Who is the better sidekick? Despite playing completely different positions, Anthony Davis and Scottie Pippen both have been second stars to all-time great NBA players. Pippen is famously known as the sidekick of Michael Jordan, while Anthony Davis is currently playing alongside LeBron James and won the 2020 championship. But which player is truly better?
Scottie Pippen has captured 6 NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls while Anthony Davis won his first NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers last year. Pippen was known as the lockdown defensive player who took playmaking duties alongside Jordan, while Anthony Davis is the dominant inside-outside big man who dominates all aspects of the game at the power forward position.
In order to compare all attributes and settle who is the better player, it is time to compare two dominant players to see who comes out on top.
Scoring - Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis is a special player mainly due to his ability to score the ball in every way possible. AD was a point guard in his early days before hitting a growth spurt and now dominates the power forward/center position as a big man with handles and shooting. Davis can score inside, hit the mid-range, and hit the three very well. In many ways, Davis might be the most unstoppable scorer at the power forward position ever. Davis has career averages of 24.0 PPG on 51.5% shooting from the field, 31.9 % from three, and 80.2 % from the free-throw line.
Scottie Pippen was not known for his scoring, but he could score when he wanted to. Whenever a player is alongside Jordan, no one else really needs to score the basketball because MJ might be the greatest scorer to have ever played. Pippen used his athleticism and basketball I.Q to score the ball and was certainly no slouch on offense. His career averages of 16.1 PPG on 47.3% shooting means he was good, but not on AD's level.
Anthony Davis is a better scorer in all aspects and takes this one.
Athleticism - Even
This is a bit difficult to gauge because they play different positions, and are both athletic in their respective positions.
Anthony Davis is a big man who can also guard the perimeter with his quick feet, and is very agile. He is a very unique player because there isn't anything he can't do well. Similarly, Scottie Pippen was an athletic beast in his prime and he had length and strength which helped him dominate the game defensively. When it comes to the overall impact of the game thanks to athletic ability, both players are very effective.
Overall, both players are very athletic in their positions to make much of a difference. To maintain fairness, this one is even.
Defense - Scottie Pippen
Both players are known for their defense because they have the ability to change the game with the way they approach stopping players. Davis and Pippen have pure defensive awareness and often guard the best opposing post and perimeter player respectively.
But Scottie Pippen is recognized as one of the greatest defensive players to have ever played. Pippen made 10 All-Defensive Teams and was known for picking up the best opposing player the entire length of the court. Alongside the likes of Michael Jordan and Ron Harper, Pippen helped create one of the most legendary defensive teams ever. Pippen was on another level defensively.
Davis is a dominant defensive player as well, averaging 2.4 BPG and 1.4 SPG for his career, but he has only made 4 All-Defensive Teams and still needs a ton of work to keep up to Scottie's greatness on defense. Pippen evens it up with this one.
Clutch - Anthony Davis
Scottie Pippen was an amazing player, but he was always meant to be a sidekick to another superstar. This is no knock, as it is almost certain Pippen would be a sidekick with 6 rings than a franchise player with none. When it comes to clutch performances, Pippen could turn it on especially defensively.
But Davis can score the ball in the clutch better than Pippen can and it is doubtful anyone would dispute that. Anthony Davis has the ability to shoot from the perimeter in clutch moments or score inside with his length. He simply has no weakness on offense and is a dominant defensive player as well.
Pippen has proven he is a winner of the highest order, but he never had to worry about clutch moments because he played alongside Michael Jordan. Davis has a more effective skillset on offense and gets the slight nod here.
Leader - Scottie Pippen
Both Scottie Pippen and Anthony Davis have been the undisputed leaders of a team at least one point in their careers. Davis was the superstar for the Pelicans, while Pippen led the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan briefly retired for two seasons to play baseball.
