One of the main prerequisites for Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls to win all those championships was additional help because it was evident Jordan couldn’t do it alone, no matter how great he was. Because of that, the development of Scottie Pippen was necessary for the Bulls and their championship aspirations.
During the 92 preseason, Phil Jackson talked about the turning point in Scottie Pippen’s career when he realized Scottie made it to the next level. Jackson was very much involved in mentoring both Pippen and Jordan, but when he took over as the head coach for the Bulls, Jordan was already a superstar in the league while Scottie was still finding his way. He said he remembers a specific game against the Los Angeles Clippers when he noticed Pippen impacted the entire game despite the fact he didn’t have a great game if you look at the stat sheet.
“The reason we were able to win the championship last year was the development of Scottie Pippen. I can tell you the game last year against the Clippers, is when I realized Scottie had made it to the next level, and I think he only scored 8 points. He had something like 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and was all over the place defensively. He’ll probably average something like 18 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists for us this year. If you just go by the numbers, you won’t have any idea of his impact on our team.”
The game Jackson is probably referring to is a regular-season game against the Clippers on the 23rd of November in 1991. Pippen finished the game with 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. He also added two steals and one block, but what is even more impressive is that he was extremely efficient. Pippen took on only 11 shots and made 6 of them en route to a Chicago Bulls win.
The Bulls would win later that season their first championship against the Los Angeles Lakers, and it was Scottie Pippen, who showed his versatility on both ends of the floor during the entire series.