Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the sports world.
Wilbon, a longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the popular weekday sports debate and discussion program, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC, in addition to writing for ESPNChicago.com. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.
Send your questions now and join Wilbon Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
mike wilbon (1:00 PM)
Good afternoon everybody! we'll jump into anything you guys want, from Game 7 talk to flopping to Chris Bosh updates if we get one...
rick,tx [via mobile]
Mike so u think the lakers can pull out a win in ok,i think ron ron will make some noise,he thrives on heing the bad guy.what say u?
mike wilbon (1:03 PM)
Yes, I think the Lakers can win a game in OKC. I think the Lakers can mount a serious challenge to the Thunder, but only if they play the way they did in Game 7 against Denver, where they just attack the opponent inside FIRST. And I don't know if this Lakers team has the discipline to do something they don't seem to really want to do. But the notion of Kobe scoring 40 points and game and the Lakers beating OKC, to me, just won't work. Bynum and Gasol HAVE to be hugely involved in every single game and they have to get a fourth person involved, whether its Sessions or Stevie Blake...And all that's presuming Ron Artest can slow down Kevin Durant. I think it's all a bit much to ask and receive, which is why I have OKC winning that series in 6
Hi Mike, the issue of flopping is getting more and more traction, but I think it would be a mistake to try to regulate it in-game. Putting more scrutiny on refs for calls that can potentially go either way is a big mistake. Instead, the league office should review tapes for blatant flops and assess technicals. It won't have any immediate in-game consequences, but I bet it would be easy to rack up 16 that way.
mike wilbon (1:05 PM)
Okay Jared, this is so common-sense smart and on the money I'm just going to use what you just said as my own answer...Well done! Referees have a difficult enough time just calling the necessary infractions, just seeing whether a defender's feet are outside the arc under the basket, much less determining accurately whether a 250-pound man used enough force to legitimately knock another man down, who might have been off balance or hit in just the right "knockdown" spot...whatever. The league office should just deal with it later and assess technicals, which could mount and really cost....Thanks for this!
Thomas (Santa Fe)
Wouldn't Josh Smith for Marc Gasol be a highly beneficial trade for both teams? The Grizz get some athleticism down low and unclog the Randolph/Gasol jam in the post. Hawks get a very good, young post player that they can play at 5 and move Horford to 4 and get high value for J-Smoove who is going to opt out in 2013. Popular opinion seems to be to trade Gay, but where do you replace his one-on-one abilities on the perimeter? They'd also become a great running team with Conley, Gay, and Josh and still be able to slow it up with ZBO
mike wilbon (1:07 PM)
You are preoccupied with trades now? Seriously. You can't enjoy what IS thinking about what COULD BE later? Dude...watch the playoffs!
Hey Micheal, with the Heat now losing Bosh, how far do you see them going in the playoffs, Conference Finals, NBA Finals, Champions?
mike wilbon (1:11 PM)
The latest update I've seen is that Bosh, following an MRI this morning, is out "indefinitely." I'm not sure if Bosh misses this series against Indiana that the Heat can beat the Pacers. Miami's glaring weakness is its lack of size. The Heat is a good rebounding team with Bosh, but they're so small without him...And the Pacers are big, not just Hibbert, but across the front line. I don't have Miami beating OKC or San Antonio anyway...and the Heat is soooo top-heavy...Even if they beat Indy, beating the Celtics without Bosh is something I wouldn't bet on, much less S.A. or OKC...I hate what these injuries are doing to the playoffs. Hate it.
Has anybody ever swept the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs? I feel like San Antonio has a shot to do just that.
mike wilbon (1:15 PM)
Several teams have swept the first two rounds, yes...The Spurs are a candidate, yep...They could sweep the Clippers. But I'll take S.A. in 5...I feel like that's underappreciating Chris Paul on some level...could see 6 games, but not more...and can't see an upset in this one.
Dallas (San Jose)
Mike, what's your reaction to Bosh being out indefinitely for the Heat? How will they deal with Roy Hibbert the rest of this series and possibly Boston in the next round? KG has been on a tear lately, and Bosh matched up well with him last post season. Should Miami be worried? Seems to me an already small team suddenly got even smaller.
mike wilbon (1:17 PM)
We'll get back into this because it's the No. 1 issue today, as far as I'm concerned, for the playoffs. I know LeBron can not just play power forward, but be damn effective there. Thing is, that works well because Bosh is playing center while LeBron is at PF. It would require LeBron to take more of a beating, to play inside, and how would that affect him for the next series? If Bosh is out for several games against the Celtics, who guards KG for Miami? All questions the Heat will have to answer if Bosh is out any length of time. Here's hoping he isn't...
Usually, the Thunder slide KD to the 4 during crunch time so do you still see them doing this even if the Lakers have both Gasol and Bynum on the floor?
mike wilbon (1:20 PM)
Great question! They could certainly try it to get Gasol away from the basket, but I think the Lakers will try to keep Ron Artest on KD no matter where he goes. It's the most effective matchup on KD the Lakers have...Gasol's just not quick enough and can't wander out there to the arc. Look, OKC is big and strong enough to play with the Lakers big lineup because Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka can match up physically...I think they'll try to have their starting front line out there as much as is reasonably possible. It ain't like Perk is any stranger to the Lakers in post-season play!
