5 Players from the Bench Mob the Chicago Bulls Never Should Have Let Go
5 Players from the Bench Mob the Chicago Bulls Should Never Have Let Go
Near the height of the Chicago Bulls' dominance, one of the prime reasons they were so successful was their great backup squad. Chicago's bench, dubbed by the media and the fans as the "Bench Mob," was full of a cast of both great offensive and defensive athletes. All of them, while not as athletically capable as the Bulls' starters, still shone brightly game after game as they played an instrumental part in the team's winning record.
Most secondary squads in the league just do what they were meant to: provide backups for their teams' stars as they catch their breath and warm up on the bench. But Chicago's bench mob went further than that. They possessed the aggressiveness, athleticism and skill-set that allowed them to measure up to some of the best starting squads in the league and come out unscathed. Most teams just seek out their star player and a supporting cast to help him with some rarely, if ever, acquiring either of these things.
Luckily for the Bulls, Chicago had it in spades. It is with this rare talent and fortune that Chicago possessed the league's best record in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
But as time went on, so too did the legendary "Bench Mob." The reasons for each player's departure is scattered from not accepting a new contract with Chicago to just seeking a career with a new team. With the exception of Taj Gibson, most of the original "Bench Mob" has left Chicago. Here are the top 5 players from the "Bench Mob" the Bulls were foolish to let go of.
5. Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver was one of the greatest athletes the Bulls have had in recent years. Korver was the sharpshooter Chicago needed to get them out of a tough bind or to extend their lead late in the game. His ability to shoot the three with an aptitude among the best in the league is something the Bulls could sorely use right now. After only two memorable seasons, Korver packed his bags and signed with the Atlanta Hawks in the 2012-13 season where he recently broke the NBA record for scoring a three-pointer in 90 consecutive games.
4. Marco Belinelli
Marco Belinelli was another sharpshooter who helped Chicago win games. While Korver's loss was a blow for Chicago's three-point efficiency, Belinelli's signing was a match made in heaven. He forced Chicago's opponents to plan something to combat his masterful three-point shot. Belinelli is currently signed with the 2012-13 Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.
3. John Lucas
John Lucas was a dark horse. He was not the most athletically gifted person on the bench, but he did provide some unexpected comebacks during the 2011-12 season that led to a cult-following among the Chicago fanbase. Lucas had a legendary game against the Miami Heat back in March 2012 where he subbed for an injured Derrick Rose and scored an unexpected 24 points, leaving Heat players and fans scratching their heads as the Bulls strolled to a victory. Lucas is currently signed with the Utah Jazz.
2. Omer Asik
Omer Asik was the Bulls' best choice for a backup to Joakim Noah. Despite his young age and relative inexperience, Asik picked up his game fast, serving as a strong force down in the paint. Most detractors might only choose to remember Asik in the disastrous final two minutes in Game 6 of the first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011-12 season where his inability to shoot his free throws cost Chicago the game and led to an embarrassing early exit. Regardless, the Bulls could definitely use an efficient second-string center right now. Asik is currently playing with the Houston Rockets.
1. Nate Robinson
When it comes down to it, Nate Robinson is the one athlete on this list that hurts the most to see gone. Robinson gave the speed, athleticism and aggressiveness that Chicago needed following the year-long absence of Rose. It is confusing why the Bulls front office let him go, especially after his play in the 2012-13 playoffs. Despite being 5-foot-9, 180-pounds, a rarity in the NBA, he defied expectations and proved that anybody can go toe-to-toe with the league's best so long as they have the attitude and skills necessary. Robinson is currently signed with the 76ers and is having a great year so far.