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 (1:05 PM)
Hi everybody...Thanks for joining today's chat...we'll jump right into the NBA playoffs, but welcome questions on golf, baseball, whatever...
Although I do believe it is very unlikely (Spurs fan talking), have you considered that if Durant gets to the Finals, he would have surpassed Nowitzki, Bryant AND Duncan, the winners of last what 13 WC, during the course of the playoffs?! Talk about symbolism and generation change...
mike wilbon (1:07 PM)
By "surpassed" do you mean Durant is at the top of the heap now? Sure. Of course, Father Time is undefeated and catches up with everyone, and all the guys you mention have been in the league double-digit years...Anyway, yeah, it's possible Durant will be at the top of the heap by the end of June...could get there before LeBron, and that would be something because we'd be talking about someone more or less in his peer group...And it's a fairly equal comparison since Durant and LeBron both have great tag-team partners, though LeBron's is more accomplished...
Luke Dwyer (Boston, MA)
Kornheiser said that after the BOS/PHI game three that the series has swung in Boston's favor for good... Is he backing off those comments at all?
mike wilbon (1:10 PM)
We'll find out, won't we? As you might recall I specifically said at the end of Thursday's PTI that the Celtics can't really be great game-after-game; that might elude them now, loathe as the Celtics are to admit they're old besides Rondo...I think I said Tony would come to work and say, how "shocked" he is and how "surprising" it is that Philly evened the series...when in fact it's not really surprising at all. I said on the pre-game show that night that I thought Philly could even the series. I still think Boston will win the series but it wouldn't shock me if the Sixers did...Big ups to Doug Collins for getting his team to bounce back as it did...can't wait for Game 6 tonight.
What do you make of Dwayne Wade's attitude that seems to come through a little ugly when things aren't going his way. Hard unnecessary fouls and then the blow up with Spoelstra. Is that a concern or are we making too much of it?
mike wilbon (1:13 PM)
Great question...Thought a lot about it in recent days because of the blow-up with Spoelstra...I've followed Wade closely since his time at Marquette because he's a South Side of Chicago kid...And he NEVER had this kind of behavior his first 8 years in the league. NEVER. I think--and this is just my guess--the frustration of what's happened in Miami, of not winning, of sacrificing more than anybody in the that equation, just wore on him, wore him out and we're seeing the frustration reach the boiling point...
What do you think about an offseason trade of Pau for Bosh? Both guys seem to fill a need on the other team more. Miami get's their low post back to the basket guy who could pass the ball to a cutting Wade or Lebron all day long. With Bosh, the Lakers get a much better 15-20 foot jump shooter who can open up the paint better for Bynum. Any possibility?
mike wilbon (1:15 PM)
I'm sure there are a million possibilities. who the hell knows? I think the Lakers, presuming they don't recover from this 3-1 deficit to OKC, will trade Gasol and I presume that Miami, if they don't win the championship, will trade Bosh...But it would seem to me Miami's problem is they need at least 2 players in a deal for Bosh, that they need a true low-post guy Wade and LeBron can dump the ball to occasionally. If Wade and LeBron have to score 70 to get a win over the Pacers then the formula down there needs tweaking...
The Heat have looked pretty inconsistent so far this series. A lot of highs and lows. After what you've seen through 4 games do you think they are going to win this series? Or are the inconsistencies just going to be a disadvantage?
mike wilbon (1:17 PM)
I think Miami WILL win this series, in part because they have the two best players in the series, and in part because Indiana isn't disciplined enough to do what needs to be done, which is pound Miami like veal inside with Hibbert and West...Miami will be favored, of course, to beat Boston or Philly but I don't see Miami, even if it survives the conference finals, beating OKC or San Antonio. No way...
Keith H (Seattle)
Going into Game 4 of Pacers vs. Heat, I was ready to give Chris Bosh the Peyton Manning Award for MVP by not being there. I'd say he's still way up there because it took LeBron and Wade going ballistic to even the series. Your thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:17 PM)
Good observation. Maybe we can hear less criticism directed toward Bosh, who's a terrific player who has sacrificed statistical achievement for the good of his team, even if few people noticed his true impact on the game.
so do you agree with your colleague on espn.com, john hollinger, that the reason kobe has been so bad (for him) since february is that he's played too many minutes?
mike wilbon (1:19 PM)
Yes, I do think Kobe played too many minutes. He did have that rest at the end of the season when Mike Brown sat him with that injury. But just look at the Spurs senior citizens and how much better off they are. Of course, Pop could afford to rest Duncan and Manu. The Lakers HAD to have Kobe out there to win games against even some average teams.