Deven (New York)
Which team will suffer the most from the long layoff during the second round of the NBA playoffs, Mr. Wilbon?
mike wilbon (1:22 PM)
Well, only OKC and S.A. had long layoffs...and I think the Spurs KNOW how to deal with it, just like Pop and the star players on that team know how to deal with every conceivable playoff scenario...OKC, on the other hand, might need a full game to work out some kinks. Problem is, the Lakers were just dead tired after Game 7 and coming back to win Game 1 w 48 hours between would be a lot to ask...
Luke Johns (Boston, MA)
Did the celtics win or did the sixers lose?
mike wilbon (1:22 PM)
The 76ers blew Game 1...Then again, aren't we always saying that over the years in playoff games involving Celtics opponents?
If Chris Bosh is forced to miss time - let's say a week or two - how far does Miami advance? Everyone looks at Miami as Bron + Wade, but I think losing Bosh - for an extended amount of time - would be bigger than losing Wade. I think they'd still squeak by Indiana, but Boston could knock them off. Please assess the importance of the injury for those of us who want to see LeBron get his title. Thanks Wilbon.
mike wilbon (1:24 PM)
You just called it about the same way I would...Obviously Wade is a better player, a great player, an all-NBA players. But Miami can't afford to lose any size and rebounding and that's why it's going to be so difficult to play without Bosh. I guess they'll ask Turiaf to play more minutes. I guess...
OMARVLS (NORTH HOLLYWOOD)
Michael, Is it true that D.Rose will take up to 8 months to recover from this injury? Do you think he will be the same or will he have to change his game and be less in attack mode?
mike wilbon (1:26 PM)
Absolutely, yes. That's how long it takes, generally. And like everybody who has that injury adjustments will have to be made, yes. At least D. Rose is young (23) and players now come back from this all the time, unlike when, say, Gale Sayers was playing and shredded his knee...or Doug Collins. careers then were totally derailed.
As a celtics fan I love how the NBA doesnt reseed (at least this year I am a fan of it). But I never really heard anyone shed any light on this topic or debate the fact. This year is a clear example in the east why I think reseeding makes sense. What are your thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:27 PM)
I've always agitated for the NBA to re-seed, like the NFL and NHL...I don't get why they don't, other than "we like it like it is" which to me is always the lamest reason to do anything.
Does Perkins have any question marks in his health? Is he 100%?
mike wilbon (1:28 PM)
What you find in talking to guys now is that 90 percent of them having something. Some will tell you, others won't. But Perk couldn't be as healthy as he was on Christmas Day. I don't know of anything major or obvious, though...
Mike. I know its been over for a while, but it just breaks your heart to see a guy like D-Rose go down doesn't it? especially considering how sensitive and shy he is, his personality might affect his recovery and style of play. i just hope and pray we can come back even stronger next year when he comes back right? Also with little money to spend what are your thoughts on bringing in either Nocioni and Billups, or Kirk and trading CJ?
mike wilbon (1:30 PM)
Of course, i share that sentiment. As I've written in columns, I come from essentially the same plot of land on the south side of Chicago that Rose comes from, and I just love the kid...As for the last part, spinning it forward, the Bulls aren't going to have Rose until January, at earliest, one would think...So they'll need to do something. A lot of people think Kirk Hinrich will be back, but I would love the notion of Chauncey Billups or another veteran point guard who could then later play alongside Rose. By the way, I don't see how Luol Deng, who is going to have to have surgery on his left wrist but AFTER the Olympics, is going to be ready for the start of the 2012-2013 season either.
David Stern M.D. (New York)
I can assure you that neither the Chris Bosh injury nor any of the others had anything to do with the compressed regular season.
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
Remind me to send you roses! thanks for that...
How thrilled would the NBA be with a 76er's vs. Pacers ECF?
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
Ha! If we were playing "what's the word" on PTI it would be "terrified."
Nick Fridell seems to think the Bulls are stuck with the same core, no major moves will be made, whats your take on this, dont the Bulls need to add one more piece for next season?
mike wilbon (1:33 PM)
they might be stuck in terms of cap space, but they'd better do more than make one move. The Bulls have to get better offensively, or they'll start to slide. And they'll struggle big-time at the beginning of next season without Rose and Deng. I'm not talking free agency, I'm talking trades. Teams always fall too much in love with the guys on their roster. The Bulls are going to have to part with a couple of guys, shake things up. They're going to have to make some moves if they're going to be a contender next year. Without a couple, I can't see them contending next year. It takes time to get back to elite level after an ACL...Rose will need time.
Steve (Palo Alto)
Do players like DeAndre Jordan and Carlos Boozer feel any guilt at all that they are getting paid tons of money but end up sitting on the bench at the end of games for guys like Reggie Evans and Taj Gibson because they are more reliable? Kudos to those role players for stepping up but there needs to be more accountability on these guys who are getting paid to be in those situations but dont step up.
