SEC Basketball 2022 NBA Draft Preview: Vanderbilt PG Scotty Pippen Jr.
Pippen Jr. is the son of six-time NBA Champion and Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen.
He enter this years draft projected as a late second round selection or to go undrafted.
Most mock drafts have him going undrafted but Pippen Jr. has a talented offensive game that could help transition to the next level.
He was the first SEC player in 25 years to average 20 plus points per game in consecutive seasons. He routinely scored 25 points or more last year as well.
The main concerns for Pippen Jr. come from his low efficiency numbers (41% career shooting from the floor) and his lack of size as he only measured 6’1” at the combine despite being listed as 6’3” at Vanderbilt.
Critics also question if he can defend at the NBA level even though he was undoubtedly an elite defender in college.
Pippen Jr. excels on the offensive end of the floor. For his career at Vanderbilt he averaged 17.5 points per game.
In his sophomore and junior seasons he put up impressive offensive numbers.
In 2020-2021, he averaged 20.8 points per game, 4.9 assists per game, shot 85% from the line, and 36% from three.
In 2021-2022, he kept those numbers up averaging 20.4 points per game (14th in the nation) while adding 4.5 assists per game.
Against 2nd ranked Auburn, Pippen Jr. had a memorable game dueling with possible top overall pick Jabari Smith.
In that game, Pippen Jr. scored 29 points, grabbed 5 boards, dished out 6 assists, and went 14 of 16 from the free throw line. He also had 5 steals, showing that he could get it done on the other end of the floor.
Pippen Jr. was asked to take a lot of shots at Vanderbilt and it showed as he averaged 14.9 field goal attempts per game.
He had a lot of responsibility these past two seasons and was able to bring the production, despite his efficiency slipping. Pippen Jr. dropped 30 points five times last year (and had three games where he scored 29 points).
One of the underrated strengths of Pippen Jr. is his ability to force turnovers and steal the ball. In his sophomore and junior seasons, he averaged 1.8 and 1.9 steals per game, respectively.
And last year he had five games with 4 or more steals, with one of those games including a 6 steal performance against a ranked Alabama squad.
At his size, Pippen Jr. will play the point guard position in the NBA. And he’ll need to improve on his outside shot to replicate the scoring production he had in college.
Shooting only 42% from the floor and 33% from three in college won’t be good enough to make up for his mostly average athleticism.
But despite being only 6’1”, he should be able to hold his own on the defensive end. He was not shy about taking on defensive responsibility in college and won’t be that way in the NBA. He also brings energy on and off ball which makes up for that lacking size.
Possible Team Fits
Pippen Jr. will probably be available toward the end of the draft and any team that takes him will want him to come off the bench to bring energy on both sides of the floor.
His ability to handle the ball and defend the opposing teams point guard makes him an intriguing selection for teams like the Clippers or Timberwolves.
He could also end up signing with a team like the Lakers or Mavericks if he goes undrafted.
As of right now, Pippen Jr. isn’t receiving much love from the NBA mock draft community. Most have him going undrafted.
But there’s no denying Pippen Jr.’s elite production in college and Hall of Fame family pedigree. If he goes undrafted then he’ll for sure have his pick from teams calling Thursday night when the draft ends.