I am sick and tired of hearing and reading about people talking about Scottie Pippen as the better defensive player than Michael Jordan. Really?!? How?!
First of all Scottie Pippen is Michael Jordan's Pippen. The Original Pippen. The player that defines the side-kick role in contemporary NBA. He was Jordan’s Robin in Gotham Chicago. He was also the original Jordan wannabe . . . trained with and molded by Michael Jordan to be a "Jordan clone." Some people today keep talking about star players needed a "Pippen" to win a championship ring (e.g.. Derrick Rose really needs a "Pippen" right now). Shaquille O'Neal used to have Penny Hardaway (Orlando Magic), Kobe Bryant* (Los Angeles Lakers) and Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat) as his "Pippen.” Kobe himself got his own "Pippen" (Pau Gasol) years later to add two more rings with the three-peat he won with Shaq. One-two punch combos used to be the thing in the 90s, Jordan-Pippen, Malone-Stockton, Hakeem-Drexler, Kemp-Payton, and of course, Shaq-Kobe.
Although, ever since the Big Three of Boston Celtics was formed and won the championship in 2008, coupled with the continuing success of the San Antonio Spurs' Big Three (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker) and most recently, Miami Heat's Big Three (Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh), the NBA has now reverted back to the 1980s when big teams used to have their own big threes to win championships, such as the Lakers (Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy) and the Celtics (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish). Heck, we can even go way back to the ancient NBA times: the Lakers (Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and Gail Goodrich), the Sixers (Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Mo Cheeks) and the Celtics (Bill Russel, Bob Cousy, and John Havlevick). Anyway, the Chicago Bulls' second three-peat was won by their very own big three as well, and the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen-Dennis Rodman triumvirate was very dominant in the mid/late 90s.
Back to the topic, there is no way that Scottie Pippen was better than Michael Jordan defensively. The stats speak for themselves. The only time Pippen beat Jordan in the defensive category was simply because he played more games than Jordan while Jordan's career was interrupted by his retirements. Of course, without Scottie Pippen playing alongside Michael Jordan those six banners at the top of the United Center won't be there.
- 1987-88 NBA Defensive Player of the Year
- 9x All-Defensive First Team Selections
- 3x NBA Leader in Steals (1988, 1990, 1993)
- 2.35 spg in the regular season (2,514 career steals in 1,072 games)
- 2.10 spg in the play-offs (376 career play-off steals in 179 games)
- 0.8 bpg in the regular season (893 career blocks in 1,072 games)
- 0.9 bpg in the play-offs (158 career play-off blocks in 179 games)
- 5.2 drpg in the regular season (5,004 career defensive rebounds in 1,072 games)
- 4.7 drpg in the play-offs (847 career play-off defensive rebounds in 179 games)
- 200 steals and 100 blocks in a single season (1986-87, 1987-88)
- 8x All-NBA Defensive First Team Selections
- 2x All-NBA Defensive Second Team Selections
- 1x NBA Leader in Steals (1995)
- 1.96 spg in the regular season (2,307 career steals in 1,178 games)
- 1.90 spg in the play-offs (395 career play-off steals in 208 games)
- 0.8 bpg in the regular season (947 career blocks in 1,178 games)
- 0.9 bpg in the play-offs (185 career play-off blocks in 208 games)
- 4.6 drpg in the regular season (5,426 career defensive rebounds in 1,178 games)
- 5.4 drpg in the play-offs (1,117 career play-off defensive rebounds in 208 games)
- 200 steals and 100 blocks in a single season (1989-90)
[*] If you're a Kobetard and you got offended with him being Shaq's Pippen.... Tough luck!