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 Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images /

Power Forward. 1987-1994. Horace Grant. 12. player. 24.

The most well-known characters of the Chicago Bulls teams that fought through the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons to finally take the crown of the Eastern Conference (and the world) are of course Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

Yet, with the slow Bill Cartwright manning the middle for those teams, it was the defense of Horace Grant who may have helped those teams get over the hump and into their cycle of success.

The 6-10 forward played seven seasons with Chicago, serving as a competent third-option offensively and defensively. By the end of his time with the Bulls, he had racked up over 62.4 win shares, fifth in team history. A significant portion of those came from the defensive side, where he was a strong yet mobile big man for the Bulls.

The former first-round pick for Chicago began making an impact early, becoming a full-time starter by his second year in the league.

He was never a player to rack up stats — his highest scoring average was 15.1 points-per-game in 1994 when Jordan retired for the first time — and he never led the league in rebounds, steals or blocks.

He also didn’t neglect any of those categories often used to evaluate defense. He averaged over a block and a steal per game while in a Bulls uniform, and his 18 percent defensive rebounding rate was solid.

Twice, he made an All-Defensive team, in 1993 and 1994, a high task as two of his teammates were racking up the same honors. Grant’s work down low for those Bulls teams allowed Pippen and Jordan to terrorize opponents on the perimeter, and that combination worked for three consecutive titles.