Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 11/11/14

As we head into the challenge round of our All Time NBA Mock Draft we have learned a couple of things about people’s views on the history of the NBA.

A great big man will always influence the game more than a great guard, defense may win championships, but some offensive forces just can’t be stopped, and most of all never count out what type of scheme someone is playing in, because as little as coaching matters, with all this hypothetical talent together, putting those players in the best position to win is more important than just collecting talent.

Today’s match up is one that everyone has always wanted to see, Batman and Robin pitted against each other in the All Time NBA Mock Draft- Scottie Pippen v Michael Jordan.

Game Thread:

C: Patrick Ewing (38 C)
PF: Maurice Lucas (14 PF)
SF: Scottie Pippen (12 PG 26 SF)
SG: George Gervin (38 SG)
PG: John Stockton (36 PG)

BN: Bob McAdoo (6 SF 12 PF)
BN: Dikembe Mutombo (10 C)
BN: Earl Monroe (10 SG)
BN: Charles Barkley (22 PF 16 SF)

Thurmond: Ewing- Play a little off of him and invite him to shoot. He was a career 42.1% shooter which is horrible for a big man. If he is looking for his shot it takes away from his assists and from KG and Jordan getting their shots.

KG: Lucas/Barkley – Lucas is starting to give KG something to think about at right from the get go. Lucas is an enforcer and that is what we want him to do on KG. Play him physical, make him feel Lucas on each and every play. When Barkley comes in do the same thing, the guy wasn’t afraid to bang with the big guys so why would KG be any different. On picks Lucas might just go right through one or two (picking up a foul yes) to get inside KGs head. Barkley played big against top competition and we expect nothing less from him against KG. He might give up some looks but he is going to get some steals too.

Allen/Wilkens: Stockton will just run around and make sure he doesn’t get any open 3s. Keep his hands up go over screens/fight through screens. No open looks. For Wilkens play the passing lanes and try and make him a scorer not a facilitator. Stockton knew how to play passing lanes and get in-between player A and player B. Stockton will guard Wilkens if Allen and Wilkens are on the floor at the same time. Stockton will go under screens with Wilkens.

Cooper: Gervin. We want to gamble a little here and play off of Cooper. Invite him to take jumpers and 3s if they want to play like that. Gervin will be looking for the dump off to Jordan and will try to intercept it when he can.

Jordan: Pippen. This is the matchup most people would have loved to have seen in the 90s. The best defensive force vs the best offensive force. Pippen is going to have fun in this one. He will prove that he was so much more then Robin to Batman. Play right up on him and make him work hard for every single inch. Jordan will get his but we want him to put up 30+ shots and do it on a below average shooting night. The length and strength of Pippen will be a key to trying to keep Jordan away from where he wants to go. Force him away from the basket. Pip gets Jordan for all his minutes.

Side Note: Stockton guards Cooper, Wilkens, Allen, Christie, or Jones. If they go big Gervin will play the larger player and Stockton gets the smaller player (unless Jordan-Pip gets him)

If B decides to play big he will mess up his spacing which will allow us to clog the paint and not give open looks. If we need to double we will while rotating perimeter players quick enough to fill any gaps. Pippen is the only guy who won’t rotate off his man ever. (this paragraph is only valid if he plays a BIG lineup)

Best of the rest: Christie and Jones-keep hand in face watch for 3. They don’t create for themselves. Kemp-stay in front of him and try to get the charge called, same for Webber. Play a little off of Wallace and invite him to shoot a jumper, close if he gets the ball in paint.

Offense: 4 Out 1 In (75%) 3-2 (25%) This will work well with having so many ball handlers and the ability to create and score in space while maintaining movement without the ball. We will be giving a team effort here and everyone is going to chip in on both sides of the court.

Stockton is going to play the PnR and PnP game with Ewing/Lucas to get the defense out of the paint. When Ewing goes up for the pick we can have any of the other players cut towards the hoop for the easy look. Pippen can do down low and use his size to his advantage and post up his defender (or speed if they put a PF on him). Stockton can decide who to pass to, if he should drive, or to pull the trigger on the shot. If Stockton sees a mismatch he likes we can clear out and isolate that player and dish the ball to them.

Gervin is going to iso on his defender often as well. He was one of the best 1 on 1 players in the game. If they play a step back he will put up the jumper. If they get up into him and try and play physical he will look for the drive and one of his patented finishes. If help comes over Gervin can kick to the open man who should be Ewing with the 4-1 set up. If Garnett or another helper comes one of our guys will be wide open for the 3. If they rotate we keep swinging it until someone is open.
ippen and Stockton will be looking for the dribble drive on their man. They are going to have to bring help over; when they do we look for the kick-out. The usual inside-out game will be played.

If Cooper or another small player is ever on Pippen we put Pippen on an island in the low post and let him go to work each and every time down the court until they change it up or double.