Is tonight the last game we see Kobe, Pau and Bynum together?
mike wilbon (1:19 PM)
If they lose it, I think yes.
Any chance Bosh can come back if theres a game 7?
mike wilbon (1:19 PM)
I guess there's a chance but we're being told Game 5 of the conference finals....
Why cant the celtic score on a consistent basic?
mike wilbon (1:20 PM)
Cause they're old and can't summon it every single night. Nobody can. But you don't have to win four straight, just four. The Celtics can grind it out, win one night and look bad the next, and win four. They can.
William (West V)
How many years away do you think the clippers ae with there young core of players?
mike wilbon (1:22 PM)
The Clippers only have one young player at their core: Blake Griffin. CP3 is a veteran. Jordan is a support player. Mo Williams is a veteran. Foye is a veteran. Chauncey Billups, should he come back, is sho nuf a veteran. Caron Butler a veteran. What young core?
Zeben Cohen (North Dakota)
Do you see the Lakers coming back from this deficit?
mike wilbon (1:23 PM)
I can see the Lakers winning tonight, Game 5, and taking the series back to L.A., yes. I don't see the Lakers winning three straight, even though they've outplayed OKC for 90 percent of the last three games....
Could you see D-wade coming back to Chicago when his contract is up whether its in 2014 or 2016? And if the Heat lose do you see Bosh being traded?
mike wilbon (1:25 PM)
Wade won't have the appeal as a free agent in two years he had two years ago, and certainly not in four. He plays so hard, much like D. Rose. and isn't a huge guy. Wade is like, 6-4, 200 pounds...He's been crashing into stuff for 9 seasons. I really, really, really, really hoped Wade would return home in 2010 instead of link up with LeBron in Miami...Think of how different the NBA would be now had that happened...
Assuming the Lakers lose tonight, what is your best guess on what they do in the off season? Something like Pau for Lowry/Scola? Thanks.
mike wilbon (1:26 PM)
Something like that, yes. I'm not sure Sessions is a starter. Could be, but I gotta see more...like tonight.
Not that it is a suprise, but Wrigley Field having empty seats for the White Sox has to be alarming, right?
mike wilbon (1:27 PM)
I was both surprised AND alarmed. For years there were no seats for those games, south side or north...Couldn't believe it when I turned onto the MLB Network last night for highlights...Damn.
Chris (Washington DC)
If you ignored their names and just looked at their value/place on the team, who would you trade out of Bosh/Wade/James? It seems clear that the Heat have NOTHING inside without Bosh and trading him away wouldn't do anything to help that
mike wilbon (1:30 PM)
It probably makes more sense, as you hint, to trade D-Wade...But the fact is Wade is the most popular of the three in South Florida. He's the incumbent, the guy who has built up good will with a lot of good deeds for nearly 10 years. He's got close relationships with the owner and Pat Riley. Wow, that would be difficult...But from a basketball standpoint, you're right. Bosh is the only guy on that team who does what he does...
bosh is an ok player but can't we agree that the reason he is so missed is because who he is being replaced with not because of how good he is heat players are terrible sans lebron and wade
mike wilbon (1:30 PM)
Well, not terrible. How about, just okay...How about "not good enough to win a championship." If they've got to score 70, I don't think Miami can beat OKC or S.A.
Assuming the Thunder close it out tonight who do you see winning the WCF? I believe the Spurs are the better team but i have a tough time seeing them win a 7 game series against a much younger much more athletic OKC team
mike wilbon (1:32 PM)
It's an even series. There will be morons out there who say "Why are you hating on my team" when you pick the other. And that's what they'll be, morons and idiots. Whomever you pick of S.A. and OKC it's easily justifiable. They're worthy adversaries. I damn sure look forward to a series between those two going as many games as they can produce...
Wayne(MA) [via mobile]
Was Kobe right to call out Pau liked he did? Do you think Gasol will respond with a big game?
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
Yes, Kobe was right. He was taking a calculated risk he could push Pau's buttons and that's what leaders do. Will it work? I don't know, but I know that Kobe did it intentionally and hopes even if it offends Pau in the short-term it works tonight. I know Magic had a totally different style of motivating teammates after a loss; he took 'em aside. But Jordan and Bird called people out and it worked for them. I think we should look at this as a specific case, and I know Kobe knew what he was doing...We'll see if it works!
