It's National Left-Hander's Day, so we ranked every lefty to play for the Bulls


It's National Left-Hander's Day, so we ranked every lefty to play for the Bulls

It's National Left-Hander's Day and it's also the offseason, so we decided to rank all 24 lefties that have ever suited up for the Bulls. The list comes via Basketball Reference, so yell at them if we missed anyone.

24. Willie Smith, PG, 1976-77

Bulls stats: 2 games, 11 total minutes, 1 foul, 0-1 FG

The Bulls made Smith the first pick of the second round of the 1976 NBA Draft, but he wound up appearing in just two games totaling 11 minutes. He made stops in Indiana, Portland and Cleveland in his four-year NBA career.

23. Randy Holcomb, SF, 2005-06

Bulls stats: 4 games, 11 total minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 2 fouls, 1-1 FG

A Chicago native, Holcomb signed a 10-day contract with the Bulls in January 2006 and appeared in four games for the Bulls. He made his only shot in a win over the Grizzlies and finished his NBA career with a perfect 1.000% field goal percentage.

22. Billy McKinney, PG, 1985-86

Bulls stats: 9 games, 9.2 minutes, 2.4 points, 1.4 assists, 0.3 steals

Another Chicago native, McKinney finished his seven-year NBA career with nine brief appearances for the Bulls. He was nicknamed The Crazed Hummingbird, which just seems like an unnecessary mouthful.

21. Lawrence Funderburke, PF, 2004-05

Bulls stats: 2 games, 10.5 minutes, 4.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 3-6 FG

There was a time when Achilles tears had an undefeated record – their win percentage is still pretty darn good – and Lawrence Funderburke can tell you why. The longtime Sacramento Kings backup power forward tore his Achilles in 2003 and missed the entire 2003-04 season. He attempted a comeback with the Bulls but appeared in two late April games and played sparingly in five postseason games. He retired that June.

20. Kay Felder, PG, 2017-18

Bulls stats: 14 games, 9.6 minutes, 3.9 points, 1.4 assists, 30.3% FG

Felder was part of the Bulls’ point guard carousel in 2017-18, logging solid rotational minutes in October and early November before eventually fading out and spending the majority of the year with Windy City. He was waived in December, played two games for the Pistons and never made it back to the league.

19. Mike Holton, SG, 1985-86

Bulls stats: 24 games, 18.6 minutes, 7.1 points, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 47.1% FG

Holton was signed to two 10-day contracts in February 1986 and then signed through the rest of the season, seeing big minutes off the bench and shooting a solid 47.1% from the field.

18. Shaler Halimon, SF, 1969-1971

Bulls stats: 40 games, 13.5 minutes, 6.1 points, 1.8 assists, 38.5% FG

Halimon’s paltry numbers aside, he’ll be remembered as being part of the deal that brought Chet Walker to the Bulls in 1969. That trade worked out for the Bulls, and they wound up getting a second-round pick for Halimon when they dealt him to Portland in 1971.

17. Rick Brunson, PG, 2002-2004

Bulls stats: 54 games, 11.1 minutes, 3.2 points, 2.1 assists, 0.6 steals, 40.4% FG

Brunson had two different stints with the Bulls, first signing in Chicago to backup No. 2 pick Jay Williams and two years later coming in a trade with the Raptors for Roger Mason. Brunson was a backup behind rookie Kirk Hinrich. His son, Jalen, is now a reserve for the Dallas Mavericks after winning a college title at Villanova.

16. Adrian Griffin, PF, 2004-05, 2006-2008

Bulls stats: 145 games, 10.2 minutes, 2.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 40.9% FG

Griffin, better known for his time as a Tom Thibodeau assistant in Chicago, actually came to the Bulls in 2004 in a deal that sent Dikembe Mutombo to the Houston Rockets. Yes, Mutombo was with the Bulls from August 2004 to September 2004. Griffin signed with the Bulls as a free agent in 2006, too, and was part of the wild 3-team deal that sent Ben Wallace to the Cavaliers. How many guys can say they were involved in trades for two Hall of Fame centers?

15. Cameron Payne, PG, 2016-2019

Bulls stats: 67 games, 18.8 minutes, 6.7 points, 3.1 assists, 0.9 3-pointers, 39.7% FG

Payne unfairly became the punching bag for the Bulls in their early rebuilding years. No, he rarely contributed, but he was nowhere near the top of the list on things going wrong for the Bulls during that time. We’ll never forget his seven 3-pointer performance against the Hornets last October.

14. Walt Lemon, PG, 2018-19

Bulls stats: 6 games, 27.8 minutes, 14.3 points, 5.0 assists, 1.8 steals

One of the league’s best stories last season, Lemon posted some remarkable lines in April, leading the Bulls in scoring three of the team’s last six games. He could get another shot in the NBA after his strong finish, but at the very worst will be a solid G-League contributor.