The difference is how they approached their leadership, and the outcome of them leading the charge. Davis put up great numbers for the New Orleans Pelicans and made 6 All-Star Teams, but he never won anything. In fact, he often failed to make the Playoffs or got bounced out the first round. AD's postseason career was negligible until he joined LeBron James in Los Angeles. Not to mention, he forced his way out of New Orleans by sulking and letting his teammates down by refusing to play.
Pippen never won an NBA title without MJ, but he led the Bulls to the best record in the NBA the first season Jordan retired. Pippen also carried them to the Eastern Conference Finals, only to fall short of making the Finals. Pippen had his moments where his leadership was questioned, but he stuck through it and made it much farther for his team than Anthony Davis ever did. Pippen takes the lead with this one.
Basketball I.Q. - Even
When it comes to basketball I.Q., this one is just too hard to distinguish. Pippen may have a better understanding of how to dominate defensively and with his playmaking, but Davis is just too perfect on offense. Davis can literally score the ball in any way and has the skill to dominate the boards and block shots around the rim. Davis is too versatile and deserves credit for his basketball I.Q.
Pippen was always known as a smart player who never played out of his limitations, so his I.Q. was clearly off the charts. Davis really has no limitations and consistently puts up big numbers every night. Scottie's defense and AD's versatility evens this one up.
Impact - Even
This is the hardest one to gauge. Pippen might be the greatest sidekick ever, while Davis dominates both ends of the floor in an extraordinary fashion. This one has to be even, out of respect to Pippen's accomplishments.
Davis has better career numbers than Pippen and might be the better overall skillset. He scores better, rebounds the ball very well, and can dominate the game defensively. Overall, Davis has the most talent out of any power forward ever and this includes the likes of Karl Malone and Tim Duncan. The reason Pippen evens it up is because of his dominant defense and ability to win games alongside his partner Michael Jordan.
MJ never won an NBA title without Scottie Pippen, something that must not be forgotten. Pippen was the reason MJ and the Bulls had enough help to win 6 NBA titles, an amount of achievement that Davis will probably never reach. Davis never had Michael Jordan on his team and only had LeBron James for one season, but Pippen has proven he is a championship player while Davis has not.
AD's talent and Scottie Pippen's proven ability to win games means this one is even.
1 on 1 Game - Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis is a phenomenal scorer. It is really amazing how a big man like AD doesn't have a single weakness in his game, something that we have probably never seen before. He has post moves, a nice jumper, and the ability to handle the ball very well for his size.
1 on 1, he is truly unstoppable.
Pippen was a great 1 on 1 player although his role wasn't to score the ball every time. Pippen had great handles and size to score, but he preferred running the show and setting his teammates up. Still, when comparing to the likes of Anthony Davis, Pippen doesn't stand a chance. Davis is just too dominant offensively and has the ability to score every single time if he is not double or triple-teamed.
Pippen was a nice scorer in his prime, but AD has been a great scorer since he came into the league. When it comes to pure 1 on 1 skills, Davis is on another level.
Career - Scottie Pippen
Without a doubt, Scottie Pippen has had a better career than Anthony Davis. Even though Davis still has time to catch up, Pippen has already solidified his status as one of the greatest small forwards and winners who ever lived. His 6 NBA titles mean he is in legendary status, and he is still widely recognized as one of the greatest defensive players of all time.
Anthony Davia won his first NBA title last season, and that was the highlight of his career so far. Davis is a better player than Pippen in terms of talent, but he has shown he doesn't have the ability to win games as Pippen and has a long way to go to equal Pippen's legendary accomplishments.
Anthony Davis vs. Scottie Pippen 4-3
Scottie Pippen and Anthony Davis even it up in almost all the major attributes except for the scoring ability of Davis and Pippen's accomplishments. In the end, they are too close to compare but Davis has a slight edge because of his pure skills and talent. Davis has time on his hands to widen the gap because he might one day completely surpass Pippen if he wins a couple of NBA titles. Although unlikely to get close to 6 considering LeBron James is in his final years, Davis can start to bridge a gap now if he follows up his 2020 championship ring with another one.