For many Bulls fans, it’s impossible to think about Michael Jordan without also thinking of Scottie Pippen. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf shares that sentiment and he takes the thought one step further.
“Six championships that wouldn’t have been won without Scottie,” Reinsdorf said when asked what comes to mind when he recalls Pippen’s career. “Michael couldn’t have done it by himself. The rest of the players and Michael would not have been enough. It took Scottie to put us over the top those six times.”
It’s often been said that Pippen never won a title without Jordan, but Jordan never won it all without Pippen, either. At the end of the day, the two players were the perfect complement to each other. That’s why when Pippen enters basketball’s Hall of Fame on Aug. 13, it’s only fitting that he’ll join Jordan among the game’s greats in Springfield, Mass. just one year after his enshrinement.
“A lot of people liked to talk about Scottie as being Batman’s Robin or the Lone Ranger’s Tonto,” said Reinsdorf during a recent interview at the Berto Center. “I never thought that was the case and I liked to think of them as 1 and 1A. They were very, very close.”
The paring of the duo which brought Chicago six world championships in eight years was born on June 22, 1987 in New York City, the night of the 1987 NBA Draft. The Bulls owed two first round selections, eighth and tenth overall.
Then General Manager Jerry Krause had set his sights on Pippen, who had not long before been an unknown prospect out of Central Arkansas, a NAIA school at the time. Given that the Bulls were one of the very few teams who had ventured down to Conaway, Ark. to watch Pippen play collegiately, Reinsdorf recalled being confident they would be able to get him with the eighth pick. But the rest of the basketball world was about to learn of Pippen’s talents and abilities.
“We were sure we were going to be able to get Scottie where we were in the draft,” said Reinsdorf. “Then Scottie went to the pre-draft camps, lit it up and got everybody’s attention. We went into panic mode because we realized he wouldn’t be there when we were going to draft. We somehow had to move up and we were able to pull it off. But it was touch and go for awhile.”
Pippen was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics fifth overall and his draft rights were traded to Chicago for Olden Polynice and future considerations. The Bulls also selected power forward Horace Grant with the tenth pick, setting the stage for the first three-peat.
A series of highly intelligent personnel decisions … involving:
i. The right organizational paradigm;
ii. The right GM;
iii. The right Head Coach;
iv. The right core group of marquee players … with the right skill-sets and personal attributes;
v. The right set of complementary players … with the right skill-sets and personal attributes;
vi. Vision … to see with acuity what your competition is failing to see;
vii. Planning … to develop and implement a set of comprehensive objectives;
viii. Patience … to give it time and nourishment to grow organically;
ix. Good Judgment … to know when the time is right ‘to strike’
x. Wisdom … to understand well ‘The Value of Commitment’, in the first place.
When a basketball Team succeeds, in a major way, it is never ever due to having just 1 outstanding player.
[PLEASE NOTE: This is a link to a radio interview from Jun 17, 2009 which every Raptors fan should listen to, as it deals with Thursday's NBA Draft, the acquisition of Reggie Evans and the team's POV re: Chris Bosh.]
From the perspective of this corner, however, by doing so … they will, once again, be throwing away another golden opportunity to build their team into a legitimate long term contender for a Top 4 spot in the Eastern Conference, by not trading down to a Middle or Lower Spot in the 1st Round, while acquiring an additional pick in the 2nd Round, in a classic two-for-one scenario.
Q1.Why does this year’s Draft qualify as such an occasion?
A1. Because the players who fit best with what Toronto needs right now, as well as looking down-the-road a piece … possibly, to a life without Chris Bosh … are not perceived by others to be worthy of selection in the No. 9 position but will most likely be available in the Middle or the Lower section of the 1st Round, and/or in the 2nd Round.
Derrick Brown is a player with a tonne of NBA ability, at the Wing position, who should be there for the Raptors in the Middle of the 1st Round.
Xavier’s Brown has been coming on the last few weeks, benefitting from long arms (a 7-2 1/2 wingspan) good workouts up and down the first round, and the pedigree of bigs that Xavier has produced for NBA teams, including Brian Grant, Aaron Williams, Tyrone Hill, James Posey and David West. He’s active — “bouncy,” one personnel man says.
“Sometimes, kids get better and I think he’s one of the kids that’s grown with the process,” said a Northwest Division executive. “He’s been able to expand his game a little bit and show some of the things he couldn’t show at Xavier.”
Derrick Brown would fill their need for an immediate ”starter” who can score the ball, rebound his position and defend with solid athleticism and considerable length.
Did not play.
For the number crunchers …
Q2.When you look at these simple game stats, what do you see?
A2. A player who shot 43.3% from behind the arc last season … shooting three times as many treys than the year before [in which he shot three times as many as he did his first year in college] … scored at a solid rate of 1.42 PPS [i.e. higher than DeMar DeRozan and Tyreke Evans], and improved his Ast:TO each of his 3 seasons at Xavier University.
[PLEASE NOTE: Players who are capable of doing THIS, and reach the point where their ratio is above 1.00 have a HIGH Basketball IQ.]
In conjunction with his outstanding Wingspan, his solid vertical & lateral agility scores, his ability to do THIS:
on a regular basis, and the fact that he conducts himself like THIS:
when dealing with the media in a first-class way … say that this young man, Derrick Brown, “Is ready” to play in the NBA, right away.
When you couple a player like Derrick Brown with a:
you are talking about a serious increase in FIRST-CLASS athletic ability and NBA skill level that can immediately elevate the Quality Depth on the Raptors’ roster to the point where they could contend with the likes of Boston and Cleveland and Orlando, etc., in the not-too-distant future, either:
A. If Chris Bosh re-signs with their team;
B. If Chris Bosh is traded [for comparable parts] and Andrea Bargnani continues to improve, as their Center, moving forward from that point.
The ball’s been placed in Bryan’s Colangelo’s hands … for the sake of loyal Raptors fans everywhere … let’s hope that he doesn’t drop it, again.
Scottie Pippen [6-7, 228, G-F] … as an All-NBA defender, a good passer, a very good rebounder, a competent ball-handler, and a solid secondary scorer … was a tremendous complementary player to Michael Jordan, playing for the Chicago Bulls [6-time Champs], under the direction of Phil Jackson.
A decade later, it says here & now that Trevor Ariza [6-8, 210, G-F] is composed of similar material, and ready to fulfil the same role [i.e. Robin] with the Los Angeles Lakers this season, in conjunction with Kobe Bryant [i.e. Batman] and the ZenMaster.