The Chicago Bulls have won six championships in franchise history, so naturally, they have had some of the best players in NBA history suit up for the club.
Drafting players and developing them into stars is a skill not many organizations have. In recent years, the Bulls haven’t demonstrated this skill either, but they have in the history of the franchise.
For this piece, we’ll take a look at some of the best draft picks in Bulls history. The number one choice is pretty obvious, but who will be the other players?
Let’s find out.
4. Ben Gordon
The Bulls selected Gordon with the third overall pick in the 2004 draft. During his rookie season in Chicago, Gordon averaged 15.1 points per game off the bench and won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. He was also in the running for the Rookie of the Year Award.
Gordon could shoot the ball from pretty much anywhere on the court and he could also catch fire with the drop of a hat. From 2006-2009, Gordon put up 19.4 points for the Bulls.
After the 2009 season ended, Gordon signed with the Detroit Pistons in free agency, ending his run with the Bulls. He finished his Chicago career with averages of 18.5 points in 398 games. Gordon is second in Bulls franchise history in 3-point field goals with 770.
3. Jimmy Butler
The Bulls took a chance on Butler with the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft and slowly watched him turn into one of the best small forwards in the NBA.
During his rookie season with the Bulls, Butler only played 8.5 minutes per contest. Under the tutelage of Luol Deng and Tom Thibodeau, though, Butler worked harder than anyone on the Bulls roster and made Thibodeau play him since his defense and energy were off the charts.
After Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs and missed the entire 2012-13 season, Butler’s minutes and role increased. He averaged 26.0 minutes per game in the 2012-13 season and 38.7 in the 2013-14 season.
The 2014-15 campaign was Butler’s breakout season with the Bulls. He averaged 20.0 points, won the Most Improved Player of the Year Award and made his first All-Star team. Not bad for a guy who used to be homeless and play in Junior College.
From 2014-2017, Butler averaged 21.7 points for the Bulls. However, his relationship with Chicago head coach Fred Hoiberg and management was getting worse and the Bulls wound up trading Jimmy to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the summer of 2017.
Butler finished his Bulls career with averages of 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
2. Derrick Rose
After the Bulls magically won the 2008 draft lottery, everyone knew the team was going to bring Rose home.
Rose had a decorated career at Simeon Career Academy where he won two state championships. After one year at Memphis where he dominated the college ranks, it was time for Rose to put on for his hometown team, and boy did he ever.
In his rookie season, Rose averaged 16.8 points and 6.3 assists. He won the Rookie of the Year Award and guided the Bulls to the playoffs, where they matched up against the Boston Celtics.
Every Bulls fan remembers where they were when Rose went OFF in his playoff debut against the Celtics. The Chicago native poured in 36 points and 11 assists. Rose tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA record for most points scored by a rookie in his playoff debut.
The following season, Rose averaged 20.8 points and 6.0 assists and became the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan to make the All-Star team.
Before the 2010-11 season started, Rose was asked at Bulls media day what his goals for the season were. The explosive guard said, “Why can’t I be the MVP of the league?”
Rose won the 2011 MVP award, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to win it. Rose was only 22. He averaged 25.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists that season. Rose was the only player in the league who ranked in the top 10 in both points per game and assists in 2010-11.
The Bulls had the best record in the NBA and faced LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat won in five games since the Bulls didn’t have another electric scorer next to Rose.
The next season was the lockout year. Rose averaged 21.8 points and 7.9 assists, but he only played in 39 games due to injuries. His body finally betrayed him in Game 1 of the 2012 playoffs against the Sixers when he tore his ACL.
Rose missed the entire 2012-13 season. He came back for the 2013-14 campaign, but only played in 10 games after another knee injury.
In 2014-15, Rose appeared in 51 games. He put up 17.7 points and 4.9 assists and helped the Bulls get to the second round of the playoffs, where they again lost to LeBron.
The Bulls eventually traded Rose to the New York Knicks in the summer of 2016. Derrick finished his Chicago career with averages of 19.7 points and 6.2 assists. He’s top 10 in franchise history in both points and assists.
1. Michael Jordan
The Bulls drafted Jordan with the third overall pick in the 1984 draft after the Portland Trail Blazers passed on him. MJ put up 28.2 points per game during his rookie season and easily won the Rookie of the Year Award.
Despite winning scoring titles and MVP awards, Jordan was having trouble getting past the Detroit Pistons in the playoffs. That all changed once Chicago traded for Scottie Pippen in the 1987 draft.
The Bulls finally won their first title in 1991 over the Los Angeles Lakers and the rest is history. Jordan wound up winning six rings and six Finals MVPs with the Bulls. He’s the best player in Chicago and NBA history for that matter.
Jordan finished his Bulls career with averages of 31.5 points.