Do you think this CBA actually hurt the NBA more than it helped the NBA? the bulls, mavs, heat, and lakers are all unable to stay contenders because of the salary cap. i'm a die hard bulls fan and when I saw rose go down I thought 3 things.1. season is over2. now no deng and rose until January3. No money to spend so 2013 season goes out the door.Don't you agree that that just isn't a great thing for the NBA?
mike wilbon (1:35 PM)
It's a great thing for owners' wallets, which is what they wanted and say they needed. For the product? Not so much initially. Let's see how it affects spending league-wide.
Chris (Washington DC)
Are your surprised that Father Time hasn't beaten Jamie Moyer yet?
mike wilbon (1:35 PM)
Pitchers, more than anybody in sport, can stiff-arm Father Time for awhile. It'll catch him...but 49!!! Are you kidding? How great is this?
Has Danny Granger always been so volatile emotionally? Or is it simply case of the moment being ovewhelming and too big for him?
mike wilbon (1:36 PM)
He thinks he's getting inside the heads of the Miami players. But Granger took more 3-pointers Sunday (9) than David West took shots (8) and as many as Roy Hibbert (9). That's what I call...stupid.
Spurs over Thunder in 6 or 7 games?
mike wilbon (1:37 PM)
7...But anybody who claims he knows what's going to happen in a series between teams that great is a liar...or a loud mouth with a Twitter account.
Tim (New Hampshire)
Of the remaining teams, how would you rank each in terms of enjoyment watching?
mike wilbon (1:40 PM)
Great, great, great question. Platinum star for you...Spurs, OKC, Miami, Celtics, Pacers, Sixers...
Wouldn't Miami be better off to trade Wade than Bosh? Isn't the big issue is their games don't mesh seamlessly?
mike wilbon (1:41 PM)
Um, yes. Let me give some credit to my man Jon Barry for saying that the very night the basketball marriage was consummated.
I know in the past you said fans dont like the spurs because of the way they play, i dont think thats it at all. i think ppl dont like the spurs because they dont have a players fans want to see win, like a kobe, lebron, durant. etc. its not that fans dislike the spurs, but there just arent a lot of diehard tim duncans ppl out there and all their other stars are international guys. thats why the ratings arent good when they play, nothing to do with style of play.
mike wilbon (1:45 PM)
Noooo. I KNOW why fans don't like to watch the Spurs. It's because, as you suggest, people want to see start when it comes to pro basketball. They don't really pay attention to how the Spurs play, not the people who tune into the game in April or May every year. They just want to see people they've heard of, the Rock Stars...And that's sad, that they can't put that aside and look at how beautifully the Spurs play...It's music, Bro. sweet music.
Do you believe Deron Williams stays with the Nets?
mike wilbon (1:46 PM)
No idea....Haven't talked to him lately and I have no idea. I know he loves living in NYC and the lifestyle that goes with it. But he's from Dallas and they might make a play for him. So could Phoenix, which has a history of re-tooling on the fly and getting back into contention (Barkley at one point, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash)...I hope he doesn't tie what he's doing to Dwight Howard.
How underrated has David West been over his career? Even when he is not scoring, it seems like he has been wearing out Lebron by pounding on him when working for position. His veteran presence is exactly what the Pacers needed. His signing probably made Larry Bird Executive of the Year.
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
yet, his teammates and maybe even his coaches forgot that for 2 1/2 hours yesterday and shot 3s instead of getting the ball to him and Roy Hibbert first...Dumb. plain dumb.
Boston Celtics over Indiana Pacers in 7, which will set up an old school finals match up between Timmy D and KG? what do you think?
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
Oh, I'd be fine with that. Fine. Teams that are mirror images of one another. I think the Spurs are much deeper...MUCH...and better rested and would be favored, maybe even heavily favored...
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Take a soccer question: Fan of the NBA and soccer as well. In your opinion, has the NBA caught up to soccer in terms of flopping? So many bad flops in the Chelsea-Bayern Munich Champions League final on Saturday, but I've seen some horrendous flopping in this NBA season and playoffs thus far. How come the players are not speaking out against flopping, and are players ashamed of flopping? How about guys start calling out there own teammates for flopping and hold each other accountability to increase the credibility of the league?
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
I think the flopping hysteria is a waste of time. I just don't care about it. I know I'm in the minority because I can see via Twitter it's the No. 1 playoff obsession. I just don't care. It can be taken care of easily. Tell officials don't award fouls if they feel there's a flop. Otherwise, so what? I think a lot of what is called "flopping" isn't. These guys are moving at high speeds and they're 6-7, 6-8, 230, 240 pounds. If a defender is smaller or the same size and off-balance, he can go down. But overall, I just don't care about the obsession-of-the-moment. There's too much to watch in both soccer and the NBA right now for me to obsess over something that happens occasionally and doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the match or the playoff game.
