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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Even before injuries to Otto Porter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison, wing depth loomed as an issue for the Bulls.

Hutchison was coming off a rookie season shortened by injury. Porter has battled nagging injuries throughout his career. And Denzel Valentine was coming off missing an entire season to reconstructive ankle surgery.

On Tuesday, the Bulls fly back to Chicago following their three-game trip with Porter and Hutchison still out and Valentine not playing much although recently in the rotation. Coach Jim Boylen mostly has relied on a three-guard lineup featuring Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacono and Coby White. Both Shaquille Harrison and Dunn have started at small forward on this trip.

“It is frustrating. I try not to look at those things like it’s my frustration. I feel bad for the guy,” Boylen said. “Obviously, the team needs (Porter). But I feel bad for him. I think he’s frustrated. It wears on him. He’s a competitive guy. He’s a winning player. So it’s very difficult for him.”

Porter, in his first comments to reporters in a while, agreed.

“It’s definitely tough watching the guys go through that,” Porter said of the team’s 6-14 start. “I just try to remain positive. I still try to be a leader to them in the locker room, what I see out there when I’m watching, what we can do better. I’m always going to be voicing my opinion on what we should do or just adjustments out there on the court.”

Boylen said Porter and Hutchison will be re-evaluated this week in Chicago. Porter has played just nine games this season because of a soft tissue injury to his left foot. Hutchison is on his third injury this season, a sprained right shoulder.

Originally, the Bulls listed Porter’s injury as a sprained left foot. But a second MRI exam on Nov. 19 revealed bone bruising which the team disclosed in a release and Porter cited it as a bone bruise in his remarks to reporters.

“It takes time. Every day it gets a little better. Baby steps,” Porter said. “You can reaggravate it absolutely. And that’s what we’re trying to monitor to make sure that these days that I do activities, the next day it’s not overaggravated or swells back up. We’re definitely watching it close.”

Porter said he has been able to do some elliptical work and lift weights with some spot set shooting.

“I have no idea about coming back sooner or later.,” Porter said. “The new MRI I’m supposed to be taking is just supposed to see how far along I’ve come. It will eliminate any other things that might’ve happened as far as like tissue and stuff like that. Looking forward to it.”

Just like Boylen is looking forward to Porter’s return, whenever it happens.

“We miss his calm, veteran demeanor,” Boylen said. “I said this last year and this year too: He settles us down a bit, maybe at times we need that. He makes timely shots. He’s one of our better shooters. And he has positional size, which is a huge part of that big wing position. We miss those things. He has done a terrific job of trying to help the younger guys and stay connected even though he has been hurt. It’s difficult. But he has a veteran voice. He’s one of our captains. And he’s doing a good job of that.”

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Better defensive numbers from the Chicago Bulls this season can be directly attributed to the efforts of players like Shaquille Harrison of late.

A big 20-point victory over the Central Division foe Detroit Pistons put the Chicago Bulls in position to gain real ground in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bulls moved to a record of 5-10 on the season before a key Nov. 22 showdown against a former superstar wing of this team, Jimmy Butler, and the Miami Heat.

The Bulls head into this showdown against the Heat with a record of 5-10. Meanwhile the Heat have 10 wins heading into this game. It will come at home for the Bulls at the United Center with a tip-off of 7 p.m. CT. It would be one of the most impressive wins of the season thus far if the Bulls were able to pull this one off as 4.5-point underdogs.

A key factor that could help the Bulls in this matchup with the Heat is the breakthrough of combo guard/wing Shaquille Harrison. In the win over the Pistons, Harrison contributed with 15 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and one block. In spotty minutes on the floor for head coach Jim Boylen and the Bulls, Harrison has a team-high defensive rating of 96 thus far.

The 6-foot-7 and 190 pound Harrison could be exactly what this Bulls team needed off the bench in terms of a defensive presence. If he’s going to contribute in a positive sense on the offensive end too, then Harrison could actually be one of the most valuable pieces in the rotation for Boylen this season.

His 1.4 defensive box plus/minus rating he posted last season was already one of the best for any role players for the Bulls down the stretch. Add a positive offensive impact (last season had a 101 offensive rating), then Harrison should be vying for a seventh or eighth man role in the rotation in terms of the allotment of minutes.

