Would James Worthy have had a Scottie Pippen-esque run as the main man for the L.A. Lakers if he didn't have injuries? - Basketball Forum : Professional and College Basketball Forums
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Would James Worthy have had a Scottie Pippen-esque run as the main man for the L.A. Lakers if he didn't have injuries?

I'm using Scottie Pippen's 1993-94 Bulls run as the main man for the template of what Worthy would've had and should've had, because Pippen was looked at as Michael Jordan’s sidekick who played in the shadows of Jordan for years, but when MJ left for baseball in ‘93-‘94, Pippen shined as the main man for the Bulls to the point that Horace Grant and B.J. Armstrong were named All-Stars along with Pippen, for their career-high numbers. Horace averaged 15 PPG and B.J. averaged 14.8 points per game, and Pippen took a Bulls team with a nobody like Pete Myers at SG to the playoffs.

Now, Worthy was looked at as a third banana to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the 1980s Showtime Lakers era in a team full of three top alphas, which I think Worthy was more alpha than beta.

But after Kareem retired in his 40s at the conclusion of 1988-89 to be replaced by the incoming Vlade Divac, and Magic abruptly retired due to HIV prior to 1991-92 and ended up being replaced by the incoming ex-Seattle SuperSonics guard Sedale Threatt, I think James Worthy was originally intended to take over as the main man of the Lakers and carry the likes of Byron Scott (was reduced to a journeyman after his hamstring injuries around 1987-1989 made him a less confident and more scared two-guard), A.C. Green (the only clear role player holdover from the Showtime Lakers era), Sam Perkins (the Lakers' last big Magic-era free agent acquisition from the Dallas Mavericks), Sedale Threatt (technical replacement for Magic Johnson) and Vlade Divac (technical replacement for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) to boost their numbers up to get them to the 1992 or 1993 NBA All-Star games much the same way Pippen boosted Horace and B.J. to All-Star players...

...as well as carrying their teams on their back for playoff runs without being in the shadows of their respective predecessor superstar teammates any more. Pippen got the chance to take the Bulls to a deep playoff run without Jordan, and Worthy would’ve gotten the chance to take the post-Showtime/Magic Lakers teams to a deep playoff run like Pippen carried the Bulls in 1993-94.

Alas, Worthy never got the opportunity to be the main man for the Lakers at all; even after Magic and Kareem left, but I could definitely have seen him assume the role of the team’s number one top star reminiscent of Pippen’s brief run as the main man from 1993-94 to halfway through 1994-95.
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