The Bust-a-Bulls

Stole the idea from realgm, but it got me to thinking, what's the worst team you can put together for the Chicago Bulls?  

Rules, your total team salary must equal at least 60 million.   You must have a combined total of at least 410 starts on the roster.  Every player must played in at least 20 games.   Players who are traded mid season only get pro-rated salary credit by the amount of time they played for the Bulls.

Not every player on this list is bad, some just had particularly bad seasons.  There are worse players I didn't include either due to a lack of playing time, a lack of expectations, or a lack of salary, I didn't want to just pick on the Krause Bulls the entire time either.

C: Ben Wallace

07/08 edition, $9,451,219 (the rest paid by Cleveland) (50 starts)

Ben Wallace was the ultimate destroyer of team chemistry.  He lazed about, refused to front the post, and really broke a team built on unity, hard work and trust with his lousy attitude.   He had lost all his skills at this point and failed to defend or rebound at a useful rate while his offense was even more pathetic than the pathetic level it had been in the past.

Yet the Bulls kept trotting him out there.  I complained about his play over Joakim Noah the entire season, but he kept on getting looks until we finally dumped him for the equally reprehensible Larry Hughes.

PF: Tyson Chandler

05/06 edition, $9,000,000 (50 starts)

Tyson Chandler was someone Bulls fans had such huge hopes for going into this season.  He was coming off a monster defensive season in which he was part of our core group and a big influence in our success.  Then he curled up into a shell and died.  He forgot how to catch a basketball, was flubbing dunks, and his defense went to crap.   This was highlighted by an embarrassing playoff series against Miami where Mike Sweetney basically replaced him.

SF: Ron Mercer

01/02 edition, $3,292,682 (rest paid by Indy), 40 starts

Ron Mercer wasn't put into a fair role really, it's like trying to make James Johnson the #1 option on the Bulls this year.   That said, the guy had a TS% of 44% which is shockingly bad for a #1 option on a team (hence the reason we sucked so darn bad) and was paid star money at the time (which Johnson is clearly not).   He was traded mid season, so we at least weren't forced to watch him much longer.

SG: Jalen Rose

02/03 edition - $12,072,500 (82 starts)

It's tempting to go with the 03/4 version, since that one completely quit on the team and destoryed it in order to get traded, but while more rephrensible, we'd only get 16 starts and around 2.8 million in salary out of him.  The 02/03 Jalen Rose at least sort of cared, but he was simply no where near as good as we expect.  His $12 million in salary doesn't seem nearly so bad today, but at the time it represented a max deal and was fairly outrageous as the salary cap was only 40 million.

PG: Kirk Hinrich

07/08 edition ($11,250,000) (72 starts)

I'm a fan of Kirk Hinrich's Bulls tenure overall, but he combined one of his worst seasons with one of his highest salaries.  You could almost throw anyone on the 07/08 team here (in fact, we do also throw Wallace/Hughes), but Gordon/Deng didn't decline quite as much and weren't on their extensions yet.   Kirk helps us build up our starts and total salary nicely to meet my requirements.   Like the whole team, he quit on the season fairly early, forgot how to play defense, shoot, and pass.  The sucking this year was a team effort, but Kirk and Wallace were paid the most.

There are worse PGs out there, but none who had the combination of failed expectations, high salary, and high playing time.

Total starting lineup $45,066,401, 294 starts


SG: Larry Hughes

07/08 edition - $4,097,589 (rest paid by Cleveland) (28 starts)

Larry Hughes is who Larry Hughes is.  He's a cancerous, overpaid, shot chucker. It's not really entirely the Bulls fault here as they were really just dumping Ben Wallace, but he still needs a spot on the roster.

PF: Charles Oakley

01/02 edition - $6,545,000 (36 starts) [replaced Perdue after commentor suggestion]

Oakley had a PER of 6.6, a TS% of 39.2%, and had the gaul to complain about minutes, his role, and everyone around him.   The guy was a chemistry killer while brought in to be a mentor, and couldn't manage to do anything positive whatsoever while being the second highest paid player on the team.   The Oak tree was a complete train wreck in his second ture here.

PF: Dickie Simpkins

99/00 edition, $1,500,000, 48 starts

Like Perdue, Simpkins salary looks lower than it appears.  This team is kind of a patchwork of crap that was put together to suck, so it's not entirely fair to pick on it.  Still, I filled the financial requirements and need starts, and Dickie started 48 games with a PER of 5.5, that might be some kind of record for badness per start.

