Scottie Pippen Thinks Westbrook’s Season Is The Greatest Ever! Even More Than Jordan’s 88 Season?
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Remember back in 2013 when Alonzo Mourning said Scottie Pippen told him, “LeBron would’ve kicked MJ’s ass?” That comment caused a lot of head shaking in the basketball community and probably caused some Pippen jersey burnings in Jordan shrines. On a recent appearance of ESPN’s ‘The Jump,’ Pippen caused a little more head shaking when he said the season Russell Westbrook is having is “the greatest I’ve ever seen.”
He didn’t say “may be the greatest” like Tracy McGrady did. Jordan’s former teammate on six NBA championships said “It’s the greatest I’ve ever seen.”
You can make an argument about a lot of different seasons from different players (Shaq in 2000 and multiple Magic Johnson in the 80s seasons quickly pop in my head) but since Pippen was actually on the floor with Michael Jordan during his greatest seasons, I’m just going to point out a couple of MJ ones.
Pippen wasn’t in the league when Jordan averaged 37.1 points per game but he was a rookie when Jordan won MVP and became the only player in NBA history to win Defensive Player Of The Year and the scoring title (35 points per game) in the same season. He also averaged 5.9 assists, 5.5 boards, 3.2 steals, 1.6 blocks while playing all 82 games. He scored 50+ four times and knocked down 21 of 27 shots in a season-high 59-point performance against the Pistons! He had 10 steals to go with 32 points on 14 of 18 shooting…in 27 minutes! He had a 44 point game with 9 assists, 5 steals and 5 blocks vs the Rockets. As a cherry on top of the season, he also beat Nique in the NBA dunk contest and won MVP of the All-Star game by scoring 40 on 17-23 shooting.
But, but, he didn’t average a triple-double right?
You are right, but if MJ and his coach wanted him to average a triple-double, he could have. Just look at what he did during Doug Collins’ point guard experiment in 1989. Jordan recorded a triple double in ten of eleven games, including seven consecutive ones. In the game he didn’t record a TD, he finished with 40 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds. During the 24-game experiment, Jordan averaged 30.4 points, 9.2 boards, 10.7 assists and 2.4 steals.
I could go through a few more seasons (90/91 is worth a look) but I’m going to end it with the 1995/96 season. That’s when a 33-year old Jordan averaged 30.4 points while shooting 50 percent, won MVP, led his team to 72 wins and pretty much guaranteed a championship, which he delivered on.
Yes, I’ll take Westbrook’s season over most of Jordan’s if we are playing fantasy basketball. In reality? I’m going to have to go with The Goat.
Also, if we are going to praise Westbrook mainly for his stats, we also have to mention that only James Harden has turned the ball over more times in a single season than Westbrook this year and he’s shooting by far the lowest fg% (.425) out of any scoring leader in the past decade. Like I said, I’m going to have to go with The Goat.
Speaking of Pippen and triple-doubles, who else remembers Pip saying he was going to average a triple-double after MJ’s first retirement? Nobody? Maybe we will eventually forget about what he said about Westbrook too.