The Bulls’ season is over now, but since I really liked this team, I’m not going to just let them fall by the wayside. Instead, I’m going to use this occasion to rank every Bulls team since their 1998 title while providing off-the-dome things I remember and why I did or didn’t like a certain team, all while doing minimal research because this is more about truthiness than facts. It’s my internet and I’ll rank if I want to.
1. 2008-09 Chicago Bulls
Record/Results: 41-41, lost to Boston Celtics 4-3 in first round of playoffs
Memorable Players: Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas, Kirk Hinrich, Brad Miller, John Salmons, Andres Nocioni, Tim Thomas
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Somehow winning the draft lottery. The Bulls traded for Brad Miller (and John Salmons) the day before my birthday, while ridding themselves of Andres Nocioni and Drew Gooden at the same time, a.k.a. the best thing that has ever happened to me. Trading Larry Hughes away the day after. The entirety of that first round playoff series, but most especially Game 6 when Joakim Noah dunked on Paul Pierce while simultaneously fouling him out. Derrick Rose’s rookie year. The first good Joakim Noah season. Getting John Salmons post-trade deadline, when he is at his absolute best. Ben Gordon’s eight threes against the Heat, and all of his huge clutch shots in the playoffs.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Driving to meet up with Eamonn Brennan, only to have my wife call me because she was hospitalized, which meant I watched Game 5 from an emergency room. The stupid debate about whether or not the Bulls should re-sign Ben Gordon at the end of the season.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Exciting.
2a. 2010-11 Chicago Bulls
Record/Results: 62-20, lost to Heat 4-1 in Eastern Conference finals
Memorable Players: Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Keith Bogans, Kurt Thomas, C.J. Watson
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Having the No. 1 overall record in the NBA. Derrick Rose winning MVP. The arrival of Tom Thibodeau and his defense. Kurt Thomas leading the team in scoring for a game. Winning Game 1 against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Joakim Noah continuing to beef with Cleveland even after LeBron had left. Being a legitimate title contender. Scottie Pippen getting a statue in the United Center. The beginning of a rivalry with the Pacers. The beginning of a bigger rivalry with the Heat, largely thanks to Joakim Noah saying they’re “Hollywood as hell.” Joakim Noah switching from bun to topknot.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Keith Bogans starting every game at shooting guard. Essentially being swept out of the Eastern Conference finals once the Heat figured out how to bottle up Derrick Rose. Feeling like the Bulls might have blown their one chance to win a title during the LeBron-Heatles era. The Pacers hitting the Bulls in the head all the time.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Euphoric.
2b. 2012-13 Chicago Bulls
Record/Results: 45-37, lost to Heat 4-1 in second round
Memorable Players: Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Carlos Boozer, Nazr Mohammed, Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Nate Robinson doing all kinds of Nate Robinson stuff. Marco Belinelli hitting a surprising amount of game-winners. Breaking the Heat’s 27-game winning streak. The 3OT win against the Nets, spurred on by Nate’s crazy fourth quarter. The Bulls somehow having two All-Stars. Jimmy Butler becoming a real player, then Jimmy Butler getting mad respect from everywhere. Finding out Jimmy Butler is basically a cowboy. Joakim Noah finally being recognized as one of the best big guys in the league. Winning Game 1 of the second round in Miami. Basically a team full of folk heroes after a bunch of guys on one-year contracts — Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Nazr Mohammed — ended up making huge plays in the playoffs.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Talking about whether or not Derrick Rose will return all season. All those mystery losses to bad teams while playing at the United Center. Every injury imaginable in the playoffs. Luol Deng having a spinal tap. Endless minutes for every player not named Carlos Boozer. The Bulls deciding not to bring back Omer Asik, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer because of money, then still having this season be the first the paid the luxury tax. Scoring 65 points in a playoff game.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Weird.
4. 2004-05 Chicago Bulls
Record/Results: 47-35, lost to Washington Wizards 4-2 in first round
Memorable Players: Kirk Hinrich, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni, Antonio Davis, Adrian Griffin
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Deng and Gordon rookie years. Ben Gordon beating the Knicks on a buzzer-beating floater. Ben Gordon winning Sixth Man of the Year, becoming the first rookie ever to do so. The first Bulls playoff appearance since the Jordan years. Tyson Chandler’s first good defensive season. Andres Nocioni took about a thousand charges and I think it was during this season that one of my buddies started a Facebook group called “Andres Nocioni is the best thing to come out of South America since cocaine.” Pretty solid offensive season for Eddy Curry. Always though Gordon and Deng wearing Nos. 7 and 9 was pretty cool. Finishing 47-26 after an 0-9 start.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Adrian Griffin playing all the time. So many Jannero Pargo shots. The Bulls occasionally running their offense through Othella Harrington. Seeing Tyson Chandler try to create off the dribble. An 0-9 start.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Scrappy.
