams. During his final season as a Bull, 2003-2004, he averaged 17 points and five assists a game while leading all Bulls in points.
9: Brad Miller 2000-2002 and 2008-2010
Miller has had two stints with the Bulls, both were for a season and a half. He brought much needed toughness and a soft scoring touch to the Bulls front court. In the playoffs two seasons ago, he hit a couple of big threes to extend the epic first round series against the Boston Celtics.
8: Ron Artest 1999-2002
Before he was fighting in Detroit or winning championships with the Lakers, Artest was the backbone of the Chicago Bulls defense. He led the team in steals for three consecutive series.
7: Elton Brand 1999-2001
Brand only played for the Bulls two years, 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. As a rookie, he led the Bulls with 20 points a game and 10 rebounds. To this day, he is the only big man Chicago could rely on for points in the paint.
6: Joakim Noah 2007-present
Noah is the new version of Dennis Rodman. He devotes his body to getting rebounds and diving on the court for loose balls. He has led the team in boards two of his three seasons, second in his rookie season, and led the NBA for more than half of the 2009-2010 season as he averaged a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds a game.
5: Luol Deng 2004-present
Deng has averaged double digits points per game in each of his six seasons as a Bull. He has also grabbed five or more rebounds a game including seven per contest in the 2009-2010 season. He has been the x-factor for the Bulls and a reliable second or third option during his entire stay.
4: Jalen Rose 2001-2004
Rose was the first star to play for the Bulls after Jordan and Pippen left. He had been in Reggie Miller’s shadow in Indiana for his entire career before he came to Chicago. In his two full seasons, he led the team with 23 and 22 points a game. He also averaged five assist and grabbed four rebounds a game.
3: Kirk Hinrich 2003-2010
Hinrich is the longest tenure player since the post Jordan/Pippen era. He led the team in assists for five consecutive years and scored in the top four on the team for five years. During his stay in Chicago, he was the best perimeter defender on the team and one of the best shooters.
2: Ben Gordon 2004-2009
Gordon led the Bulls in scoring in each of the five years he was on the team. He was the go to guy and the only premier shooter the Bulls have had. If he wasn’t on the team, the Bulls would have never pushed the Celtics two years ago, because he was the fire power matching up against Boston’s Ray Allen.
1: Derrick Rose 2008-present
In two seasons, Rose has done more than any other Bull has since 1998. He won the rookie of the year award and was the first player from Chicago named to NBA all-star team since Jordan in 1998. Derrick is the first franchise player, someone they can build a team around, the Bulls have had in this time period. He doesn’t only put up stats and bring home awards but he is also the first sign of hope to returning the Bulls as an elite team in the NBA.