PG: Bryce Drew

00/01 edition, $1,182,600, 41 starts

It's the only season of his career where Bryce Drew got significant burn, and after watching it you can tell why.  He had a TS% that was a complete trash at 45%, but he fills out the backup PG role on this team, the only team he's filled out a back up role nicely for.

SF: Eddie Robinson

02/03 edition - $5,687,000 (18 starts)

Robinson is in the running with Ben Wallace as the worst signing ever made by the organization.   He missed more time in other seasons, but he played in 67 games this year at his second worst career PER at 11.5.   The sad thing about Robinson is that there are no years where he contributed enough to really pick on him and get lots of starts despite the fact that we paid him huge money to come in here.

G: Trenton Hassell

02/03 edition, $512,435, 53 starts

Kind of unfair to pick on Hassell who was a second round pick and in way over his head.  Unlike Mercer, he wasn't paid huge money, he just had a large role because there was no one else on the team even as good as he was.  That said, how Hassell started 53 games with a TS% of 41% is somewhat of a train wreck.

Roster fodder: Dalibar Bagaric/Dragon Tarlac C

I'm not going to bother looking up their salaries or starts, it's not worth the effort for either guy, pick any year, these two were guys we were hoping for some Krausian sleuthing magic on and ended up with just pure crap on a stick.  Neither ever played much because neither was ever worth playing, but I'm way over the financial and start requirements, so I'll just give them a shout out.

Random thoughts

There are a lot of other guys in the 99-03 era that you could put on this team because they were forced into roles over their head.  I tried to mainly pick guys we paid big money to or had high hopes for.  I sort of weasled out on a couple guys like Perdue and Hassell though.

For the most part though, these were guys who had high expectations, completely failed to deliver, and don't evoke fond memories (perhaps Kirk Hinrich the exception there as that one season was more of an anomaly for him in regards to just how bad he was).

Andres Nocioni 08/09 version probably deserves a spot somewhere on this list for constantly complaining about how selfish everyone on the team is while having the lowest assist rate of any regular player outside of Tyrus Thomas.   Selfishness, apparently, only exists when players don't pass to you.  Combine that with his poor defense, and he's a suspect.   However, he did bring shooting and the saddest exit interview I've ever heard by a traded player, so I'll cut him a little slack.


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  • No room for the corpse of Charles Oakley at 6.5 million in 01/02? You also need to find a place for 09/10 Pargo, sure his salary and starts aren't there, but for end of bench awfulness, how can you go past him?

  • Hey, I liked Tyson! Lol, seriously though, no chance Tyson goes on this list ahead of Eddie or other players. Tyson's only fault is that he was drafted high and with big expectations. Other than that, he was always a quality citizen that gave you effort and above average basket protection. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for him, he was a good dude, and a guy that I'm rooting for on Team USA.

  • Oakley's return to the Bulls is vastly underrated in the all-time joke department. He came in as a reported tough guy and "mentor" and just acted like a lazy, whiny primadonna. That season still colors my thoughts when people talk about how Oakley should be a big man coach, etc.

  • Yea, I guess. Like I said though, I always kinda had a soft spot for Tyson. I never felt like he wasn't trying. Whereas with Eddie, I just didn't think he was giving his all.

    Like you said, that bad season came after he got the contract. It was kind of a doomed relationship from the start. Fans were always gonna expect more than Tyson could give. Through it all though, he was a good guy, and that's why I hate to see him on lists like this. He was, what he was. Unfortunately that wasn't good enough for a lot of people around here.

  • Honestly, I quit following the Bulls when Michael and Scottie and Phil left. But I don't feel like a bandwagon guy because I started watching them the year before Jordan arrived. And I suffered through a lot of early bad teams. After the party was over I was out of college, and just had a lot of diversions, and just didn't want to face an ugly wallflower after spending 10-12 years with the best sports date in Chicago history.

    My interest would be an all time list of awful draft picks. I remember when the Bulls started winning championships, and I kept thinking other then Scottie how nice it would be to have one more dominant scorer 18-19ppg or more.

    Then we had Mark Randall, Byron Houston, Corey Blount, Dickey Simpkins, Jason Caffey, Keith booth, and Corey Benjamin. Wow. Caffey did look like he was going to be a solid addition for a while, but he was too busy being everyone's dad literally, and fell off the map.

    I realize that most all of these picks were late first round, and thus mostly doomed to failure, but still it was a bit annoying/dissapointing.

    I will say when the Bulls had the 47 win season in 05/06', and I started hearing about Ben Gordon and Skiles I started watching again. Since then my thoughts focused on how flawed the top picks of Gordon and Hinrich were in my mind. I realize they both ended up having some decent years and were mostly hard workers and nice guys. But still they were marginal and dissapointing. But I certainly do not want to revisit an analysis of those guys again(please for the love of god).