Does "I'll Have Another" win in three weeks and make the trifecta?
mike wilbon (1:53 PM)
No...How many times has this been asked over the years without it happening? A dozen? Eleven? Something like that...I guess at some point some horse will get it done and the horse heads will be all aglow. Til then, I just like to clown people like Kornheiser to whom racing becomes important for about six weeks every spring.
Charlie (New York)
How ya doing, Mike? Look, I'm not one to throw a "nobody cares about hockey pity party" but would you agree that Chris Kreider is having a bigger impact on his team's success right now than any rookie has had in any other sport. And, if so, why does America know more about Cam Newton, Ricky Rubio, and Kyrie Irving than about Kreider?
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)
The second part is easier: People in America care more about football, baseball, basketball than they care about hockey. Surely you get there. Americans embrace, first and foremost, what we invented or popularized. That puts hockey and soccer on the outside looking in, no matter how angry that makes their supporters. Ratings justify it, which affects advertising dollars. Eyeballs, baby. As far as the person disproportionately affecting these Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's Jonathan Quick, plain and simple. He's the MVP of the playoffs and anybody who wants to argue needs to go away.
Kobe called out Pau because he refuses to take any blame for his own actions, ever.
mike wilbon (1:56 PM)
That's one way of looking at it, and I know plenty of people who do...
How many years do you think Wade has preforming at his high level? Its alot easier for taller players to play at a high level late into there 30s but for a undersized 2 guard who has already lost some of his athleticism he can only have maybe 2 more years of being a top 15 player in this league.
mike wilbon (1:57 PM)
Ah, yes. that's the overwhelming analysis. All people have to do is look at the history of the sport. A dozen years is a long time to perform at an all-world level. If you want to find a model, by the way, look at Mitch Richmond...The guy was fabulous (albeit for a bad team) for about 10, 11 years then oooops! off the table. He'd lft if all out there. It doesn't last forever. Father Time is undefeated.
I think there has been a somewhat interesting development in the Sixers-Celtics series in that DC and Doc are good friends as far as I can tell but there is some legitimate bad blood building between these two teams, at least 4 mini-scuffles that I can think of off the top of my head, Evan Turner right in the middle of a lot there.
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
One can only hope there is some bad blood in EVERY single playoff series. That's what makes the playoffs, for me, better than March Madness. Nothing builds in single elimination. It's just one big, loud bang...Drama yes...But not drama like you get in Games 4, 5, 6, 7 after people have worked up a good dislike for one another.
Do you think the Lakers-Thunder and Spurs-Clippers were put a disadvantage physically because of the back to back?
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
No. The Lakers had a 13-point lead with 7 to play at home. Hold the damn lead.
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
Since so many 2-guards became the size of Reggie Miller (6-foot-8) or Stephen Jackson (6-7)...6-4 now is average. Jerry sloan is a 100 years old and he's the size of Wade. Sloan was a "big guard" when I was a kid, which was 40 years ago...
Please get me a job at ESPN, I can be your assistant and grab coffee and donuts everyday!
mike wilbon (2:01 PM)
You want me to fire my assistant? Fire the person I cannot get through the day without so I can just give you a flyer??? Sorry! LOL
Do you like Starbucks?
mike wilbon (2:02 PM)
Nope...Don't drink coffee. I go to get hot chocolate every now and then, but I haven't had a cup of coffee in, oh, 12, 14 years. Just don't get it...Like Beer...Don't drink that either. Don't like the taste. Taste is everything for me. If it ain't sweet (I know, I know, sugar in coffee) chances are I ain't drinking it.
"The thing that has surprised me the most in these playoffs is.....?"
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
OKC's poise in close games, especially on the road...Great job.
I go out of my way to watch the SA Spurs wilbon. It's like trying to find the latest album or movie that's great. I don't let the media dictate my opinion on things. Maybe I'm in the minority on this.
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
If you are, then stay there. Good job!
Keith H (Seattle)
It stinks to live here after watching Clay Bennett and Sam Presti take the Sonics down to a skeleton for the move, then filling the roster into a powerhouse. Not bitching, just an observation from a lifelong NBA fan.
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
I feel for the people of Seattle, and since it's one of my five favorite cities in America, I feel for ME since (nothing against OKC) I should be getting ready to spend some time in Seattle...
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Let's see what Tony has to say about being so STUPID regarding the Celtics-Sixers series. He'll try to work his way out with some silly joke...Thanks for chatting everybody...Have a great week and see you next Tuesday, the day AFTER Memorial Day...