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Chicago Bulls: The 10 Worst Players of the Past 10 Years

Terrell BarnesCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2017

Chicago Bulls: The 10 Worst Players of the Past 10 Years

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    Over the course of the history of any sports franchise, building a winning team is a 10-year process. In 10 years, the great players and good role players shape the history of a franchise.

    Sadly, the worst players shape the history and current state of a franchise as well. This 10-player list examines the 10 worst players for the Chicago Bulls in the past 10 years. 

Bryce Drew

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    Traded by the Houston Rockets to the Chicago Bulls for two second-round picks in 2005 and 2006, Bryce Drew came at a bargain.

    These picks were backloaded and would not cost the Bulls much for the upside they were looking for in Drew.

     

    Expectation

    After the last year of his stint with the Houston Rockets, Drew averaged 5.8 points, 2.3 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 18 minutes per game. Averaged out over 36 minutes, his projected average would have come out 12 points, five assists and three rebounds.

    These were the numbers in the Chicago Bulls' calculation when they made the move to acquire Drew. The expectation was a serviceable starting point guard at a great value. After all, this was only two second-round picks.

    In addition, Drew was the son of a coach. The implied expectation was that his basketball IQ would be very high. The expectation was that this projected production at $1,182,600 would be a bargain.

     

    Actual Production

    The Chicago Bulls played Drew closer to the 36-minute projected number at 27 minutes a game. Drew started 85 percent of the games in which he played in 2000-2001. He underperformed at only 6.3 points, 3.9 assists and 1.4 rebounds.

    These numbers, despite passing options like Elton Brand, Ron Artest, Jamal Crawford and Ron Mercer. Brand drew plenty of double-teams and Drew did not knock down the shots. In fact, he only shot .379 percent from the field and .381 percent behind the three-point line.

    The reality did not match the projections and prior resume. In the end, Drew did not pan out and makes the list of the worst players for the Chicago Bulls in the last decade. Two second-round picks were ultimately wasted on this point guard experiment.

     

    Left Town

    Drew signed as a free agent by the Charlotte Hornets for the 2001-2002 season. 

A.J. Guyton

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    Drafted as the 32nd pick of the second round, A.J. Guyton was a draft-day steal out of Indiana University. In four seasons at Indiana he averaged 16 points a game while shooting 46 percent from the field. The future looked bright for A.J. Guyton as a member of the Chicago Bulls.

    The expectations were high for this second-round pick who many thought reinforced and aided the Chicago Bulls' 2000 first-round pick Jamal Crawford.

     

    Expectation

    Guyton was drafted due to his shooting ability. He shot 46 percent from the field in four years. Guyton’s assist totals were never at the level of an NBA floor leader.

    His upside was measured by the ability to shoot. During his stint with the Chicago Bulls, Guyton averaged 15 minutes a game. The working assumption under a 36-minute model would have Guyton averaging 12.5 points a game with the 46 percent shooting from college.

    The Bulls expected a guard with the ability to provide instant offense given his prior shooting ability.

     

    Production

    Guyton’s production fell far short of the projections. He fell short in the shooting category and this hurt his stint with the Bulls. In two years with the Bulls he shot 38 percent, falling eight percentage points lower than his college shooting.

    This eight percent drop cut directly into Guyton’s scoring average. In two years with the Bulls, Guyton averaged 5.5 points per game. From 2000-2002 there were plenty of open-shot opportunities for Guyton to shine in the Bulls offense. He never converted on the opportunities and became a bust for Chicago.

     

    Left Town

    Guyton’s stint with the Chicago Bulls came to an end leading into the 2002-2003 season. He signed as a free agent with the L.A. Lakers leading into the preseason.

    He was cut just before the start of the season. He signed with the Golden State Warriors mid-November 2002 and was cut for the final time eight days later. 

Dragan Tarlac

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    Expectation

    Drafted in 1995 with the 31st pick of the second round, the Chicago Bulls waited five years to get this pick under contract and in a Bulls uniform. The Bulls had the luxury of waiting for this prospect from overseas.

    After all, from 1996 to 1998 the Bulls dominated the NBA, winning three championships in a row. The 2000-2001 season started with elevated expectations. The organization thought lightning would strike twice with a prospect from overseas.

