The debate of who the NBA’S GOAT is has been active since the beginning of times in the league. Day in and day out people begin to argue who the GOAT is, and a majority of the people point to Michael Jeffrey Jordan who played most of his career with the Chicago Bulls. He helped the Bulls get to six NBA finals and got them Six NBA titles. While being praised as the greatest to ever do it many people forget one of the big reasons this was possible. Scottie Maurice Pippen was with Jordan from the first title and to the last one as well. Another six-time NBA champion who also happens to be the greatest and most skilled Defender the NBA has ever seen.
NBA Hall Of Famer
6x NBA Champion
Let’s take this story from the beginning where it all started in the University of Central Arkansas where he spent 4 years averaging:
Freshmen: 4.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.7 apg 45% fg
Sophomore: 18.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.6 apg , 56% fg
Junior: 19.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 55% fg
Senior: 23.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 4.3 apg, 59% fg, 57% 3p
Fun fact: NBA scouts were looking at Scottie coming out of High School as a 6’1 Point Guard but between his Freshmen and Sophomore year of college he grew to 6’7 and became a Small Forward
Scottie Pippen was drafted with the 5th pick in the 1987 NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics and then traded to the Chicago Bulls.
With Chicago Scottie averaged:
Regular Season: 17.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5,3 apg, 48% fg, 32% 3p
Playoffs: 18.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 5.2 apg, 44% fg, 30% 3p
While Jordan handled all the scoring it was Scottie that took the load for everything else on the floor. Many times, he was dubbed as the Robin to Jordan’s Batman but that is certainly not the case. Jordan did not see real playoff success, nor did he win any championship without the help of a man named Scottie Pippen. Number 33 took care of running the offense and running plays for the Bulls. Pippen was the main ballhandler and because of playing point guard most of his life he was also a phenomenal passer. Executing a majority of the Bulls sets and a huge piece to Phil Jackson’s Triangle Offense. He could run the Fastbreak and almost always made the right pass or right move to get a basket. Pippen was explosive to the rim and made a career for some of the greatest and most disrespectful posterizing dunks the league has ever seen. Fundamental with his shooting form he was great at the Mid-Range shot but never a deadly shooter from beyond the arc. With his 6’7 frame, Pippen was able to excel in the post and bully smaller defenders at the elbow.
The Greatest Defender of All-Time
One of my favorite things in every sport is the defense because there are so many Offensive stars that are so rare to see a player gifted in the Defensive side of the game. Scottie was the greatest defender the league has ever seen and even Kobe Bryant advised young players to study Pippen. To Scottie, it was second nature and the most important thing for him to do. The anchor of the defensive game plan for the Bulls. His assignment was always the best player on the other team, and he made sure his presence was felt with his trash talking. Not just mentally but physically he could take you out of the game and most times makes his assignment look useless. Pippen was a master at shifting his body to cut off his defenders and put them in some very uncomfortable positions with the ball. This helped to poke the ball loose or force the other player to turn it over. Scottie made a living from getting steals and either passing the ball to a teammate or getting the bucket himself he always capitalized on his Opponents mistakes. I have never seen such active hands in passing lanes as he just needed to see the other player begin to pass it and Scottie was ready to pounce on the ball. A shot blocking phenom who just always seem to jump at the right time and swat your shot into the stands. His ability to defend the post is just an art to watch, using physicality to get you in bad positioning and being able to react quick enough to get in the passing lane or deflect the ball. The best part of Pippen’s defense is how active he was as he at times guarded all five guys on the court and went from closeouts to contest in the paint and back to the top of the key. A true pioneer for what an elite defender should look like and he is most certainly on the Mount Rushmore of NBA Defenders.
Where do you rank Scottie Pippen all time?
Is he the greatest defender ever?