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
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Forward. 2004-2014. Luol Deng. 15. player. 24.

Some teams take on the identity of a star player, serving as the ensemble band behind a lead singer. Others take on the identity of a city or area, leading out for communities that have experienced tragedy or hardships. For some, it is the identity of a coach that becomes the identity of the team.

Such was the case for the Chicago Bulls in the early ‘10s.

Tom Thibodeau, fresh off a title with the Boston Celtics, came to the Bulls to instill a modern and merciless defense. Along with it, he brought his intensity and rough tone. Joakim Noah was the anchor inside for the defense and the team’s identity, and Luol Deng was the do-it-all wing.

Offensively, Deng was at times the top option for the Bulls, dating back to 2004 when he joined the team.

Under Thibodeau, he became its defensive star, a lockdown wing able to match up against the elite forwards dotting the league. Deng was never elite in steals, blocks or rebounds but he had no weaknesses.

He played an insane number of minutes each night and played every minute with the same intensity as his coach.

By the end of his ten years on the Bulls Deng had racked up 32.7 defensive win shares, the fourth-most all-time for a Chicago player. He made the All-Defensive Second Team in 2012, and the Thibodeau-Deng pairing produced the best defense in the league for two consecutive years. Deng was not an all-time level defender, but his contributions were solid.