Bulls

Why Scottie Pippen isn't a fan of Billy Donovan hire

Bulls

Scottie Pippen is scorching earth left and right on his media tour to promote his new partnership with the “Calm” meditation app and American Express, which will soon produce a new basketball-related sleep story and a virtual discussion on mindfulness.

In an interview with Business Insider, Pippen called the play within NBA bubble “pickup basketball” as opposed to NBA basketball. And in a sitdown with Forbes, he panned the Bulls’ recent hire of Billy Donovan as head coach:

From the Forbes piece, reported by Chris Cason:

If you’re looking at it from a fan perspective, I’m not impressed with what they did. I don’t think that they have made any dramatic changes that are going to change who they are as a team. That’s just my personal opinion. I like Billy Donovan as a person but I don’t think he’s proved anything in the NBA that proves he’s worth investing in and bringing a team up that needs help like Chicago does. They’re a team that has been struggling for a long time. To me, I don’t see the value he brings to them. He’s going to be a coach but there are a lot of them out there. He didn’t do anything special in OKC that warranted him a second opportunity. That’s just my opinion.

Scottie Pippen to Chris Cason of Forbes

Nevermind that Donovan won over 60 percent of his games over five seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder (albeit with star-studded rosters), making the playoffs each year. Or that he’s proven a solid developer of NBA talent, dating back to his days with the Florida Gators through his Thunder tenure.

Four consecutive first-round postseason defeats in Oklahoma City admittedly mar his resume a bit, but this season’s Thunder markedly overperformed relative to expectations, vaulting from an ESPN-assigned 0.2 percent chance of making the playoffs before the season to pushing the Houston Rockets to the final possession of a Game 7 in the first round.

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In conducting an extensive search for the Bulls’ head coaching vacancy, Artūras Karnišovas, at least, harbored no doubts about Donovan’s credentials. He admitted to the Bulls’ courting of Donovan being “relentless,” even after not originally knowing the coach would become available.

 

“I could not stop smiling from the moment we agreed on a deal,” Karnišovas said at Donovan’s introductory press conference. “Billy has a team-first mentality that embraces collaboration and partnership with his players, staff, and front office, and is very much aligned with the culture we are working to develop.”

Pippen at one time occupied an advisory role with the Bulls, but said in an appearance on the Thuzio Live & Unfiltered podcast during All-Star weekend that he was fired from that position.

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