Joakim Noah names his controversial all-time Chicago Bulls starting 5

Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

While six years have already passed since he last suited up in the red and white, Joakim Noah has still managed to endear himself to fans and has become forever engrained in the team’s culture with his great play and even greater personality. Noah was the face of Chicago Bulls basketball during the 2010s, so it’s great to see the former star is still taking such an interest in the franchise.

NBA France recently shared a video in which the Bulls’ team ambassador appeared to be enjoying retirement, pondering the question of just who exactly deserves to be on the Bulls’ all-time starting 5 lineup. However, not everyone would find his list agreeable.

Perhaps most surprising of all, Noah excluded himself from the list. It takes a certain level of supreme confidence to achieve success at the NBA level, so no one would blame Noah if he felt he deserved to be on such a list.

He has the resume to back it up as well, as he ranks seventh in franchise history in win shares and is one of only two Bulls players to ever lay claim to the Defensive Player of the Year Award. With so many legendary players decorating the annals of Bulls basketball history, however, it would be difficult for Noah to make a wrong list regardless of his choices.

Joakim Noah surprised many fans with his controversial take on who would be on the Chicago Bulls’ all-time starting lineup

Point Guard – Derrick Rose

  • 2011 MVP
  • 2009 Rookie of the Year
  • 1x All-NBA
  • 3x All-Star
  • 31.4 Win Shares

As should be expected, Noah kicked things off by selecting former superstar teammate Derrick Rose. Not only is Rose arguably the most beloved player in Bulls history, but he’s also one of only two players to ever bring the MVP award home to Chicago. He may have never been able to reach his true peak, but he’s still easily the best point guard to have ever played for the Bulls.

Shooting Guard – Michael Jordan

  • 6x NBA Champion
  • 5x MVP
  • 6x Finals MVP
  • 1985 Rookie of the Year
  • 1988 Defensive Player of the Year
  • 10x Scoring Champion
  • 3x Steals Champion
  • 11x All-NBA
  • 14x All-Star
  • 9x All-Defensive Team
  • 204.5 Win Shares (1st)

There’s nothing that can be said about Michael Jordan’s greatness that hasn’t already been said. Not only is he the best shooting guard in Bulls’ history, but he’s also the greatest player in NBA history, period. This is and always will be his spot (I’m sorry Jimmy Butler, an honorable mention will have to suffice).

Small Forward – Scottie Pippen

  • 6x NBA Champion
  • 1x Steals Champion
  • 7x All-NBA
  • 7x All-Star
  • 10x All-Defensive Team
  • 99.7 Win Shares (2nd)

Robin to MJ’s Batman, Scottie Pippen’s impact in Chicago has always been overshadowed to varying degrees. However, his own personal accomplishments are nothing to scoff at, as Pippen decisively holds the title of second-best player in Bulls history. This goes down as another easy choice, despite fellow small forward Chet Walker coming in at third in total win shares.

Power Forward – Luol Deng

  • 2x All-Star
  • 1x All-Defensive Team
  • 58.4 Win Shares (6th)

Don’t let Luol Deng’s relatively small resume fool you, he is undoubtedly one of the best players to ever play for the Bulls and was also an integral piece during the Rose and Noah era. Without him, that team is never going toe-to-toe with LeBron James in pursuit of a championship. Deng comes in at sixth in all-time win shares for the Bulls, but he’s still not a clear choice here.

Horace Grant edges Deng out in win shares, while also boasting four championship rings and four All-Defensive Team selections. While his tenure in Chicago was significantly shorter, it’s hard to deny Dennis Rodman’s supreme talent and importance to the Bulls in the late 90s.

Noah is likely just showing love to his former teammate here, but Deng likely tops out as a top-10 player in Bulls history ⁠— just shy of the starting 5. Grant is the right pick here if you value legacy over everything, but Rodman takes the cake if we’re purely evaluating each player’s peak performance.

Center – Luc Longley

  • 3x NBA Champion
  • 13.1 Win Shares

This is where I’m going to have to draw the line and disagree with Noah. Luc Longley played a big role on three championship teams, sure, but there have been better centers in Chicago’s franchise history. Starting with, uh … Noah himself?

Noah racked up a DPOY Award, an All-NBA selection, three All-Defensive Team nominations, and a pair of All-Star appearances in nine seasons with the Bulls. Artis Gilmore is also worth consideration here, considering he racked up the fourth-most win shares in team history despite only playing for the Bulls for six seasons.

I’d personally put Noah here in this slot. His energy and intense presence down low would mesh incredibly well in this hypothetical crossover team-up with MJ and Pippen. He may not believe himself worthy of being mentioned among these legends, but whether he knows it or not, Bulls fans around the world already remember him as one.

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