“People don’t give Pippen his props” – Shawn Kemp believes Scottie Pippen would’ve been a ‘quality player’ even without Michael Jordan

While common perception suggests that Scottie Pippen’s legendary status, marked by six championships, was solely due to Michael Jordan’s influence, Shawn Kemp recently challenged this notion. The 6-time asserted that even without MJ, ‘Robin’ would have been a ‘quality player’ in his own right, shedding light on how Pippen held his ground even in the latter phase of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Shawn Kemp on Scottie Pippen

During his appearance on ‘All The Smoke’ podcast, Kemp expressed his belief that fans continue to underappreciate Pippen’s true talent.

His sentiment could be supported by Pippen’s performance for the Trail Blazers at the age of 34. Despite being past his prime, Scott played in all 82 regular season games, ranking third on the team with 12.5 points per game, leading in steals with 1.4 per game, along with contributing 6.3 rebounds per game; deservingly earning a spot in the All-NBA Second defensive team when playing alongside Arvydas Sabonis, Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, and Steve Smith, showcasing his leadership on the court.

“I played with Pippen in Portland. I’ll just say this. Sometimes, people don’t give Pippen his props. But Scottie Pippen was gonna be… good ball player without Michael Jordan. He would have been a quality ball player without Michael Jordan,” Kemp said. “Michael Jordan definitely made him a little bit better, but my man Scottie Pippen was still balling when we was in Portland.”

(Starts 43:20)

Scottie played a huge role in leading the Blazers to the Western Conference Finals that year, and even averaged 15.1 points and 9 rebounds per contest, he wasn’t able to contain a 21-year-old Kobe Bryant, who averaged 20.4 points on 52.2% shooting from the 3-point line and 43.9% from the field.

“He wasn’t no match for Kobe (Bryant) when we were playing back then,” Kemp added. “But Scottie was still balling. He could play the passing lanes, he never been a great shooter, but he’s just been athletic to do a lot of different thing.”

Is Pippen’s stint in Portland underrated?

In his four-season stint with the Trail Blazers, Pippen might not have earned any All-Defensive or All-Star selections after his first season, but he was a key reason the team made the playoffs every season he was there.

Some might say Pippen’s Blazers were constantly ridiculed by the Lakers in the postseason, who clean swept them in the first rounds of the ‘01 and ‘02 playoffs. Nevertheless, Pippen deserves credit for averaging double-digit points and more than 1.5 steals per game during those four years.