What Harrison also adds to this rotation for the Bulls is a lengthier perimeter presence on defense. There’s really only three players that Boylen can play as true wings. And two of them, small forwards Chandler Hutchison and Otto Porter Jr., recently underwent various injury issues that kept them off the court.
Next: 2020 NBA Draft Big Board version 1.0

Between the 6-foot-4 point guard Kris Dunn and Harrison have the two best defensive ratings on the team so far this season. A rejuvenated Bulls effort on the defensive end of the floor could help the Bulls take another step forward in this rebuild. Giving a bigger role to Harrison makes a lot of sense for Boylen and the Bulls moving forward.

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The Chicago Bulls need help off the bench to get beyond the four-win mark they sit at now. Could rookie center Daniel Gafford be that answer?

The final score of 115-101 from a Nov. 18 home loss at the United Center for the Chicago Bulls against the Central Division foe Milwaukee Bucks didn’t do their true efforts on the floor that night justice. The Bulls kept it close throughout, at least until the reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo took over for the Bucks late in the fourth quarter.

There was actually one point where the Bulls owned a 99-98 lead in the fourth quarter before the Bucks went on their 17-2 run to end the game. That actually wasn’t one of the bigger letdowns of the season so far. In the midst of a season where the Bulls might be getting off to just as poor of a start as they were last year, signs of progress are very welcome.

A down start from some of the other Bulls frontcourt rotation players gives a gaping opportunity to the Bulls second round draft pick from back in June. Former Arkansas Razorbacks big man Daniel Gafford had a spectacular night in his first real regular season minutes in the NBA. He was likely the sole reason why the Bulls were actually hanging with the Bucks up until the fourth quarter.

There’s a very valid argument that Gafford was actually the best player on the floor for the Bulls in that double-digit loss earlier in the week to the Bucks.

Here’s a look into the definitive case for Daniel Gafford of the Chicago Bulls to get more playing time and a bigger role under head coach Jim Boylen moving forward.

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Did you forget that Cristiano Felicio was still on the Chicago Bulls?

Well, he was in the news yesterday so hopefully this will help jog your memory.

Felicio broke his right wrist in practice on Monday and is out four to eight weeks.

“I’m very disappointed for him,” Boylen said via NBC Sports Chicago. “Hopefully we can get him back soon.”

Not to be overly harsh, but this injury is about as inconsequential as they come. He has yet to make the active roster this regular season, and sits behind on the depth chart rookie Daniel Gafford and four other players.

When he first came to the Bulls, Felicio showed some promise as a rim-running big man that could also rebound a little. He carved a niche for himself with the 2016-2017 squad by developing good pick-and-roll chemistry with Dwyane Wade (although he took a triple-double away from him). At 6-foot-10-inches tall and only 23 years old, the Bulls were probably correct to give him an opportunity when they signed him in 2015.

But in the summer of 2017, the Bulls then gambled on Felicio’s early flashes of productivity and inked the Brazilian big man to a four-year, $32 million contract mere minutes into free agency.

Since his big payday, Felicio has been recalled to the Windy City Bulls 10 times, while at the NBA level he’s averaged 4.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Felicio has been in the bottom 15 among centers who averaged at least 15 minutes per game in player impact estimate in each of the last two seasons. Adequate for a 10th or 11th man on a minimum-level salary, and valuable if you want to tank, but not for a guy making about $8 million per year.

The contract given the production is an epic disaster, but by all accounts Felicio is a good guy. He even admitted to the Chicago Tribune last year that he felt pressure to live up to the expectations that came with how much he was getting paid.

“At some point, I let the contract get in my head a little bit,” Felicio said. “I felt I had to prove myself more than I did last year. And I think at some point that frustrated me a little bit because I wasn’t playing as well as I did last year. And then I started not getting any minutes. And that frustrated me even more. I knew I had to get out of that funk. I talked to the coaches and they helped me.”

The Bulls have one more season after this one to pay him an exorbitant amount of money to fry on the bench, after which one of the front offices biggest gaffes will finally be over.

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Jim Boylen has plenty of pet phrases. Role acceptance is one of them.

And if you want to get the Bulls coach rolling, ask him about Kris Dunn’s performance in that department.

“Big time. Big time,” Boylen repeated, for good measure. “He just wants to win. He’s the first guy in the breakfast room. You have to be in the building 45 minutes before [practice]. He’s in 1 hour, 45 minutes before. He does his workout 45 minutes before everybody else with Coach [Nate] Loenser. He is locked in. He cares. He always cared. And he’s playing winning basketball. I’m really happy for him.”

There may be no greater compliment from a coach to a player than to say one is playing winning basketball. Relayed Boylen’s comment, Dunn didn’t take it lightly.