    It was just a bummer this year that after all the time I spend(t) analyzing/watching top prospects that we didn't get a pick this year. Though in the short term all the excellent vet talent we picked up is far beyond what we could have selected regardless. But still. Anyway I hope some of my top picks Luke Babbitt, Dominique Jones, Ekpe Udoh, and Elliot Williams pan out.

    But not as much as I hope guys like Brewer and Watson become steals/very good players for the Bulls. Finally, I'm gald I didn't have to watch Jalen Rose play in a Bulls uni because he is a typical company line phony ESPN analyst, and some of his hyperbole makes me sick/want to vomit.

  • The '05/'06 year also coincides with the season the Bulls asked Tyson to play a new position...

  • How about the '03-'05 Scottie Pippen...paid the full MLE over two seasons, +/- $10M; gives the Bulls 23 games with a PER of just about 12 and TS% of .448. I think Pippen was the first player I saw wearing orthopedic basketball shoes.

  • In reply to Dionysus:

    Not fair, this was done as a favor to the man who helped make this franchise what it is.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I thought of Scottie too, the Bulls did do him a favor, but it always seemed to me that he sort of quit on that team, maybe like Doug says he was just hurt.

  • In reply to Dionysus:

    For all Larry Hughes's faults, LeBron went to the finals with him and now rumors are there that he might sign with Charlotte.

  • When does Dickey Johnson get added to your list? Just curious.

  • Dickey Johnson, your boy, definitely needs to be ahead of Dickey Simpkins on your list.

    Last I checked, Dickey Simpkins has a couple of NBA championship rings with the Bulls.

    Just a thought.

  • Maybe I was just naive...I believed Kornel David would turn out to be on the same level as Kukoc.. He was a complete disappointment. Even though Krause had some good ideas, his press conferences trotting out Bagaric, Oakley stand out because they turned out to so terrible..
    Also, I remember one of the guys at work told me that he went to see the Bulls during a training camp and Jason Caffey was so impressive that he would be the next Bulls main weapon after Jordan retired.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Whoa, Kornel David? The "Hungarian Michael Jordan"? He was nothing more than proof that Hungary is nowhere to dig up unknown hoops talent. That said, he was actually a bit better than either Bagaric or Tarlac...

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Too bad that a flat .500 record is less than the team had with Larry Hughes playing, which was about 20% more wins with someone that played strong defense in every game he was in, he was a bargain and will still play this year. All he said is he new the team was paying a lot of money and wanted to contribute, I think any player saying he wants to contribute is great, not worth DNP for a month. Del Negro and the way he interacted with veteran players was foolish, and with a full coaching staff of ex NBA coaches, would not listen to any of them. Texting a players about being traded, pretty low, but what comes around, goes around. Thomas will be a player, a real loss. Rose will not last long (without injuries) if he has to keep driving to the basket and can't find a three point shot. I would take Rondo over Rose anyday, just a smarter guy running the team. Maybe he took the SAT's for Rose?

  • Marcus Fizer?

  • Doug,

    I don't know Doug. I'm sensing a little bias on your part.

    Dickey Simpkins didn't make a lot of money and was apart of a few Bulls' championship teams, yet he made your list.

    I think you are still kissing Dickey Johnson's ass for some reason. That experience you had with him at the mall must have made an impression on you.

    It's clear you have put the wrong Dickey on your list.

  • Didn't we pay Tim Thomas to not play and then leave twice, that would seem deserving.

    What about Eddie Curry, I guess we never paid him huge money.

  • At No.7 in the draft you'd like/look for a starter. Hinrich is not a "good" NBA player as a starter. He's a good rotation player. Josh Howard, David West the list goes on and on of guys who would have been good starters as opposed to a non-all star who shoots poorly, and is an anti gamer when it comes to threes and scoring.

    Gordon shooting 38% in the vaunted Boston playoffs where he's up one game, but absolutely kills you the next is not a "good" player in my book. Devin Harris, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, or a terrificly undersized SG who shoots 38% percent in his supposed "great playoff performance."

    Doug, your assessment of Gordon and Hinrich as good players has always met a lot of criticism. Can't you just aloow for others opinions to stand that they were not good starters because they were so flawed offensively? You think they're good players as starters. That's fine. But many, many fans do not agree which should tell you something.

  • Perhaps the positional adjustment is an overstatement, but it was his first season that he was asked to man the middle without the compliment of Eddy Curry, who despite his struggles in NY, took up space inside and could score efficiently in the post.

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