5. 2011-12 Chicago Bulls
Record/Results: 50-16, lost to Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 in first round
Memorable Players: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, Omer Asik, Taj Gibson, Brian Scalabrine, John Lucas III, Rip Hamilton
Good Things I Specifically Remember: The White Mamba factor. Rip Hamilton seemed like a fine signing at the time. Mike James not having a name on the back of his jersey. The time John Lucas III almost had a triple-double in his first career start. Being the No. 1 seed in the East with Derrick Rose being out a lot of the season. Omer Asik becoming good. Derrick Rose not dancing at the All-Star Game. The invention of Joakim Noah’s finger guns celebration.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Derrick Rose blew his knee out. Before that, Derrick Rose was banged up the whole season. It was the lockout year. Rip Hamilton was hurt all year, was still old all the times he was healthy. Carlos Boozer painted his hair on. John Lucas III getting jumped over by LeBron James. C.J. Watson passing to Omer Asik in the final seconds of Game 6 of the first round, which left Asik to brick a couple free throws, which led to the Bulls being eliminated from the playoffs by an eight seed. Ironic Scalabrine cheers.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Deep
6. 2006-07 Chicago Bulls
Record/Results: 49-33, lost to Detroit Pistons 4-2 in second round
Memorable Players: Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Ben Wallace, Chris Duhon, P.J. Brown, Tyrus Thomas, Andres Nocioni, Thabo Sefolosha
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Sweeping the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Bulls actually signed a big name free agent when they said they were going to. The sweet, sweet taste of always remembering that even though the Bulls were in the playoffs, they still had a lottery pick thanks to the Eddy Curry trade. Andres Nocioni wasn’t entirely insufferable at this point. First time the Bulls made it out of the first round of the playoffs since the second three-peat. The height of the Captain Kirk era, probably.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Tyrus Thomas in the dunk contest. The big name free agent was Ben Wallace, who was nearly dead. Watching Ben Wallace turn the wrong way when rolling to the basket after setting a pick. Tyson Chandler traded for basically nothing. Losing to the Pistons in the playoffs. Michael Sweetney was even fatter than the year before. Benny the Bull got in a fight with a cop at the Taste of Chicago. Ben Wallace’s Steve & Barry’s shoes.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Fine
7. 2009-10 Chicago Bulls
Record/Results: 41-41, lost to Cleveland Cavaliers in first round
Memorable Players: Derrick Rose, Brad Miller, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah, John Salmons, Jannero Pargo, James Johnson, Taj Gibson
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Derrick Rose’s dunk on Goran Dragic. “He’s got a 40-inch vertical.” Taj Gibson turning out way better than I expected. Joakim Noah switching from ponytail to bun. Attending my first playoff game with a press pass and seeing Brad Miller grab the rebound to secure a Game 3 win against the Cavaliers. The beginning of Joakim Noah’s beef with Cleveland. Seeing Brad Miller’s miracle buzzer-beater against the Nuggets in person. No more Vinnie Del Negro after this season.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Injuries for Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. Lindsey Hunter was still around. Vinny Del Negro fighting with John Paxson about Joakim Noah. James Johnson turning out even worse than I expected, which was pretty bad to begin with. Having Brad Miller’s buzzer-beater not count. Feeling like the Bulls made absolutely no progress after a promising season the year before. Vinnie Del Negro having to be told to play Joakim Noah more. Blew a 35-point lead to the Kings. Jarrett Jack tying his shoes in the fourth quarter while holding the ball.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Disappointing.
This is where things start getting nondescript.
8. 2002-03 Chicago Bulls
Memorable Players: Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall, Trenton Hassell, Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler, Jay Williams, Eddie Robinson
Good Things I Specifically Remember: First time I ever sat courtside for a game. Jay Williams’ rookie year. Nice sophomore season for Tyson Chandler. Eddy Curry led the league in field goal percentage. First season with 30 or more wins since 1998. Bulls legitimately seemed like a team who figured out how to rebuild for the first time.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Leading scorer was Jalen Rose, second leading scorer was Donyell Marshall.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Promising.
9. 1999-2000 Chicago Bulls
Memorable Players: Elton Brand, Ron Artest, Dickey Simpkins, Hersey Hawkins, Chris Antsey, Michael Ruffin, Fred Hoiberg, John Starks
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Elton Brand wins Rookie of the Year. I really wanted the Bulls to draft Ron Artest and they did. Between these rookies and the huge amounts of cap space management was carving out, this seemed like the start of something.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: John Starks played for the Bulls. Elton Brand had to share his ROY with Steve Francis. Toni Kukoc both injured and traded this season. Lari Ketner’s lineup-cornrows combo.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Whatever.
