Scottie Pippen

Golden State Warriors add Kavion Pippen, nephew of Scottie Pippen

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USA TODAY

Golden State Warriors add Kavion Pippen, nephew of Scottie Pippen

The Golden State Warriors are eternally linked to the legendary Bulls dynasty of the '90s due to the fact that the Dubs broke the Bulls' long-standing wins record in the 2015-16 season, amassing 73 wins. But now they have a new connection to the '90s Bulls in the form of their recent signing, Kavion Pippen. 

Kavion Pippen is the nephew of Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, and he played his NCAA basketball at Southern Illinois. Over two seasons with the Salukis, Pippen averaged 12.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He was an efficient shooter as well, finishing his NCAA career with a 57% true shooting percentage. 

The Warriors are in the early stages of figuring out what works around their new Steph Curry-D'Angelo Russell-Draymond Green-Klay Thompson core and have added plenty of young bigs to throw in the mix.

This list includes Marquese Chriss, Eric Paschall and Omari Spellman. This group produced well in the Warriors first preseason game – the trio combined for 25 points and 6 assists in the 123-101 loss to the Lakers – but also contributed significantly to the Dubs finishing with a -11 margin on the boards. So it comes as no surprise that Golden State waived wing Devyn Marble to make room to add another physical big to the roster. 

In his time at Southern Illinois, Pippen made the MVC All-Newcomer Team, MVC All-Defensive Team and twice was selected for the All-MVC Third Team. In his senior year, he led the Salukis in total points, rebounds, and also finished with eighth-best single-season block total in school history (63 over 32 games).

The terms of Pippen's contract haven't been announced yet but it is likely he will be signed to an Exhibit 10 contract that will see him landing with the Warriors G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors.

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Scottie Pippen says the Bulls dynasty would've won 'at least two' more titles had they stayed together

Scottie Pippen says the Bulls dynasty would've won 'at least two' more titles had they stayed together

The great Bulls dynasty of the 1990s ended abruptly but on a high note. Following their hard-fought NBA Championship win in 1998, Phil Jackson and management couldn't come to an agreement and they decided it was time for him to recharge, taking a step away from basketball. With their leader deciding to get out of the game, Jordan decided to call it quits again. With Jackson and MJ gone, the Bulls front office started their rebuild, trading away Scottie Pippen and not re-signing Dennis Rodman.

One of the great "What ifs?" in NBA history is what would've happened if the Jordan-Pippen-Rodman Bulls stayed together for a few more seasons?

Well, one man seems to have a pretty good idea of how things would've gone if the band stayed together for several more years.

In that same interview on ESPN's 'The Jump', Pippen goes on to say that not only would the Bulls have dominated the lockout-shortened (50-game) 1998-99 season but they would've gone on to win 'at least two' more titles.

Pippen elaborated, "I would have loved to have challenged ourselves to a point to where someone could defeat us."

The 10-time All-Defensive first-team selection and Hall of Famer stated that the teams that gave he, Rodman, Jordan, and company the most problems were the Utah Jazz, who were in the same age bracket as the Bulls, if not older. And in the NBA postseason, we do see veteran teams give fits to younger, inexperienced squads, so 'Pip' may have a point. 

When Rachel Nichols brought up that the lockout-shortened season would've helped the "old man" Bulls keep their legs fresh, Rodman stated, "That makes me mad, man...we had legs for 50 games. My God."

The Bulls were obviously dominant but could a 33-year-old Pippen, 37-year-old Rodman and 35-year-old MJ really have won two more titles?

We took a look at how the Bulls would've stacked up with the 1999 and 2000 NBA Champions, and the matchups are highly intriguing. 

The 1998-99 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs were led by a ridiculously effective frontcourt of David Robinson and Tim Duncan. In the 1999 NBA Finals the Robinson-Duncan duo combined for 44.0 points, 25.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. They dominated the Patrick Ewing-less New York Knicks but the Bulls would've presented a much different challenge. 

Similar to the Utah Jazz (and pretty much every team in the league if we're being honest), the Spurs didn't have any single player who could be looked at like a clear-cut perimeter stopper. This brings up serious issues when matching up with a Bulls team that was getting 64.4 points per game from the trio of Toni Kukoc, Pippen and Jordan. On the flip side, the Spurs would've had a clear advantage on the inside.

The Bulls were outrebounded in both the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals, and that edge on the glass is exactly what helped Utah extend those series to six games each time. Rodman is, of course, one of the greatest rebounders of all-time and was quite adept at guarding up a position (i.e. guarding much bigger players). So when factoring in Rodman's skillset and the way the Bulls would aggressively double-team Karl Malone in their series against the Jazz, the Bulls would likely have the advantage because at the time—despite being a player who was clearly prepared for high-pressure moments—Tim Duncan was only 22 years old.

