It seems a lot of people are talking about the potential of breaking the Bulls’ NBA record 72-win season. While I usually brush it off, Pippen had some interesting comments to make about our current Lakers team.
Sports Illustraded: The Chicago Bulls’ NBA-record 72-win season is a seemingly unapproachable mark. Since the Bulls accomplished the feat in 1995-96, only three teams have reached 67 wins and only one, the ’96-97 Bulls, has cracked 69.
There is one member of that record-setting Bulls team, however, who believes there is a team equipped to make a run at it this season.
“The Lakers have a chance,” Scottie Pippen said. “They have the luxury of a young center like [Andrew] Bynum, a young power like [Pau] Gasol and even Josh Powell is a guy who deserves minutes. They have a lot of depth. If anybody can challenge [the record], it’s them.”
The parallels between the two teams are eerily similar. Like Pippen’s Bulls, the Lakers have a dominant superstar (Kobe Bryant), a dynamic No. 2 (Gasol) and a bevy of talented role players (Lamar Odom, Bynum, Derek Fisher). They have the same serene, rarely rattled coach who prides himself on his ability to handle oversized egos. And like Chicago, L.A. also has an intriguing wild card, a talented-but-troubled star capable of making or breaking its season. For the Bulls, it was Dennis Rodman; for the Lakers, it’s Ron Artest.
“Ron is an infant compared to Dennis,” Pippen said with a laugh. “Dennis was off the charts.”
According to Pippen, one of the keys to the Bulls’ success with Rodman –which included three championships in Rodman’s three seasons with the team — was not to focus on preventing the distractions. It was dealing with them when they occurred.
“Dennis skipped practices, he was late for practices [and] he showed up late for games,” Pippen said. “But was that a distraction? No, that happens in the game every day. Even though Dennis was still trying to be Dennis with us and self-promote, he was never really a distraction.”