Was Pippen worth it?
Many Rockets fans believe Pippen was a waste of money and became a bad investment for the Rockets. There’s also a popular belief that the Arkansas native didn’t live up to his contract. But it’s important to note that the Rockets did make the playoffs that season, and Pippen made First-Team all-defense that season.
Not only that, but Scottie also led the Rockets in steals, assists and minutes while playing in all 50 games. Pippen racked up two triple-doubles and nine double-doubles within 50 games of action. It’s safe to say Pippen played a large part in the Rockets getting the fifth seed in the West that year.
But not only that, in order for us to determine whether or not Pippen lived up to his contract, we must also take into account the following four seasons in which he played for the Portland Trail Blazers because that was where the bulk of his contract was played. Sure, as Rockets fans all we care about is how his time went in Houston, and the ending was so bad that we developed a dislike towards Scottie, but that’s where we have to take our emotion out of this.
In Scottie’s first season in Portland, he had double the amount of defensive win shares than he had in Houston, while also having more offensive win shares and a higher true shooting percentage. He also had fewer turnovers and a higher field goal percentage, while also making yet another All-Defensive team.
The Blazers went from a 70 percent wining ratio during the 1998-99 season to a clip of 72 percent during Pippen’s first season. Scottie led the Blazers in steals, finished second in assists, and third in rebounds. Pippen helped the Blazers overcome the departure of their leading scorer from the previous season in Isaiah Rider, as Pippen’s 12.5 points were nearly equal to Rider’s 13.9 points.
Pippen also helped replace the Blazers’ best 3-point shooter in Walt Williams, who later had an impressive Houston Rockets career of his own. Pippen remained a starter in each of the next three seasons in Portland and averaged roughly 11 points during that span.
Next: Postseason success in Portland