Most consider the number seven to be lucky. For Chicago Bulls fans, though, it is quickly becoming a damning mark of stagnation.
Typically, when a rebuilding team lands a top-10 draft slot, it’s viewed as a good thing. That organization is typically believed to be in prime position to add a premium talent, likely at a position that needs it most. Well, the Chicago Bulls are anything but typical. In their unique situation, the possibility of them landing the seventh overall selection might incite a riot.
Should they actually get said draft spot, it would mark the third consecutive year they have done so. It would also be their fourth consecutive Bulls rookie to come from that slot. Lauri Markkanen‘s selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves is often (understandably) attributed to the Bulls, but he was indeed drafted by another team.
Even given that though, the Bulls are entering some intriguing territory possibly picking seventh again. So let’s look at some numbers that count about the seventh overall selection
2020’s NBA Draft will be the 74th edition of the event. Since 1947 (yup, pre-merger) the NBA has been selecting its next generation of stars in this fashion and already we are seeing the number seven make numerous appearances. Of course, most of these had no impact on the Bulls. It’s still worth noting how long it’s been going.
Over the years, that draft slot has produced several Hall of Fame players. There have been six taken seventh overall since 1949 (going back to the old BAA). Dick McGuire, George Yardley, John Havlicek, Pat Riley, Bernard King, Chris Mullin. That’s a good list, but it is still quite short. Of course, that’s just counting the players already inducted, not those on track to make it one day.
If you know you know. This is the year the Golden State Warriors broke ground on their dynasty. They not only changed their own trajectory by selecting Stephen Curry out of Dayton, but they also helped shape the NBA into the wide-open, pace and space style that we see today. Not everyone is a fan of this style so whether or not that is appreciated is up to you, the reader.
Now, the Bulls were well out of range for Curry. They picked 16th that year and came away with forward James Johnson. Johnson didn’t really blossom until 2016 with the Miami Heat; two teams removed from his Bulls career. And useful is a far cry from the surefire Hall of Fame status of Curry.
The Bulls have selected a player in the seventh slot of the draft five times over their 54-year existence. Quintin Dailey was the first, selected in the 1982 draft, and he played the first four of his 10 years in Chicago. 18 years later came Chris Mihm, though he never suited up for the Bulls. The Captain, Kirk Hinrich, was taken in 2003 as a foundational piece of the Baby Bulls.
It would be another 15 years before the Bulls selected in the seventh slot. Enter Wendell Carter, the big man out of Duke. He was joined a year later by rookie Coby White. Now you may have noticed that asterisk. That’s because the number doesn’t include seventh-overall picks that were drafted by other teams but still found their way to the Madhouse on Madison.
Hey, a bonus number that counts! As mentioned above, not every seventh-overall pick to play for the Bulls was selected by them. In fact, those have been some of the most significant contributors. And the unique bit of history dates all the way back to the first three-peat that began in 1993.
Luc Longley spent his first two-plus seasons with the Timberwolves there before being swapped for Stacey King. Richard Hamilton, a three-time All-Star, won a title with the Detroit Pistons. His Bulls career wasn’t so hot. Luol Deng was another member of the Baby Bulls and just retired last year. And, most recently, The Finnisher.
Some for the Road
The Bulls are tied for second with the Boston Celtics for the most selections at seven with five. They trail the Sacramento Kings who have picked seventh six times since 1990! Other notable players who were taken seventh include Bobby Hurley, Damon Stoudamire, Jason Williams, Nene.
All in all, if the season is indeed over, the entire gambit of career outcomes is available to their soon-to-be quartet of seventh overall picks. So there’s absolutely no reason to think they couldn’t all be Hall of Famers someday. Unless, of course, you have actually watched the Bulls over the last couple of seasons.