    The Bulls gambled on Toni Kukoc and it paid off. The organization waited three years to get him under contract and in a uniform. They were hoping for a mobile big man who could average a double-double in points and rebounds.

     

    Production

    The big problem at the outset when it came to Dragan Tarlac was age. While they drafted him at 22 in 1995, by 2000 he was 27 with mileage and injury problems. The team missed the opportunity to shape his game and get him ready for the NBA.

    Dragan’s conditioning and endurance left much to be desired. The mobility the team drafted in 1995 was no longer there five years later. The Bulls were left holding another second-round draft bust and not the next Toni Kukoc.

    After one year, his career was over with the Chicago Bulls and the NBA. He ended up with a 2.4 points-per-game average along with two rebounds per game. He started 28 percent of his 43 games played with the Bulls and could never break through.

Dalibor Bagaric

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    Drafted with the 24th pick of the 2000 draft, Dalibor Bagaric was picked to give the Bulls a big man who would provide toughness and clog the middle of the lane on defense.

     

    Expectation

    Dalibor Bagaric was drafted to provide toughness. In his last year with the Croatian team Benston Zagred, he averaged 18.3 points and 10.4 rebounds a game.

    While it is tough to translate overseas numbers to the NBA game, the expectation was a late-round steal at 20 years old that could provide quality minutes and some double-doubles in scoring and rebounding.   


    Production

    At the end of three years with the Chicago Bulls, his average was 2.6 points a game along with 2.5 rebounds. He failed to earn a start in 95 games. After the Bulls drafted Tyson Chandler and Eddie Curry, Bagaric faded away.

     

    Left Town

    Bagaric collected $1.6 million in his last year with the Chicago Bulls. His play could no longer justify the cost and the two parties went their separate ways.

    Bagaric took his game back overseas and the final word on him was in the Italian League in 2009

Eddie Robinson

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    Signed as a free agent going into the 2000-2001 season, Eddie Robinson was Mr. Excitement and Mr. Potential. If one looked at an NBA dictionary for the words potential and upside, a picture of Eddie Robinson would likely be sitting next to the definition.

    He averaged 17 minutes off the Charlotte Hornets bench and provided seven points per game average in two years to go along with exciting play. 


    Expectation 

    Many expected his signing was a no-brainer. The logic was his minutes would increase with the Chicago Bulls along with his production.

    Robinson was expected to be a starter with the Bulls. His numbers, based on past performance and added minutes, were expected to be 15 points a game along with six rebounds. His versatility was supposed to allow the Bulls the opportunity to play multiple defensive lineups.

     

    Production

    After three years, his prior average did not increase or decrease. He averaged seven points a game with the Bulls in three years. His production with the Bulls was worse when one considers he only averaged 48 games per season with the Bulls.

    His average with the Charlotte Hornets was 67 games. Injuries clearly hurt his stint with the Bulls. On top of that, his paycheck with the Bulls averaged between $5-6 million a year. This was definitely a bust for the Chicago Bulls; he never lived up to the five-year, $32 million deal.

     

    Left own

    On November 1, 2004, the Chicago Bulls waived Robinson. In 2005 he tried out for the Charlotte Hornets and later took his game to the D-League to fade away.

Jerome Williams

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    Jerome Williams joined the Bulls on December 1, 2003 after a multi-player trade with the Toronto Raptors. Since his rookie year in 1996, Williams enjoyed NBA success as a good role player. He was a backup at the small forward position who came off the bench and provided energy to the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors.

     

    Expectation

    Williams’ true value did not show up in the stats. For the majority of his career he averaged seven to nine points along with six rebounds. The Bulls expected similar play and veteran leadership to translate to Eddie Curry and Tyson Chandler. He was acquired for his toughness.

     

    Production

    In 53 games with the Bulls, he only averaged 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. Many would write this off as simple decline based on his age. Williams never brought the intangibles or his toughness to the Bulls.

    His leadership did not transmit to Eddie Curry or Tyson Chandler. In many ways, he winged it to earn his $6 million check with the Bulls.

