By no means would Scottie Pippen have been the same player had Jerry Krause never made the draft day trade that sent Scottie Pippen from Seattle to Chicago.
Pippen entered the league on what would be the best NBA team ever, playing alongside the best NBA player ever, for the best NBA coach ever.
Pippen could never have been a No. 1 guy on a title team; after Jordan’s first retirement, Pippen lead the Bulls to a 55 win season, Pippen was finally the lead dog, but never good enough to take his team to the promised land.
In the 93-95 season, Pippen became the second player to ever lead his team in points, rebounds, and assists.
However, the team won 55 games, and was eventually knocked out by the New York Knicks in the eastern conference semis.
The next season Jordan returned and played in 17 games, the team won 47 games, and lost again in the Eastern Conference semis, this time to the Orlando Magic.
During the two years Jordan was retired, the Bulls missed Jordan, but more so Pippen missed Jordan, and while Pippen got his stats, and he was the top dog, he realized that it was better when he had Jordan and the team was winning.
Pippen realized he wasn’t made to be the alpha dog, but to be a sidekick.
Pippen was also a product of his coach Phil Jackson; Jackson’s triangle offense utilized Pippen’s ability to shoot, score, and be a playmaker.
Pippen didn’t become the player we know today until Phil Jackson transformed him from a guy who averaged 12 points a game in two seasons, to the greatest sidekick of all time.
Pippen was also a product of playing in one of America’s biggest markets in Chicago.
Had Jerry Krause never made the trade for Pippen, Pippen would’ve been stuck on a mediocre Supersonics team playing alongside the likes of Xavier McDaniel, and Dale Ellis.
Pippen wouldn’t have gotten the attention or treatment from the media had he been playing in a small market.
Had Pippen played his whole career in a small market, we would not have thought of him as an all time great.
I’ll pose this question to you who was a better individual player, Scottie Pippen or Alex English.
English had a better career scoring average 21.5 compared to Pippen’s 16, but almost all of today’s NBA fans have never heard of English, and Pippen is widely recognized.
The fact is English spent his career playing in smaller cities like Milwaukee and Denver.
Had English played in a bigger market, and Scottie played alone in a small market, we would think of English as a top 50 player.
The same goes for a player like George Gervin, who in my opinion is also better than Pippen.