Minus Jordan, Pippen carried the Bulls in 1993-94
When Chicago prepared to retire Scottie Pippen’s number 33, Bulls.com took a look at the legendary player’s greatest moments.
The 1993-94 Bulls proved there was life without Michael Jordan, and it began with Scottie Pippen.
Pippen led the Bulls to Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and finished third in the NBA’s MVP voting. In his best individual season, he led the Bulls in scoring and assists and was second in rebounds.
Pippen had a tremendous season in all facets of the game. The leading vote-getter for both the All-NBA First Team and the NBA All-Defensive First Team, he ranked eighth in the league in scoring (22.0 ppg), 23rd in rebounding (8.7 rpg), 19th in assists (5.6 apg), and second in steals (2.93 per game).
Pippen felt that as he entered his seventh pro season, he was armed with more confidence, maturity and court savvy than ever before.
“I knew I was a player that could break guys down and create for my teammates and that is how I looked at it,” Pippen explained. “It was a situation where I had more opportunities to do other things.”
Pippen explained that playing without MJ didn’t add any pressure or force him to become something he was not—but it did allow him to assert himself more frequently than before.
“Opportunities came a little bit more often for me, especially when the shot clock was winding down,” he said. “I wanted to get the ball and try to make things happen. But I never put the pressure on myself that I had to take all the shots that Michael had to take or that I had to make all the shots that he made.”
Pippen and the Bulls’ 24-17 road record ranked as second best in the East and third-best in the NBA.
Although Chicago didn’t win its fourth straight championship, it posted a 55-27 record (second place behind the Atlanta Hawks in the Central Division) and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
However, for the first time in four consecutive playoff match-ups, the New York Knicks eliminated the Bulls in seven games.
“We had a lot of fun playing,” Pippen said when asked what he remembers most about that year.
“We didn’t have any guys complaining about not getting shots or minutes,” he continued. “We were a real good team and we had a little arrogance. We were the defending champs, still. We just played to a very high level and I think that if we had Michael there, we could have gone a little higher.”
Pippen also won MVP honors at the 1994 NBA All-Star Game, in which he was joined for the first time by teammates Horace Grant and B. J. Armstrong.
The following is the results of the 1993-94 NBA MVP voting, in which Pippen finished third:
|May 24, 1994||(10)||(7)||(5)||(3)||(1)||Points|
|Hakeem Olajuwon (HOU)||66||28||6||1||0||889|
|David Robinson (SA)||24||57||17||2||0||730|
|Scottie Pippen (CHI)||7||9||37||18||18||390|
|Shaquille O’Neal (ORL)||3||3||21||36||25||289|
|Patrick Ewing (NYK)||1||3||19||34||27||255|
Click to read the next story on Pippen’s Greatest Moments: Defensive domination lifted Bulls past Pacers.
Read Scottie Pippen’s Top 10 Greatest Moments here.