Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bulls in 4. I don't think so.

I just read that Scottie Pippen believes that his '95-'96 Bulls would have swept the 2015-2016 edition of the Golden State Warriors. For those not following this NBA story, this season's Golden State Warriors are chasing the '95-'96 best all time regular season record. The Bulls finished that year 72-10; Golden State is currently 68-8.  The Warriors will have to win five of their next six games (which include two against the very tough San Antonio Spurs) in order to best the '95-'96 Bulls' record.

Scottie Pippen, a forward on the '95-'96 Bulls, apparently thinks that if there could have been a best of seven series between his old team and the present day Warriors, the Warriors would lose, and lose in four straight games.

As it relates to Pippen's athletic skills (holding aside his predictions for a few paragraphs) I am definitely in the minority.  I believe Pippen to be one of the most overrated players ever to lace up sneakers.  He is listed among the top fifty players of all time on at least two lists of which I am familiar.  Horse manure.

Pippen's name is familiar to fans because he had the good fortune to play with the best basketball player ever--Michael Jordan, be coached by an excellent leader, Phil Jackson, and play with other outstanding basketball players.  Take Jordan away from Pippen, put Pippen in the hands of a less wise mentor, and Pippen is just another NBA player.

This was evident the year that Jordan thought he would try his luck at playing baseball. Overnight the Bulls became pedestrian and Pippen showed himself to be a selfish player who really could not score on his own. He could play good defense and was an effective rebounder, but he was not great.  He pouted when he did not get to take the last shot. He was jealous of Tony Kukoc who was more offensively skilled.  The guy was just a notch above average without Jordan.

Put Michael Jordan on your team, add Kukoc, add Steve Kerr who could shoot better than very many, add Dennis Rodman who--while being a class A jackass--was the best offensive rebounder of his era and maybe any era (I personally am partial to Paul Silas for all time offensive rebounder), and then Scotty Pippen's value as a defensive player is more brightly illuminated. But no matter what the geniuses say, he was not, not, not--so extra without such a remarkable complementary cast.

So, his claim that they would beat the Warriors in four straight bugs me.  First of all he is wrong.  I do think the Bulls would win in 7 because they had Jordan, but they would not have been able to stop the stunning trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and the unheralded but remarkable Draymond Green in every game.

I have begun watching the Warriors regularly. I am concerned that they are one injury away from being less of a powerhouse. You take Curry or Green out with an injury and yes then the Bulls would sweep.  If they have all players healthy, the Warriors are dazzling and one of the best teams of all time and of any era.  With Curry, Green, and Thompson I think they take the Bulls to 7.

But my semi rant here has less to do with the what-would-happen-if-the-Bulls/Warriors-match-up- could-have-taken-place, and more with the chutzpah of Pippen.  Scottie Pippen pouted as if he never got his due when, in reality, he became a somebody when he was just like many other players.  Some humility and gratitude for his good fortune is in order.


  1. Hi Zeke Your love of Pippin inspired some google research by me. He was also a notorious cheapskate known as "no
    tippin Pippin". That was the last nail in his non greatness coffin. Ps After my hip replacements I was told to only play doubles tennis preferably with older players. ( I delusionally bristle at our age group being called senior citizens) Also, on your site when I hit preview to see what I wrote it vanishes. Take care, Gene

  2. I can check into the vanishing part. You mean that you have to type your message in again, if you wish to preview it before it comes out? No tippin, eh? Can't get over the acclaim he receives. You shouldn't even be able to say Havlicek or Baylor in the same breath.