The Chicago Bulls have endured some tough times throughout the course of their history. Even so, they continue to be one of the most profitable franchises in the world and have a huge fanbase all around the world. All, thanks to the Michael Jordan-led team that dominated basketball from start to finish.
Something similar can be said about the Houston Rockets. Other than their two rings from the mid-’90s, they had some struggles to consistently contend for a ring. They’re now a tier-two team in the league that seems a couple of steps away from winning their third Championship.
But, what if we took the best players from both franchises and squared them off on the ultimate matchup, Who’d end up on top? Just for the sake of the argument, we’ll break it down right here as we discuss the game everyone wants to watch: All-Time Bulls vs. All-Time Rockets.
Point Guard: Derrick Rose vs. James Harden
James Harden has proven to be an above-the-average playmaker. He ran the point for the Rockets before Chris Paul’s arrival and is used to touching the ball on almost every single possession, so it’d be a bit of a natural transition for him.
He’s also one of the most unstoppable scorers in the history of the league, so Derrick Rose could have some trouble trying to contain him, especially considering he gives up some size.
Prime Rose, on the other hand, is something the league had never seen. He was aggressive, strong, incredibly athletic, and one of the most clutch players in NBA history. He’d take down Harden one-on-one easily, and is also a great playmaker.
Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan vs. Clyde Drexler
Clyde Drexler doesn’t get enough recognition as one of the greatest shooting guards in the history of basketball. He was a fearless scorer that could get into his rhythm in the blink of an eye, create for others, and even play some good defense.
But if you match him up vs. the greatest player of all time, there’s not much he – or anybody – can do. Also, Jordan took every matchup vs. Clyde personally because he hated the fact that some experts compared them.
Michael Jordan is the best player ever. He’s an unstoppable scorer that didn’t even need the three to dominate, and he played lockdown defense vs. the toughest scorers you’ll ever see. The Bulls have a huge edge here, as they did when Jordan faced Drexler in the 1992 NBA Finals.
Small Forward: Scottie Pippen vs. Tracy McGrady
This one’s a tough one. On one hand, we have Scottie Pippen, arguably the most underrated small forward ever. On the other, we have Tracy McGrady; an offensive juggernaut that could score in bunches vs. the best defenders.
Pippen can do a little bit of everything. He can take the ball up the court, lead the break, knock down three-pointers, and posterize you with an emphatic dunk. He can also play lockdown defense and check quicker, faster players all day long.
Even so, there was just no way of stopping prime T-Mac. His offensive versatility made him one of the most unstoppable and dominant scorers we’ve ever seen. He had the whole package and was a walking highlight film when he was healthy.
Power Forward: Dennis Rodman vs. Yao Ming
Yao Ming, a 7’6” specimen out of China, doesn’t get as much credit as he should. Yes, he should have been a much more dominant rebounder given his physical traits but there was a time when he was one of the best scoring big men in the league.
Scoring has never been Dennis Rodman’s cover letter. In fact, he didn’t care if he went scoreless or didn’t even take a single shot in one game. He was entirely focused on dominating both sides of the glass and, more importantly, locking down the rival’s best player.
Rodman never backed down despite being vastly undersized for a big man. He gives up a lot of inches to Ming but makes up for it with a top-notch athleticism, positioning, strength, and IQ.
Center: Horace Grant vs. Hakeem Olajuwon
History books don’t talk about Horace Grant as much because, let’s be honest here, he and Michael Jordan never got along. Even so, he was a great defender, solid rebounder, and could even score at a high clip from within close range if needed.
But if you were to match him up with Hakeem Olajuwon, arguably the greatest big man of all time, Grant would have a lot of trouble. I mean, The Dream literally had the whole package.
Hakeem set the standard for the best footwork in the game. His ballerina-like movements were just unguardable. He was a combination of size, athleticism, a high basketball IQ, and a top-tier defensive awareness. He’s the greatest shot-blocker ever.
Contrary to what some people may think, this one’s pretty close. Talent-wise, both of these teams could demolish almost every other squad in the world. But, sadly, only one can get the nod this time.
The Chicago Bulls are, by far, the most athletic team of the two. They have 5 outstanding athletes and, even though the Houston Rockets are significantly bigger, the Bulls can match up with them with their speed, hops, and hustle on both ends of the floor.
If we talk about scorers, the Rockets have a four-headed monster on Hakeem, Harden, McGrady, and Drexler. Even Jordan, Pippen, Grant, and Rodman would have a tough time trying to keep all of them in check for 48 full minutes.
But, then again, the Bulls’ defense is also superior, and it’s not even close. Other than Hakeem and Drexler, the Rockets have no true stoppers. I just can’t imagine Harden trying to keep Jordan away from the rim, especially with no hand-checking.
The Rockets have a better team in terms of shooting. All of their players have more range and have the kind of personnel to run a high-octane, modern offense, with their two towers anchoring the paint.
However, Chicago has something Houston just doesn’t: winners. Other than Hakeem, the Rockets lack a go-to-guy in the clutch. Yes, T-Mac was great but he never led the team to success in the playoffs, same as Harden.
The Bulls have 4 NBA Champions that always came huge when their team needed them the most. Rose was also a monster in the clutch in his prime, rounding up a squad with 5 fearless competitors that could take over a game in the blink of an eye, and that’s why we think they’d win this matchup.
All-Time Bulls vs. All-Time Rockets 120-105