     

    Left Town

    On August 5, 2004, Williams was moved along with Jamal Crawford to the New York Knicks in a multi-player trade. Williams bounced back the following year and averaged 10.7 points and 8.7 rebounds with the New York Knicks.

    But he was later waived to avoid the luxury tax under the 2005 labor agreement. His last known NBA location was a community representative for the Toronto Raptors in 2006. 

Aaron Gray

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    Drafted in 2007 with the 49th pick of the second round, Aaron Gray was a bargain for the Chicago Bulls. He was drafted as a big man from a great college program at the University of Pittsburgh with upside.

     

    Expectation

    Gray played the full four years at the University of Pittsburgh and the paper trail on this prospect was comprehensive. In the last two years of his college stint he averaged a double-double.

    He averaged 14 points a game along with 10 rebounds at the University of Pittsburgh. The Bulls were under no illusion that these numbers would translate equally.

    The team expected him to come off the bench and provide 20 minutes of solid play.

     

    Production

    The coaching staff only allowed him about 10 minutes a game. He never developed the footwork around the basket to finish simple moves like a jump hook. He was often beat badly for rebounds against smaller players.  

    The Aaron Gray experiment ended with 3.6 points per game along with 3.5 rebounds. Injury problems hurt his stint with the Bulls.

    The coaching staff could never trust him with more minutes. The team was hoping to create the next Luc Longley. In the end, they got Aaron Gray—an unprepared player.

     

    Left Town

    On Janurary 25, 2010, the Chicago Bulls traded Gray for Devin Brown.

Ben Wallace

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    Signed as a free agent on July 13, 2006, Ben Wallace was thought to be the interior defender the Chicago Bulls needed to get back to the top of their division. Prior to his signing with the Bulls, Wallace won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times.

     

    Expectation

    The expectations were clear: a tough rebounder and a game-changing defender. The Bulls signed him based on his four NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards, and wanted that play to continue.

    The signing was expected to weaken a division rival in the Detroit Pistons as an added benefit. The expectation for the Bulls was a division title.

     

    Production

    In two years with the Bulls, his rebounding average decreased from his career total. He averaged 10.7 and 8.4 rebounds with the Chicago Bulls.

    These numbers, while decent, do not tell the story. The 800-pound gorilla in the room was the contract that paid him $16 million a year. Essentially, he got the pay day denied to him in Detroit and gave the Bulls a third of the overall production.  

    His free-agent signing serves as a cautionary tale for signing players to lucrative deals at the end of their career.

     

    Left Town

    Ben Wallace was traded away in a three-team trade which sent him to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He bounced around the league to the Phoenix Suns and then back to the Detroit Pistons.

Jannero Pargo

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    A member of the Chicago Bulls for multiple stints from 2004 to 2010, Jannero Pargo was acquired on multiple occasions to provide excellent shooting.

     

    Expectation

    Whenever the need for a guard to provide shooting presented itself, Pargo was right on the spot for the Chicago Bulls from 2004 to 2010.

    His numbers always had an upside to them. He converted many three-point attempts and the Bulls expected him to continue that trend off the bench.

      

    Production

    His shooting production could be classified as a mirage. Most of his scoring came off the bench when the game was already out of reach. He played during that portion of the game and impressed coaches. It did not translate when his minutes increased.

    In the end, he was a 38 percent shooter and a 34 percent three-point shooter. He was another value that turned out to be a disappointment when the actual production was considered. I will not add him in the left town section because he manages to resurface with the Chicago Bulls time after time. 

Brian Scalabrine

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    Signed as a free agent on September 27, 2010, Brian Scalabrine was simply a locker-room presence who knew coach Tom Thibodeau’s system during his time with the Boston Celtics.

     

    Expectation

    Really, there were no expectations with Scalabrine. Many people could figure out the fact that he was Coach Thibodeau’s guy and was acquired with no real plan to help the team.

      

    Production

    His production was minimal at 1.1 points a game. In the end, he made $1.2 million for that average. I’ll bet that many NBA players wish they could make $1.2 million for every point they averaged. In the end, Scalabrine is an NBA agent's dream.

    Many agents wish they could get that sort of return on a contract. Unfortunately, the Bulls did not get much in return.

     

    Left Town

    Scalabrine is currently trying out for the Italian Basketball League.

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