10. 2001-02 Chicago Bulls
Memorable Players: Brad Miller, Ron Artest, Ron Mercer, Marcus Fizer, Trenton Hassell, Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler, Jalen Rose, Charles Oakley
Good Things I Specifically Remember: The Bulls traded for Jalen Rose. Beginning of Curry/Chandler era, which seemed cool. Tim Floyd was fired. Six-win improvement and young players who were well-respected made it seem like the Bulls actually had a future.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: The Bulls traded away Brad Miller and Ron Artest. Eddie Robinson was the big free agency signing of the offseason. Still had the worst record in the league.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Daylight.
11. 2005-06 Chicago Bulls
Record/Results: 41-41, lost to Miami Heat 4-2 in first round
Memorable Players: Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni, Chris Duhon, Tyson Chandler, Othella Harrington, Jannero Pargo
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Traded Eddy Curry for a future lottery pick from a bad team. Janerro Pargo probably led some comebacks here. Tim Thomas showed up on a Scott Skiles team, which was pretty funny. Some Luke Schenscher laughs were had.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Michael Sweetney was very fat. Finding out there was a hole in Eddy Curry’s heart. Horrible season for Tyson Chandler. Still too many Janerro Pargo shots. Antonio Davis charging in to the crowd to fight a guy who was heckling his wife. Antonio Davis’ wife arrested for road rage.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Milquetoast.
12. 2003-04 Chicago Bulls
Memorable Players: Jamal Crawford, Kirk Hinrich, Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler, Antonio Davis, Jerome Williams, Eddie Robinson, Jalen Rose, Scottie Pippen
Good Things I Specifically Remember: The Bulls had “The Junkyard Dog,” which is always kind of fun. The end of the Marcus Fizer era. Kirk Hinrich’s rookie year.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Jay Williams’ motorcycle crash. Scottie Pippen came back and it was depressing. Bill Cartwright fired. Eddy Curry was super fat. Chronic back injuries for Tyson Chandler. Felt like a step back to be in the 20-something wins club again, just a season after the Bulls’ first 30 win season since the title years.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Depressing.
13. 2007-08 Chicago Bulls
Memorable Players: Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni, Ben Wallace, Joakim Noah, Chris Duhon, Tyrus Thomas, Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Eventually led to Derrick Rose becoming a Chicago Bull. Joakim Noah’s rookie year. Bulls rid themselves of Ben Wallace’s corpse. Benny the Bull made Kevin Garnett so mad that Kevin Garnett tried to fight him.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: The first great disappointment of the New Bulls Era, as they dropped from the second round of the playoffs to a lottery team. Traded for Drew Gooden AND Larry Hughes AT THE SAME TIME ON PURPOSE. Firing Scott Skiles, having Pete “Soul Patch” Myers coach a few games, and then inserting Jim Boylan as interim coach. Constant trade chatter involving Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett. Benny the Bull got sued for slapping my oral surgeon’s hand too hard.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Frustrating.
14. 2000-01 Chicago Bulls
Memorable Players: Elton Brand, Ron Mercer, Ron Artest, Fred Hoiberg, Marcus Fizer, Brad Miller, Jamal Crawford, Khalid El-Amin, Dalibor Bagaric, Dragan Tarlac
Good Things I Specifically Remember: This is the first time the Bulls had Brad Miller. The Bulls employed guys named Dalibor Bagaric and Dragan Tarlac. Always fun to have a fat point guard. Second straight 20-10 season for Elton Brand.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: This was the season after the Bulls cleared cap space to sign some combination of Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady and Eddie Jones, but ended up with Ron Mercer and Brad Miller instead. Marcus Fizer’s question mark tattoo. Literally the worst Bulls team ever, winning percentage-wise.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Dumb.
15. 1998-99 Chicago Bulls
Record/Results: 13-37, amazingly only the third-worst record in the league
Memorable Players: Toni Kukoc, Dickey Simpkins, Bill Wennington, Randy Brown, Mark Bryant, Brent Barry, Kornel David, Rusty LaRue
Good Things I Specifically Remember: Still got to cheer for a guy named “Dickey.” All those minor players you loved on the Bulls? Now they’re major players! Pretty heroic season for Toni Kukoc, all things considered.
Bad Things I Specifically Remember: Bill Wennington giving a speech to the crowd before the first game of the season where he basically asked fans to still be fans even though all the good players were gone. Literally the worst Bulls team ever, number of wins-wise. Bulls score 49 points in a game. Tim Floyd hired. Just about everything from this season, really.
One Word Subjective Feeling About Season: Farts.