The Chicago Bulls started off the 2010s looking like a team that could be really good for a really long time. Their all-decade team reflects the early 2010 Bulls’ teams. Unfortunately for them, the last couple of years of the decade haven’t gone quite as well as they are now a young rebuilding team.
Chicago Bulls Best From the 2010s
Recapping the 2010s
The 2010s started off with a bang for Chicago. They were the number one seed in the Eastern Conference in each of the first two seasons of the decade. Unfortunately for them, they ran into the Miami Heat triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost in five games, during the 2010-11 season.
The next season they were upset in the first round by the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. Chicago made the playoffs in each of the next three seasons, never falling below a fifth seed, and had a combined record of 143 wins and 103 losses.
However, since the 2014-15 season, the Bulls have only made the playoffs one time, as an eight seed. It is a struggle for them currently as they haven’t finished off the decade like they had hoped and are struggling to get rebuilt.
Chicago Bulls All-Decade Team Starting Five
Guard – Derrick Rose
Oh, what could have been. Derrick Rose was selected with the number one overall pick by the Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft. He would go on to the NBA Rookie of the Year award following a 2008-09 season in which he posted per-game averages of 16.8 points and 6.3 assists.
Rose took an incredible leap forward in each of the next two seasons and, perhaps, shocked the NBA world when he won the NBA MVP in his third season at the ripe age of 22 years old. That season Rose averaged 25 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds as he helped lead the Bulls to the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
His elite-level athleticism and sky-high work ethic and motor had Bulls fans dreaming of the Michael Jordan era Bulls from the 1990s.
His first-ballot Hall of Fame start to his career came to a screeching halt in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs when he tore his ACL. The ACL tear took some of his greatest skill away, his athleticism. Since that time, Rose, while a very solid player, has never been back to his All-NBA level and has suffered from a litany of injuries.
Over the course of seven seasons in Chicago, Rose had per-game averages of 19.7 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.7 rebounds.
Guard – Jimmy Butler
One of the best stories in the NBA is that of Jimmy Butler. Butler has always been the underdog in his life. At one point, he lived in a car. Butler made it to Marquette and was a solid player in college. However, he wasn’t an elite NBA prospect. The Bulls were able to nab him with the 30th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
His first season with Chicago was unremarkable as he appeared in just 42 games and averaged just over eight minutes per game.
Butler showed steady improvement over the course of the next two seasons and showed that he had the potential to be an All-Star. He turned into that during the 2014-15 season in which he averaged 20 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists.
Butler’s Bulls’ career came to an end after six seasons when he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2017 NBA Draft. Butler averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists with Chicago and was always a premier defender.
Forward – Luol Deng
Luol Deng was a stalwart for the Bulls for 10 seasons. However, only four of those seasons were during the 2010s. Deng’s inclusion on the Chicago Bulls all-decade team, for this decade, is due in large part because he was a major piece on their best teams of the decade.
Deng was an excellent defender due to his excellent positioning and elite length. While he was never a high-level scorer, he was almost a lock to get the Bulls 13 to 20 points per game. Combine that with his excellent defense and excellent leadership and he is an easy choice here.
One of his best assets, however, was his stamina. Deng was always one of the most played Bulls’ during his tenure and he never played less than 37 minutes per game.
Over the course of four seasons this decade with Chicago, Deng averaged 17 points, and 6.4 rebounds while being named to two All-Star teams.
Forward – Carlos Boozer
While Carlos Boozer had his warts defensively, he was a perfect fit for the Bulls’ teams he played on. He had Butler, Deng, and Joakim Noah to cover him up on defense and he was a very reliable offensive player and rebounder.
Boozer donned a Bulls’ jersey for four seasons and they were the four winningest seasons this decade for Chicago. His mid-range shooting and excellent rebounding were major keys to the Bulls’ success in those seasons.
Boozer was also very effective on the low-block. An area where those excellent Bulls teams lacked. Over the course of his four seasons in Chicago, Boozer had per-game averages of 15.5 points and 9 rebounds.
Center – Joakim Noah
The passion, effort, and defensive ability are the traits that made Noah a successful NBA player. Although he was a solid finisher around the rim, his offensive game left quite a bit to be desired.
The two-time All-Star was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year following the 2013-14 season and he was also named to the All-NBA first team that season. While being the best defensive player in the NBA that season was the main arguing point for the first team selection, Noah also averaged a career-high 12.6 points per game to go along with 11.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists.
Noah was a fan favorite in Chicago due to his motor and passion. He left everything on the floor and was the clear leader of the Bulls teams he played on. Over the course of his nine seasons with the franchise, Noah had per-game averages of 9.3 points and 9.4 rebounds.
Chicago Bulls All-Decade Team Bench
Guard – Kirk Hinrich
Originally drafted by the Bulls, Kirk Hinrich left following the 2009-10 season, only to return to start the 2012-13 season. His second stint lasted three seasons and he was an instrumental bench piece for the best Bulls teams of this decade.
His numbers won’t wow anyone but his leadership and basketball IQ, leading the second unit, was instrumental to the team’s success. Over the course of his second stint, he had per-game averages of 7.7 points and 3.8 assists.
Guard – Zach LaVine
Although Zach LaVine is only in the middle of his third season with the Bulls, his talent and production have been eye-popping. He is one of the few bright spots for Chicago over the last three seasons. LaVine is also, arguably, the most physically gifted player to make the Chicago Bulls all-decade team, outside of maybe Rose.
The two-time NBA dunk champ has really improved on other facets of his game in the last couple of seasons. He has shot the three-ball at a 37.3 percent clip in Chicago on a robust 6.3 attempts per game.
LaVine has a chance to be a cornerstone for the Bulls if they can add some pieces around him. They have appeared to have started to do so with the recent draft acquisitions of Coby White, Wendell Carter, and Lauri Markkanen.
In three seasons with the Bulls, LaVine holds per game averages of 23.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists.
Forward – Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Mike Dunleavy Jr. was another valuable bench piece for some good Bulls teams this decade. He provided a solid scoring punch and some excellent shooting over the course of his three seasons with the franchise.
While his numbers, like Hinrich’s, aren’t voluminous, he was a key piece to their success. The second-generation NBA player averaged 9.9 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 39.2 percent from three on 3.9 attempts per game.
He added a key element with his shooting that those solid Bulls teams lacked in their starting lineup.
Forward – Taj Gibson
Taj Gibson has carved out an excellent NBA career after being drafted by the Bulls with the 26th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Gibson played eight seasons in Chicago and was very instrumental in backing up Boozer and Noah during their glory days of the 2010s.
He really developed his mid-range jumper over the course of his career and was a sneaky athletic guy who had his fair share of rim-rattling dunks. During his eight-year tenure with Chicago, Gibson had per-game averages of 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds.
Center – Pau Gasol
Future Hall of Fame big man Pau Gasol only played two seasons in Chicago when the Bulls were on their downturn. Gasol played the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons in the Windy City and made the All-Star team in each season.
The Bulls finished as the third seed in the East in his first season before they were eliminated in six games in the Conference Semi-Finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Gasol had excellent numbers in his two seasons as he averaged 17.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and two blocks per game.
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