For further examples that an experienced bunch would've taken down that Spurs team, look no further than the 1998 Western Conference Finals, in which the John Stockton-Karl Malone Utah Jazz that lost to the Bulls took down the Spurs 4-1. But when we look at how an aging Bulls squad would have faced off with the 2000 Los Angeles Lakers, things get a bit murky. 

The starting lineup of the Lakers was: Ron Harper, Kobe Bryant, Glen Rice, and '00 MVP Shaquille O'Neal.

The most interesting parts of this hypothetical matchup are how familiar the Lakers would be with the Bulls considering the presence of Harper in the lineup, the matchup of Shaq vs. the Bulls bigs and of course, what would've likely been a legendary battle between Jordan and a then 21-year-old Bryant.

Harper likely wouldn't have had an incredible impact, as the Bulls' triangle offense deemphasized the importance of a top-notch point guard. But the O'Neal-Bryant tandem had enough talent and skill to potentially overwhelm an aging Bulls team. 

Keep in mind that O'Neal led the charge (24.3 PPG) when the Orland Magic took down the MJ-led Bulls in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Chicago's center rotation (Bill Wennington, Luc Longley) was essentially the same in '98 as it was in '95, so a slightly older and wiser O'Neal certainly would've again been able to post gaudy numbers against the Bulls. But Rodman, who was not on the '95 Bulls, had a reputation as someone who could give much bigger matchups fits, even the massive O'Neal, so there is a case to be had that the Bulls could've slowed him down.

So it all comes down to Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan. 

The two legends faced off less than 10 times during their respective NBA careers and while '00 Bryant had not developed his 'Mamba Mentality' yet, he was fresh off an All-Defensive first-team selection while also being a 20+ PPG scorer. In '98, a 34-year-old Jordan put up 32.4 PPG on a 54.5 percent true shooting percentage, so he was still in top form. 

Ultimately, Bryant's athleticism would have played a major part in the Lakers' effort to slow MJ down, but we have seen over 13 different postseasons (33.4 PPG career playoff scoring average, No. 1 all-time), that there is no such thing as "slowing MJ down." 

The pure dominance of Shaq—and the fact that the Lakers would've had homecourt advantage—makes them look like the favorites, but Pippen, Rodman, and Jordan could easily frustrate O'Neal, forcing him to be more of a passer and high-volume free throw shooter.

We're taking the Bulls in seven games over the 2000 Lakers with an acknowledgment that it would be a hard-fought series, so maybe Pippen wasn't off with his prediction of two more titles had the Bulls dynasty stayed together longer. 

Dennis Rodman opens up about time with Bulls in run-up to documentary release

Dennis Rodman opens up about time with Bulls in run-up to documentary release

Who is Dennis Rodman? That is the question at the heart of the 30 for 30 documentary “Rodman: For Better or Worse” which will premiere on ESPN Tuesday, September 10 at 8 p.m. CT.

The film will trace Rodman’s life back to humble beginnings growing up in Dallas, through his journeyman career in the NBA — which, notably, featured an extended, accolade-rich run with the Chicago Bulls — and delve into his struggles with addiction and fame. The prevailing theme, though, is sure to be Rodman’s unbridled expressiveness and perpetual grappling with identity, on and off the court. 

Here is the trailer for the documentary, which was released by ESPN back in August:

In the run-up to the film’s debut, Rodman conducted a wide-ranging interview with Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin. In it, the Hall-of-Fame forward discussed how his relationship with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen has endured since their time playing together during the golden era of Bulls basketball.

“[We] have so much love for each other now because we're not haters with each other,” Rodman told Bleacher Report. “We embrace the fact that we had a chance to play with each other. We're friends. We're not calling each other every day and hanging out, but when we see each other, we share the love.”

Years after winning two consecutive titles with the Bad Boy Pistons in the late 1980’s, Rodman linked up with Jordan and Pippen in 1995 and helped the Bulls rattle off their second three-peat in eight years from 1996-1998. He was the unquestioned third banana of what some would argue is the greatest Big Three in NBA history.

“[We] revolutionized the game. The way everyone plays now, that's how we played then. And now all of a sudden everyone's talking about Big Threes. Now? Really? We were the Big Three,” Rodman said. “We were the main three. We consistently won, we consistently won championships.”

Rodman also made headlines by saying in passing that the Bulls’ dynastic run ended because of a financial dispute between MJ and Bulls’ management: “[T]he only reason we didn't repeat four in a row is because Mike said, ‘I want X millions of dollars.’ And they didn't want to pay him, so he left, I left, Scottie left and Phil Jackson left… That's how the run ended.”

Regardless of your thoughts on Rodman’s off-court exploits and commentary, his basketball resume (five-time champion, two-time DPOY, seven-time consecutive rebound champion) and cultural impact are undeniable. The film should be a compelling watch.

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