No shot in basketball changes the flow of a game more than the three point shot. While a dunk provides momentum and energizes a crowd, a three point shot, however, when attempted and converted at the right time can take a losing team completely out of the game.
It is rare that a team will design a play to get a dunk as a game winning shot. The three point shot is reserved for specialists, as most players can dunk a basketball. The NBA adopted the three point shot in the 1979-1980 NBA season, in part, to spread the floor and reward specialist who shot the ball from long range.
While adopted in the early 1980’s, the specialist started to get the attention toward the middle to late 1980’s. These players represent the top ten Chicago Bulls three point shooters.
Brought in through free agency leading into the 2010-2011 season, to spread the floor for Derrick Rose in the fourth quarter, this sharpshooter proved his value in the 2011 playoffs. At 6-7, Kyle provides versatility to allow a good defender like Ronnie Brewer to remain on the floor.
The Bulls are able to play offense-defense and not play the offense-defense game during time outs. This keeps Kyle Korver on the floor, and this veteran sharpshooter will help the current Chicago Bulls win a title over the next three years. Based on his recent performance with the Bulls, he sneaks into the top ten. Look for him to climb future lists.
To say Ben Gordon was an unconscious shooter would be a great understatement. He wanted the ball in his hands with the game on the line. This included hitting clutch three point shots. Fourth quarter excitement came back to the United Center. Drafted in 2005, Ben Gordon ended a seven year drought for Bulls fans.
The Bulls Championship in 1998 represented the last time the fans could remember a player who wanted the ball with the game on the line. Over four years, Ben Gordon drew many comparisons before signing with the Detroit Pistons in free agency. But before leaving, he left behind many great three point shooting memories.
Talk about a match up nightmare. Toni Kukoc was a 6-11 small forward who handled the ball more like a point guard and posted up like a power forward. The three point shot was the perfect weapon for this match up nightmare when he was matched up against larger less mobile opponents.
Think flashes of Dirk Nowitzi before he was a known superstar. Toni Kukoc played a similar role as a match up nightmare to opposing teams for the Chicago Bulls.
The best basketball player on the planet did not develop this weapon until the middle of his career. This weapon was on full display in game one of the 1992 NBA Finals. This game set a theme for the rest of Michael Jordan’s career.
While the majority of his scoring was earned by taking the ball to the basket and getting to the free throw line, this added weapon extended his career by extending the defense.
Scottie Pippen is arguably the last real point guard of the Chicago Bulls. More to the point, the last real point guard of the Chicago Bulls was listed as a small forward. As he advance the ball up the court, NBA defenses would often pack the defensive schemes into the lane, and the three point shot became a valuable weapon to Pippen’s game.
Toward the middle of his career Scottie Pippen developed a three point shot that took teams out of their make shift zones.
For six years Kirk Hinrich was a rare commodity when it came to former Chicago Bulls point guards. He was able to create his own shot off the dribble. For most of the franchise history, point guards were specialists who waited for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to collapse the defense and pass off for open shots. For six years this sharpshooter created havoc for opposing defenses.
Drafted in 1989 with the eighteenth pick of the first round, B.J. Armstrong became a draft steal. It was another move Jerry Krause had gotten right during his stint as General Manager. B.J Armstrong started off as a valuable contributor off the bench, and quickly adapted the formula for being a starting Chicago Bulls point guard in the Michael Jordan era.
After he cracked the starting lineup in 1992, he built on the John Paxson formula of getting open for shots and spreading the defense. Armstrong’s three point shooting percentage increased greatly and today, he is on the all-time three point percentage shooting list in a good position in franchise and NBA history.
A December 14, 1988 trade with the Phoenix Suns brought Craig Hodges to the Chicago Bulls. It was clear what the Chicago Bulls were seeking when they made the trade. Craig Hodges had built a career on the three-point shot.
The Chicago Bulls line up was beginning to settle and they needed a three point threat. During the championship years of 1991 and 1992, Hodges was needed to spread the floor for Scottie Pippen as he led the second unit when Michael Jordan went to the Bench.
Craig Hodges' value was not measured in hitting the clutch three point shot because he would rarely play during crunch time. However, no one kept a good first quarter run going better than Hodges in the early 1990’s.
Steve Kerr is the answer to an NBA trivia question. If you wanted to know the NBA all-time Three Point Leader in percentage, you are looking at him in this slide. Steve Kerr was great when it came to shooting the three point shot.
For the first two years as a Bull, he did it for a losing Chicago Bulls team. When Michael Jordan returned in late 1995, his shots mattered more in clutch situation. But judging him through mere percentage, he would be number one on the list.
His first two years with the team leaves us all with many unanswered questions. This hurt him in the rankings.
John Paxson was a Chicago Bulls mainstay. The organization brought in a series of point guards to replace him in the starting lineup and he just stuck it out. Through a war of attrition, he was the last man standing and stayed on for multiple championships.
No player hit more three pointers when it mattered in Chicago Bulls history than John Paxson. While John Paxson only shot .363 lifetime with the Chicago Bulls with 713 attempts and 213 made, his numbers are deceptive.
In the fourth quarter with the game on the line, he was a deadly shooter who made a living off the spreading the floor for Michael Jordan.
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