Thursday, March 29, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #9 Luc Longley

Luc Longley
Luc Longley, one of the five greatest players to ever come from down under, was selected seventh overall in the 1991 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. But despite his lofty draft status, he was unable to surpass Felton Spencer on the depth chart. So, before the trade deadline in 1994, he was traded along with a second round pick to the Chicago Bulls for Stacey King.

After backing up Bill Cartwright for the remainder of the 1993-94 season, Longley took over the starting center position at the beginning of the 1994-95 season and would not relinquish that role throughout the Bulls next three championships.

Although Longley was never known to light up a box score, he knew how to be a valuable basketball player. He was a defender, a screen setter, and just somebody who was in the right place at the right time. With Michael Jordan on the team, a lot of times that just meant staying out of the way. The only hidden ability that he was missing was his availability as he averaged just 60 games each season during the those championship years.

But even the playoffs, and he usually came through when the Bulls needed him. Although Longley struggled with maladies during his time with the Bulls, he had a knack for showing up when it mattered most. He never missed time in the playoffs and usually found a way to make a big impact. In 1995-96, he scored double-digit points in five out of six games in the NBA Finals against the Seattle SuperSonics. Although he didn't quite have the standout performances in 1997 or 1998, he continued to start and play a valuable role to those Bulls teams. He no longer made his biggest scoring impact when it mattered most as he actually scored a grand total of zero points in the deciding games of the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998.

Luc Longley was not a man known for his highlight reel. Here's the first result on YouTube when you search his name.

Just a couple minutes of game time and Michael Jordan yelling at him. It does feature a Jud Buechler dunk though.

As an Australian, you would think Luc Longley would have a bunch of crazy stories about being out of control and partying hard, but I couldn't really find anything. Instead, I found out that he discovered a new species of shrimp and named it after his daughter. This was not the hijinx I was expecting. But Longley seems happy, healthy, and living in Australia. Life could certainly be worse.

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