23-22. Artis Gilmore and Robert Parish
Were they nearly as good with Jordan as they were at their peak? Both Parish and Gilmore spent the bulk of their career prior to their stint in Chicago, although they spent their final NBA seasons in Chicago. Their numbers reflect their age, and even if it doesn’t come on the court, it still holds value to have Hall of Famers on this list. Their resumes are enough to warrant placement on this list.
21. Samuel Vincent
During the 1987-88 season, he averaged 8 assists and 13 points per game. He was a consistent starter for early Chicago in Jordan’s career. While Vincent’s contribution to the Bulls may have been unintentional, he may have played a significant role as a catalyst behind Jordan’s brief move to point guard.
20. Quinton Dailey
Dailey, the forgotten casualty, is largely overlooked due to Jordan’s ascension to the number 23 in Chicago. He was only worthwhile as a member of the Bulls, but across four seasons in Chicago, he averaged 16.4 points per game. He shared this achievement with Jordan. In 1983, he earned All-Rookie honors, but Chicago had no need for a scoring shooting guard with Jordan leading the way. Dailey spent the rest of his career with the Clippers and SuperSonics.
19. George Gervin
Jordan received a subpar version of him, but Gervin at his best could surpass everyone on this list. His statistics significantly decreased when they played together. During the 1985-86 season, Jordan was mostly injured. In his sole season with the Bulls, he averaged 16.2 points per game. He did make some valuable contributions on the court for the Bulls, but he is comparable to Parish and Gilmore in terms of performance, like Gervin.
18. Stacey King
In the 1989 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls made the decision to select Tim Hardaway and Shawn Kemp, two stars known for their defense, rebounding, and scoring abilities. Despite his inconsistent conditioning, King was a valuable power forward during Chicago’s first three championship runs. Jordan hardly considered him spectacular and had little to say about his game.
17. Craig Hodges
Jordan’s ability to create spacing and contribute meaningfully was evident as he made an impressive 42.5 percent of his shots. Although he was known for his accuracy as a marksman, during those days as a Bull, he only attempted an average of 2.3 3-pointers per game. He was not only one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA during the late 1980s and 1990s, but he also clashed with Hodges over his political beliefs.
16. John Paxson
The Bulls would have to compensate for Paxson’s poor stewardship as the top basketball decision-maker, which he endured for nearly two decades. Among his many big shots for the Bulls, Paxson’s success included the championship-clincher in Game 6 of the 1993 Finals. His clutch credentials were undeniable, but his numbers in Chicago were fairly underwhelming.
15. Luc Longley
However, that does not harm his argument. When they traded fellow center Will Perdue to acquire him, his rise in 1994 and 1995 also cleared the path for Chicago’s acquisition of Dennis Rodman. With his reliable mid-range shot, he offered dependable but not extraordinary defense and rebounding while also contributing to spacing. Longley executed this with skill and it was generally anticipated for big men on Jordan teams to handle the unglamorous tasks and step aside.
14. Brian Williams
Dele was one of the better offensive forwards of his generation, but he was later knocked out of the public consciousness, even at the age of 30, and retired stunningly. He played well enough to earn a $40 million contract with the Pistons that summer, and eventually signed with the Bulls. He sat out the majority of the 1996-97 season due to a contract dispute, but he had averaged nearly 16 points per game earlier that year with the Clippers. Dele may have only spent a few months on Jordan’s team, but he was a significant addition to Chicago’s 1997 championship team.
13. B.J. Armstrong
He would likely be more fondly remembered if he had retained the Bulls into the second three-peat. Jordan, who retired as one of the NBA’s better 3-point shooters, was critical as a secondary ball-handler during Chicago’s first three championship runs. However, playing baseball with Jordan may have come as the best basketball for Armstrong.
12. Ron Harper
In 1994, Harper’s best days were behind him as a scorer in Chicago, but he evolved into a ferocious defender. He featured unparalleled versatility, being able to practically defend any perimeter opponent, making him a valuable asset to Chicago’s team. Although he was nominally the point guard, he could effectively play as a guard off-ball in the triangle offense, thanks to his impressive size and willingness to shoot from behind the arc.
11. William Cartwright
During his time with the Bulls from 1988-94, his significant influence in the team’s locker room was extremely valuable, although his ability to grab rebounds was a challenge considering the era. Within the triangle offense, he thrived as a distributor and showcased exceptional defensive skills, evolving into a well-rounded and dependable big man despite previously being known primarily as a top scorer. Cartwright perfectly embodied the culture of Chicago and was another player whom Jordan didn’t particularly favor.
10. Steve Kerr
Evaluating Kerr fairly is nearly impossible. His shooting numbers were completely absurd, as he made almost 48 percent of his 3-point tries while playing for the Bulls. However, his value was mostly derived from his shooting, which was enhanced by the NBA’s choice to reduce the 3-point line from the 1994-95 season until the 1996-97 season. If that alteration had been permanent, Kerr would have climbed even higher on this ranking. Without it? He would fall behind Cartwright and Harper, and maybe even Armstrong as well.