We will also be utilizing the give and go with all players excluding the C. Gervin/Monroe/Barkley passes to whomever and immediately cuts to the basket; if open he is passed to. Otherwise we reset, look for the shot, dribble drive, or look for the back cutter.

The Charles Barkley Offensive portion of the gameplan. I just want to make sure we all recognize the talent of Barkley. Led the league in offensive rebounds per game multiple times. Shot 59% from the field in a 4 year span. In that span he was near the top of free throws attempted. In his prime he was averaging over 25 ppg. Had 14.6 rpg in his best year. He could hit the 3 if needed so if they sag he will put it up. When a shot is put up in the 4-1 Barkley is going right to the bucket to look for the board each and every time. They are going to have to try and get a body on him but that isn’t going to help.

Back to the plan: Barkley was able to play in an open offense or in the post. In the 4-1 he can iso his defender and make a 1 on 1 move and get to the hoop and score or get fouled. He was deceptively quick and will use that to his advantage.

When we are in the 3-2 he gets to post up his man. Don’t let his height fool you he was able to score against the best bigs in the 80s so KG isn’t going to scare him. (if anyone else even tries to guard him we will feast on them) He will get the ball in the post and use his plethora of post moves to get a shot off. If a double comes he can work through it or pass to the open man. Barkley will be attacking whatever big they put on him.

If any big other then Thurmond guards Ewing he will drop immediately to the low post and pound on them and use his array of post moves to score. Ewing will still get his chances in the low post 1 on 1 vs Thurmond but not as much as usual.

Monroe and McAdoo fit in perfectly off the bench. McAdoo can stretch the defense with his jumper and help in the pick game to get cutters open looks. Monroe comes in and is able to give us another ball handler who can create his own shot in space, find the open man, or play off the ball and catch and shoot. Mutombo again comes in and looks for put backs and hard fouls.

Keys to offense:
*Everyone will be involved – Gervin and Barkley will be focal points
*Pippen should have a mismatch and we will exploit it-his coming out party, he isn’t Robin.
*Stockton/Pippen know how to get everyone involved and how to run the offense
E*wing will pull Thurmond away from the paint giving more room for everyone to attack

Ode to Barkley:
He is so round
like a mound
when he falls it makes a loud sound
but watch out he will astound
he will hound and pound his moves are profound.

Big B’s Bad Boys

PG – Michael Cooper – 36 min. (28 PG 8 SF)
SG – Michael Jordan – 42 min.
SF – Ray Allen – 36 min. (30 SF 6 SG)
PF – Kevin Garnett – 38 min.
C – Nate Thurmond – 35 min.

BE – Lenny Wilkens – 20 min. (PG)
BE – Chris Webber – 20 min. (10 PF 10 SF)
BE – Ben Wallace – 13 min. ©
BE – Shawn Kemp – DNP
BE – Eddie Jones – DNP
BE – Horace Grant – DNP
BE – Doug Christie – DNP


* Attack on PnR with Jordan/KG
* Run Allen off-screens
* Attack with KG/C-Webb in high-post


Jordan: WS-wing
KG/Webber: WS-High-post
Thurmond: SS-low-post
Allen/Wilkens: SS-wing
Cooper: SS-corner

Our team is full of great passers and athletes, whereas his team has weak defenders and plenty of less-athletic/slower players. We want to keep his players moving by having constant movement with our players as well as quick passing and ball movement to get his players out of position and give us easy looks. Pippen is a good defender, but he’s not as quick as Jordan and can’t keep up with him on PnX and off screens. Barkley is too round and slow to handle KG on PnX and off the dribble. Stockton/Gervin might be quick enough to guard Allen, but they’ll be tired out by the end of the game having run through countless screens. The energy they will expend there will in-turn make them less effective on offense.

We will go right to Jordan/KG on the weak-side and give them a heavy dose of that. No way Chuck/Ewing/anyone can stay with them on the PnR and it allows Jordan to get enough separation to use his superior quickness to get by Pippen to the rim. When Jordan doesn’t have the ball, the other players will be setting tons of screens to get him free from Pippen. Jordan will get enough separation to get open shots, or get Pippen off-balance enough to blow by him to the rim. They dare to put Stockton, Gervin, or anyone else on Jordan we’ll give him the ball every possession and let him dominate.

We also want to get KG the ball in the high-post to let him operate. He can take the slower Chuck/Ewing off the dribble and finish at the rim, he can hit the jumper over the shorter Chuck, or he can use his strong passing to find open players. Jordan/Allen can screen for each other at the top; try to get free/get a mismatch for Jordan to take advantage of. Also, can have Thurmond set screens for Allen/Cooper to cut along the baseline for an easy shot or keep going all the way to the corner for an open shot.

Whoever guards Allen is going to be in for a hell of a night as he’ll be running through countless screens to get himself open. When KG has the ball Allen can go towards Jordan, getting a screen from him, keep going through the paint, come around and get a screen from Nate, and then come back toward the wing getting a screen from Cooper and pop back to the wing for an open 3pt shot. His defender should be left behind, and will be tired out by the end of the game having to go through so many screens to keep up with Allen.