13. Travis Best, PG, 2001-02

Bulls stats: 30 games, 9.3 points, 5.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 44.1% FG

Best was the *other* guy the Bulls acquired in the deal that netted them Jalen Rose (more on that lefty later). It sent Ron Artest, Ron Mercer and Brad Miller to the Pacers, while Best posted some solid numbers in a starting role for the Bulls before hitting free agency.

12. Greg Anthony, PG, 2001-02

Bulls stats: 36 games, 26.7 minutes, 8.4 points, 5.6 assists, 1.4 steals

The Bulls sent a second-round pick to Portland for Anthony, who started 35 games for the Bulls before they waived him in March. He latched on with the Bucks four days later, appearing in 24 games for Milwaukee to finish out his 11-year NBA career.

11. Othella Harrington, PF, 2004-2006

Bulls stats: 142 games, 14.8 minutes, 6.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 50.5% FG

Harrington’s numbers were never anything special, but he gets a bump here for longevity and for starting all six games of the Bulls’ 2006 playoff series against the Washington Wizards. Fun fact: He, like Griffin, was also part of the Mutombo trade, coming to the Bulls from New York.

10. Shaq Harrison, SF, 2018-19

Bulls stats: 73 games, 19.6 minutes, 6.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 43.2% FG

Harrison has only been with the Bulls for one season, but he sure made it count. He was analytically one of the best defenders in the NBA and was a reliable fixture in the rotation for a Bulls team that dealt with myriad injuries. OK, and he cracked the top-10 because this author loves him.

9. Jack Marin, SF, 1975-1977

Bulls stats: 121 games, 20.7 minutes, 6.8 points, 1.7 rebounds, 43.5% FG

Marin was never the All-Star in Chicago that he was in Baltimore and Houston, but he still strung together two nice seasons in the Windy City to end a successful 11-year NBA career.

8. Bison Dele, C, 1996-97

Bulls stats: 19 games, 17.7 minutes, 6.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 48.1% FG

Those stats above are from Dele’s postseason with the Bulls, when he proved to be a valuable asset off the bench for the eventual champions. He arrived in Chicago in April of the regular season but hit the ground running in the postseason. He gets the bump all the way up to No. 8 because of it.

7. Stacey King, PF, 1989-1994

Bulls stats: 344 games, 17.0 minutes, 6.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 48.1% FG

Gimme the hot sauce! King spent 4.5 seasons with the Bulls after they made him the sixth overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft. King played sparingly on a deep Bulls team but played a part in the franchise’s first 3-peat. He, of course, is now the color commentator for the Bulls on NBC Sports Chicago.

6. Wilbur Holland, SG, 1976-1979

Bulls stats: 243 games, 32.2 minutes, 14.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.9 steals

An obscure name on the list, but warranted at this spot. Holland averaged just 5.8 points as a rookie for the Atlanta Hawks and was waived at the end of the year. The fifth-round pick was signed by the Bulls and flourished, averaging 14.7 points over a three-year span.

5. Bob Weiss, SG, 1968-1974

Bulls stats: 469 games, 26.1 minutes, 9.5 points, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals

No lefty has played more games for the Bulls than Weiss, who didn’t miss a single game from 1969 to 1973. His numbers never jumped off the page but he was reliable and three different times ranked in the top-20 in assists per game.

4. Jalen Rose, SF, 2001-2004

Bulls stats: 128 games, 39.8 minutes, 21.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 3-pointers

Rose’s time in Chicago overlapped with some of the darkest days in the franchise’s history, but he was one of the lone bright spots. He has arguably the best per-game numbers this list, even if they came in just a three-year span. Plus, the Bulls dealt him to the Raptors in December 2003. Three years later Kobe gave him 81. This lefty was part of history.

3. Guy Rodgers, PG, 1966-67

Bulls stats: 85 games, 37.6 minutes, 17.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 11.0 assists

One of two Bulls All-Stars on this list, Rodgers came to Chicago for the franchise’s inaugural season and averaged 18.0 points and an NBA-best 11.2 assists. At the time, the 908 assists he handed out were an NBA record. The following year the Bulls dealt Rodgers to the Cincinnati Royals, where he played alongside Oscar Robertson. Fun fact: Rodgers had 20 assists during Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, which at the time tied an NBA record.

2. Toni Kukoc, SF, 1993-2000

Bulls stats: 436 games, 29.5 minutes, 14.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.1 steals

The ultimate Sixth Man and a critical piece to the Bulls’ second 3-peat, Kukoc is more than worthy of the No. 2 spot here. Kukoc’s versatility and ability to play all five positions gave Phil Jackson plenty of options on the second unit. His Sixth Man of the Year award was the first in Bulls history – Ben Gordon won it later in 2005 – and he’s the last player to win the award and an NBA championship in the same season. He’s top-10 in Bulls history in 3-pointers, assists and steals.

1.Artis Gilmore, C, 1976-1982, 1987-88

Bulls stats: 482 games, 34.8 minutes, 19.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 58.7% FG

The greatest center in Bulls history was a wrecking ball inside, averaging 19.3 points on 58.7% shooting in seven seasons. He was an All-Star four times, led the NBA in field goal percentage twice and led the Bulls to a pair of playoff appearances. He entered the Hall of Fame in 2011 and will remain the greatest lefty in Bulls history…until Zion Williamson signs in Chicago in seven years.

