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 1:30 p.m. ET!
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
Hi everybody! Wow, what a weekend to dissect, from the playoff games to the coaching news today...I'm in Chicago, where the city is coming off a weekend of sports despair, given the 3 losses the Blackhawks and Bulls suffered...but everything is on the table nationally, so here we go!
ted (cape cod)
You worried about your Blackhawks now down 2-0 to St.Louis, Wilbon?
mike wilbon (1:40 PM)
Hell yeah! How could anybody rooting for (of affiliated with) the champions not be worried to death going into tonight's Game 3 here in Chicago. A win saves the season temporarily, and defense of the Stanley Cup, and a loss puts the champs on the brink of elimination...So yes. And they have to play without their second best defenseman, Seabrook, who is justifiably suspended for 3 games after that vicious hit in St. Louis Saturday afternoon not only let the Blues have a man advantage the final 5 minutes of Game 2 but also leaves his team short a very talented player as they try to extend the season. It was possibly a season-defining hit...
So...explain again why the Bulls wanted the Wizards.
mike wilbon (1:43 PM)
The Bulls didn't want the Wizards; the Bulls didn't much care. The Wizards wanted the Bulls and said so, and after yesterday we can see why the Wizards felt that way...Didn't look so apparent when the Bulls were up 13 late in the third quarter. But as often happens with this Bulls team, they couldn't score...and as rarely happens with this Bulls team they couldn't defend...couldn't stop Nene and Gortat from carving them up like Thanksgiving Turkey...So, on a day when the two playoff rooks, John Wall and Bradley Beal, go 7-fot-25, the Bulls still flat-line their way through a loss? Beal and Wall aren't going to shoot that poorly again in Game 2, so the Bulls are on the verge of being in as much trouble as the Blackhawks after losing to the Wiz in Game 1.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
Is Paul George a pretender? I can't think of too many players who jumped up a level and then regressed so quickly.
mike wilbon (1:45 PM)
You raise a great point...Usually, guys who play as well as George did last March/April/May/November/December/January don't simply fall off a cliff for as prolonged a stretch of time as George has since February...He's been terrible for three full months. If he can't pull himself together to win this first round series with a below-.500 ATL team, then you could easily make the case he's indeed a pretender, at least for now...He's too talented to be that but playoff results are the way professional careers are judged, and I think fairly so...
Mr. Wilbon, I'm a huge Knicks fan (don't laugh) and was wondering if you think there are any odds of Phil bringing in Patrick Ewing to coach the Knicks? We know of his HUGE desire to coach. Any thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
These hirings are almost always influenced by relationships and Phil Jackson and Patrick Ewing have no particular relationship that I am aware of. Phil coached against Patrick and, I'm sure, respects him...But would Phil hire Ewing to coach? I can't see that. And as somebody who has had a long-standing relationship with Ewing since he was 18 and I was 22 I know him reasonably well and just how badly he wants to coach. I hope he gets the chance, and soon since he's in his early 50s...But I don't know that I'm holding my breath for Phil Jackson to hire him right now...Seems like that job is Steve Kerr's to take or decline.
Paul (San Tan Valley, AZ)
Do you see the possibility of an upset here in the first of the NBA Playoffs and who do you see pulling it off?
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
If we're defining upset by seeding, then yes. Look at what happened over the weekend. Five of the eight series are led right now by the lower seed, the team playing on the road. Could I see the Pacers losing to ATL, given what happened in Game 1 and the Pacers free-fall? Yes, I could. Could I see the Wizards beating the Bulls? Yes. I think the winner of Game 2 wins the series, but you couldn't watch yesterday's Game 1 and not be influenced by what the Wizards were able to do...In the west, I still see Houston beating Portland; we knew these 4-5 series (like Bulls-Wizards) would be tough ones...Do I see the Warriors beating the Clippers? Not yet. The Clippers will even that series 1-1, I think, and we'll see what happens when it moves to Oakland...And its hardly an upset in reality, but I definitely see the Nets beating Toronto, which is why the Nets tanked those 2 games in the first place, to get a shot at the playoff neophyte Raptors.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
A few seats left in the Wizards bandwagon. Are you hopping on board? I think Wiz/Heat conference finals. Explain to me why the Bulls who can't score the basketball, bench 2 of their better offensive weapons in the 4th?
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
Yeah, you and I are hitting the same question about the Bulls in the fourth quarter. Tom Thibodeau, who is simply one of the best coaches in the game, regular or postseason, needed to come back in the 4th quarter with Carlos Boozer and/or Mike Dunleavy but stayed with his regular rotation and it backfired badly yesterday. Randy Wittman, meanwhile, went longer with Andre Miller, 38 years old and tons of playoff experience, because he saw ways to attack the Bulls that inexperienced John Wall couldn't see in his first playoff start...Advantage Wizards...Let's see what Thibs does if confronted with that situation again. He talked openly about adjustments and the Bulls have about a dozen obvious ones to make...
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
What surprised you more about the Spurs/Mavs game? That the Mavs almost won even though Ellis and Dirk only had 11 pts a piece, or that the Spurs won even though they only made 3 3-pointers?
mike wilbon (1:56 PM)
The Spurs do whatever's necessary to win and the Mavericks have now lost 10 straight to San Antonio. They haven't won IN San Antonio since 2010...Surprised? No. None. Zero. THAT series is one I cannot see even being threatened by an upset...