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
Guilt? Really? You can't be serious.
What are Chicago fans supposed to do for the next few months?
mike wilbon (1:36 PM)
I'll speak just for me...I'll see if the Cubs starting rotation really develops, see if Theo (unlike his predecessors) can find a closer, and wait for Bears training camp...and ride my bike with my kid around the lake and do all the things that don't require me to think back to Rose getting injured.
Can LeBron bang around on the inside like Magic was capable of?
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
GREAT question. Can he? Yes. Will he? I think so. I think LeBron will try and do whatever is asked, from play power forward to point guard. And with Bosh out, which is why I think you're asking this question, we'll find out. But Magic would be the first to tell you LeBron is stronger and more explosive than he EVER was...And Magic, remember, weighed 230 pounds at 6-8 1/2. LeBron is 260...maybe 270.
you gotta love the clippers???? feel good story of the playoffs...
mike wilbon (1:40 PM)
Absolutely! As a lifelong Cubs fan I can identify with the Clippers pretty easily. For the Clippers to go Memphis and win that game is such a tribute to Chris Paul and to, yes, Vinny Del Negro. I'd better not hear a word this spring about Vinny being fired, given what the Clippers have done, much of it without their most accomplished player, Chauncey Billups...It is a feel good story...a feel great story.
The players are just as culpable as Stern & Co. in deciding on a compressed schedule. I have no doubt they wanted as many game checks as they could get.
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
Oh, no question. I said when I wrote a column about this its BOTH sides who are to be blamed. Everybody wanted a money grab. I get it. But there are consequences. One more thing on this from Dr. Wilbon. Would anybody argue that five games in a week would make even a pro basketball player more tired than 3 1/2 games a week? No, Nobody would argue that. Are you more likely to suffer an injury when you're more tired than usual? When you're more tired than rested? Seriously.
Hi Mike, what did you make of Magic's comments before game 7 when he said Coach Brown should be fired if they lose? If this is true, shouldn't the same be said if the Lakers are not competetive against the Thunder in Round 2. Thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:43 PM)
The Lakers not getting out of the first round against a lower-seeded opponent is not acceptable in Los Angeles. That's what Magic said. And he's right. I don't know what would have happened to Brown had they lost Game 1, but I do know the last Lakers coach who couldn't get out of the first round, Rudy Tomjanovich, got a quick hook, didn't he?
LeBron is a beast. He can do anything on the court.
mike wilbon (1:44 PM)
He is. And he can. And soon that had better include finish the season as the last guy standing, cause that's sure as hell what matters most.
Hi Mike, I was watching Tiger struggle again this week and I realized that on almost every shot he is never aiming at the target. I realize that he has been working on that fade with coach Foley, but it seems like Tiger rarely hits it withing 10-5 feet anymore. It looks like Tiger is making things way more difficult for himself, and I just wonder why he doen't simlify things and aim at the target? Thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
Glad you brought this up as a change of pace, though I don't really think you want to presume to now what's wrong with Tiger's swing. For me, this is simpler and a bigger picture. Suddenly, Tiger Woods isn't relevant. He doesn't matter, not at majors, not on Sundays. Golf has to move on. The sport can't count on him anymore, for a number of reasons, to carry ratings and the image of the game...He can't win enough, can't contend enough. And every imperfect shot is accompanied by scowls and curses and club throwing. It's tiresome, really. Stunning and tiresome. And I have loved watching the career of Tiger Woods about as much as anything in sports in my life...and it makes me sad it's come to this, but it has.
What are your thoughts on Deng waiting on the surgery until after the Olympics? I can obviously respect him for wanting to represent his country, but is it fair for him to do so at the expense of possibly missing games for the Bulls, who pay him a lot of money?
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
This is the question Mark Cuban raises about the NBA's continued involvement in the Olympics. On the other hand, players would be ripped for being less than Patriotic for NOT playing, especially in Deng's case since England is the host nation and they NEVER qualify for basketball, and wouldn't otherwise. So much pressure on him to play. What's he to do? Talk about a dilemma!
Rob (San Antonio)
Michael, I got to say I am really loving the playoffs this season. Aside from injuries we are seeing a mix of the old experienced teams (Spurs, Boston, LA) and young blood (OKC, Denver, Indiana) to make for some really good basketball. What are your thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
I love the playoffs every year, like I love March Madness every year and golf's majors every year...But the injuries are ruining the season for me, going back to Billups and others...I'm halfway scared to watch the damn games.
Is this the deepest Spurs team in the Duncan era?
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
It looks to be as deep as any of them, but time and the ability to navigate the competition will provide the answer...But going in, yeah, I think it's right there...Pop has more options and more lineups he can go to than any other coach in the playoffs.
Wilbon you going to the Ryder Cup in Chicago in September? Supposed to be a 'bucket list' type of event.
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
Wouldn't miss it! Yes, I'll be there. I've been two one already, but seeing one played in Chicago is more exciting for those of us from Chicago...
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI today. Word is Kornheiser is back from his Bristol two-step...Thanks for chatting everybody, and look forward to hearing from you next Monday...Have a great week...mw