Bulls will sign player to 2-way contract, but NBA roster is set for now

USA Today

Bulls will sign player to 2-way contract, but NBA roster is set for now

The Bulls waived Milton Doyle, Justin Simon and Simisola Shittu Saturday, which is minor news since they were mostly camp bodies competing for possibly a two-way contract.

The bigger development is that the Bulls’ roster is basically set, pending the signing of one player to the second two-way contract still available. No Iman Shumpert. No Alfonzo McKinnie. And that’s just naming two hometown products recently linked to the Bulls via the rumor mill.

The Bulls still want to see what they have in Chandler Hutchison, who did some individual shooting Saturday but missed all training camp with a hamstring injury. Denzel Valentine, currently out of the rotation, is staying ready.

And Shaq Harrison, who missed all five preseason games with his own hamstring injury but now is fully practicing, remains a Jim Boylen favorite.

And that’s what the roster staying set for now is about as much as anything. The buy-in Boylen has received from players dating to voluntary September workouts and bonds that have formed could be disrupted by the waiving of someone like Harrison, whose contract isn’t fully guaranteed but his commitment is.

While the Bulls recognize proven wing depth is a question mark, they value Harrison’s toughness and defensive ability. If Hutchison or Harrison or Valentine---if he gets an opportunity---don’t produce, perhaps a move could be made at a later date.

But expect only the signing of a second player to a two-way contract to join Adam Mokoka for now.

“We’ve been talking about that,” Boylen said. “We’re working on that. We’ve got our list and have reached out to some people. We’re actively in process.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Lauri Markkanen is focused on team, not individual, goals for Bulls

Lauri Markkanen is focused on team, not individual, goals for Bulls

You can’t put Lauri Markkanen in a box.

Just as you can’t pigeonhole one of the faces of the Bulls’ franchise offensively, you won’t get him to bite on any statistical goals for himself. As the outside world clamors for him and Zach LaVine to represent the Bulls at All-Star weekend in Chicago, Markkanen is focused on team goals.

“We haven’t made it to the playoffs and haven’t won many games since we’ve been here,” Markkanen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago following Saturday’s practice, alluding to himself, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. “That really bothers us. So we want to win first.”

In fact, as Markkanen fielded questions about a preseason that featured him playing more as a spot-up shooter than the dynamic, double-double machine that defined his February 2019, he shifted the focus to defense and rebounding.

Ho and hum, indeed.

“You’re trying to get me to say 22 (points) and 12 (rebounds) and 3 assists,” Markkanen said, smiling. “I don’t have those kinds of goals. I want to get our wins from 22 to whatever. And I want to get our home wins from nine to whatever. I’m not putting a number on those either. But I think guys are doing a good job of making unselfish plays and making the extra pass. We’re coming together as a team.”

In fact, Markkanen said, at least for now, his only individual goals are to “stay healthy and be consistent.” He reiterated his stance from media day that his goal is to play all 82 games after averaging 60 games his first two seasons.

“I wanted to focus on defense more this preseason and I was a little disappointed in myself in that regard early in preseason. But I watched a lot of film and I think I had my learning moments and I think I got better as preseason moved on,” Markkanen said. “I’ve talked to Coach. We both expect rebounding from me. I think we’re going to be really good offensively. It’s at a high level now, and we’re deeper. If we rebound and can limit their possessions, we have a chance to be really good.”

Don’t mistake Markkanen’s aversion to setting statistical goals for submissiveness. Early in the interview, he called his preseason “maybe not as great as I wanted to play” and acknowledged he needs to increase his free-throw attempts by getting to the rim more.

Of Markkanen’s 42 shots, 24 came from beyond the arc and he attempted just seven free throws in close to 91 preseason minutes. That average of 1.8 free-throw attempts in his four preseason games pales in comparison to the 3.8 he averaged last season.

“I haven’t got to the rim as much. I’m conscious of that. Those are easy points for us,” Markkanen said. “(Driving) is still available to me. But defenses are loading up on me more and trying not to let me get downhill. And we’re not in the post as much (offensively) as we used to be. We’re shooting a lot of 3s.”

Markkanen smiled again as he said this, so it’s clear he likes the Bulls’ approach. He also remains confident his varied offensive game will be on display at some point.

“I don’t always talk to him about his offense to be honest with you,” coach Jim Boylen said. “I talk to him about defending and rebounding and handling the ball. I’ve shown him some of his decisions in transition where he’s handled the ball.

“I want him to compete at the defensive end, rebound, handle the ball and everything else to me takes care of itself. I know he’s going to make shots. Historically, he’s been better when the lights come on.”

Those lights get flipped on for real Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. You can’t put Markkanen in a box. But he can put pressure on himself to help the Bulls make the playoffs.

“I have really high expectations of myself,” he said. “That’s what keeps me going. I want to win."