Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #10 B.J. Armstrong

B.J. Armstrong
After growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Armstrong made his way (slightly) south to the greatest institution in the world, The University of Iowa. During his time with the Hawkeyes, he helped lead them to both a Sweet 16 and Elite 8 appearance.

His impressive college career was enough for him to be selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 18th overall selection in the 1989 NBA Draft.

Armstrong started his career backing up starting point guard, John Paxson. In the first playoff game of the 1991 playoffs, Armstrong went off for his first career double-double, scoring 18 points with ten assists. Still, it was not enough to unseat Paxson as the primary point guard, as Armstrong's minutes plummeted during the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

In Armstrong's third season in 1991-92, his role continued to grow in minutes despite still coming off the bench. He was allowed the minutes to take over games at times and made a much larger impact in the 1992 playoffs. He scored double-digit points in seven separate games and played at least 15 minutes in all but one game. Armstrong was starting to show his true talent, and it was clear that he was the most talented point guard on the roster. The thing that may have hurt Armstrong the most is the Bulls refusal to let him play in a tie and suspenders.

Still, the Bulls felt safe with John Paxson which helped him keep his starting job throughout the playoffs. It wouldn't make much of a difference as the Bulls cruised to their second straight championship.

Armstrong finally wrestled away the starting position in 1992-93 and delivered in his new role as he provided the Bulls with another player who could create his own shot and give defenses nightmares. During the regular season, he would set a new high in points with 28 against the Los Angeles Clippers. In the playoffs, it was more of the same as he finished third on the team in scoring, including 18 points in the deciding game against the Suns as the Bulls went on to win their third straight championship.

Although he would stick around for a couple years, and even make the All-Star team in 1994, he would not make it to the next threepeat, as he was the first overall pick in the expansion draft by the Toronto Raptors. B.J. refused to report to the team (probably because he didn't want to play with John Salley, which nobody could blame him for), so they were forced to trade him to the Golden State Warriors for a bunch of spare parts. He maintained his productivity in that first year with the Warriors but dropped off the following year when he got hurt and lost his starting job to Mark Price.

Armstrong would go on to play for Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic before calling it quits after one final year with the Chicago Bulls. He then took a front office job with the Bulls before becoming an agent where his client list includes Derrick Rose and Draymond Green. It just shows you the value of a good University of Iowa education.

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