During an interview with Business Insider, Scottie Pippen made his case that the NBA's bubble restart was more akin to pickup ball than it was to the typical NBA style of play. Specifically, he cited the number of external factors that are not an issue in a single-location league with no fans in attendance, which he argues alleviates pressure for those on the court.
After BI's John Lynch asked what Pippen has "made of" the NBA bubble, Pippen opined that things just aren't the same without travel, fans, and the various other distractions. He also mentioned Rajon Rondo's very current play to make his point.
"Well, I'm going to be honest. It's not NBA basketball. It's not the hard grind. It's not the travel. It's not the fans. It's not the distractions. Really, to me, it's pickup basketball," he said. "It's going to the gym. Yeah, you already got your team. Y'all practicing together. But it's a more of a pickup type of basketball game, because there's no fans in the stands. So there is no distraction. There's no real noise. There's no pressure on the players, you know. Prime example: I looked at Rondo. Rondo ain't made three pointers in his whole NBA career. Now, all of a sudden, he's in a bubble, he's probably a 50 percent three point shooter. I haven't even checked the stats."
For those about to head over to ESPN/Basketball-Reference/whatever your choice site for stats is, NBC Chicago fact-checked that point he made about Rondo and wrote that Rajon has hit 44.8 percent from three since returning to the Lakers in Game 1 of the second round. Feel free to note that, obviously, it's a small sample size (10 games/29 attempts). His career mark from the same distance sits at 31.6 percent.
"Well, I'm going to be honest. It's not NBA basketball. It's not the hard grind. It's not the travel. It's not the fans. It's not the distractions. Really, to me, it's pickup basketball."— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) September 29, 2020
- Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen on the NBA bubble
From there, Scottie continued on the same track, though one should note that, lest you think this is coming from a source of bitterness, he made sure to say that the current product is "very entertaining."
"But that's just something that I consider making the game so easy, because Rondo can't score inside of an arena, when you got depth perception," the Hall of Famer added. "Like, there's a whole lot of things that make the NBA hard. The bubble makes the NBA easy to me. There's no travel. That's the killer itself. So you're sleeping in the same bed every night. You're walking to the gym. You're not having to go with a 25 to 50 minute bus ride to an arena. You're not having to probably even sit in the arena for two hours before the game, talk to the media, deal with all the outside stuff that they're trying to pull you in to make some distraction and, you know, throw the team in a loop. So it's a different game, but it's very entertaining."
After a 17-year career, and several deep postseason runs, one would think Pippen is a credible source on the topic. He finished up by saying that "no lead is comfortable" in the bubble due to the changed style of play.
"I mean, just the style of the game to me has changed even more in the bubble," he said. "Teams are just shooting three pointers. There are more three point attempts. The whole deal with the NBA is the first one to 120 can win. That's the game. But the opposite side of that, if you stop a team, you can win. So, you gotta do both."
You can read Pippen's whole interview at Business Insider.
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