NBA Chicago Bulls: 7 Best Duos in Franchise History
Batman had Robin.
The Green Hornet had Kato.
Sonny had Cher.
Joe Montana and Steve Young had Jerry Rice.
George Clooney has Brad Pitt
In the history of the Chicago Bulls, maybe one or two great duos come to mind; however I am here to tell you there are many more in this team's 45-year history.
Some of these duos may consist of two stars, while others might not fit that description. But that doesn't make them any less vital to the team's success over the years. Before we go to the greatest we have one duo that received a lot of hype but failed to leave up to high expectations.
If you think I missed any great duos please let me know.
During the 2001 NBA draft, Jerry Krause thought that Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler were going to be the next great duo in Bulls history. But we all know how that went.
The Bulls traded Elton Brand for the draft rights to Chandler, who was drafted second overall by the Clippers. Then Jerry Krause selected local product Eddy Curry with the fourth overall pick.
Curry was going to be the next Shaq, while Chandler was the second coming of Kevin Garnett. It still pains me to this day that those comparisons were ever made.
Building around a pair of 18-year-old seven-footers was a disaster. By the time the Bulls made the playoffs, these two slid from being the building blocks to being part of a rotation at center, and they almost never were on the court at the same time.
Derrick Rose & ?
We know that the Bulls have their Batman in Derrick Rose; but who is going to be his Robin?
Could it be Joakim Noah? Rose brings the offense and is the quiet leader, while Noah brings the defense and is the emotional leader of the team. However, can Noah ever be healthy enough to be that sidekick?
How about Carlos Boozer? He was brought in to be that second scoring option. But due to injuries and some poor play in the postseason, he doesn't seem up to the task.
What about Luol Deng? I feel bad for Deng, because he has been the red-headed stepchild for Bulls fans recently. Over the years, he has shown flashes of being capable to handle the load; but has been unable to do it consistently.
Or is Rose's Robin not on this team yet? I personally believe that Rose may never have that clean-cut Robin and most likely it will always be a combo of Deng and Noah as long as the three remain together with the Bulls.
BJ Armstrong & John Paxson
Some may argue that this was more of a passing of the torch than a duo; but the Bulls may not have won their first three titles without this pair.
I don't think there is any coincidence that during their five years together, John Paxson's scoring decreased while B.J. Armstrong's went up. As the Bulls came off their second NBA title, coach Phil Jackson decided it was time to make the switch and decided to start Armstrong while moving Pax to the bench. However, when the chance of a three-peat was on the line, it was Paxson's three-pointer that sealed the title against Phoenix.
Ron Harper & Steve Kerr
Ron Harper and Steve Kerr were the perfect example of subbing offense for defense, or vice versa. These two were almost never on the court at the same time. I couldn't even find a photo of the two together.
Harper would start the game, but Kerr was always in at the end to hit that big three-pointer.
While Harper started almost every game during his time with the Bulls, Kerr didn't start once. One of them was almost always on the court, splitting the time at point guard, as each played between 22 to 25 minutes a game and averaged around eight points.
Toni Kukoc & Dennis Rodman
Could this great duo have been comprised of two more polarizing opposites?
Unlike Ron Harper and Steve Kerr, Dennis Rodman and Toni Kukoc did see a lot of time on the court together. But they also would spend a lot of time replacing one another.
Toward the end of games, they would replace each other for offense and defensive purposes. But during the heart of the game they would be out there with either Jordan or Pippen, and the Bulls' offense wouldn't miss a beat.
Rodman was a rebounding and defensive machine, while Kukoc was a matchup nightmare because he could go inside against guards and pull bigs outside. Without this duo, the Bulls may never have won those second three titles.
Norm Van Lier & Jerry Sloan
Jerry Sloan and Stormin' Norm Van Lier were the first great duo for the Chicago Bulls.
Two hard-nosed defensive guards who averaged over 22 points per game combined during their five seasons together with the Bulls.
Sloan's number 4 hangs in the rafters at the United Center, while maybe feel Van Lier's number 2 belongs right up there alongside.
Under coach Dick Motta, the duo never missed the playoffs until their final season together in 1975-76. Their most successful season came the year before, when they made it to the conference finals where they lost in seven games to the Golden State Warriors.
Kirk Hinrich & Ben Gordon
Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon helped turn the Bulls around and lead them back to the playoffs for the first time since the Jordan Era.
With Hinrich being drafted in 2003, and Gordon joining the team in 2004, they each averaged over 15 points per game during the 2004-05 season. The worst part about this duo was they should have been replacing each other instead of playing alongside one another.
There best success came during the 2006-07 season, when they accounted for nearly 38 points a night. But as the years went on, the more that Gordon started the worse that Hinrich's statistics became.
I almost feel like I have to mention Chris Duhon as part of this duo, since he was the man rotating in and out of the starting lineup depending on how coach Scott Skiles was feeling. If they could have found a tall defensive guard to pair with either, than this duo may have been even more successful.
Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen
Do I even need to say anything when it comes to the best duo in all of sports?
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are both part of The 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, and I doubt there is a coincidence that neither won a title without the other.
This duo may have had some help from some other duos on this list, but there is no denying their resume of six NBA championships during their nine full seasons playing together. Both of their numbers hang from the rafters in the United Center.