Chicago Bulls: 15 best defenders of all-time

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bulls
Bulls guard Norm Van Lier drives past Bucks center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. /

1971-1978. Norm Van Lier. 7. player. 24. . Point Guard

Finding two-way players at the point guard position has always been difficult, as the very best offensive options are often poor defenders and the very best defenders leave much to be desired on offense.

In Norm Van Lier, the Chicago Bulls of the 1970s had both sides of the coin.

A talented scorer and distributor, Van Lier averaged 12 points and 7 assists per game during his seven seasons in Chicago. On defense he truly made his impact, a true ballhawk who would hound opposing ball-handlers into turnovers and ill-conceived shots.

Playing ahead of a backline of Tom Boerwinkle and Bob Love allowed Van Lier to play with more aggression, and he followed through with gaudy steal totals. If swipes were tallied for his entire career he would likely rank third all-time in franchise history in steals. As it is he ranks 5th in steals per game and fourth in total steals.

Unlike his teammate Boerwinkle at the pivot, Van Lier’s defensive impact was well-recognized by the basketball community. In seven seasons with the Bulls he was named to the All-Defensive First Team three times and the second team four times. Van Lier was a very popular player among fans, and went on to stay with the team as a broadcaster for a number of years.