Scottie Pippen is No Diplomat, but He Knows BasketballScottie Pippen would like to coach the Chicago Bulls, the team that he helped lead to six NBA titles, and he does not understand "the key to the good 'ol boy system" that he believes is preventing him from getting a coaching job: "What's my disadvantage? No NBA coaching experience? Skiles' record with the Bulls wasn't that great. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do what you've done your whole life. I've played basketball, run teams and won. They didn't put me at point guard because I could dribble good. They put me there because I could run a team. I wasn't the best dribbler, the best shooter. I wasn't a point guard. But I knew how to run a team."
Pippen told the Chicago Tribune's Sam Smith, "What experience do you need? You have assistants who have been there. If I made a mistake, I wouldn't be the first coach to make a mistake. I'd love the opportunity to be part of the organization now that Skiles is gone. I've won championships with this organization and been in the competition when everything was on the line. I was a coach on the floor. Why isn't that experience?"
Pippen also offered some blunt assessments of the skills and limitations of some of the current Bulls' players:
***Tyrus Thomas "dribbles better with his left hand than his right. He must have broken his arm when he was a kid. He shouldn't be dribbling. He should be a fetcher. Like Ben Wallace, (Joakim) Noah, go get the ball."
***Ben Wallace "doesn't know the game like Dennis Rodman did. Dennis knew how and why he got rebounds. So you keep on him (Wallace) or he doesn't play."
***Ben Gordon "(is) out there shooting for a contract...If there's two, three guys running at him, he still wants to make a shot. Those shots are out of position, your teammates don't expect them, you are not in position to rebound and get back. Taking bad shots is a sign of a lack of respect for your teammates. You think I'm going to run back if I know B.J. Armstrong is jacking it up? My shot is just as good as his. That's what players think."
***Kirk Hinrich "(is) guarding Kobe, Tracy McGrady, the best players. He's not that talented. Let him run the offense. But you can't have midgets running your backcourt. Little guards always put you in a vulnerable position. You've got to send help. It puts too much pressure on the defense."
***Luol Deng "(is) solid. But he doesn't have enough speed. He plays more upright, so it's tough for him to go out and guard smaller guys. I think Deng is on the verge of being a star. But all that money talk added pressure. Now he's trying to show 28, 29 teams what he's about instead of going out and playing."
***Andres Nocioni "(is) turning into Rasheed Wallace with the kinds of things he does on floor. It makes the officials turn on the whole team. And you stop getting calls."
Obviously, diplomacy is not Scottie Pippen's strong suit. I stood right next to him during the 2007 All-Star Weekend when he told a group of reporters, "If you ask people who understand the game, the GMs and the coaches, they’d rather have a Scottie than a Michael." As I explained, "there is in fact some truth to what he said--not so much that GMs would prefer Scottie to Michael but that they would prefer the way that Scottie played. Jordan was a more naturally gifted scorer but as a rebounder, playmaker and defender Pippen did not have to take a back seat to any midsized player--even MJ--and he consistently played, as Larry Brown would say, 'the right way,' supporting his teammates and trying to get them involved. He never felt the temptation that MJ often did to try to simply shoot his team out of trouble single-handedly."
Someone who hires Scottie Pippen to be a head coach may cringe once in a while at Pippen's blunt, brutally honest way of expressing himself--but isn't that a small price to pay in exchange for the wealth of knowledge and experience that Pippen has?
posted by David Friedman @ 6:15 PM