Quantcast 2010 NBA: Scottie Pippen & Karl Malone

 

Malone, Pippen to be Inducted

 

Two of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this Friday, August 13th. Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen were two exceptional and multi-talented players who were ahead of their time. Both could shine on either end of the floor, Pippen is considered one of the best defenders of all time. They both came from small schools and worked their way toward greatness. The other commonality that the two share is they both had a teammate inducted just last year, Pippen’s teammate Michael Jordan and Malone’s teammate John Stockton. Together they combined for 21 All-NBA teams (including 14 First Team Selections), 20 All-Star Appearances (3 game MVPs), and14 NBA All-Defensive (11 First Team) picks. These are two of the most decorated players of their era. Let’s take a look at each of them separately.

Scottie Pippen- He entered the University of Arkansas as a 6-1 walk-on, ended his career at 6-8, and was selected 5th in the 1987 Draft by the Sonics, who traded him to the Bulls. Scottie developed steadily his first few years and proved to be a great sidekick to the best player in the League, Jordan. He earned his first All-Star selection in 1990 and emerged as a superstar in the years to follow.

The knock that everyone has on Pippen is that Jordan made Pippen good. This is not entirely correct. Scottie Pippen would have been great on his own. He certainly would have still been an All-Star numerous times; he probably would not have been included on the list of 50, but still a Hall of Famer. When watching Scottie play it is clear that he had athletic ability superior to most players his size at the time. He helped revolutionize the game, being one of the first of his kind. His kind was a tall, lanky small forward who could play in the post or the perimeter. He could use his great footwork to beat you down low, drive by you and throw it down on a shot blocker’s head, or pull up for a three in transition. However, it was on the other end of the court that Pippen made his name. He made 8 consecutive All-Defense First Teams from 1992-1999 as well as a Second Team selection in 91 and 2000. Pippen’s long arms and height enabled him to pester the best offensive players in the league. He could guard any position on the court PG through C. He proved his stopping power against Magic Johnson in the 1991 NBA Finals and helped the Bulls to their first of six championships in eight years. After MJ’s first retirement before the 93-94 season Pippen was the go-to-guy. He averaged career highs of 22 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.9 steals to go along with 5.6 assists per game that year finishing 3rd in MVP voting as well as winning All-Star game MVP. In 94-95, without Jordan most of the season Pippen shined again becoming the second player ever to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks (21.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 5.2 apg, 2.9 spg, and 1.1bpg). His repeat average of 2.9 spg led the NBA that season and set the record for forwards with 292.

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Over the years Scottie compiled quite a legacy. Six time NBA champion, seven time All-Star (1 MVP), eight time All-NBA selection (3 first, 2 second, and 2 third teams), ten time All-Defensive Team (8 first and 2 second teams), 18,940 points, 6,135 assists (NBA record for forwards) , and 2,307 steals (another record for forward). He earned two Gold Medals (’92 and ’96), and is the only player to have won the NBA title and Olympic Gold the same year twice. Looks like Pippen did OK for himself during his tenure.

Karl Malone- Whether rain, sleet, snow, or hail, Karl Malone always delivered. It was this consistency that earned Malone the nickname the “Mailman” while playing at Louisiana Tech (he also happened to play in the post). He is easily the second best 13 th overall pick in draft history (Kobe holds that title). Here was another player coming from a small school and making a huge impact in the NBA. Karl fashioned a career so great that it is impossible not to include his name in the discussion of best power forward of all time.

 


The Jazz saw his potential during his rookie season when he averaged 14.9 points and 8.7 rebounds and made the 1986 All-Rookie team. He came back for his second season bigger and stronger than he was the previous season. Not only was he stronger, he also improved his game raising his averages to 21.7 ppg and 10.9 rpg. Malone was establishing himself as one of the best young players in the League. Just as Pippen had Jordan, Malone had a Hall of Fame sidekick in John Stockton. Stockton emerged as a great PG and distributor for Malone and the Jazz. The two showed the League how the pick-and-roll was supposed to be run. Over the course of their career, Malone enabled Stockton to become the NBA’s all time assist leader. The 1987-88 season saw Malone make his first of 14 consecutive All-Star appearances. He came into his own the next season making his first of 11 straight All-NBA First team selections 29.1 ppg and 10.7 rpg. Throughout the 90s he was a tremendously dominant player. At 6-9 and 350 lbs he was physically stronger than anyone who guarded him. He also possessed great mobility for a player his size. He was very agile and ran the floor well in transition to get easy baskets on passes from Stockton. Malone was also terrific finisher at the rim. When Stockton came off Malone’s ball screens and fed him the ball on the roll he was unstoppable and it was almost guarantee he would score or get fouled ( He led the league in FTs made 9 times and is the all time leader). He was similar to LeBron or Amar’e Stoudemire when attacking the rim (not quite as athletic). He also developed a face up mid-range jumpshot, which only made him tougher to defend. In addition to his offensive abilities, the Mailman was no slouch on defense. Malone made 3 All-Defensive first teams in ’97, ’98, and ’99. His biggest individual honors came in ’97 and ’99 when he won his two MVP awards. Unfortunately, due to the success of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Bulls, Malone never won an NBA championship (he won Olympic gold with them on the Dream Team), which remains the only argument against him in best PF of all time discussions. He finished his career with the second most points in NBA history with 36,928, although he never led the league in scoring. Career averages of 25 points and 10.1 rebounds certainly rank among, if not the best PF in history.

 

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By: Justin Dehm
ProBasketball-fans.com Staff Writer


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