Your All-Time NBA Starting Five

Nope. Role players have specific roles. Rodman= defense/ rebounding Stockton = facilitator
Dikembe = defense/shot block Pippen = defense/slash the lanes

Jordan = free range to do whatever he pleases
Durant and Curry = do what you want

Those players are green light players in basketball.

You didn’t contradict my point, IMO. My point was that everyone has a “role” even Jordan. Smacky was talking about Pippen’s role and you used that to say that Smacky was agreeing that Pippen was a “role player” which means something other than that the player has a role. Every player has a role, but not every player is a “role player”. Smacky was saying Pippen had a role, and you tried to conflate that as being supportive of your position that Pippen was a “role player”. Jordan had a role, Hakeem had a role, Magic had a role, Pippen had a role, Steve Kerr was a role player, Bruce Bowen was a role player, etc.

Pippen did too many things well to be a “role player”. In fact, he was famous for his versatility and he was an MVP candidate. How is a versatile MVP candidate a “role player”? How is a versatile player with many facets to his game, that lead his team in a handful of statistical categories, that was on the All NBA First Team three times, the All NBA Second Team twice, and the All NBA Third Team twice, a “roll player”? He finished 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, and 11th in MVP voting.

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Kerr was a role player.

Pippen’s “role” was to do damn near whatever was needed in a given game, and on a given play.

He wasn’t a “role player” in the traditional sense it’s used in basketball.

Pippen’s “role” was as one of the 2 team leaders.
One was the scorer, ultimate competitor on both sides of the court, and I would say emotional leader, MJ.
The other ran the offense and the defense, helped out where needed everywhere, brought all-time defense and just a notch below elite offense (that was elite at times), and was a player/coach in the technical sense.

Phil Jackson has mentioned the different leadership styles of Jordan and Scottie, and how they both served a purpose and complimented eachother.

Being on of 2 team leaders, and one half of arguably the greatest duo in NBA history, is not a “role player”.

Contrary to what some others are saying on this thread… there is absolutely NOT a long list of players who could have filled Pippen’s shoes.
His skill set, and the success he had with it, Is very rare.

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Pippen has been knocked for his scoring in this thread but compare it to two all-time greats who’s legendary status is never called into question.

Scottie Pippen’s 6 best seasons by points per game: 22.0, 21.4, 21.0, 20.2, 19.4, 19.1

Magic Johnson’s 6 best seasons by points per game: 23.9, 22.5, 22.3, 21.6, 19.6, 19.4

Tim Duncan’s 6 best seasons by points per game: 25.5, 23.3, 23.2, 22.3, 22.2, 21.7

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In the end, Pippen will always go down as “one” of the best sidekicks in the game. He will always be a “Robin” and never Batman. If you guys think he is a superstar more power to you…but remember he is only great because he won championships as a side kick. If the Bulls never won titles no one would be talking about his greatness. He needs to be thanking Jordan instead of showing his jealousy towards him.

It’s obvious we have difference in opinions on who and what makes players GREAT.

Lebron would have been Jordan’s side kick too.


John Stockton never won championships as a sidekick, and is universally considered great.

So to you, a role player is anyone but the primary scorer?

So Bill Russell, a five time MVP, is a role player? Steve Nash, a two time MVP, is a role player?

Today I learned…

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Yeah, and that’s fine, of course.

Check out Pippen’s stats from the two years (1.5) MJ was gone. Also, listen to Kerr talking about Pippen. He says he was the best defender in the league and that he should have been the second highest paid player in the league, or at least the top 5.

Skip to about 2:47

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I agree he is arguably the best defender ever. That was his role.

Since you are clearly on the slower side a “role” player is someone who fulfills a role for a team and is limited usually offensively although at times it can be a player who is just a pure shooter but limited defensively.

Nash and Russell were team leaders and arguable the best players on the team and on the court most nights.

If you ever played high level ball (and I don’t mean high school basketball) you realize what I mean regarding role players.

Also, all these interviews regarding Pippen from previous players stress his defense and he was a “glue” guy. That’s a role. He will never lead a team to the Championship.

You’re clearly just flailing about trying to justify an incorrect initial opinion. The common definition of role player doesn’t include Pippen and you know it, you just don’t want to admit it. You’ve stretched the definition of role player until it means anyone but the top scorer on a team, so I used two ridiculous examples to show how important great players can be because of defense and ball distribution, two things Pippen was the best at on his team.

When Jordan retired, Pippen was the best player on the team and court most nights, so how is he a role player? He would have been the best player on almost any team in the league in the early to mid 90s. Jordan, Olajuwon, Robinson, and Shaq when he came in are the only ones I’d definitely put ahead of him.

Pippen wasn’t as good as Jordan, but his team results without Jordan were far better than Jordan’s results without him.


And it’s not like Pippen wasn’t a good scorer. He just wasn’t elite. Over a 7 or 8 season span he averaged slightly better than 20 points. There’s a reason why “bigs” are often described as “Twenty/Ten” players when they average 20 points and 10 rebounds, or better. It’s because 20 points and ten rebounds is really good. Scottie gave you 20 points, plus all-time defense, plus assists, plus rebounds, plus being a floor general. The total package that Scottie brought to the table was definitely elite, even if his scoring itself was “merely” “good” or “really good”.

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Tim Duncan and Magic Johnson weren’t elite scorers but they were certainly elite players.

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Not trying to get on your case Side Note. You’ve been a good contributor in this thread…except for when you called SmackyBear “slow”.

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It’s fine to be flexible with the word “role”.

But does not the main scorer fill the scoring role?

And Pippen was the best all-around player on the Bulls, and the second best individual player next to Jordan.

I truly believe a lot of people were just too focused on Jordan to see everything Pippen did.
I watched both of them.
I studied those teams, and rooted for the guys coming off the bench too.
For example, I loved how Bill Wennington would come off the bench and make his first shot almost every time. He was reliable in that aspect.
Point is… I watched everything both Jordan and Pippen did.
Jordan was obviously on a other level from everyone – even Magic admitted it.
But Pippen was a highlight reel player himself.
And all the “dirty work” he did, was not unnoticed.
Dude was drawing charges from Shaq and Karl Malone!
Hell… Pippen was competing with Jordan for finals 98 Finals MVP, before he hurt his back again.
Then he was on the sideline puking in a bucket between plays, and coming out to make great defensive stops and offensive plays.
Can you imagine Lebron toughing it out like that??
It’s amazing to me they didn’t shed light on Pippen’s tough-as-nails 98 finals performance on The Last Dance.
I was looking forward to the footage – and couldn’t believe they didn’t talk about that!

Maybe Pippen isn’t “great” in your eyes in terms of alltime best scorers.

But his can you say he wasn’t a great player?

IMO, Pippen is one if the most important, valuable, and impactful players in NBA history.
He and Jordan dominated one if the best basketball decades ever – together!

There is a reason they called him the Indispensable Lynchpin.

I believe he is great at what he did but he is not one of the elites in my eyes. He’s not in my top 10 all time small forwards.

I’ve never viewed him as elite and again the Bulls are my favorite team so I’m definitely not hating. I always viewed him the way I viewed Kerr, Grant, Kukoc, Cartwright…The Bulls management team developed the perfect basketball team for that time period in which they put players with specific skill sets to complment Jordan to ensure Championships.

Sidey, what about the first year Jordan was retired and Pippen averaged 22 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.9 steals, 0.8 blocks, made both the All-NBA First Team and the All-NBA Defensive First team, and finished 3rd in MVP voting, all while being the centerpiece of the Bulls offense, the focal point of every team’s defense when they played the Bulls, and doing all of that without another star on his team to help him. Was he elite that year?

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Strongly disagree here.

But that’s ok, because we agree on a bunch of other stuff in this thread.

I also don’t think history really supports your argument here.
Those other players you mention (Kerr, Kukok etc) are not on Pippens level, or even close.

Pippen was the All-star MVP and a league MVP candidate in Jordan’s absence. He also led the Bulls in all major statistical categories in Jordan’s absense.
At the time he was only the second player to ever accomplish that, and as of now only 1 of 5 players to ever accompmish that.
He led the league in steals that year too.

If that’s not elite, then nothing but scoring is elite – and I don’t buy that.

I could be wrong, but I detect a little bias in your argument here.
There are a certain group of Bulls fans who just think Pippen was a product of Jordan’s success – and that nobody would have heard of him otherwise.
That opinion has always been demonstrably incorrect.
And acknowledging Pippen’s greatness does not in any way take away from Jordan’s greatness.

I can’t see putting Pippen outside the top 5 small forward ever.
6 championships goes a long way in supporting that.

You could not put a Grant Hill in Scottie’s shoes and expect the same result.
If Phil Jackson didn’t have Pippen – he would have been looking for a John Stockton.

I wonder who was second in MVP voting?

I was of the opinion that Pippen should have had it if not for Hakeem (who deserved it IMO).