While some NBA players’ paths get started on draft night when they hear their name get called by Adam Silver, other players’ path to professional basketball begins after that as undrafted prospects look for avenues such as playing in the G League, NBA Summer League and overseas to gain more NBA recognition.
Former Vanderbilt guard Scotty Pippen Jr. son of Hall of Fame forward Scottie Pippen, fell into the category of players who unfortunately did not hear their name called during the 2022 NBA Draft. But like his father, Pippen carried an attitude of perseverance and made a name for himself during the Los Angeles Lakers’ Summer League season.
In an interview on Spectrum SportsNet’s “Lakeshow” podcast, Pippen shares his initial thought process on going undrafted and his reaction to how quickly his career has blossomed with the Purple & Gold:
“Yeah of course it is disappointing,” Pippen said of not being drafted. “I thought I did everything good, especially during the Combine. I thought I performed well. I had about 15 or 20 workouts where I had a good position to get drafted. But, you know, stuff happens for a reason. I never questioned it. When I didn’t hear my name get called there was still disappoint, but I didn’t think there was a better fit for me than to come to the Lakers and come home. It was still a dream come true. Being able to play for an organization like that who competes for a championship and is a place where I feel like I fit.”
Pippen signed a two-way contract with the Lakers during the summer and then went on to have an impressive Summer League season, averaging 11.8 points, 4.8 assists and showing his quick hands on defense by racking up 2.6 steals.
Like many counted-out NBA players that proved to be valuable assets, Pippen will remember the feeling he had during draft night, and shares how he turned that into motivation for a stronger work ethic:
“I think it is always adding fuel to the fire whenever you are counted out. The same thing was with me in high school. Then I was recruited to college and I went to college and did my thing. Just trying to prove that next level where I can compete and prove where I belong. It definitely added a chip to my shoulder and more motivation to work harder.”
The possibility of the Lakers needing the playmaking services of Pippen throughout the season is high. With a strong work ethic and the motivation to stay ready, Pippen has a chance to continue to prove himself as a really good player in the league.
Pippen sees LeBron James’ work ethic as motivation
Being a rookie in the NBA, especially for a historic franchise like the Lakers, can be intimidating for former collegiate athletes. Pippen seems to have found a way to navigate the newness surrounding professional basketball, however.
Pippen recently detailed how seeing LeBron James working in the gym serves as motivation for the 21-year-old rookie.
That had to have been a cool experience for Pippen, who grew up idolizing James and now gets to be teammates with him during his rookie season.
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