9. Orlando Woolridge
In the end, the highest number of points any of Jordan’s teammates, including Scottie Pippen, ever achieved were the 22.9 points he generated per game in the 1984-85 season. He only played with Jordan for two years, but he was ultimately replaced by a much more talented young player. Woolridge, who was selected as the 6th overall pick in the 1981 NBA Draft, had an average of 19.3 points per game in the season prior to Jordan joining the team. It is often overlooked, but the Bulls actually had a promising young star when they acquired Jordan.
8. Larry Hughes
In Washington, Jordan’s physical decline necessitated an excellent defense, while also providing 3.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game for the Wizards. Hughes, although playing at a lower level, was once the versatile jack-of-all-trades in Pippen’s mold, but his scoring dipped by four points per game after Jordan’s retirement in 2002. Hughes grew alongside the Wizards upon joining in 2002, scoring an average of 12.5 points per game. Jordan had to sacrifice a bit offensively to work alongside Hughes in Washington.
7. Jerry Stackhouse
If he were a better defender, he might have landed in the top five list. Stackhouse was among the best scorers in the NBA when he played with Jordan, but his fit with the team was questionable. Even though he declined significantly from his peak game of 29.8 points per game, Stackhouse was only beaten by his teammate (2002-03). Jordan led his team in scoring in 15 out of his 16 NBA seasons.
6. Horace Grant
In the 1990s, Grant was a power forward who could ask everything for a team in terms of defense and rebounding. He provided a sorely needed measure of physicality against the “Bad Boy” Pistons and consistently went up against them. He was also among the mid-best shooters in the NBA, especially for a player of his size. Essentially, he was the equivalent of a big man who could do a bit of everything. Although he lacked elite rebounding skills, he made up for it with his overall contributions.
5. Charles Oakley
The Most Valuable Player for the Bulls, Dennis Rodman, was not acquired until later, and it remains a close friend of Jordan’s to this day. After being dealt to the Knicks, he was bullied physically by the Pistons in the playoffs of 1989 and 1990. It’s not a coincidence that Oakley, who fouled Jordan from the Knicks, could expect retribution from Oakley. Jordan’s greatest contribution to the Bulls was his unofficial position as enforcer, adding solid defense and scoring interior. Throughout his career, Oakley was one of the NBA’s best rebounders. He made a greater physical presence for the Bulls, but he wasn’t as skilled as Grant.
4. Toni Kukoč
Kukoc’s legacy would have been entirely different had they been more welcoming early on. Jerry Krause, the Bulls’ GM, was enamored with him because Kukoc simply disliked Pippen and both of them contributed to Jordan’s championship fate. He was far and away the most underappreciated Bull of the years, and he was a nightmare matchup as he could post-up smaller guards and opposing forwards out of the paint. If he had played with modern creativity and spacing, he might have been an All-Star from 1993 to 1998, posting truly impressive line of 19-7-5 after Jordan retired. He was the essence of the perfect triangle offense player, cutting and passing at an elite level. While Pippen was hailed as Chicago’s point forward, Kukoc was a true point guard in a forward’s body. Kukoc was a pioneer.
3. Rip Hamilton
Jordan made a lot of questionable moves when he ran the Wizards, including trading “Richard “Rip” Hamilton, who grew into an elite two-way guard and a three-time All-Star during his prime. Hamilton, who was so good with the Pistons and would have been an ideal fit, might not have been the best trade for the aging Jordan. In the offseason following the 2001-02 season, he was dealt for Stackhouse, who ostensibly was in his prime but ended up being the worst trade for Hamilton, as he averaged only 20 points alongside Jordan.
2. Dennis Rodman
Rodman, one of the best players to ever play with Jordan, is a worthy choice as the second-best player. He played with two Hall of Famers in his career. Besides, he truly washed up at the beginning of this list. The Bulls lacked an edge during their first three title runs, giving Chicago an advantage. Additionally, Rodman led the league in rebounding three times and earned a nod for the All-Defense First-Team in 1995-96. Even in his mid-30s, he played defense lazily, regularly maximizing his rebounding numbers. Notoriously unreliable within locker rooms, Rodman’s name was also in the defense for being lazy. However, he wasn’t quite at his peak by the time he got to Chicago.
1. Scottie Pippen
He might be remembered as one of the NBA’s greatest players of all time, regardless of where he played. Without Pippen by his side, he couldn’t come close to Jordan’s six championships, but he was still as great as him. Perhaps he was the best forward in the NBA during his career, leading the Bulls in blocks, steals, assists, rebounds, and points in the same season. Is Pippen arguably the greatest perimeter defender in NBA history? Were you expecting someone else?