List of greatest NBA players by jersey number is packed with Bulls


List of greatest NBA players by jersey number is packed with Bulls

The vintage sports apparel company Mitchell & Ness published a fun story Tuesday, listing the greatest basketball players to wear numbers 0-99.

And on that list were nine former Bulls who wore 10 different numbers that Mitchell and Ness believed were the best ever.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

And if you're wondering, Gary Payton edged out Fred Hoiberg for No. 20's best player. And the No. 32 Hoiberg wore with the Timberwolves? We suppose Magic Johnson has an argument for winning that number, too.

00: Robert Parish (1996-97)

The 7-foot Hall of Famer will be remembered for his 14 seasons in Boston in which he won three championships, but he also finished his 21-year NBA career with the Bulls in 1996-97. He earned his fourth ring, averaging 3.7 points in 43 appearances. He appeared in two playoff games that year for the Bulls.

23: Michael Jordan (1984-1998)

Probably the easiest decision Mitchell and Ness had, other than the few numbers that only one player has worn in league history. In 13 seasons with the Bulls (and two with the Wizards) Jordan cemented himself as the greatest player of all-time, winning six championships, six Finals MVPs, five regular-season MVPs, Defensive Player of the Year in 1988, and earning 14 trips to the All-Star Game.

42: Nate Thurmond (1974-1976)

Like Parish, Thurmond made his way to the Windy City for the end of his career with a Hall of Fame resume already in hand. After 11 seasons with the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors in which he averaged 17.4 points and 16.9 rebounds and made seven All-Star appearances, he played for the Bulls for parts of two seasons. In his first game with Chicago he recorded the first quadruple-double in NBA history (22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, 12 blocks). He averaged 7.3 points and 10.5 rebounds in 93 games before the Bulls traded him to Cleveland.

45: Michael Jordan (1995)

Following his infamous "I'm back" press release, Jordan returned to the Bulls donning No. 45. In 12 games he averaged 26.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists for the Bulls. Not bad for a guy who had just taken two years off to play minor-league baseball. No word on how John Stockton was named the better No. 12, which Jordan wore for a single game on Valentine's Day in 1990.

48: Nazr Mohammed (2012-2015)

Yes, really. Mohammed is one of two NBA players to have donned No. 48. The 17-year journeyman has worn the number eight different teams, most recently with the Bulls. In three seasons he has averaged 1.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, though he'll always be remembered most for his shove of LeBron James in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Mohammed is a free agent this offseason and has indicated he'd like to continue playing.

53: Artis Gilmore (1976-82, 1987-88)

Gilmore arrived in Chicago after five seasons with the ABA's Kentucky Colonials. And in six seasons with the Bulls, Gilmore averaged 20.1 points and 11.5 rebounds, was named an All-Star four times and led the NBA in field-goal percentage in 1981 and 1982. He returned to Chicago in 1987 in what would be his final NBA season, averaging 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 24 games. He was inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.

54: Horace Grant (1987-1994)

The No. 10 pick in the 1987 NBA Draft, Grant played the first seven years of his career in Chicago. He averaged 12.6 points and 8.6 rebounds, helped Michael Jordan and the Bulls to their first three-peat and added a fourth championship later in his career as part of the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers. 

77: Vladimir Radmanovic (2012-13)

Remember VladRad? Though he appeared in just 25 games for the Bulls in 2012-13, averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in his final NBA season, he made the list thanks to his unique number. He edged out Andrea Bargnani, who has worn the number the last two seasons in New York. The number has been worn by nine players, including famous 7-foot-7 center Gheorghe Muresan.

90: Drew Gooden (2007-2009)

Our trip down memory lane continues with the only NBA player to ever wear No. 90. Gooden spent parts of two years with the Bulls, being dealt to Chicago at the 2008 trade deadline and then being dealt from the Bulls at the 2009 trade deadline. In 49 games he averaged 13.4 points and 8.8 rebounds while wearing the unique jersey that has landed him on a list with the likes of Jordan, Olajuwon, Stockton, Abdul-Jabbar, Malone, Bryant and Mikan. Well done, Drew.

91: Dennis Rodman (1995-1998)

Here's a shocker: Dennis Rodman has done something unique to get him on this list. The Worm appears on Mitchell and Ness' list three different times, wearing Nos. 91, 73 and 70 in his career (as well as the more standard No. 10). During his three-year stint with the Bulls he complemented his wacky hair-dos with No. 91, averaging 5.2 points and 15.3 rebounds, leading the NBA in boards each year. He also won three rings in Chicago before ending his career with one year each in Los Angeles and Dallas.

