Five Times Jerry Krause Got It Right in the Chicago Bulls Championship Era
Chicago Bulls history is filled with unanswered questions and contradictions. Among them, Jerry Krause being hated within the Bulls organization among the players while making transactions that lead to championships. Despite being a two time winner of the NBA Executive of the Year Award, his player movements and philosophy were questioned in the media.
In fact, some of it is based on Krause's on doing when he made the statement: Organizations win titles. In some ways, Krause was correct. Winning organizations have a culture that goes beyond an era or players. But in the case of the Chicago Bulls, that has revealed itself, as the team lacks a title since the Jordan era.
The following five slides will focus on where Jerry Krause got it right and how his decisions helped lead to six NBA championships.
Firing Doug Collins and Hiring Phil Jackson
Going into the 1990 season was tough for Chicago Bulls fans. Doug Collins was building a contender. He brought excitement to the sidelines. However, Coach Collins could never get buy in from Michael Jordan and the rest of the team when it came to Michael Jordan trusting the team. Doug Collins was fired and 'Philosophical' reasons were cited.
Insert the Zen Master Phil Jackson. While unorthodox in his approach fostered a culture of winning. Prior to joining the Bulls as an assistant, he won a championship in the CBA with the Albany Patroons. He played on two NBA Championships with the NY Knicks in 1970 and 1973. Coach Jackson was better able to integrate the Triangle Offense and motivate the personnel for John Bach's "Doberman Defense".
The results were clear and a win for Jerry Krause when it came to firing Doug Collins and hiring Phil Jackson who went on to become the most successful coach in NBA history.
Draft Day trade for Scottie Pippen
In the 1980's many teams were probably scratching their head at this draft day trade. Back then, big men were a top priority when it came to the draft. The old adage which says "You can't teach height" was echoed throughout every organization. Olden Polynice and Scottie Pippen's took completely different directions.
Scottie Pippen provided the perfect running mate for Michael Jordan. It happen in large part due to Jerry Krause taking a chance and going against conventional wisdom in 1987. Scottie Pippen went on to win six titles and make the NBA Hall of Fame.
Drafting Toni Kukoc
Drafted in 1990 in the Second round at the 29th pick, Toni Kukoc came into the NBA with more expectations than the average second rounder. His natural position was small forward, and this created tension on his new team int he three years the Chicago Bulls waited for him to come to the NBA.
Scottie Pippen was the starting small forward for the Chicago Bulls. For much of his career he was underpaid due to signing a long term deal that was never revisited when events changed. Toni Kukoc arrived in 1993 the same year Michael Jordan retired the first time. The pressure was on him as a sixth man. Over his first two years he played above expectations and this served him well when Michael Jordan returned and the Chicago Bulls built the second three peat run from 1996 to 1998.
Jerry Krause and the scouts must be given credit for making this selection and having the patience to structure the team for his arrival three years later. Toni Kukoc went on to be a valuable contributor and 6th Man of the Year Award winner in 1996.
Trading Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright
Strange shot aside. Bill Cartwright provided the needed low post scoring the Chicago Bulls needed in the early 1990's. The Eastern Conference was getting bigger at the center position and Jerry Krause and the organization responded by trading Power Forward Charles Oakley to the New York Knicks for Bill Cartwright. This trade was made in part to the growth of Horace Grant during his rookie year. This trade made the most sense in the first round of the 1991 NBA playoffs when Bill Cartwright shut down Patrick Ewing and this defensive performance served noticed to the league that the Chicago Bulls interior defense was formidable. Cartwright was valuable in the first three peat. The trade revived Cartwright's career and launched Horace Grant's.
Dennis Rodman Trade
Dennis Rodman's career in San Antonio ended badly. There was great risk in bringing Dennis Rodman in because of the possibility of distraction. At the time, Michael Jordan was working himself back to his prior standard after returning to the NBA and having a bad showing in the playoffs against the Orlando Magic. The Magic exposed a glaring weakness for the Bulls: they were not a good rebounding team.
Dennis Rodman was a natural fit on paper to help alleviate this weakness. Jerry Krause made this decision to trade Will Perdue for Dennis Rodam to help the team in rebounding. As an executive he showed the confidence in his personnel. Phil Jackson's ability as a coach helped Dennis Rodman transition into the Chicago Bulls system. Additionally Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan set the tone by being owners of three championships who wanted more. Dennis Rodman realized it was in his best interest and the trade and the three championships that followed are history, thanks in part to Jerry Krause getting it right.
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