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
Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images /

Bob Love. 13. player. 24. . Forward. 1968-1976

The Chicago Bulls have three eras of defensive dominance throughout their history. Most recently Tom Thibodeau barked the Bulls to defensive greatness behind Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. The 1990s saw Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen fly around the court in a defensive whirlwind. Less well known are the stout teams of the early 1970s, anchored by the frontcourt of Tom Boerwinkle and Bob Love.

Love’s impact defensively is not well documented because blocks and steals were not tallied for much of his career. Yet, the proof is in the pudding, as the Bulls were one of the league’s best defensive teams for a stretch of five straight seasons from 1970-1975.

Chet Walker was the offensive star of those teams, but he was anything but a defensive stalwart. The Bulls surrounded him with strong defenders (stay tuned) including Love. Three times he made the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team, a recognition of his two-way impact.

In the smaller NBA of the early 70s, Love and the Bulls were a perennial playoff fixture, never reaching the NBA Finals but making it to the Western Conference Finals twice under head coach Dick Motta. Love was not those teams’ best defender, but he was an important one to be sure.