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.

Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games


Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

If you haven't heard, Neil Funk is cutting 20 road games from his 2018-19 Bulls' play-by-play schedule.

Friday, the Bulls announced that Adam Amin, Andy Demetra and Kyle Draper will fill in for Funk for the first five of those games.

Amin, a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, will games on Oct. 22 against the Mavericks and Nov. 14 against the Celtics. He grew up in Addison, resides in Chicago and also does play-by-play for Bears preseason games.

Demetra is from Oak Brook and currently is the play-by-play broadcaster for Georgia Tech basketball and football. He will call games on Oct. 26 against the Hornets and Oct. 27 against the Hawks. He has previous play-by-play experience with the SEC Network, Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports South.

Draper will call the Bulls' Nov. 7 game against the Pelicans. He is the Celtics' pregame and postgame host for NBC Sports Boston and an occasional play-by-play annoucer and sideline reporter for the Celtics.

The Bulls said they will continue providing updates on substitute broadcasters as they are scheduled.

Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East


Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East

Finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference last season cost Stan Van Gundy his job as Pistons head coach and President of Basketball Operations. Van Gundy was replaced on the bench by 2017-18 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, who was fired after the Raptors were swept by Cleveland in the conference semi-finals.

Casey’s job in Detroit is to find a way to develop the young players on the roster while getting the team to the playoffs. He has a pair of All-Star caliber players in the front court, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, along with highly-paid, erratic point guard Reggie Jackson.

Griffin has battled injuries in recent seasons, but Van Gundy decided to roll the dice at mid-season a year ago by trading Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley AND a 1st round pick to the Clippers for the former slam dunk champion in a desperate bid to save his job. The trade didn’t work out for Van Gundy, but it’s possible Griffin could enjoy a resurgence in Detroit this season.

The 29-year-old power forward scored 26 points, pulled down eight rebounds and dished out six assists in the Pistons’ 103-100 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Drummond had a monster game with 24 points and 20 rebounds. As Bulls fans know all too well, Drummond has made the 20 rebound game commonplace when facing Fred Hoiberg’s squad in recent years.

As for Jackson, a severely sprained right ankle limited him to just 45 games last season, probably costing Detroit a chance to make the playoffs. The 8th year pro is lightning quick, with the ability to disrupt defenses by getting into the paint and challenging bigger defenders at the rim. Jackson scored 19 points in the season opener against Brooklyn, and he’ll be a problem for the Bulls Saturday night, especially if Kris Dunn is unavailable.

Casey is still trying to figure out how to use the rest of the roster Van Gundy built, with recent 1st round pick Henry Ellenson and former rotation player Jon Leuer getting DNP-CD’s against the Nets. Meanwhile, two other expected rotation players, small forward Stanley Johnson and swingman Reggie Bullock missed the opener because of injuries.

That left second year guard Luke Kennard and 2018 2nd round draft pick Bruce Brown as the other starters in game one, something that’s unlikely to continue once everyone’s healthy.

So, how do the Bulls even their record at 1-1 on Saturday? Here are my three keys:

1. Keep Drummond and Griffin off the offensive boards. This is much easier said than done. Drummond in particular is relentless going after missed shots, and his bulk will cause problems for 19 year old rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Hoiberg hinted at possible line-up changes on Friday morning, which could include starting veteran Robin Lopez at center to battle Drummond inside. Griffin has turned into more of a jump shooter now and doesn’t have the multiple jump capability that characterized his early seasons in the NBA, but he’s still a threat to create 2nd shot opportunities.

2. Close out on three-point shooters. Of all the defensive issues for the Bulls in Philadelphia on Thursday, losing touch with shooters in transition was probably the most troublesome. Robert Covington seemed to be open at the three-point line throughout the game, and Bulls players struggled to handle cross-match situations. Kennard had one of the best games of his rookie season against the Bulls, and Jackson, Ish Smith and Langston Galloway are all capable of heating up from long distance.

3. Attack Detroit’s interior defense. The Bulls were at their best offensively in the first quarter against Philadelphia when they drove to the basket to set up easy scoring chances. Zach LaVine was getting to the rim at will in scoring 15 of his 30 points in the opening 12 minutes, and his penetration also set up Bobby Portis for open looks from the three-point line. Hopefully, Dunn will return to stabilize the point guard position and give the Bulls' first unit another shot creator so they can sustain their pace and scoring potential over four quarters.

Saturday’s home opener is definitely winnable against a Detroit team still finding its way under a new coaching staff. Better effort and attention to detail on the defensive end along with a fast-paced, drive and kick offensive attack should make for an exciting opening night at the United Center.

Make sure to join Kendall Gill, Will Perdue, Kelly Crull and me for a special one hour edition of Bulls Pre-Game Live at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago and the new My Teams app, followed by the play by play call with Neil Funk and Stacey King at 7 p.m. And, stay tuned after the final buzzer for reaction and analysis on an expanded edition of Bulls Postgame Live.