Media and audience are always talking about offense and draining 30+ points, but many of them forget guys who defend own basket and help those guys who are putting high numbers in the offense. Mostly, players are great in one way or average in two-way, there aren’t many players that are beasts in offense and defense in the same time. There aren’t many players that are all-around players like LeBron James, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.
“It’s natural ability, desire, and knowledge that makes Scottie such a great defensive player. He sets the tempo defensively for us. He can disrupt anybody’s offense because he can play anybody from a point guard to the five position. ” – Michael Jordan
Scottie Pippen was 5th pick on 1987 Draft Night selected by Seattle Supersonics but was immediately traded to the Bulls for Olden Polynice, 8th pick on the same Draft Night and future picks. In the beginning, he came off the bench, but he became a starter in 1988 NBA Playoffs, where he helped Michael Jordan-led Bulls to reach a conference semifinals for the first time in over a decade. In the next couple of years, he emerged as one of the best young small forwards in the league, but that wasn’t still enough to beat Pistons in the 1989 and 1990 conference Finals.
After that, Pippen and Jordan with Horace Grant and B.J. Armstrong and later with Rodman, Kukoc, Kerr and Longley won accumulatively 6 NBA Championships. Scottie and MJ played many times 1 on 1, trying to improve both and simply to hone each other skills on offense and defense.
“The luxury for us is to have a defender like Scottie who can cover more than one situation at a time… He’s able to hang tight with whoever he’s playing and recover and help on a defensive set so the other team can’t operate. Scottie is able to be a one-man wrecking crew. ” – Phil Jackson
The best coach in the NBA History, a man who wan 11 NBA Championship rings with Bulls and Lakers said this about Pippen. It’s clear how Pippen was crucial for Bulls and their Championships. He averaged 17.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.1 steals in his twelve seasons playing for the Bulls, with and w/o Jordan.
Later he went to the Rockets and Trail Blazers, where he was a good player, but never succeed to reach that level of play like in Chicago Bulls. Rodman, Jordan, and Pippen are the big 3 for the Bulls franchise, but for me, there is only a big duo in the Bulls history. Two guys who participated in all 6 NBA Championships and all 6 Conference titles.
MJ and Pip!