Chicago Bulls Greatest Point Guards: When you look back through the history of the Chicago Bulls, you’re generally looking at Michael Jordan, and at his guys Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. At guys like Bob Love and Chet Walker. The point guards are never the primary focus here, as the team won all six of their titles with specialists.
By specialists, I mean guys who had a specific skill. Whether it was John Paxson’s shooting, or Ron Harper’s terrific defense. Steve Kerr was the clutch guy, and BJ Armstrong was a good leader. The all-time Bulls point guard room is not too impressive.
But included in the list is the youngest MVP in NBA history. He was the #1 pick in 2008, and his name is Derrick Martell Rose.
Chicago Bulls Greatest Point Guards: Derrick Rose Before the Injury
The 2008 NBA Draft was a loaded one, with the likes of UCLA teammates Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook being selected after Derrick Rose. During his one year at Memphis, D-Rose helped the talented Tigers all the way to the national championship. The team had a 38-1 record coming into it, but the clutch shooting of Mario Chalmers (Kansas) helped bury them. Seven of eight players on the floor that day for Kansas would play in the NBA.
Rose’s efforts got him the opportunity to be drafted by the Bulls, to become the next face of the franchise. He averaged 17-4-6 despite not having much of a three-point stroke. The #1 pick helped guide the Bulls to the playoffs, and into a matchup with the Celtics. The team would lose in seven games in a thrilling series, but Rose averaged 20-6-6, making 49% of his shots. He proved himself immediately.
Rose was selected as an All-Star in his second season, and in the two years that followed, too. He was named NBA MVP for his efforts in 2011-2012, making him the youngest ever at age 21. He averaged 25-4-8 that season, though the victory was short-lived. Because in the first game of the playoffs the following year, disaster struck.
Chicago Bulls Greatest Point Guards: The Career-Defining Injury
Chicago had the best record in the NBA during that regular season, but what happened in game 1 against the #8 Sixers would permanently change their fortunes. With 1:22 left in the game, which the Bulls seemed to already have in the bag, coach Tom Thibodeau opted to keep Rose in. He wound up tearing his ACL, and missing the rest of the postseason and the entirety of the next season.
And when Rose came back in 2013-14, he was limited to just 10 games before getting hurt again. It was his second major injury in just a few years. His production would drop immensely over the next two campaigns, but he would have one last great moment in Chicago.
Rose sunk a game-winning jumper against the Cavs as time expired during the second-round of the 2015 playoffs against the Cavs. Chicago would lose the series in six games, but nobody could take that away from Rose.
After the 2016 season, Rose was traded to the Knicks. His career-averages in a Bulls uniform were 20 points, four rebounds and six assists per game. One All-NBA selection, three all-star selections, and of course, an MVP.
Chicago Bulls Greatest Point Guards: Norm Van Lier, The Most Consistent Bulls Point Guard, Statistically Speaking
The Bulls acquired Norm Van Lier from Cincinnati during the 1971-72 season, and he would be a part of the franchise until the end of the 1977-1978 season. He appeared in 535 games in all, proving to be a terrific passer, and an embodiment of the point guard role.
Van Lier left Chicago with career averages of 12 points, five rebounds and seven assists per game. He averaged between six and eight assists per game during every season of his Chicago tenure. Talk about consistency.
Chicago Bulls Greatest Point Guards: We Cannot Forget Kirk Hinrich
The first seven seasons of Kirk Hinrich’s career were spent with the Bulls. And he spent another three-and-a-half seasons with them later on, too. He was always there, a hard-nosed defender and key shot maker whenever the team needed him.
Hinrich is the only Bulls player with over 1,000 threes made (1,049). He’s third in games played (748) and fourth in minutes played (23,545). He’s third in assists behind MJ and Scottie. He’s third in steals, behind MJ and Scottie. He actually scored more points in a Bulls uniform than Derrick Rose.
Hinrich’s efforts during the 2006-07 season were enough to earn him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive team. He was terrific at getting into the passing lanes, and making life difficult for his matchup. There wasn’t much that he didn’t do.
And we didn’t hear one single complaint from Hinrich after the team drafted Derrick Rose and he was relegated to a bench role during the 2008-09 year. When he came back after some time in Washington and Atlanta, he was the primary starter once again.
Kirk is an embodiment of toughness and staying true to your game. Historically, he’s leading in more Bulls categories than Derrick Rose. He’s third in several, right behind Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. And he wore the goggles as well as any player in the NBA ever has.
Thanks for Reading Chicago Bulls Greatest Point Guards!
Hats off to Kirk Hinrich, Derrick Rose, Norm Van Lier, and all of the point guards to don the Chicago Bulls uniform. Maybe we’ll be talking about Coby White being among the greats in this franchise’s history within the next couple of years.