Ranking the Chicago Bulls' 6 Championships
The NBA is ruled by dynasties, teams that come to own a decade and shape the narrative around the league. In the 1950s, it was the Minneapolis Lakers, the 60s was ruled by the Boston Celtics, the 70s, coincidentally, is the forgotten decade of the league and also had no team or teams that were the signature draws at that time.
In the 80s, Boston and Los Angeles Lakers revitalized the league, winning eight titles between them, the 2000s were ruled by the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs as they won seven titles, and now LeBron James-led teams and the Golden State Warriors are coming to define this decade, already winning five of the eight titles.
This post will look at the dynasty of the 90s, the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen led Chicago Bulls, who captured six titles in the 10 years of the decade. They lorded over the NBA, winning with a form of creeping inevitability, so much so that people argue they would have won eight straight titles if Jordan didn't play baseball for 18 months.
Jordan alone was a singular dominant force, but him, combined with jack of all trades Pippen and head coach Phil Jackson, the team morphed into something the league might never see again.
#6 1992-1993 57-25 record, 15-4 in the playoffs, defeated Phoenix 4-2
The last title in the Bulls first three-peat reeked of tired legs and a team just waiting for the Playoffs to start. They were 2nd in the East behind the New York Knicks and 3rd in the league overall, while having "just" the 4th best-expected win total. They were 2nd in the league in offense, and a telltale sign of fatigue was their ranking in defensive efficiency - 7th. Luckily for them, they still boasted the best player in the game, the best coach, and another top 10 player, who had been together for five years at this point.
This team played at the slowest pace in the league, allowing Jordan and Pippen to exert their will with maximum effort on each possession. Their center position was particularly weak, as they toggled between an old Bill Cartwright and statuesque Will Perdue, who no doubt contributed to their drop in defensive efficiency. However, with wing defenders like Jordan and Pippen, they still had the ability to terrorize opposing offenses when the time came to ramp up the defensive pressure.
Once the playoffs started, you could see the boredom wear off as they ratcheted up the intensity and proceed to rip off a 15-4 record en route to the title. They did face a few hiccups as the competition increased, losing the first two games in the Eastern Conference Finals vs the Knicks, before thwarting the upset and ripping off four straight wins.
In the Finals, they would only win one home game and actually get outscored by the Suns, but they had the ultimate trump card in Jordan, who averaged 41 points for the series and found John Paxson for the series-clinching jumper on the Suns home floor.