Most educated basketball fans, especially modern ones, steadfastly agree that Michael Jordan is the greatest player in basketball history. His six NBA championships and six NBA Finals MVP awards, give Jordan backers a lot of fodder for their argument.
One of the knocks on Jordan during the early part of his career was that he was a great scorer, but he didn’t make his teammates better. However, after leading the Bulls to the precipice of the NBA multiple times and turning them into the premier franchise in the association, that argument was eventually squashed.
There are numerous players that were spectacular with the Bulls and their careers were helped immeasurably by playing alongside Michael Jordan. Players like Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Luc Longley, Bill Cartwright, Steve Kerr and John Paxson owe a lifetime worth of gratitude to Jordan for being attached to his star.
But, not all of Jordan’s teammates made the most of their time playing with the UNC legend. In fact, some of the rosters he played on when joining the Bulls in 1984 were bereft of talent. The same can be said about the rosters Michael constructed while he was the player/president for the Washington Wizards beginning in the Summer of 2001.
This list is a compilation of the worst players that were ever teammates of Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Some are on this list because they were bad players, some because they were bad people and others because they made bad life choices. But, regardless of why they’re on this list, they were the worst of Jordan’s teammates throughout his illustrious career.
15. Quintin Dailey
The quick to “pull the trigger” shooting guard was known as ‘Q’ by his teammates, but Chicago Bulls fans called him, “San Quintin.” The Bulls drafted Quintin Dailey four days after he pleaded guilty to sexual assault in 1983 stemming from an incident at the University of San Francisco the previous year. Dailey was part of the hard partying Bulls team that irked Michael Jordan when he arrived in 1984. Dailey never did get his act together as he was suspended twice for drug violations in his career and is remembered most for having a ball boy bring him food during a game versus the Spurs in 1985. He downed a slice of pizza, a hot dog and a soft drink while coach Kevin Loughery looked on in disgust.
14. Orlando Woolridge
“O’ was another Bulls player with a letter as a nickname and a propensity to shoot too much. But, scoring was about all that Orlando Woolridge did. The one-dimensional player was also part of the hard partying Bulls before Jordan arrived on the scene, but he wasn’t busted for drugs until later in his career when he was with the New Jersey Nets. Woolridge may not have been an all-around player, as his 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game career averages would indicate, but at least he was a vicious dunker. He was a participant in the 1984 and 1985 contests.
13. Charles Oakley
One of Michael Jordan’s most overrated teammates was power forward Charles Oakley. The stout rebounder from Virginia Union may have been dominant on the boards, but he hurt the Bulls almost as much as he helped. Even though he secured the most rebounds in the NBA twice with the Bulls, he also was a ball hog who took way too many poor shots. Oakley routinely took 20+ foot jump shots that clanked off the rim instead of battling for points near the basket. His poor shot selection and high turnover rate were big factors in why the Bulls traded him for awkward center Bill Cartwright. That trade turned the Bulls into the immediate heir apparent to the then mighty Pistons.
12. Jeff Sanders
While the contributions of Charles Oakley have been overrated, the contributions from Jeff Sanders were non existent. Sanders earned the nickname ‘Sleepy’ by always appearing to be a little bit out of it and his resemblance to the dwarf with the same name. The 1989 first round selection was supposed to give the Bulls a power forward with the athleticism of a small forward, instead they got a guy they would trade for a conditional second round draft pick to the Heat that they never used. Sleepy Sanders was a whole lot of nothing for the Bulls and his teammate Michael Jordan.
11. Jack Haley
Haley had two tenures with the Bulls as Michael Jordan’s teammate and neither produced more than a couple of side notes. But, those tenures did make Jack Haley famous. He was known for his enthusiasm while he rode the bench for the 72 win Bulls team of 1995-96. He only appeared in one game all season, the last, and was said to be on the roster to appease his close friend Dennis Rodman. There were some that claimed he was only on the team as Rodman’s babysitter, a statement that Haley bristled at vehemently. But, only starting one game in three seasons and having a 2.2 points per game scoring average makes Haley more of a cheerleader than a basketball player.
10. Granville Waiters
There are some players that are able to make the NBA only because of their size and Granville Waiters is a perfect example of one of these big men. Waiters was picked up by the Bulls before the 1986-87 season in hopes he would add valuable low post depth. However, if became evident almost immediately why the Trail Blazers, Pacers and Rockets all gave up on the center from the Ohio State University, as he quite simply couldn’t play. Waiters was awkward and weak when you watched him and there was proof in the statistics. He actually had a negative win share for his career. Quite simply, he contributed more to the Bulls losing than he did winning while on the court.
9. Will Perdue
Will Perdue was another in the long line of big men drafted by former Bulls GM Jerry Krause in an attempt to strengthen their front court. However, the big man from Vanderbilt was never able to be more than a serviceable backup that contributed a couple hard fouls a game during the Bulls’ first three-peat. The Bulls expected more out of the 1988 SEC Player of the Year than to just be a backup. In his only season as a starter for the Bulls in 1994-95, he averaged a lowly eight points a game and 6.7 rebounds. Those disappointing numbers and the emergence of Luc Longley enabled the Bulls to move Perdue for the enigmatic Dennis Rodman. So, Perdue did contribute more than just hard fouls.
