Bulls

Pippen on bubble: 'It's not NBA basketball... it's pickup'

Bulls

It appears Scottie Pippen isn't much a fan of bubble ball.

In an interview with John Lynch of Business Insider, Pippen likened play during the NBA restart, which is taking place in a league-sanctioned campus environment at Disney World near Orlando, Fla., as being close to "pickup basketball" than NBA basketball.

From the Business Insider piece, reported by Lynch:

Well, I'm going to be honest. It's not NBA basketball. It's not the hard grind. It's not the travel. It's not the fans. It's not the distractions. Really, to me, it's pickup basketball. It's going to the gym. Yeah, you already got your team. Y'all practicing together. But it's a more of a pickup type of basketball game, because there's no fans in the stands. So there is no distraction. There's no real noise. There's no pressure on the players, you know. Prime example: I looked at Rondo. Rondo ain't made three pointers in his whole NBA career. Now, all of a sudden, he's in a bubble, he's probably a 50% three point shooter. I haven't even checked the stats.

Scottie Pippen to John Lynch of Business Insider

Fact check: Rondo is shooting 44.8 percent from deep since rejoining the Los Angeles Lakers for Game 1 of their second round series with the Houston Rockets, nearly 13 points better than his 31.6 percent career mark.

Good eye, Scottie.

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Pippen went on to belabor the lack of distractions players need face in the bubble that typically come with long postseason runs — the latter of which, mind you, Pippen knows a thing or two about.

"The bubble makes the NBA easy to me. There's no travel. That's the killer itself. So you're sleeping in the same bed every night. You're walking to the gym. You're not having to go with a 25 to 50 minute bus ride to an arena," he told Lynch. "You're not having to probably even sit in the arena for two hours before the game, talk to the media, deal with all the outside stuff that they're trying to pull you in to make some distraction and, you know, throw the team in a loop. So it's a different game, but it's very entertaining."

Entertaining, indeed. The bubble has seen some sublime scoring displays, including a 12-game stretch run that saw Damian Lillard average 32 points per game, and a first round series between the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets that saw Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray each eclipse 50 points twice.  

 

Even as the league successfully (so far) puts on an unprecedented postseason, it still just doesn't quite feel the same.