Michael Jordan's return marks best turnaround in Bulls history


The Bulls went from 22 wins in 2019-20 to 31 wins in 2020-21. While a 31-41 record wasn’t good enough for a play-in spot in the Eastern Conference, the team is now poised to show an even greater improvement in 2021-22.

With the additions of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, along with a full season of Nikola Vucevic partnered with Zach LaVine, Chicago is in position to make some noise in the East. If franchise history is any indication, a dramatic single-season turnaround is possible, too.

Here’s a look at how the Bulls have improved on prior disappointments, as well as the biggest year-to-year comebacks in franchise history.

What was the worst season in Bulls history?

The team’s smallest win total came right after its most recent championship. The 1998-99 Bulls won just 13 games in a lockout-shortened campaign without Michael Jordan.

The team’s win percentage dipped in each of the following two seasons, culminating with a 15-67 record in 2000-01. Chicago selected Eddy Curry with the No. 4 pick in the ensuing draft and picked up 21 wins in 2001-02. 


What was the Bulls’ best one-year turnaround in history?

It turns out Jordan makes a big difference.

The Bulls went 47-35 in 1994-95 as Jordan returned from his baseball stint at the tail end of the regular season. Jordan and Co. proceeded to win a then-record-breaking 72 games the next season, cementing a 25-win improvement en route to the 1996 NBA title. 

The Bulls have made 20-win jumps three other times in franchise history. DeRozan, Ball and Co. are hoping to make it a grand total of five in the 2021-22 season.