So I brought you the bust-a-bulls earlier, but what's the best of the best of the Bulls look like from the past dozens seasons?
In sportscenter style, not appearing on this list? Ben Wallace - 06/07, I thought you were a waste then even if the fruits of your disruptive, negative energy didn't fully show up until the next season.
PG: Derrick Rose - 09/10 edition
Last season, was Derrick Rose already performing at the highest level we've seen of any Bull post Jordan? His raw numbers were very good, but his play still exceeded the numbers given the defensive pressure he faced night in and night out. Perhaps the best thing about Rose is that he's equally skilled at being the man or being a facilitator as part of a team game.
SG: Ben Gordon - 08/09 edition
Gordon compiled slightly higher numbers in 06/07, but he did so with higher usage, more turnovers, and worse defense. In 08/09, Gordon showed he could play well with Derrick Rose, and had his best all around year in the NBA. He provides the three point shooting the team needs as well as an overall scoring threat, and end of game closer.
SF: Luol Deng - 06/07 edition
Deng shot 52% from the field this year, rebounded well, defended well, and looked reasonably explosive cutting to the basket. Back in 06/07, most Bulls fans thought Deng was a future all-star and had every right to do so. He gives us highly efficient scoring without having the ball in his hands playing entirely off of the good play of others which is always extremely valuable while putting together a star team. Things went down hill pretty fast after that, but he really had a phenomenal year.
PF: Elton Brand - 00/01 edition
Brand is still the only Bull post Jordan to put up a PER over 20 over the course of a full season, and the only well rounded offensively oriented big man the Bulls have had in the post Jordan era (Boozer excluded since he hasn't played a game yet). He's probably not bringing the best defense, but he brings excellent overall offense and rebounding.
C: Joakim Noah - 09/10 edition
The Bulls have actually had quite a few quality centers in the past decade, the problem is none of them lasted. Brad Miller (early in his career), Eddy Curry had a nice year, Tyson Chandler had a nice year, and of course, the man I'm going with, Joakim Noah. Brad needed another couple years to hit his peak, Curry provided only scoring with no passing / defense / rebounding, and Tyson was similar to Noah with a worse offensive game and no passing.
Noah gives the Bulls elite rebounding, good shot blocking, good defense, and interior passing. That's enough for me.
PG: Kirk Hinrich - 06/07 edition
A big part of what made the 07/08 edition of Hinrich such a bust was the outstanding play of the 06/07 edition. Kirk, in this year, would have been the pefect third guard for this team as he'd bring the defense to defend anyone on the opposing team, the shooting to help space the floor, and a second ball handler / play maker / PG to back up Derrick Rose.
SG: Ron Artest - 01/02 edition
Artest was just starting to break out as we traded him, and with an offensively geared starting lineup, Artest helps bring some disruptive defense to the bench and a chance to match up against the better players in the league. Unfortunately, he'll also bring a few holes punched into the walls of UC locker room, but we'll have to live with that.
SF: Toni Kukoc - 98-99 edition
Toni finally got his chance to be the man, and while the team as a whole was an utter trainwreck, Toni Kukoc was not. He averaged 18.8 points, 7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists while trying to lead a team built with the hope of utter failure so it could land a great draft pick. The Bulls mercifully traded him the next season. Toni provides the third offensive creator for our team and a versatile do everything type of player.
PF: Tyson Chandler - 04/05 edition
Chandler was another player who had plenty of downsides to his career in Chicago, but in this magical year he made clutch play after clutch play on the defensive end. He closed out several games by blocking last second shot attempts to win the game for the opponent. He also rebounded like a beast and even stepped up his offense with his dribble, drive, and flail move to get to the free throw line in the playoffs.
C: Eddy Curry - 04/05 edition
With all the jokes, you'd think Eddy belongs on the other list, and if we were making that list based on our unrealistic expectations then he would (but seriously if he was the next Shaq he wasn't going to be on the board at #4, NBA talent evaluators already knew this). In 04/05, Eddy choked down enough diet pills to get to a reasonable playing weight, made some attempt at defense and rebounding, and dominated the hell out of opponents with his individual offensive game. Sure, he was still flawed as hell, couldn't pass, and had all other issues, but on a really good team, it'd have been great to have him as an option to go in there for awhile and crush opposing big men and put them in foul trouble.
SF: Andres Nocioni - 05/06 edition
Like many, I grew to dislike Nocioni and desperately wanted him traded, however many others still love Nocioni, and this season is the reason why. At the end of the year, he came on and basically carried the team more than any other player to win 12 of their final 14 games to make the playoffs. He was an excellent spot up shooter, an incredibly pesky player who got under opponents skins, and still had enough foot speed to defend. He adds the Dennis Rodman psychological advantage to the team while bringing another shooter we can put on the floor to help space things out.
PF: Donyell Marshall - 02/03 edition
One of the best signings the Bulls made back in the early days was Donyell Marshall, and if you could transport that version of Marshall into today's game he'd be even more deadly. I think Marshall was one of the key players to popularize the stretch four position in the NBA. He also gave you the ability to play SF, PF, and C, with rebounding, shooting, and overall quality offense.
Players who didn't make the list, but I feel need some type of mention because they gave me such fond memories:
Antonio Davis - I debated about putting him ahead of Marshall for his toughness and attitude, but ultimately, the numbers simply don't support the idea. He was still a key piece to the 04/05 team, and the time Brendan Haywood shoved Hinrich and Davis went after him like a mad man, body slammed him to the ground (while Curry then came up and punched Haywood in the balls while AD held him down) still has to be one of my favorite moments of post Jordan history. It's kind of a stupid favorite moment, but it was one of the first signs of the team really fighting to be a team in one of the most enjoyable Bulls seasons ever.
Brad Miller - I considered putting him in there as my offensive oriented center, but he was just a little too young the first time around here and a little too old the second time, but he was a nice player both times, and I think we all remember when he stood up to Shaq in a brawl in that first stint. Like AD, he provided a lot of toughness and character.