Pippen regrets joining the Rockets
After the Chicago Bulls dynasty was dismantled after 'The Last Dance' and their sixth championship, a lot of the players on that roster went to other NBA teams to pursue their careers. Michael Jordan went to retire for the second time, and his partner in crime, Scottie Pippen, was looking for an opportunity to join a strong team in the western conference that was a championship contender hoping to land another title to his already impressive resume.
After deciding between the Lakers, Phoenix Suns, and the Rockets, Pippen took a leap of faith with the Rockets. He thought it would be a great idea to form a big three with Hakeem and Barkley, assuming they have what it takes to win a title. Even though they were all past their primes, there was a chance this experiment would be fruitful, but soon he saw that it was a mistake because of two primary reasons. In his new autobiography, 'Unguarded,' Pippen details why joining the Rockets didn't go as planned.
"Hakeem, Charles, me - a Big Three before Big Threes became a trend in the NBA. What could go wrong? Plenty. A month into the season, despite playing forty minutes a game (with the Bulls, I had never averaged more than 38.6), my scoring was way down, and there was a reason. Two reasons to be precise: Charles and Hakeem."
Jordan warned him about Charles Barkley
The system that was in place in Houston was completely different than the one he was used to when playing for the Bulls. There was a lot of iso basketball, unlike the free-flowing system the Bulls had in place with the triangle offense. Hakeem and Barkley were taking most of the shots, and Pippen's main task was to get them the ball, and he wasn't so much involved in the offense as he was with the Bulls.
"I kept feeding the ball to them in the low post. That was my whole job. Which meant a lot of standing around and watching them play one-on-one. I was used to the triangle, to the ball moving from one player to the next on every possession until we found the best scoring opportunity. I felt as I were back in the late eighties, watching Michael throw up a million shots night after night. The game wasn't fun anymore. I wondered why the Rockets want me in the first place? Anyone could throw the ball into the post."
Soon after, he started beefing with Charles Barkley since he wasn't putting in the work necessary to win a championship which is something Jordan warned him about playing with Barkley. Pippen compared Barkley to Shaquille O'Neal as someone who had all the talent in the world, but a lot of times, basketball wasn't his main focus which took away from their ability to be even greater players than they already were.
"Michael was correct. Charles wasn't dedicated enough to win a championship. Not even close. Before the season got under way, Tim Grover, Michael's trainer, came to town to work out with Charles and me. Charles didn't last one week. Michael could get away with playing golf and a hectic lifestyle. Charles could not. Something had to give, and that was basketball. He was a lot like Shaq. As great as he was, he should have been greater."
Pippen's stint didn't last long with the Rockets, and he left after one season to play with the Portland Trail Blazers that had a stacked team. His role with the Blazers was something Pippen found beneficial at that stage of his career, and they even made it to the WCF, where they almost beat the Lakers in a seven-game series. Pippen would, later on, retire with the Chicago Bulls, and even though he had a good chance to win another title without Jordan, that didn't happen. However, he has no regrets because he is still remembered as one of the most versatile forwards ever to play this game.