Friday, April 13, 2007

I'll say it: Scottie Pippen was just as important to the Bulls as Michael Jordan.

Laughter. Thats all I heard, over cell phones, land lines, and text messages. E-mail, snail mail, and any other form of communication you could think of. Pure, happy, entertained, laughter. My cousin Andrew: "What did you just say?" me: I think Scottie Pippen was just as important to the bulls as MJ." Andrew: (coughing for breath) "HAAAAAHAAAAAA!!!!!!!!"
The truth is (as I see it) that Scottie Pippen was the best defender on the best team ever. Quick, name someone who locked down Magic Johnson during the regular season. Nobody? Well, what about the playoffs? Nothing? Well what about the NBA finals? Only one: Pip. Scottie stuck the dagger threes, always defended the other teams top player (regardless of position 1-4), and completely disrupted other team's offense. Michael scored, defended, and lead the team, but it was Pippen who kept teams from completely defensively keying in on Michael. It really is an unfair connundrum. If you are playing against the Bulls, do you double team Michael and leave spot up jump shooters open? (Sidebar: by statistical measurements, the Bulls have had the greatest role playing jumpshooters in the HISTORY of the NBA in Paxson and Kerr.) Or do you allow Scottie Pippen to post up and collaspe on him? How do you defend Michael if Pippen is the one bringing up the ball and can see over the top of your defense? You can't tire Michael out on defense if Pippen is the one defending your best player, etc. While Pippen wouldn't have won all those rings without Michael, the same can be said about Jordan. Shaq and Kobe, on the other hand, are different. Shaq proved he could win with any great guard, not just Kobe Bryant. Which is why I come to this question. At this point in their careers, it might be a better comparison to look at Scottie Pippen vs. Kobe Bryant. Outside of scoring, Pippen has Kobe beat in every statistical category. 6 rings vs. 3. Lead a team BY HIMSELF to the Eastern Conference Finals and a 54 win season. Kobe has not gotten out of the first round since Shaq left LA. I would humbly submit to you that Kobe's best team since Shaq left is far better then the team Pippen had to lead in the 94-95 season without MJ.

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