Chapter 24: The arrival of Pippen and Grant
3 seasons after entering the NBA, Michael Jordan had broken nearly every Bulls scoring record. He scored over 3000 points in a single season, scored 40+ points for 9 games straight, scored 23 points in a row, and scored a playoff record 63 points against the Celtics at the Boston Garden. But despite his spectacular performances, the Chicago Bulls still could not find a way to get past the first round of the playoffs. Clearly, Michael Jordan could not do it all alone, he needed some help. And luckily for Chicago, they had 2 first round picks in the 1987 NBA draft with which to change their fortunes.
The Bull’s first target was Scottie Pippen, a little known player from central Arkansas. Pippen was actually drafted by the Seattle Supersonics with the 5th overall pick. But Chicago quickly acquired Pippen in exchange for their first round pick Oden Polynice and future draft picks. This goes down IMO as one of the best trades in NBA history.
Here’s the video of Pippen being drafted. Interestingly, you can hear some boos as Pippen’s name is announced.
With Pippen securing the small forward position, the Bulls used their 10th pick in the draft to select power forward Horace Grant from Clemson. Grant provided Chicago with some much needed size down in the post.
Here’s Horace Grant being drafted
Chicago came out of the draft a much improved team. Bolstered by the two talented rookies, the Bulls now had a lineup that could match the top teams in the league. It was a good way to start what would turn out to be a memorable season.