Thursday, March 1, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #17 Cliff Levingston

Cliff Levingston
Cliff Levingston was a straight up stud for Wichita State as he averaged a double-double (points and rebounds) his first three years in college before declaring for the draft and becoming the ninth overall pick by the Detroit Pistons. After a couple years with the Pistons, Levingston had his best years with the Atlanta Hawks, getting a good amount of rebounds while shooting well from the field, although not that often as his best year, in 1987-88, he averaged 10.0 points per game.

During the 1990-91 offseason, Levingston was hard up for some cash as he was living the lavish lifestyle without the superstar money that is required to live that lifestyle. The Bulls promised to sign him to a lucrative contract where he would get $1.3 million, but they couldn't sign him yet as they were waiting for some chips to fall as the Bulls were hoping to bring in Toni Kukoc from Europe. Although they were unable to bring in Kukoc, they wanted to keep money available for him in case he changed his mind during the season. After Levingston waited all offseason, all the other teams had spent their money, and he had no choice but to accept a contract where he would make just $750,000 the first year with an option for $1.35 million for the following year. It is one of the shadiest things Jerry Krause did as General Manager, and this man did A TON of shady shit while running the personnel side for the Bulls.

So the Bulls got Levingston on a discount, but he still came in and provided useful minutes at both forward positions off the bench. In both 1990-91, and 91-92, Levingston played about 13 minutes per game, and his numbers were nearly identical in both years, putting up four points, being a solid rebounder, and providing solid defense at both forward positions. His best game was likely when he took on his former team, the Atlanta Hawks, and put up 14 points, ten rebounds, and four blocks in 22 minutes off the bench. But even as a big man, Levingston had more range than Steph Curry.

Levingston provided his most value during the 1991 playoffs. His minutes increased as the playoffs went on, and he had dougle-digit scoring games in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons and in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, the latter of which he shot a perfect 5-5 from the field. In the 1992 playoffs, he provided that same reliable push off the bench at both forward positions, playing in all 22 playoff games.

After the season, he decided not to get screwed over by the Bulls in free agency and played two years in Europe before returning to the NBA with one final season with the Denver Nuggets.

He currently lives on a farm with horses, chickens, goats, and pigs. It's fitting in that he was a horse on the court, not a chicken that would back down from anyone. And although he isn't the GOAT, he's earned his right to enjoy life and pig out (Thank you folks, I'll be here all week).

No comments:

Post a Comment