The Bulls started to make their way to the playoffs when they were first established and joined the NBA, but didn’t win a trophy until the turn of the 20th century, marked by the arrival of Michael Jordan. In the 2021/2022 season Billy Donovan leads the team and Jerry Reinsdorf owns the franchise.
Periods of decline
Due to the small number of teams in the league at the start of their performances, the Bulls made it to the elimination stage in eight out of nine seasons, but were regularly eliminated in either the semifinal round or the final playoff stage. The worst season for the team in the 20th century was 75/76.
In the previous playoffs the team reached the conference finals, but the following season one of the franchise leaders Nate Thurmont unexpectedly dropped out. Jerry Sloan played in only 22 games, which was enough for the team to fall apart. Chicago finished with a 24-58 record, Dick Motta left the team, and the team decided to go into a rebuild.
The Bulls’ second straight losing streak came at the end of the century. Michael Jordan left the team for good and in total Kukoc and company produced only 45 wins in the next three seasons after the departure of “His Airiness”. The reason for the failure did not lie only in Jordan’s departure. Phil Jackson, who had won two triplets with the Bulls, left with the best player of the 20th century. Chicago’s triangle offense fell apart, their remaining leaders finally came of age and the team collapsed on the free agent market.
The end of the second decade of the 21st century was also unfortunate for Chicago. Fred Hoiberg and Jim Boylen failed to cope with the team’s young core and were alternately retired. Zach LaVine had not yet reached his peak, while Lauri Markannen and Wendell Carter Junior, who later left the team, were at odds with the head coach. The 19/20 season ranked the team in the top 5 of the league’s worst offense and worst defense.
Periods of prosperity
Chicago’s main heyday period goes side by side with Michael Jordan. Phil Jackson, who joined the team in ’89/’90, started to develop a triangle offense with Michael as its cornerstone. In his first season under Jackson, the Bulls lost in the Conference Finals, but went on to win every NBA Finals contested by Chicago. His first tripe came in the 90/91, 91/92 and 92/93 seasons, when Michael was twice voted the league’s best player.
It wasn’t until two years later that “His Air” returned to the squad. The downtime was due to Jordan’s mental problems. Having recovered from his addiction, Michael came to the revamped Dennis Rodman Bulls, with whom they posted a 72-10 regular-season record. It was also Chicago’s best in franchise history. Jordan left Chicago for good after his second triple-double in ’95-’96, ’96-’97 and ’97-’98. Following him, Jackson left as well.
And while Michael came to the team only under the third pick, in 2008 Chicago already took Memphis College’s Derrick Rose under the first pick. The young point guard led the Bulls to the playoffs in a flash, and Tom Thibodeau’s team made it to the conference finals in 2010-2011. Derrick suffered a torn cruciate ligament in his knee in 2012 and took a long time to recover, ending the team’s heyday.