“That means a lot. That’s what I try to do,” Dunn said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. “I come from a winning program at Providence. I know what winning looks like. And I know what it takes to win.”

Right now, that involves Dunn accepting his role as a reserve aimed at wreaking defensive havoc on opponents. When Dunn scores 13 points, as he did in Tuesday’s victory over the Knicks, it’s a bonus.

There’s a lot going right with Dunn’s game these days. He leads the NBA with 25 steals, posting multiple steals in seven of 11 games. He has tallied 30 assists to just nine turnovers in 224 minutes, emblematic of solid decision-making. And he’s shooting 47.1 percent from the field — a figure made even more impressive by his anemic 17.6 percent shooting from 3-point range.

“I take pride in my defense,” Dunn said. “The second unit, I think we have good defenders in our group. Archie [Ryan Arcidiacono], he’s a dog. Thad [Young], he’s a dog. Coby [White], he’s a dog. I could go on and on. We try to come in and bring great energy and try to maintain the lead or, if we’re down, try to get it back.”

But Dunn’s biggest area of growth has been his role acceptance. It’s not easy losing a starting job, particularly when it comes on the heels of executive vice president John Paxson publicly challenging Dunn. And then the Bulls acquired Tomas Satoransky in a sign-and-trade transaction, drafted White and re-signed Arcidiacono.

Multiple outlets reported over the offseason that Dunn and his representatives wanted a change of scenery. The Bulls, league sources said in July, held trade talks with several teams, including the Grizzlies, regarding a sign-and-trade transaction for Justin Holiday.

Instead, Dunn returned. And since the first day of voluntary September workouts, he has maintained a positive attitude.

“It’s a good team we have. I just wanted to be a part of it. We have a lot of talented players, a good group of guys. I wanted to buy into what Coach is preaching, buy into the system,” Dunn said. “All in all, I feel my game can go anywhere — starting, coming off the bench. Wherever you put me at, I’m a hooper.”

This example hasn’t been lost on young players like the rookie White.

“That’s my dog,” White told NBC Sports Chicago. “We’re part of the bench mob. Ain’t that right, KD? I love playing with KD. I know he’s going to compete at both ends. If things aren’t going well, he can turn the game around with his energy. He’s passionate. You love to play with people who play hard and want to win.

“Our relationship has grown on and off the court. He has instilled confidence in me. I haven’t been shooting it well before [Tuesday night]. KD told me to keep being aggressive and keep shooting. He’s always encouraging his teammates. When one of us does something good, he’s the first to hype us up.”

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Wendell Carter Jr. is on his way to doubling his double-doubles from a season ago.

It’s something the Bulls’ second-year center is well aware of — and a number he is looking to build upon as a scorer and rebounder.

“I take a lot of pride in that,” Carter said. “The more versatile you are as a player, being able to affect both ends of the court, the more valuable you are in this league. So I take that as a challenge and try to stick to it every day.”

Carter has 12 double-doubles in 22 starts after scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds Wednesday in the Bulls’ 106-99 victory against the Grizzlies. He had seven double-doubles in 44 starts last season.

The statistic is reflective of Carter’s continued improvement, coach Jim Boylen said. He is tied for ninth in the league in double-doubles.

“Health, consistent play, conditioning, he’s in unbelievable shape,” Boylen said. “He’s an intelligent player, so when you’re healthy and you feel good and you can get up and down, I think you have a tendency to thrive, and he’s doing that, and he embraces the dirty-work parts of the game, which we need.

“He anchors our defense, which he takes pride in, and he’s a developing young offensive player. We’ve tried to give him the ball more. We’ve made a conscious effort to run a few things for him, and he’s responded.”

Carter squared up against Jaren Jackson Jr., whom the Grizzlies drafted three spots ahead of him at No. 4 overall in 2018. Both players are the same age, but Carter said he had no hard feelings about getting bypassed by Memphis and falling to No. 7 overall, where the Bulls took him.

“I try not to pay too much attention to that,” Carter said.

“Teams require different personnel, so I’m not worried about that.”

Injury updates

Forwards Otto Porter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison remain sidelined with no timetable for their returns, Boylen said.

Porter underwent an MRI exam on his left foot, but results were not available before the game.

“Maybe that will tell us it’s healing, maybe it won’t,” Boylen said. “But, yeah, it’s frustrating.”

Meanwhile, a follow-up examination showed that Hutchison has a soft-tissue bruise on his right shoulder.

The Bulls have been without Porter since his last game Nov. 6. Hutchison has missed five of the last seven games.

Guard Kris Dunn made his third start in a row with both players out of the mix.

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Some games, it seems Ryan Arcidiacono spends as much time on the floor as the mops that ballboys use to sweep up sweat.

Some of his pursuits for loose balls are physical. They look painful. Not that Arcidiacono ever would let on if they were.

“I got a football background. I try to be mentally and physically tough and do whatever it takes to help our team win,” Arcidiacono said. “I don’t want anyone to see when I’m hurting. I think it’s a mindset that my teammates see in me and my opponents see, as well. If they [see] me sluggish, they’ll try to capitalize on that. I try to be mentally tougher and not let them pounce on anything.”

Does anyone wonder why coach Jim Boylen trusts this guy?

Now, whether Arcidiacono landing in the closing rotation for three straight games over players projected to be ahead of him in the rotation is good for the rebuild is a story for another day. (Spoiler alert: It’s probably not.) This story is about a player who moved from a two-way contract, to a non-guaranteed contract, to a guaranteed contract and now an unexpected rotation spot.

“Arch is helluva basketball player,” coach Jim Boylen said. “He’s a smart kid. He’s a tough kid.”

Arcidiacono’s pursuits of loose balls sometimes lead to comical results. In Monday’s loss to the Bucks, he and fellow Villanova product Donte DiVincenzo chased two on one possession.

“The first one, we dove together,” Arcidiacono said. “And then there was one by the bench, and I told him at the free throw line, ‘I wasn’t diving for that one.’ He said, ‘Yeah, neither was I.’

“That first one was good. It reminded me old practices back at Villanova. Donte is such a great athlete and freak competitor.”

Arcidiacono also tied up Giannis Antetokounmpo twice, leading to separate jump ball situations. The 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo won both, obviously, and offered something of a back-handed compliement of the 6-foot-3 Arcidiacono, saying, “he’s the only one from the Bulls that’s going diving for the balls on the floor.”

In a savvy move, Arcidiacono actually tried to pawn the jump ball duties off to a taller teammate. It didn’t work.

“I knew I wasn’t going to win. There aren’t many people I’d win against,” Arcidiacono said. “But I’m still going to be competitive, get on the floor.”

Arcidiacono is shooting 50 percent from 3-point range, leading the Bulls in charges taken and averaging 2.1 assists to just 0.5 turnovers. A costly one in the fourth quarter still irked Arcidiacono well after the fact.

“I’m kicking myself,” he said. “I can’t make those plays.”

Through 14 games, the Bulls have been outscored by a staggering 46 points in the fourth quarter. That’s a big reason why they’re 4-10. And it’s also why Arcidiacono is getting this opportunity. Boylen trusts him.

“Competing, making shots, making good deep-drive decisions, taking charges, diving on loose balls, playing winning basketball,” Boylen said when asked why he’s closing with Arcidiacono. “He makes other people better. We need more of that. And he does it.”

Whether he continues to get the opportunity to make plays — positive and otherwise — in the fourth quarter remains to be seen. Whatever happens, Arcidiacono knows his role and takes the right approach.

“I’ve been trying to knock down shots, get the ball moving and make the simple, solid play[s]. I think our team benefits from that,” he said. “Finding Coby [White] in transition and getting him going a little bit helps us. I try to do all the little things — get on the floor, make those little possessions count.

“I’ll play my heart out for this team and this city and do what’s best for the Bulls. If [Boylen] tells me to play, I’ll play. If he wants me to be on the bench, I’ll cheer on my teammates as best I can.”

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Critics will condemn a team for missing with a draft choice even in the bottom third of the draft. But there’s really few “worst” drafts at No. 22 because it’s so much hit and miss at No. 22 in the draft. It’s rare a team will get an All-Star since there only have been three from the No. 22 slot in almost the last half century. There have been many productive players selected, like Scott Skiles, Kenny Thomas, Jerry Reynolds, Randy Wittman, Chris Mills, Jarrett Jack, Johnny Davis and Courtney Lee. They became starters and often double figure scorers, though not at the All-Star level. The only All-Stars since 1970 selected from No. 22 were Reggie Lewis, Truck Robinson and Norm Nixon. George McGinnis was selected there, but more as a future since he went to the ABA.

Here’s a look at the best and worst No. 22 selections:
Norm Nixon – 1977
Norm Nixon, 1977

Nixon came out of modest Duquesne and went on to be the lead guard for two Lakers championship teams while making an All-Star appearance. He was exceedingly popular, but traded to the then San Diego Clippers for Byron Scott so Magic Johnson could be the primary ball handler for the Lakers. He became an All-Star with the Clippers, but then was injured.
Leonard Robinson – 1974
2. Leonard “Truck” Robinson, 1974

He played for five teams, but twice was an All-Star as one of the most rugged rebounders in the league, leading the league one season with 15.7 rebounds per game while averaging 22.7 points. He followed that with a 24 and 13 season. He played 11 seasons and was all-NBA first team in 1978.
Reggie Lewis – 1987
3. Reggie Lewis, 1987

The high scoring guard from little Northeastern had back to back seasons averaging 20.8 points before his shocking death from heart failure practicing in the summer before the 1993-94 season. He’d had a heart episode in that season’s playoffs. He made one All-Star team and had been considered a Celtics star of the future.
Scott Skiles – 1986
4. Scott Skiles, 1986

The high scoring and rugged Michigan State guard wasn’t doing many redraft workouts since he was in jail. Skiles was on probation from a drug violation when he was arrested for drunk driving. Though Skiles never spoke about it, many at Michigan State say he accepted the drug charge to cover for a teammate. Skiles had a difficult start with the Bucks and Pacers before going to Orlando and becoming one of the league’s top distributing guards and still holds the all-time NBA one-game assists record. He led the NBA in assists in 1993 and was a league Most Improved Player. He went on to coach four teams, including the Bulls.
Johnny Davis – 1976
5. Johnny Davis, 1976

The rookie guard was coming off the bench for the Portland Trailblazers in the 1977 playoffs when Dave Twardzik was injured. Davis moved into the starting lineup and his speed invigorated Portland’s defense and fast break as a key factor in the run to the title. He then went on to a high scoring career after being traded to the Indiana Pacers and has been a longtime NBA coach and assistant.
Jeryl Sasser – 2001
1. Jeryl Sasser, 2001

He played two seasons with Orlando and then overseas without much NBA impact. Later in that draft were four All-Stars with Gerald Wallace at 25, Tony Parker at 28, Gilbert Arenas at 31 and Mehmet Okur at 38. Plus, there were other contributing players like Bobby Simmons from DePaul, Jamaal Tinsley, the Bulls Trenton Hassell and, yes, Brian Scalabrine at No. 35.
Zoran Planinic – 2003
2. Zoran Planinic, 2003

He started overseas, played three unproductive seasons with the Nets and went back overseas. It was a rich harvest of long term rotation players and starters picked afterwards, including Travis Outlaw at 23, Carlos Delfino at 25, Kendrick Perkins at 27, Leandro Barbosa at 28, All-Star Josh Howard at 29, Luke Walton at 32, Zaza Pachulia at 42 and then All-Stars Mo Williams at 47 and Kyle Korver at 51.
Casey Jacobson – 2002
3. Casey Jacobson, 2002

He played four seasons in spot duty with three teams and then overseas. Detroit Pistons playoff star Tayshaun Prince was the next pick in that draft with high scoring John Salmons later in the first round and All-Star Carlos Boozer in the second round.
Marcus Williams – 2006
4. Marcus Williams, 2006

He had a brief NBA run before going overseas for a long stretch. All-Star Kyle Lowry came two picks later and then All-Star Paul Millsap in the second round. Rugged defender P.J. Tucker also was a second round pick.
Clyde Mayes – 1975
5. Clyde Mayes, 1975

He rarely played in the NBA, but had a long career overseas. The next pick was famed scorer and All-Star Lloyd (World B) Free. Another All-Star, Dan Roundfield, went later in the first round. There also was Bobby Gross, a key role player for the Portland championship team and Wilbur Holland, who had a strong run for the Bulls late in the 1970s after being a fifth round pick. Another bad one was 2009 when the Trailblazers selected Victor Claver. Later came Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, Omri Casspi, DeMarre Carroll, Jonas Jerebko, Marcus Thornton, Danny Green, Patty Mills and Patrick Beverley.

I looked at 10 mock drafts for the No. 22 pick, and six had the Bulls selecting Boise State senior small forward Chandler Hutchison. No other player was mentioned more than once. The rumor last month when Hutchison stopped working out for teams was that he received a promise to be picked in the first round. The speculation was that it was the Bulls and it seems most everyone believes that.

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It’s National Left-Hander’s Day and it’s also the offseason, so we decided to rank all 24 lefties that have ever suited up for the Bulls. The list comes via Basketball Reference, so yell at them if we missed anyone.

24. Willie Smith, PG, 1976-77

Bulls stats: 2 games, 11 total minutes, 1 foul, 0-1 FG

The Bulls made Smith the first pick of the second round of the 1976 NBA Draft, but he wound up appearing in just two games totaling 11 minutes. He made stops in Indiana, Portland and Cleveland in his four-year NBA career.

23. Randy Holcomb, SF, 2005-06

Bulls stats: 4 games, 11 total minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 2 fouls, 1-1 FG

A Chicago native, Holcomb signed a 10-day contract with the Bulls in January 2006 and appeared in four games for the Bulls. He made his only shot in a win over the Grizzlies and finished his NBA career with a perfect 1.000% field goal percentage.

22. Billy McKinney, PG, 1985-86

Bulls stats: 9 games, 9.2 minutes, 2.4 points, 1.4 assists, 0.3 steals

Another Chicago native, McKinney finished his seven-year NBA career with nine brief appearances for the Bulls. He was nicknamed The Crazed Hummingbird, which just seems like an unnecessary mouthful.

21. Lawrence Funderburke, PF, 2004-05

Bulls stats: 2 games, 10.5 minutes, 4.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 3-6 FG

There was a time when Achilles tears had an undefeated record – their win percentage is still pretty darn good – and Lawrence Funderburke can tell you why. The longtime Sacramento Kings backup power forward tore his Achilles in 2003 and missed the entire 2003-04 season. He attempted a comeback with the Bulls but appeared in two late April games and played sparingly in five postseason games. He retired that June.

20. Kay Felder, PG, 2017-18

Bulls stats: 14 games, 9.6 minutes, 3.9 points, 1.4 assists, 30.3% FG

Felder was part of the Bulls’ point guard carousel in 2017-18, logging solid rotational minutes in October and early November before eventually fading out and spending the majority of the year with Windy City. He was waived in December, played two games for the Pistons and never made it back to the league.

19. Mike Holton, SG, 1985-86

Bulls stats: 24 games, 18.6 minutes, 7.1 points, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 47.1% FG

Holton was signed to two 10-day contracts in February 1986 and then signed through the rest of the season, seeing big minutes off the bench and shooting a solid 47.1% from the field.

18. Shaler Halimon, SF, 1969-1971

Bulls stats: 40 games, 13.5 minutes, 6.1 points, 1.8 assists, 38.5% FG

Halimon’s paltry numbers aside, he’ll be remembered as being part of the deal that brought Chet Walker to the Bulls in 1969. That trade worked out for the Bulls, and they wound up getting a second-round pick for Halimon when they dealt him to Portland in 1971.

17. Rick Brunson, PG, 2002-2004

Bulls stats: 54 games, 11.1 minutes, 3.2 points, 2.1 assists, 0.6 steals, 40.4% FG

Brunson had two different stints with the Bulls, first signing in Chicago to backup No. 2 pick Jay Williams and two years later coming in a trade with the Raptors for Roger Mason. Brunson was a backup behind rookie Kirk Hinrich. His son, Jalen, is now a reserve for the Dallas Mavericks after winning a college title at Villanova.

16. Adrian Griffin, PF, 2004-05, 2006-2008

Bulls stats: 145 games, 10.2 minutes, 2.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 40.9% FG

Griffin, better known for his time as a Tom Thibodeau assistant in Chicago, actually came to the Bulls in 2004 in a deal that sent Dikembe Mutombo to the Houston Rockets. Yes, Mutombo was with the Bulls from August 2004 to September 2004. Griffin signed with the Bulls as a free agent in 2006, too, and was part of the wild 3-team deal that sent Ben Wallace to the Cavaliers. How many guys can say they were involved in trades for two Hall of Fame centers?

15. Cameron Payne, PG, 2016-2019

Bulls stats: 67 games, 18.8 minutes, 6.7 points, 3.1 assists, 0.9 3-pointers, 39.7% FG

Payne unfairly became the punching bag for the Bulls in their early rebuilding years. No, he rarely contributed, but he was nowhere near the top of the list on things going wrong for the Bulls during that time. We’ll never forget his seven 3-pointer performance against the Hornets last October.

14. Walt Lemon, PG, 2018-19

Bulls stats: 6 games, 27.8 minutes, 14.3 points, 5.0 assists, 1.8 steals

One of the league’s best stories last season, Lemon posted some remarkable lines in April, leading the Bulls in scoring three of the team’s last six games. He could get another shot in the NBA after his strong finish, but at the very worst will be a solid G-League contributor.

13. Travis Best, PG, 2001-02

Bulls stats: 30 games, 9.3 points, 5.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 44.1% FG

Best was the *other* guy the Bulls acquired in the deal that netted them Jalen Rose (more on that lefty later). It sent Ron Artest, Ron Mercer and Brad Miller to the Pacers, while Best posted some solid numbers in a starting role for the Bulls before hitting free agency.

12. Greg Anthony, PG, 2001-02

Bulls stats: 36 games, 26.7 minutes, 8.4 points, 5.6 assists, 1.4 steals

The Bulls sent a second-round pick to Portland for Anthony, who started 35 games for the Bulls before they waived him in March. He latched on with the Bucks four days later, appearing in 24 games for Milwaukee to finish out his 11-year NBA career.

11. Othella Harrington, PF, 2004-2006

Bulls stats: 142 games, 14.8 minutes, 6.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 50.5% FG

Harrington’s numbers were never anything special, but he gets a bump here for longevity and for starting all six games of the Bulls’ 2006 playoff series against the Washington Wizards. Fun fact: He, like Griffin, was also part of the Mutombo trade, coming to the Bulls from New York.

10. Shaq Harrison, SF, 2018-19

Bulls stats: 73 games, 19.6 minutes, 6.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 43.2% FG

Harrison has only been with the Bulls for one season, but he sure made it count. He was analytically one of the best defenders in the NBA and was a reliable fixture in the rotation for a Bulls team that dealt with myriad injuries. OK, and he cracked the top-10 because this author loves him.

9. Jack Marin, SF, 1975-1977

Bulls stats: 121 games, 20.7 minutes, 6.8 points, 1.7 rebounds, 43.5% FG

Marin was never the All-Star in Chicago that he was in Baltimore and Houston, but he still strung together two nice seasons in the Windy City to end a successful 11-year NBA career.

8. Bison Dele, C, 1996-97

Bulls stats: 19 games, 17.7 minutes, 6.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 48.1% FG

Those stats above are from Dele’s postseason with the Bulls, when he proved to be a valuable asset off the bench for the eventual champions. He arrived in Chicago in April of the regular season but hit the ground running in the postseason. He gets the bump all the way up to No. 8 because of it.

7. Stacey King, PF, 1989-1994

Bulls stats: 344 games, 17.0 minutes, 6.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 48.1% FG

Gimme the hot sauce! King spent 4.5 seasons with the Bulls after they made him the sixth overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft. King played sparingly on a deep Bulls team but played a part in the franchise’s first 3-peat. He, of course, is now the color commentator for the Bulls on NBC Sports Chicago.

6. Wilbur Holland, SG, 1976-1979

Bulls stats: 243 games, 32.2 minutes, 14.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.9 steals

An obscure name on the list, but warranted at this spot. Holland averaged just 5.8 points as a rookie for the Atlanta Hawks and was waived at the end of the year. The fifth-round pick was signed by the Bulls and flourished, averaging 14.7 points over a three-year span.

5. Bob Weiss, SG, 1968-1974

Bulls stats: 469 games, 26.1 minutes, 9.5 points, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals

No lefty has played more games for the Bulls than Weiss, who didn’t miss a single game from 1969 to 1973. His numbers never jumped off the page but he was reliable and three different times ranked in the top-20 in assists per game.

4. Jalen Rose, SF, 2001-2004

Bulls stats: 128 games, 39.8 minutes, 21.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 3-pointers

Rose’s time in Chicago overlapped with some of the darkest days in the franchise’s history, but he was one of the lone bright spots. He has arguably the best per-game numbers this list, even if they came in just a three-year span. Plus, the Bulls dealt him to the Raptors in December 2003. Three years later Kobe gave him 81. This lefty was part of history.

3. Guy Rodgers, PG, 1966-67

Bulls stats: 85 games, 37.6 minutes, 17.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 11.0 assists

One of two Bulls All-Stars on this list, Rodgers came to Chicago for the franchise’s inaugural season and averaged 18.0 points and an NBA-best 11.2 assists. At the time, the 908 assists he handed out were an NBA record. The following year the Bulls dealt Rodgers to the Cincinnati Royals, where he played alongside Oscar Robertson. Fun fact: Rodgers had 20 assists during Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, which at the time tied an NBA record.