Five observations from Bulls' preseason, including Zach LaVine's focus

USA Today

Five observations from Bulls' preseason, including Zach LaVine's focus

The Bulls blew through four preseason games in seven days, a pace coach Jim Boylen acknowledged by resting his starters for one.

But now it gets real. Wendell Carter Jr. made his debut Sunday in Toronto after sitting the first three games with a bruised tailbone, but the second-year big man only played first-half minutes.

Thursday’s preseason finale at the United Center against the Hawks is an opportunity to extend minutes, set rotations and square off against a young, rebuilding team looking to make a similar jump. Here’s what the Bulls’ preseason has shown so far:

Zach LaVine is playing with a proper edge

The preternaturally gifted scorer often is accused of being an empty calories player, spouting empty words. Those who are around LaVine on a daily basis see his work ethic and care factor and say otherwise.

LaVine has made no secret of his desire to represent the Bulls at the 2020 All-Star game at the United Center. But through three games---he sat with the other starters last Friday in Indiana---he isn’t trying to get there with a head-down, selfish approach.

LaVine has shown leadership, an improved commitment at the defensive end and his 23.3 points in 23 minutes proves he still scores in bunches. Boylen deserves some of the credit for LaVine’s focus, challenging him to be a better two-way player. Veteran Thaddeus Young also has been in LaVine’s ear. But LaVine put in the work and is playing like a man on a mission.

Coby White is fearless

The first-round pick said all the right things about playing with confidence when the Bulls used the No. 7 selection on him. But so many 19-year-olds have uttered similar sentiments and then looked overwhelmed.

White isn’t that. His speed and scoring ability have demanded a rotational role. And who cares if he’s not a point guard yet, with just five assists in 105 minutes? His ability to push the ball and play off it will be critical for a second unit that will feature the defensive-minded Kris Dunn.

White still needs to eliminate his tendency to take long 2-pointers and learn to finish better. And the point guard knowledge needs to come eventually. But for now, unleash him and let his athleticism do the trick.

Boylen and the Bulls are playing like a modern NBA team

In the three games the regulars have played, the Bulls have attempted 38, 37 and 49 3-pointers. The 49 3-pointers versus the Raptors would’ve represented a franchise, regular-season record.

After taking over for the fired Fred Hoiberg last season, Boylen drew widespread criticism for his publicly stated plan to slow down the offense and build it back up with proper fundamentals. Furthermore, last season’s roster, particularly down the stretch as the Bulls fielded gloried G League lineups, didn’t lend itself to perimeter shooting.

The additions of Tomas Satoransky, Luke Kornet and White help. So does a more versatile roster with multiple ballhandlers. This approach isn’t going away this season.

Carter needs to stay on the court

The defensive-minded big man consistently draws praise from coaches and teammates for his communication skills and ability to read the court. There also are raves for his offensive potential.

However, it’s getting to the point where the Bulls need to see it consistently, not talk about it. Between thumb surgery limiting him to 44 games in an otherwise promising rookie season and now Carter showing some rust---and some nice plays---Sunday in Toronto, consistency and reliability needs to follow.

After all, Carter never fully mastered the art of avoiding foul trouble last season. His interior defense and rim protection will be critical for a team challenged in both areas.

The Bulls need to broaden Lauri Markkanen's offensive game

The good news is Markkanen shot 44.4 percent from 3-point range in three games. The bad news is over half of Markkanen’s shots have come from behind the arc.

Markkanen is too talented---and too much a matchup nightmare---to be relegated to a spot-up shooter. During his dominant February stretch last season, Markkanen displayed a dribble, drag-step move that seemed unguardable. Offseason talk centered on his bulking up for more post play.

This is where Markkanen’s rebounding is so essential. He has the ability to push the ball up the court himself. There’s nothing wrong with Markkanen shooting 3-pointers. But he’s at his best in motion, with multiple offensive options at his disposal.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Guest Ricky O’Donnell on the future with Zach LaVine


Bulls Talk Podcast: Guest Ricky O’Donnell on the future with Zach LaVine

Kevin Anderson is joined by SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell to talk Zach LaVine and the Bulls preseason.

0:55 - On Zach LaVine’s preseason and if he is the true star on this Bulls team

3:00 - What should we expect from LaVine this season?

4:45 - LaVine’s true ceiling is…

7:00 - Can LaVine be a top-3 scorer in the NBA?

9:15 - Concerns over Lauri Markkanen

12:40 - On the LaVine and Lauri 2-man game

15:50 - Ricky explains why he’s optimistic on the Bulls

17:25 - On Bulls depth and White vs. Dunn in rotation

21:15 - Expectations for Bulls win total this season

24:00 - Are Raptors likely to make the postseason?

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast