Michael Jordan vs Scottie Pippen 1 on 1
With 6 NBA championships between them, this is the most celebrated duo in NBA history. Both Jordan and Pippen feature very similar skillsets and athleticism. But who wins when both MJ and Pip face off in a game of 1 on 1? Our panel discusses:
Pick: Jordan. So it’s the student vs. the master. I personally think Scottie Pippen was underrated and may be the most underrated player of all time but make no mistake about it; M.J. made this guy. Scottie averaged 18 points a game playing with M.J., and only 10.9 without him. Not much to debate with this one we all know Robin can’t beat Batman.
Pick: Jordan. Bat man meets Robin is the perfect way to summarize this match up between two Titans of basketball MJ vs Pip. Both are great as individuals but as a tandem they complimented each others game so well most times they were invincible. MJ’s gravity gave Pip the floor spacing to create for teammates and slash to the rim at will. Pippen’s versatility made the constant double team on MJ impossible and allowed MJ to focus solely on scoring in the clutch because Pip was the primary ball-handler and play-maker. As opponents Batman taught Robin everything except how to defeat him. Same way MJ is the greatest for a reason. While MJ needed Pip to bring home the championships he was already dominating the league without him. Pip benefited greatly from MJ he was able to develop into a star without the growing pains and responsibility given to the team Leader. I said all that to say Batman never loses to Robin
Pick: Jordan. MJ vs Pippen. Growing up in Chicago you can attest Pippen growth to playing and practicing against MJ so if anybody would know how to slow down the goat it’s Pippen. I always said Pippen was an underrated player who never got the praise he deserved because he played with Mike. It was Pippen unselfish game that allowed MJ to be who he was. It wasn’t a Durant and Westbrook situation or a my turn your turn situation because Pippen accepted being Robin to MJ Superman . Ok back to the game 1 on 1 , Pippen would bother Jordan with his elite defense but when Scottie has the ball Jordan could do the exact same . MJ would pick up the win because he has a go to move, the fadeaway, which he could get with the strength advantage he would have over Scottie. Pippen would keep it close but in the end his lack of shot making would do him in .
Pick: Jordan. To simply assume this will be a trade-off of Jordan’s offense vs Pippen’s defense is a complete oversight to how good MJ was defensively (and to a lesser extent, how good Pippen was in terms of scoring). Scottie was a jack of all trades, and a master of none, when he had the ball in his hands. Jordan, however, was arguably the best perimeter defender the game has ever seen (and if not the best, a lock for top 5). People look at his role in the second three-peat and claim he wasn’t that dominant of a defender, and they’re right. But look at the way that team was constructed with Pippen, Rodman, and Harper. Those guys were all excellent defenders, and Jordan wasn’t needed to exert his energy on that end (also keep in mind that he was 35 in 98, so they didn’t want to run him into the ground, either). It’s kind of like if Kobe had Dirk, Pierce, and T-Mac alongside him; would we hold it against Kobe if his scoring dropped because there was a balance? Absolutely not. Also, keep in mind, that we’re talking about Jordan and Pippen in their primes, and MJ (in my opinion) was in his prime in 93. I can’t think of one guy that has ever had superior production against him in the playoffs than their regular output. Jordan, for all intents and purposes, was a lock-down defender. This point is substantiated by the fact that he was selected to the all-defensive team 9 times. On offense, he was the most complete scorer the game has ever seen. The only possible weakness people point to was his 3-point shooting, but you couldn’t leave this guy open. Think back to 92 and game 1 of the finals against Portland with the shrug. Look at his 3 point shooting in the playoffs during the first 3 peat: .385%, .386%, .389%. Add this to his ability to get to the rim, create off the dribble, and post up, and it doesn’t matter how good Pippen is defensively, there’s not a defender in the history of the game that can shut down Jordan by himself.