2. Toni Kukoc, SF, 1993-2000

Bulls stats: 436 games, 29.5 minutes, 14.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.1 steals

The ultimate Sixth Man and a critical piece to the Bulls’ second 3-peat, Kukoc is more than worthy of the No. 2 spot here. Kukoc’s versatility and ability to play all five positions gave Phil Jackson plenty of options on the second unit. His Sixth Man of the Year award was the first in Bulls history – Ben Gordon won it later in 2005 – and he’s the last player to win the award and an NBA championship in the same season. He’s top-10 in Bulls history in 3-pointers, assists and steals.

1.Artis Gilmore, C, 1976-1982, 1987-88

Bulls stats: 482 games, 34.8 minutes, 19.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 58.7% FG

The greatest center in Bulls history was a wrecking ball inside, averaging 19.3 points on 58.7% shooting in seven seasons. He was an All-Star four times, led the NBA in field goal percentage twice and led the Bulls to a pair of playoff appearances. He entered the Hall of Fame in 2011 and will remain the greatest lefty in Bulls history…until Zion Williamson signs in Chicago in seven years.

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Carmelo Anthony can’t recall another a 10-block game like Trail Blazers teammate Hassan Whiteside had against the Bulls.

Anthony had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Blazers downed Chicago 107-103 on Friday night for their second victory over the Bulls this week. But Whiteside stole the show with eight points, 15 rebounds and a franchise-record 10 blocks for Portland. It was most in the NBA this season.

“Never seen that before, and I’ve played with some great shot blockers,” Anthony said. “Tyson Chandler was a great shot blocker, Marcus Camby was a great shot blocker. I’ve never seen a guy with 10 blocks in a game.”

Damian Lillard added 28 points, including 10 in the final quarter, for the Blazers, who have won three straight after four consecutive losses.

The Blazers led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter, but the Bulls pulled within 85-84 in the final period. CJ McCollum stalled the rally with a 3-pointer for Portland.

Anthony’s 3 made it 91-84 with 7:28 left and he held up three fingers for the cheering Moda Center crowd as the Bulls called a timeout.

Lauri Markkanen’s 3 closed the gap for Chicago to 93-92. Lillard answered with his own 3 to again hold off the Bulls. After Zach LaVine’s corner 3 with 31.7 seconds left narrowed it to 105-103, Whiteside tipped in Lillard’s shot for the win.
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Carmelo Anthony, who scored 23 points, goes up for a shot during the Trail Blazers’ 107-103 win over the Bulls on Friday night.
Carmelo Anthony, who scored 23 points, goes up for a shot during the Trail Blazers’ 107-103 win over the Bulls on Friday night.NBAE via Getty Images

“I told the guys, I’m insurance now. When they go up for a layup, I’m going to be there. I might not get them all, I know a lot of people want me to get every single one, but I’m going to do my best job to get a lot of them,” Whiteside said about his blocks.

LaVine finished with 28 for the slumping Bulls, who have lost seven of their last nine games.

This was a frustrating one, very winnable,” LaVine said. “We were battling. Dame did what he did in the fourth quarter, turned it up to another level.”

The Blazers have been boosted by the recent signing of Anthony, who scored 25 points in Portland’s 117-94 victory over the Bulls in Chicago on Monday.

The Blazers acquired the 10-time All-Star to shore up the frontcourt and help the team overcome a slow start after going to the Western Conference finals last season. The deal was official Nov. 19.

Between the two games against the Bulls, the Blazers defeated Oklahoma City 136-119 on Wednesday night.

The Bulls fell to the injury-addled Golden State Warriors 104-90 on Wednesday at the new Chase Center to open a three-game road trip.

Tomas Satoransky was a game-time decision for the Bulls with a left toe bruise, but started. Ryan Arcidiacono, who has been slowed by a right elbow strain, also played.

Coby White’s layup put the Bulls up 28-22 near the end of the first quarter but neither team was able to reach a double-digit margin in the first half. Lillard’s layup gave Portland a 49-43 lead late in the opening half and the Blazers went into the break ahead 53-47.

LaVine led all scorers with 18 points at the half, but four of the Blazers starters were in double figures, including Anthony.

Whiteside had collected seven blocks by early in the third quarter, but he also picked up four personal fouls.

The Bulls pulled within 57-56 on Satoransky’s 3-pointer, but Lillard came back with a 3 for Portland. The Blazers went up 72-60 midway through the third quarter on McCollum’s 3-pointer as they appeared to pull away.

But White’s 3-pointer narrowed the gap to 79-76 and the Bulls rallied to within three points heading into the fourth quarter.

“This loss hurts, this is a painful loss, every loss these guys take hurts,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “This was a hard-fought game, give them credit.”