Top 5 Draft Picks in Chicago Bulls History

Jeff Chase@@Real_Jeff_ChaseSenior Analyst IISeptember 5, 2011

Top 5 Draft Picks in Chicago Bulls History

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    The Chicago Bulls have had their fair share of great teams. Many of these teams have been built from the Chicago Bulls' scouting and drafting abilities.

    From Jerry Krause to Gar Foreman, the Chicago Bulls have made plenty of great picks. A few times, the Bulls made mistakes, but what team hasn't?

    Some may feel as if a player or two is missing, so if you feel that way please make a case for your player. With that said, here are the five best draft picks in Chicago Bulls history.

Honorable Mentions

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    Kirk Hinrich (Rd1:7): Hinrich was a great leader and played seven hard seasons, helping the Bulls reach the playoffs five times. He was eventually traded to make room for the 2010 free agency class.

    Ben Gordon (Rd1:3): A prolific scorer out of UConn, Gordon led the Bulls in scoring, taking the Bulls to the playoffs four times. Things ultimately didn't work out due to contract negotiations.

    Joakim Noah (Rd1:9): In no means is Noah ready to be considered at the top, but the rebound machine could go down as one of the better defensive players in Bulls history. His dedication for his team is second to none.

    Horace Grant (Rd1:10): A member of the Bulls first three-peat, Grant entered the same year as Scottie Pippen, becoming a deadly draft day duo for years to follow.  Eventually, he left the Bulls to join the Magic, and later earned another ring with the 2001 Lakers.

    Toni Kukoc (Rd2:29): Essentially the guy who replaced Grant after he left, Kukoc assisted the Bulls in capturing their second three-peat.  The Bulls eventually traded Kukoc during the teams post-Jordan rebuilding process.

Elton Brand

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    Elton Brand's career with the Chicago Bulls was cut short by Jerry Krause's greed, but the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft will go down as one of the Bulls' best picks in history.

    Coming out of Duke, Brand was a beast.  He was the College Player of the Year in 1998 and following a loss to UConn in the championship game, he opted to go to the NBA.

    During Brand's rookie season, he was the hope of Chicago.  The Bulls needed something that would bring them back to superiority after going from the best to the worst.

    Brand averaged 20.1 points per game and averaged 10 rebounds as well.  Despite the Bulls' losing record that season, Brand captured the Rookie of the Year award.

    Following his rookie season, Brand put up the same numbers in his sophomore season.  After another losing season in Chicago, Brand was traded for the rights of Tyson Chandler after only two seasons.

    Chandler was never the player he is now in Dallas during his time with the Bulls, so it could be argued that the Bulls made a huge mistake when they moved Brand.

    Brand went on to be a two-time All Star while playing for the Clippers.

    In six seasons with Los Angeles, Brand averaged over 20 points per game and 10 rebounds, taking the Clippers to the playoffs during the 2005-06 season.

    Who knows how things would have gone if the Bulls continued with Brand?  I am pretty sure anything could have been better then the Eddy Curry/Tyson Chandler years.

Norm Van Lier

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    The Chicago Bulls had drafted Norm Van Lier in the third round of the 1969 draft with the 34th overall pick.  They traded him that night to the Cincinnati Royals.

    Following two years in Cincy, Van Lier was reacquired by Chicago.

    Known more for his defensive prowess, Van Lier was named to the NBA All Defensive Team three times.  He also was an All-Star three times with the Bulls.

    Although his 11.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 7 APG are not outstanding numbers, Van Lier's defense was a high point of his career.

    Following his NBA career, Van Lier joined the Bulls from 1992-2009 as a TV analyst, ultimately ending from an untimely death at around the same time as fellow Bull legend Johnny Red Kerr.

Derrick Rose

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    The Chicago Bulls drafted the University of Memphis product with the first overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

    Derrick Rose grew up in Chicago and was the logical choice above Kansas State's Michael Beasely.

    Still an unfinished tale, Rose has so far garnered Rookie of the Year, two All-Stars (one as a starter) and a MVP award in only three seasons.

    Rose led the Bulls to the best record in the NBA in 2011 after only three seasons.  Just to draw a comparison, that feat took LeBron James five years. 

    So far, Rose has a career average of 20.9 points, 6.7 assists and a 46.8 percent field goal percentage.  Bulls fans know they can only expect greater things in years to come from this draft pick.

Scottie Pippen

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    Originally drafted by the Seattle Supersonics with the fifth overall pick in the the 1987 NBA Draft, Pippen was traded on the same day to the Chicago Bulls for eighth overall pick Olden Polynice.

    Which of these guys do you remember?  Exactly.

    Even though Pippen was not a direct draft pick of the Bulls, his acquisition on draft night and being in the draft class would qualify him as the Bulls' pick in my book.

    Acquiring Pippen allowed the Bulls to pair Michael Jordan with his greatest running mate.  With Pippen at his side, Jordan and the Chicago Bulls went on to win six NBA Championships.

    Pippen was a great defender and a great second threat scorer to Jordan.

    When Jordan took his first retirement in 1993, Pippen led the Bulls in pretty much all statistics. 

    The Bulls made it to the semi-finals that year in the Eastern Conference, but ultimately fell to the New York Knicks in seven games.

    Still, Pippen was able to prove that he still was a superstar player, even without Jordan at his side.

    Pippen has been noted as the one of the 50 greatest players of all time and is arguably one of the greatest Bulls of all time.

    He is one of five Bulls enshrined at the United Center, including Michael Jordan, Bob Love and Jerry Sloan. 

    Pippen is a Hall-of-Famer and one of the greatest picks in Bulls history.

Michael Jordan

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    I bet none of you were expecting this name, huh?  Just kidding.  There is no Bulls' list that is complete without Michael Jordan's name.

    The infamous No. 3 overall pick in the 1984 draft, Jordan went on to lead the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships.

    If you are breathing, you likely know the story of Michael Jordan.  But I'll refresh your memory anyways.

    Jordan's legacy of six NBA Championships, five MVP awards, six finals MVPs, 14 All-Star appearences and ten scoring titles is just the beginning of what Jordan was.

    In NBA history, Jordan holds the mark for most points per game over a career with 30.1 and also has the most points in NBA Playoff history with 5,978 points. 

    Jordan's name itself became a worldwide fixture to basketball and his presence alone skyrocketed the Bulls' franchise to new heights.

    Jordan set the standard for what it meant to be an NBA star and only a lucky few get to hear their names mentioned in the same sentence.

    I know many of you already know all of this but no matter how many times you hear it, MJ is always fun to talk about.