Scottie Pippen is a regular guest on ESPN talk show The Jump. In a 2019 episode, he explained the differences between James Harden and Michael Jordan.
James Harden has thrown his hat into the conversation of GOAT scorer with his performances over the last 3 seasons. He’s won scoring titles in each of these seasons, and he won MVP in 2017-18. Harden has perfected a couple of moves like the Eurostep and the step-back jumper better than anyone in league history.
These two moves are virtually unguardable when Harden uses them. When he isn’t applying these gimmicks, Harden can also earn trips to the free throw line and stack up points in a hurry.
“If you think about all the great championship teams… Magic and Kareem, Jordan and Pippen, Shaq and Kobe… You’ve never heard of Harden and P.J. Tucker.”@MarcellusWiley doesn’t believe Houston has enough star power to upset the Warriors pic.twitter.com/CYaZiriFua
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) May 8, 2019
Obviously, Harden’s brand of scoring was way different from Michael Jordan. This is, of course, the evolution of the game from the paint-focused 80s to the midrange heavy 90s and 00s to the 3-pointer heavy offenses of today.
Scottie Pippen explains what it was like to go up against Michael Jordan in practice
Explaining how he guarded Michael Jordan in practice, Scottie Pippen said, ‘I wouldn’t give him (MJ) as much direct line. I would probably try to square up and play Michael more in front because he can go either way.’
When asked whether Jordan would have taken on the challenge of going up against bigger guys like Scottie in the post, he replied:
“No. Later on in his career, he did because he had the physical ability to band and get the space. But early on in his career, he didn’t care to be honest. Big, small, he would either go inside or out. Obviously, if it’s a bigger guy, he’d get them outside and beat them off the drive.”
Scottie explained that you’d always want to keep Harden to his right from the start of games to keep him off rhythm. That way, the only way he can get a shooting rhythm is by stepping back – a relatively tough shot when compared to a drive-and-kick, a floater or a layup.