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
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