Can also have Thurmond operate from the low-post, especially if he’s got Chuck on him. If anyone other than Ewing/Mutombo is on him, we pound the smaller/weaker player into submission in the low-post. Nate can also use his strong passing to find open players. We can have Jordan/KG screen for each other on the WS when Nate has the ball to get an easy bucket at the rim or open shot at the FT line. Also, can have Allen/Cooper screen for each other to get free for shots.

Regardless of what MM tries to sell, there is no way anyone can guard Jordan 1-on-1. Not Pippen or any one defender would ever be able to slow Jordan; it always took a team effort to keep him in check. If they don’t bother trying to send help, Jordan will dominate the game and score 40+, maybe 50. However, we provide plenty of great shooters and scoring options around Jordan that if they do send help, we have guys that will step up and hit those shots and make the defense pay.


Lenny & Jordan: Wings
KG & Webber: High-Posts
Big Ben: WS-Low-post

We run this when C-Webb get his minutes at SF (10 min.). Jordan/Wilkens can run PnRs with KG/C-Webb, with Big Ben clearing out along baseline. Can also run give-n-go plays by giving the ball to KG/C-Webb and having Jordan get a screen from other high-post big without ball, and cut to the rim for the feed and dunk. Webber is going to be able to take advantage of whoever tries to guard him off PnRs, and combine with KG, they will provide an unstoppable high-post duo that will draw plenty of attention away from Jordan on the perimeter, thus giving him better chances to score.


We not only have strong man-defenders, we have very strong help defenders. Jordan, KG, Thurmond, and Big Ben will be used not only to slow their man, but also to help our team defense be strong. We’ll play a team strategy that will allow our defense to slow their offense. When Stockton is looking to run the offense and be set-up man, we’ll often use the rest of our defenders to deny their man the ball and making Stockton to force a pass in or look for his own shot. Also, whenever they look to drive, we’ll always have KG, Thurmond, & Big Ben waiting to stop the drive if perimeter players are able to get by their man. We’ll take away the paint from them. If at any time, our players are getting beat by the deny defense, we’ll switch back to straight-up man defense.

Stockton – Allen will guard Stockton. Stockton won’t be a go-to scorer, and Allen has the length to disrupt his passing lanes. He just needs to stay close and prevent him from getting easy looks. Always, go-over screens on PnXs. We have great options to defend all the other players on his team, so he can’t set-up guys that are well defended.

Gervin – Cooper will use his lengthy defense to keep tight on Gervin all game. Stay right in his face, no easy looks and look to deny him the lane. If he’s able to take Cooper to the lane, we’ll look to double with KG/Thurmond as he is not a strong passer. Gervin is their best scorer, and if they don’t give him his chances, that will work even better for us. Cooper is going to make it tough on him, and our help defense in the paint will also keep him from having a strong game.

Pippen – Jordan will remind him who the boss is. Play right in his grill, talk trash, get under his skin, play physical, use quick hands to force turnovers, and keep him out of the lane with superior quickness. We can use Jordan’s quick hands and great stealing ability, as well as superior quickness, to deny Pippen the ball and keep him from touching the ball at times.

Barkley – KG will start out on Chuck. If he’s in the low-post, we deny the basketball with KG’s superior athleticism, length, quickness, and height advantage. They can’t lob it over him as he has about a half-a-foot on Barkley and will pick off any passes. If Barkley is able to get the ball, we use KG’s superior size to swat back shots.

The time Chuck gets at SF will be covered by C-Webb’s time at SF. Webber has the strength and quickness to make it tough on Chuck in the post, thus giving him no advantage when he goes to the 3-spot. Both guys on Chuck can also match him on the boards, if not out-rebound him.

Ewing – Thurmond will play physical defense on Ewing. He has the size/length to keep a hand in Ewing’s face and make it difficult to get a shot over him. Box-out on all shots and keep him off the boards. Ewing was never a strong passer and always was the main offensive option and focus. With Thurmond’s strong defense at his back, he’ll be kept out of position. We’ll deny him the ball at times, but also want to run some doubles/traps on him as well with Jordan/KG to force some TOs. Ewing always averaged more TOs than assists in his best days, so we won’t be afraid to run those traps/doubles with our great help defenders.

McAdoo – Will be guarded by Webber, Big Ben, KG, or Cooper for his time (depending on whether he’s at SF or PF). Play, close to contest shot and box out to keep off boards.

Earl – Lenny will guard him and play him nice and physical with Wilkens’ good defense. Play tight and if he tries going to the rim, he has to deal with KG/Thurmond/Big Ben.

Back-up C – Ben Wallace will shut down any back-up big man that comes in. Out-rebound, out-hustle, and swat any shots that go-up. If he’s in when Stockton is out, he does his one-man press on player trying to get pass-in after made shots. Keeps them out of rhythm on offense.

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