“Why not Scottie Pippen as the next coach of the Bulls?” asks the Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith, to which Pippen himself has much to add.
“What’s my disadvantage?” Pippen asked. “No NBA coaching experience? [Scott] Skiles’ record with the Bulls wasn’t that great. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do what you’ve done your whole life. I’ve played basketball, run teams and won.
“They didn’t put me at point guard because I could dribble good. They put me there because I could run a team. I wasn’t the best dribbler, the best shooter. I wasn’t a point guard. But I knew how to run a team.”
Pippen, who is living in Ft. Lauderdale and dabbling in a few business ventures, clearly has given this some thought.
“With a guy who loved to touch it and shoot all the time, I was able to keep him under control,” Pippen said, referring, of course, to Michael Jordan. “That didn’t come from the bench, it came from making the right decisions. You try to make the game fun for everyone and then we were able to find Mike. The games I felt he was getting off too much, I’d find a way to get other guys off. And then guys weren’t running at him all the time and he could take off in the right place.”
Pippen wonders why he hasn’t been approached about getting into coaching.
“What’s the key to this good ol’ boy system they have?” he asked. “You’ve got to go to Europe and coach two years? Sit next to someone for a year? And then looking at someone like me and trying to figure out how your team did it, how you got there every time? Guys like Skiles have never been there. Can he give a motivation speech like someone who’s been in those games? I’ve played for championships.
“What experience do you need? You have assistants who have been there. If I made a mistake, I wouldn’t be the first coach to make a mistake. I’d love the opportunity to be part of the organization now that Skiles is gone. I’ve won championships with this organization and been in the competition when everything was on the line. I was a coach on the floor. Why isn’t that experience?”
Smith mentions that Larry Bird and Doc Rivers became NBA head coaches with no prior coaching experience, though to borrow from Pippen’s logic, neither of them have coached a team to an league championship. Conversely, Phil Jackson’s resume included toiling in the CBA, Puerto Rican league and 3 seasons as a Chicago assistant prior to becoming head coach.
Of course, there’s always the chance Pippen’s failure to receive a head coaching offer in the Association has less to do with an Old Boy Network and more to do with owners and GM’s around the league being unaware Scottie’s hung up his sneakers for good (which he hasn’t, by the way). After all, it was less than a year ago that Sam Smith (!) provided Pip with a vehicle to advertise his availability as a player.