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The Prototype for the Modern NBA

In the pantheon of basketball legends, names like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry often dominate conversations about the NBA's most influential figures. Their contributions to the game are indisputable, from Jordan's unparalleled will to win, Bryant's relentless pursuit of perfection, Curry's revolutionary shooting prowess, to James's transcendent longevity and consistency. However, amidst these giants of the hardwood, one name often goes overlooked when discussing the prototype of the modern NBA, and that name is Scottie Pippen.

Pippen, a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls, may not always be the first name mentioned in debates about basketball's greatest players. Yet, his influence on the evolution of the NBA is profound and far-reaching.

When coaches and executives articulate their ideal player prototype—a versatile wing capable of running the offense, defending multiple positions, rebounding, playmaking, and hitting open shots—they unknowingly describe Pippen's skill set. His versatility and all-around excellence set a standard that has become the gold standard for modern NBA players.

Pippen's impact extends beyond his illustrious career. Pippen has cultivated a player tree of physical and playing-style similar players just as coaching legends Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich have coaching trees. His influence can be seen in the playing styles and skill sets of numerous NBA stars who have followed in his footsteps.

Video Clip Courtesy of The Point Forward Podcast

Consider players like Lebron James, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Lamar Odom, Andre Iguodala, and a Pippen predecessor Paul Pressy—all of whom embody Pippen's versatility and all-around excellence. Their games reflect the lasting legacy of Pippen's playing style and basketball philosophy.

In today's NBA, teams not only desire players in the mold of Pippen but actively seek them out. The demand for versatile wings that can impact the game in multiple facets has never been higher, and Pippen's influence is a driving force behind this shift in player preference.

Phil Jackson, legendary coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, once remarked that if he could build the perfect team, every player would possess the attributes and size mentioned earlier. In my opinion, this sentiment was influenced greatly by Scottie Pippen. Pippen's unique blend of size, skill, and basketball IQ challenged traditional positional norms and laid the groundwork for the rise of positionless basketball—a style of play that prioritizes skill and versatility over traditional roles.

In the grand tapestry of NBA history, Scottie Pippen's name may not always be at the forefront of discussions about the game's greatest players. However, his impact on the modern NBA is undeniable. From his multifaceted skill set to his lasting influence on player development and team strategies, Pippen's legacy looms large over the league he helped shape.

As basketball continues to evolve and new stars emerge, let us not forget the unsung architect of modern NBA excellence—Scottie Pippen, whose imprint on the game will endure for generations to come.

Until next time...

1 Comment

6'8" and a 7' 3" wingspan yeah that's typical now but he was the prototype..

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