8. Stacey King
Just like Perdue, Stacey King was a backup big man on the Bulls’ first three-peat and just like Perdue, King never lived up to all the expectations that came with being an All-American and the 6th overall draft pick of the 1989 NBA Draft. King is currently the color analyst for Bulls television broadcasts and his style can be described as whimsical and forced, kind of like his playing career. King made the outrageous statement as a player that the reason he didn’t like to dunk was because he wanted a long career and was saving his legs. It didn’t work, because King only played 94 career games after the Bulls traded him for Luc Longley during the 1993-94 season.
7. Dickey Simpkins
Add Dickey Simpkins to the list of big men drafted by Jerry Krause that never amounted as anything for the Chicago Bulls. Simpkins was selected with the 21st pick of the 1994 NBA Draft out of Providence College and never turned into the rebounding force and low-post scorer he was predicted to become. Simpkins had a high scoring average of 3.6 points a game while being a teammate of Michael Jordan and only started 17 games in three seasons. He may have won two championships with the Bulls, but he was not on the playoff roster of either run.
6. Christian Laettner
Christian Laettner becomes the first player from Jordan’s Wizards run to make this list. Jordan probably resented that the former Duke Blue Devils superstar was even on the roster he inherited as Wizards president before the 2001-02 season. Add in the fact that Laettner is one of the most hated athletes in American history and underachieved before and after Jordan arrived, and it’s easy to put him on this list. Laettner averaged less than eight points a game in his two seasons as Jordan’s teammate.
5. Jawann Oldham
Only a true NBA historian would remember the easily forgotten Jawann Oldham, but for those who do, there isn’t a long list of accomplishments to recall. Oldham is actually from Chicago and was signed as a free agent by the Bulls in 1983 after being waived by the Nuggets. The seven-footer was supposed to help defend the rim for a team lacking depth at center. He never emerged as a factor and his numbers during Jordan’s rookie season displayed his ineptitude. The Seattle University product committed 0.9 turnovers a game and 2.5 personal fouls a game and only scored 3.4 points. So, the large center combined to foul and turn the ball over more than he scored.
4. Tyronn Lue
Tyronn Lue is the first player on this list that was actually acquired by Michael Jordan in his days as the Wizards’ GM. Jordan signed Lue before his first season with the Wizards based solely on the fact of Lue’s performance versus Allen Iverson in the 2001 NBA Finals. The rarely used Lue used his agile feet to help slow Iverson as the Lakers won in five games. Lue’s respectable performance versus AI earned him the nickname, “Iverson Stopper.” However, I remember that series more for an incredible step-back jumper that broke Lue’s ankles from AI more than I recall Lue stopping him. Jordan was not proven right as Lue improved with more playing time in Washington, but he could never secure the starting point guard position as he floundered with an eight point a game average as Jordan’s teammate.
3. Bryon Russell
Bryon Russell may be best known as the guy that was gently pushed by Michael as His Airness went over Russell with his last shot ever with the Bulls to win their 6th NBA Championship, but he should also be known as one of the worst of Jordan’s teammates. Jordan gave Russell a one year contract before the 2002-’03 season and went on to be an absolute disaster. Russell shot an abysmal 35% from the field and only scored 4.5 points a game. Russell also played a role in Jordan’s first comeback in 1995 when a year earlier he taunted Jordan with the comment, “Why did you quit? You know I can guard you.” I bet Russell wishes he never uttered such foolishness to his tormentor and future boss.
2. Dave Corzine
Dave Corzine was the poster boy for the problems with the Bulls’ big men during Jordan’s first years in the NBA. Corzine was so soft as a center that even Chicago faithful booed the local product relentlessly. Most questioned the toughness of a seven-footer that only averaged 6.3 rebounds per game during his tenure with the Bulls. Being traded for fan favorite Artis Gilmore in the Summer of 1982 didn’t endear him to the fans either. But, he’s on this list for being bad and a particular moment with the Bulls proves it. In the deciding Game five of a first round playoff series with the Cavaliers in 1989, Bulls coach Doug Collins drew up a play for Corzine with the game and series riding in the balance. Jordan erupted at Collins’ gimmick to fool Cleveland, so he slammed the clipboard Collins was drawing the play up with out of his hands and said, “Get me the ball and get the F@*! out of the way!” Jordan nailed the shot over Craig Ehlo and the trajectories of both franchises went in different directions.
1. Kwame Brown
There is no doubt that Kwame Brown deserves to be number one on this list and Michael Jordan has no one to blame but himself. Jordan was president of the Wizards when he made Brown the first ever straight from high school player taken as the first overall selection of the NBA Draft. It was Jordan’s first draft pick with the Wizards and it goes down as an absolute failure. Even though Brown promised Wizards coach Doug Collins and Jordan that if he was taken first overall they’d, ‘never regret it,” taking the immature Brown was his biggest mistake with the Wizards. Brown barely shot over 40% and averaged six points a game as he was clearly over matched in his two seasons as Jordan’s teammate.
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