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Even Scottie Pippen said he would have had major trouble guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Despite being a 10-time All-Defensive player out on the wing in his athletic prime, Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen said it would have been very difficult for him to guard Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Pippen equated Antetokounmpo to a young Shaquille O’Neal during his interview with TrashTalkProduction.
“I think you have to try to force him out on the floor,” said Pippen. “When I mean out on the floor, you got to take him out of the paint, that’s your first job. Not an easy task by any means. He’s definitely a dominant player. Reminds me a lot of Shaq. But I’m going to say that he has a bit more range than what Shaq had.”
After revealing his strategy to attempt to mitigate Antetokounmpo’s offensive production in the paint, Pippen admitted he may not have been the guy best suited to guard the Greek Freak one-on-one from the 1990s Bulls.
“I don’t think I’m the guy that could guard Giannis, he’s too big for me,” continued Pippen. “I’d be more of the help or the double. You would have to put a big body on him, like Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman. He’s a tall order.”
Pippen suggesting that big-bodied forward like Horace Grant or defensive maven Dennis Rodman would have been better suited to call man on Antetokounmpo had the 1990s Bulls played the 2020s Bucks.
Here is the entire interview Pippen conducted with TrashTalkProduction.
Even Scottie Pippen says he could not have guarded Giannis Antetokounmpo
There are a few things to glean from Pippen’s comments about Antetokounmpo and how utterly difficult it would have been to guard him. One, it is exceedingly rare for an NBA superstar from yesteryear to essentially admit defeat in a hypothetical involving one of today’s best players. It takes a great deal of humility to even get to that point mentally, so we have to give Pippen credit.
Two, it is crazy to think about how much of a unicorn Shaq was during his playing days. His early career is closely resembled by what Giannis brings to the floor now. Once Shaq joined the Lakers are really bulked up, he was 100-percent diesel power, baby. The game has changed 10 times over since he was winning titles with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, but Lakers Shaq was unstoppable.
And three, in all likelihood, Pippen would have been a willing help defender in covering Giannis, but odds are he would have had to guard him more one-on-one than he would have liked. Grant would have done an admirable job, but could have been run off the floor by the Greek God gazelle. As for Rodman, he was an offensive liability, one who could not be counted on to make free throws late.
Antetokounmpo would have presented a lot of problems to the 1990s Bulls, but keep in mind the 2020s Bucks would have needed to find a way to guard Michael Jordan as well.