Chicago Bulls All-Decade Team
Remember the 90's?
I'm sure if you're a Chicago Bulls fans, you remember them quite well.
However, a decade that brought six championships to the Windy City may seem like a distant memory to most of us, especially because the 2000's have not been too kind to the Chicago-faithful.
A decade of futility has seen the Baby Bull's grow up and move on, some to flourish elsewhere (Ron Artest, Elton Brand and Jamal Crawford) and some to never make it much further than the Chicago (Khalid El-Amin and Marcus Fizer).
But with this decade coming to a close, I thought it necessary to try to come up with a team made of Bulls players from 2000 to 2009 that could contend for a championship.
So without further ado, start up The Alan Parsons Project, and let's have Tommy Edwards take it away...
Aaaaaaaand now, pleeeeeease rise for your Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiicago Bulls.
Starting at small forward...
Luol Deng, SF
...a 6-foot 9-inch 220-pounder from Duke, Luuuuuuuol Deng.
Deng, when healthy, has been one of the most versatile scorers the Bulls have had in recent history.
His best season came in 2006-07 when he averaged 18.8 points on nearly 52 percent shooting from the field while starting all 82 games. He also added 7.1 rebounds per game, good for second best on the team.
While the last couple of years have seen him fall off, mainly due to injuries, Deng showed up this season with added muscle and added drive.
He's quietly led the Bulls with 17.9 points per game on 46 percent shooting. His 7.9 rebounds per game are also good for second on the team.
While his 15.6 career points per game average isn't outstanding, he's been the most solid small forward the Bulls have had this decade.
Back-up: Andres Nocioni
While you would often wish that a back-up for an All-Decade team wouldn't be an actual back-up, you couldn't ask for a better guy coming off the bench than Noc.
A crowd favorite, Nocioni was always known for his energy off the bench and his ability to hit clutch shots any time except for at the end of games.
Although Ron Artest could have been better suited here, I felt that he didn't do enough while he was a Bull, but I say just blame that on the a-a-a-a-a-a-alcohol.
But before we get into halftime rituals, let's get Tommy back in here for the next guy.
Starting at power forward...
Elton Brand, PF
...a 6-foot 8-inch 275-pounder from Duke, Ellllllllllllton Brand.
Brand, the Bulls first pick and top overall pick of the 1999 draft, may have only played just over a full season with the Bulls in the 2000's, but he's easily the best power forward of the decade for a team that's hurt at the position since Dennis Rodman left.
His rookie year Brand averaged 20.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game while sharing the Rookie of the Year award with Steve Francis.
Not to out do himself Brand duplicated his 1999-00 points per game with another 20.1 average in 2000-01. He also showed a slight improvement by pulling down an average of 10.1 rebounds per game.
However, in a trade that has had Bulls fans shaking their heads for years, the Clippers acquired Brand from Chicago for Brian Skinner and the draft rights to Tyson Chandler.
And yet while only logging 155 games with the Bulls, he still cemented himself as the best power forward of the decade.
Back-up: Drew Gooden
While he only played in 49 games for the Bulls, Gooden's 13.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game were better than the likes of Tyrus Thomas and Marcus Fizer.
The sad part is however, with Brand's proneness to injuries Gooden may be getting quite a bit of playing time for the All-Decade team.
Okay Tommy, hurry before anything more gets said about a mediocre player like Gooden.
Starting at center...
Eddy Curry, C
...a 6-foot 11-inch 285-pounder out of Thornwood High School, E-e-e-e-e-e-eddy Cuuuuuuurry.
Before the tomatoes start flying, let me explain myself.
The only other viable choices were Tyson Chandler or Brad Miller.
Chandler never averaged double digits in points or rebounds in any of his five seasons with the Bulls. His best season was in 2004-05 when he averaged 8.0 points and pulled down 9.7 rebounds per game.
Miller, while putting up slightly better numbers than Chandler, did his best work while away from the Bulls, mainly in his four-plus years with Sacramento.
Which brings me to the center of the decade, Eddy Curry.
The fourth overall pick by the Bulls in the 2001 draft, Curry never quite panned out to be the big man team officials visioned.
However, in four seasons with the Bulls he averaged 11.8 points in 289 games. And while 11.8 points may not seem like a lot, the alternatives could be worse.
Back-up: Brad Miller
If the old vet couldn't do anything more than come in and knock some shots down, I'd still say he'd be a success.
While he has been in the league for 12 seasons, he still doesn't pass Curry as a more successful Bull (and who ever thought that Curry and success would never be in the same sentence?)
Hurry Tommy. This team's getting worse as we go.
Starting at point guard...
Derrick Rose, PG
...a 6-foot 3-inch 190-pounder from Chicago, Illinois, Deeeeeeeeerick Rose.
In maybe the closest vote (although it was only me voting), I decided to take Rose's outstanding 2008-09 season over Kirk Hinrich's consistent six-plus seasons with the team.
Rose is an amazing talent to whom the Bulls were lucky enough to win the NBA draft lottery and select with the number one overall pick in the 2008 draft.
His 16.8 points and 6.3 assists per game last season were enough to garnish Rose with the honor of being named the NBA Rookie of the Year.
And after a slow start to the 2009-10 season, one that can be blamed on an injured ankle, Rose seems to have found his legs and is once again making the highlight-reel plays that Bulls fans were so accustomed to last season.
Back-up: Kirk Hinrich
Captain Kirk could have been the starter of the All-Decade team if not for a lucky lottery, but I still think the bench is where he is better suited.
Averaging 13.6 points and 6.0 assists over his seven-year career (all with the Bulls), Hinrich provided consistency to a position that had seen the faces of Jay Williams and Khalid El-Amin come and go.
And although he's had a longer career than the guy he's backing up, I couldn't resist a Rosey starting backcourt.
Which brings me and Tommy to the final position.
Starting at shooting guard...
Jalen Rose, SG
...a 6-foot 8-inch 210-pounder from the University of Michigan, J-j-j-j-jaaaaaalen Rose.
Again, Ben Gordon's five-year career with the Bulls could make him a better candidate than Rose, whose only full season with the team was in 2002-03, but a Rose/Rose backcourt has to smell pretty good.
In his one-plus season with the Bulls, Rose averaged 21.4 points in 128 games.
Not only would Jalen solidify a top-notch backcourt, but it would allow Gordon to to move to his best position: sixth-man.
Back-up: Ben Gordon
Gordon's uncanny ability to come off the bench red hot is why I chose to withhold him from the starting lineup.
In five full seasons with the Bulls, the team that originally drafted him, Gordon averaged 18.5 points in 398 games.
However, his ability to shoot the Bulls right out of games in the fourth quarter became prevalent in the 2007-08 season, one that saw a disappointing Bulls team lose 49 games.
Last offseason team officials saw Gordon as too expensive for the production that he brought and therefore didn't bring him back, allowing him to sign as a free agent with the Detroit Pistons.
But even with pure scorers like the Roses, Brand, and Gordon, it's tough to think that this team would be able to contend for a championship. With the lack of a true center and a fairly poor bench, I think this team would be about a four seed in this season's Eastern Conference playoffs.
So although the 2000's were bad, Bulls fans alike can take comfort in knowing that not even an All-Decade team could handle the current powers of the East.