Bulls Great Pippen Says Dubs’ Dynasty Doesn’t Stack Up

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Getty Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry

Magic or Larry? Marino or Montana? Michael or LeBron? These are the timeless arguments that spark barstool banter, fuel Thanksgiving Day debates and unite sports fans across the eras, even if the participants will never see eye to eye.

The “what if?” and the “who was better?” disputes are part of a recipe that makes sports powerful and eternal, even when they prove to be head scratchers or forehead slappers.

In his new book, Chicago Bulls Hall-of-Fame forward Scottie Pippen trafficked in one such point of view that involves the NBA’s most recent dynasty, the Golden State Warriors of the last decade.

Pippen Says Dubs, Durant Wouldn’t Stand Chance Vs. Bulls

Scottie Pippen Salary

GettyScottie Pippen, of the Chicago Bulls, has had a lot to say in recent months, including some surprising remarks about the Golden State Warriors.

During one section of “Unguarded Scottie Pippen,” the six-time champion dove into the argument of which team was better — the Bulls during their second three-peat in the late 1990s, or the Warriors team led by Steph Curry and Kevin Durant that appeared in three straight NBA Finals of their own (five total, including two prior to Durant’s arrival.)

The Twitter account belonging to Josh Eberley posted a portion of the relevant page from Pippen’s book, which NBC Sports Bay Area referenced in an article published Sunday about the Bulls vs. Warriors debate.

The excerpt reads as follows:

That’s true, as well, for the two dynasties that came later: the Los Angeles Lakers of the early 2000s and the Golden State Warriors of recent years. I’ll stack our roster against the Warriors any day — especially our second three-peat teams. Let’s go through the matchups:

Dennis Rodman or Draymond Green at power forward? Dennis. Luc Longley or Andrew Bogut/JaVale McGee at center? Luc. Michael Jordan or Klay Thompson at shooting guard? Michael. Me or Kevin Durant at small forward? You could go either way. The only matchup clearly in Golden State’s favor would be Steph Curry over Ron Harper at point guard.

One more thing: the Warriors had nobody off the bench as skilled as Toni Kukoc.

Prediction: Bulls in six. (The series couldn’t go seven. After all, we were never extended to a Game 7 in the Finals.)

Pippen Overlooks Important Factors in His Assessment of Warriors

Kevin Durant and Steph Curry

GettyKevin Durant and Steph Curry, of the Golden State Warriors. 

Pippen, in recent months, has taken to setting fire to everything around him, both now and back during his run with the Bulls. For instance, the staunch criticism he’s leveled against his running mate Jordan and the way Pippen felt MJ inappropriately portrayed him during “The Last Dance,” the so-called documentary that Jordan bought and paid for, and which ran in 10-parts on ESPN to much fanfare.

Pippen’s beef with Jordan is understandable, and there are decades worth of baggage to unpack there. But some of the points Pippen touches on in what can only be described as an imbalanced assessment of the Warriors seem a bit out of touch.

There is no question that Pippen is a top 50 NBA player of all-time. Ask Bill Simmons, noted NBA historian and founder of The Ringer, and he’ll tell you that the Bulls forward is one of the top two wing defenders to ever play the game alongside peak Kawhi Leonard.

But Simmons will also tell you, along with most other authorities on the NBA, that Durant is the best shooting forward in history already and still has years left on the back end of his prime. Durant is also likely to end his career in, or at least around, the top 10 players to ever pick up a basketball. Pippen isn’t sniffing that level of historical respect, and never has.

Also, Rodman over Green? That feels like a stretch. Rodman was a prolific rebounder, but Green is one of the smartest and most versatile defenders ever. Plus, the Warriors’ former Defensive Player of the Year never went missing in action during the middle of a season only to be located in Las Vegas waiting to perform in a professional wrestling match.

Longley would get played off the floor within seconds of the Warriors’ instituting their small-ball death lineup. Plus, fifth bananas in the starting lineups of a couple of dynasties aren’t making or breaking any arguments, or games for that matter. But if one ever did, the defense of Bogut around the rim is more likely to have a significant impact on the outcome of a game down the stretch than anything Longley could ever do, including body-boarding with Phil Jackson off the coast of Australia — something the player/coach pair is reputed to have done on several occasions over the years.

This is all to say that Pippen is perhaps misremembering the greatness of his team and the specifics of the era in which they played — not to mention inflating his own nearly unmatched value throughout NBA history to a level it simply never attained.

But, again, it is these types of arguments that make sports matter the way they do in mainstream American culture. So more power to you, Pippen. Hopefully someday soon, if we’re really lucky, we’ll all get to hear from former Bulls guard and current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on the matter. His opinion, whatever it might entail, would be sure to spark the kind of basketball debate every NBA fan knows and loves.

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