HomeSportsScottie Pippen says Michael Jordan was a "terrible player" before joining

Scottie Pippen says Michael Jordan was a “terrible player” before joining

Scottie Pippen: Michael Jordan was a ‘terrible player’ before joining, originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Scottie Pippen, long-time small forward and six-time champion with the Chicago Bulls, called Michael Jordan a “terrible player” before Pippen joined the team in 1987.

Am I hearing this right?

“I saw Michael Jordan play before I came to the Bulls. You guys saw him play. He was a terrible player,” Pippen said on the Pass me the hot sauce! podcast. “He was horrible to play with. It was all 1-on-1, shooting bad shots. All of a sudden we become a team and we start winning. Everyone forgot who he was. He was a player who really wasn’t there. the top of its class.”

I’ll argue this in a second. First I let Pippen do some of the heavy lifting.

Less than a minute later, another ex-Chicago Bull, Stacey, asked King Pippen who would win a game between the 72-10 Chicago Bulls and 73-9 Golden State Warriors. Pippen didn’t waste a second.

“Come on, man. We’re the best team ever. If MJ hadn’t left, we probably could have won another 2-3 titles,” said Pippen.

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I thought Jordan was a “terrible player”? How could they have won two more titles? I think Pippen would have countered that his presence on the team would have propelled Jordan and the 1998 Bulls to more titles.

Nevertheless, there is perhaps no more egregious and objectively wrong statement about Jordan’s playing career.

The last season before Pippen joined the Bulls in 1986-87, Jordan averaged 37.1 points (the most in a single season of his career) along with 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game on just under 50 percent shooting from the field. His efficiency and assists increased after the arrival of Pippen, but what else?

Pippen’s presence probably helped Jordan win the Defensive Player of the Year title during Pippen’s rookie year, I’ll give him that. But a terrible player? “Horrible player” and “Michael Jordan” are words that should never be in the same sentence. Pippen also put Jordan in his all-time starting five. The logic doesn’t make sense.

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The six NBA championships won by Jordan, Pippen and the 90s Bulls would not have been possible without Pippen. He is arguably the best second best player that exists on a team. Jordan recognized it too, famously saying, “There’s no Michael Jordan without Scottie Pippen.” That’s where the debates get interesting. One player can’t do everything, as Pippen also said in the podcast. But if it weren’t for Jordan, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Another point Pippen insisted on – this is a more reasonable point – was his stance on LeBron James as the greatest “statistical” player of all time.

“LeBron is the biggest winner,” Pippen said. “He’s a lot older now and gets a lot of criticism. He’s never been a shot maker. He’s never been the guy to take the last shot. He’s never been good at that. I said this many years ago, and I got criticism. If LeBron James leaves the game, he will be the best statistical player to ever play the game.”

Pippen went on to say he’s been saying this since James was in the NBA for “two to three years.” Unfortunately, Pippen would be wrong again. I’ll have him argue again.

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“Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever put on shoes and play in our game. No question about it. There is no game where I would prefer LeBron James to Michael Jordan,” Pippen said on ESPN in 2018 when he debated Jordan vs. James.

Pippen’s recent comments are an unfortunate product of his relationship with Jordan. His arguments are in no way supported by any strong, logical evidence to support his case. There are many instances where he contradicts himself as shown above.

The burden of proof for Pippen’s argument stems from his personal complaints with Jordan. He said on the podcast that he doesn’t believe his relationship with Jordan and Phil Jackson can be changed. His argument has no weight and is loaded by the factor of his connection to Jordan.

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