Working out for several NBA teams over the summer as part of the pre-draft process, Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. knew he was going to be asked about his father.
After all, the 21-year-old point guard is the son of a six-time NBA champion and a seven-time All-Star. But as Pippen Jr. is asked incessantly about his Hall of Fame father, he smiles and takes it as a compliment.
“I think people still compare me to my dad,” Pippen Jr. said following a workout for the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, via the IndyStar. “We’re totally different. I’m a foot shorter than him and we just have different styles of game. People still compare us, and there’s no problem with that. I think it’s cool for me — my dad played in the NBA and was a legend at that.”
His 6-foot-1 stature is seemingly the only thing keeping Pippen Jr. from being a highly sought-after NBA prospect. Because of his physical limitations, the junior guard has a mid-to-late second-round grade from most draft scouting services.
However, that didn’t stop Pippen Jr. from turning a few heads at the NBA Combine in Chicago in May. A standout during the team scrimmages, Pippen Jr. threw in an 11-point, six-assist performance in the opening prospect game, and he followed that up with a game-high 21 points, plus three assists and two steals in another game.
He also showed a sharper defensive game, playing opponents tighter and making it difficult for them to get into scoring lanes while Pippen Jr. was guarding them.
“I definitely grew; I give credit to the coaching staff and the players [at Vanderbilt] that helped develop me,” Pippen Jr. said. “Going out of high school, I wasn’t highly-recruited or anything like that, and they developed me a lot. I’m just taking that with hard work and a good support system with my family with me throughout my career.”
To date, Pippen Jr. has worked out for 10 teams over the summer, including the Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards, as he tries to improve his stock with the NBA Draft just one week away.
With his Combine performance, coupled with his experience at the NBA G-League summer camp last year and a dynamic 2021-22 season where he was named a Lute Olson All-American and was an All-SEC first team selection by the league coaches and Associated Press, Pippen Jr. is doing all of the right things.
“Just trying to show [NBA teams] I can compete on both ends,” he said. “Everyone knows I can score the ball — I did it in the SEC, which is one of the highest college levels. Just showing them I’m a playmaker and just my strengths and what I can bring to an NBA team.”
Pippen Jr. was Vanderbilt’s best player last year, leading the team in scoring (20.4 points per game), assists (167) and steals (70) while shooting .416 from the field and .325 from 3-point range.
There’s little question that Pippen Jr. elevates the players around him, as was evidenced by the Commodores’ improvement during his three years. Vanderbilt won just nine games with zero conference wins the year before he arrived to campus but improved to an 11-21 team his freshman season.
Although the ‘Dores had a 9-16 record in the 2020 season, they did have three SEC wins and a victory in the SEC Tournament. The team won 19 games this year, including a solid run to the third round of the men’s NIT.
“I went to the worst team in the SEC that was 0-18 and didn’t win a game,” Pippen Jr. said. “So, it was a rough beginning when I first got there, but I think that was the perfect place for me to be. It helped me be hungry and work hard and I think it was a great fit for me.”
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_