Chicago Bulls Rewind: Promising “Baby-Bulls” 2004-05 team

(Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images)
(Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images) /

The early 2000’s saw a then-potential developing giant in the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Bulls and talents like Luol Deng and Ben Gordon.

The recent history of the Chicago Bulls wasn’t a bright spot for the fan base as we’re now entering the third year of the rebuild behind John Paxson and Gar Forman. A Bulls rebuild brought two bottom four finishes in the Eastern Conference standings in a row to the Windy City. Yet, GarPax is sticking with the status quo and trying to pull off one of the biggest rebuilds for this team since the Baby Bulls of the early-to-mid 2000’s.

That young Chicago Bulls squad, also known as the “Baby-Bulls”, first started gaining a lot of steam during the 2004-05 regular season. That Bulls team was led by the trio of youngsters that encompassed point guard Kirk Hinrich, shooting guard Ben Gordon, and forward Luol Deng. Gordon and Deng were both rookies that season and Hinrich was entering his sophomore year in the NBA.

Another young player that also had a bright future ahead for the Bulls that was on the 2004-05 roster was a 22-year-old big man Tyson Chandler. That season, Chandler posted the top player efficiency rating on the team, at 16.4, and the most win shares, at 8.3.

The core that included Hinrich, Deng, Gordon, and Chandler was one of the best young groups in the NBA at the time and led the Bulls to a record of 47-35. Although that regular season record landed the Bulls as the four seed in the playoffs in the East, they were ousted in the first round in six games by the Washington Wizards.

Former Chicago Bulls head coach Scott Skiles led his team to its first appearance in the NBA Playoffs since all-time great shooting guard Michael Jordan left town in 1998. The Bulls would then go onto winning more than 40 games in three consecutive seasons and making the playoffs each of those years.

However, what kept this Bulls core from reaching its true potential was the lack of a developing superstar that could keep up in the rising East. As a result, the Bulls would fall into mediocrity until the eventual face of the franchise was selected with the first overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, former Memphis Tigers All-American point guard Derrick Rose.

Nonetheless, this was still a fun Bulls team that made two good runs in the mid-2000’s. The Bulls landed the four seed in the 2005 NBA Playoffs and the five seed in 2007. That 2007 squad would eventually make a spirited run to the second round of the playoffs in the East before getting knocked off in six games by the vaunted Detroit Pistons. In 2007, the Bulls swept the Miami Heat in the first round.

Next. Former Bulls Point Guards: Where are they now?. dark

A few extra accolades that the Chicago Bulls were able to add in 2004-05 with this young core included the Sixth Man of the Year Award to Gordon and numerous contestants in the 2005 Rising Stars Challenge. Hinrich played for the sophomore team in the Rising Stars Challenge and Gordon and Deng competed for the freshman team.