Stephen (Granite City)
Hi, Michael, How much fun are the Playoffs this year? Several home court advantages lost already, several series with teams that don't like each other, the old guard of Duncan, Pierce, Garnett, etc feeling spry, Durant trying to wrest the torch from LeBron. Is it just me, or is this one of the funner playoffs in a long time?
mike wilbon (1:56 PM)
It's just Game 1, so far, in every series so lets not get carried away and make too many grand pronouncements...But its off to one of the more exciting starts I can remember since, oh, 2007 or 2008...
Do you agree with Cuban when he says the new Bucks owners got a steal? Do you think they can turn the franchise around? Thanks!
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
No. I don't. The Bucks franchise would be worth that (in my opinion) if I could move it to Seattle...But in Milwaukee? No. Now, keep in mind if you have the money to pay whatever you want, then its worth it, by that definition. Are free agents going to want to come to Milwaukee because these new owners are flush with $$$$? No. They can hire people and make it the next Spurs, in terms of organization, but that takes years and years...and years.
Why do you think the Masters ratings were down so much? I understand that Tiger and Phil were not on the leaderboard, but that has happened in the past. Doesn't it have more to do with Bubba running away with the tourney?
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
Don't overthink this. People didn't watch because there was no Tiger and was no Phil. Both, gone! I'm a golf addict so I watched but my friends/family members who are just casually interested did not. No Tiger, no Phil, no eyeballs.
Marc (San Jose, CA)
Do you know if ESPN is considering making the Bay Area a featured sports 'city' (for lack of a better term)? I don't think we get the recognition we deserve for being a sports mecca.
mike wilbon (2:01 PM)
I have zero idea...But let me say this: Businesses doing hang a shingle so they can give the recognition you think you deserve. They're looking for eyeballs...customers...READERS if we're talking about ESPN.com...Again, I have no idea...but you don't decide, "Wow, those Bay Area teams need some more love" and set up shop...
Mr. Wilbon, if the Heat played in the West this year do you think they even make it to the finals? In the East, they basically get the first round off and if the Pacers lose, the ECF is probably pretty easy too.
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
No. I think the Spurs,OKC, Clippers are all better. Not decided about Houston...But that's three teams in the Western Conference I think are better than Miami...BUT, they only have to beat one of them, and they'll have a good shot to do it if they can get past (presumably) Brooklyn...
Mr. Wilbon, I know you have been on record that the Bulls shouldn't have tanked the season after losing Rose and trading Deng, but if they lose to the Wizards in Round 1 does that change your mind? Bulls need offense around DRose (if he is ever the same) and unless they sign Melo or somehow trade for Kevin Love, I think the draft is the only way to get it done.
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
You don't tank an entire season to become better offensively. The Bulls have the 2-time European player of the year, Mirotic, ready to come to Chicago next summer and he's a 6-10 shooter who is extraordinarily accurate. The Bulls have 2 picks in the first round (16 and 18, I think) and perhaps money (if they amnesty Carlos Boozer) to pick up a free agent...So PLAY LIKE YOU MEAN it, go as far as you can, then spend the summer being creative to find 2 more big-time scorers who can help you go further next year. Don't tank. I'm glad they didn't, and no, the first-round result (win or loss to the Wizards) won't change that.
Mark (Brooklyn, NY)
Given that there's no weather conditions and the courts are all the same size, is home court advantage a bit overrated in basketball (and hockey for that matter)
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
The results in the NHL and NBA are remarkably different. In pro basketball home court advantage is enormous, and the data from Games 5 and 7 reflect there...The NHL? Not nearly as much...Just anecdotally, take the defending champion Blackhawks...They've won 2 tiles in 4 years, and won Game 6 in Philly and Game 6 in Boston, two presumably tough places to clinch championships...
Colin Cowherd made the case that Buffalo does not deserve the Bills anymore because the city is to small and no one cares about Buffalo. Do you care if Buffalo keeps the Bills?
mike wilbon (2:09 PM)
I do...I don't know if my buddy Colin has spent any time in Buffalo, observing what the team has meant to the town over the decades. I spent tons of time there during the Bills Super Bowl years, covering the NFL for The Washington Post, and Buffalo is no smaller than Green Bay, or Oklahoma City or San Antonio, right? Isn't New Orleans now smaller than Buffalo? I don't care about the population, although having enough patrons, particularly corporate partners, is critical to the success of any professional franchise. But I hope the team stays, mostly from an emotional standpoint...
Typical Chicagoan attitude about Wisconsin. You people love your lake houses but take a dump on the state. Thanks.
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
I love the state...love hanging out there, love going to games there (Green Bay), love playing golf there, root for the Badgers (when they're not playing my Wildcats), root for Marquette...But don't tell my the Bucks are the most important franchise in the NBA, or that the league wouldn't be better served having a team in Seattle than in Milwaukee, because I don't believe that...Sorry Cheesehead...I love you guys, still...
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
Do you want to take me to the Bulls/Wizards game on Sunday?
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
Was it me or did the Hawks look like the #1 seed on Saturday? I get that Indy has struggled but that game stunned me. The Hawks are bad. Atlanta thoroughly whipped the Pacers. Can Indy flip a switch? Call me skeptical.
mike wilbon (2:13 PM)
You, me and everybody else is skeptical about the Pacers. They seem like the pilot light is out. Game 2 is not necessarily a must for them; you're right about the Hawks. They're bad enough to drop a couple at home when suddenly facing expectations. But if the Pacers go down 0-2, with the home folk booing them, they might just be done...Wow, what a shocker this is as a development over the last two months...
What is wrong with the Blackhawks?
mike wilbon (2:15 PM)
They had one of the better players, Seabrook, commit an unbelievably stupid penalty that cost them Game 2 with 6.4 seconds left. At full strength, if the Blackhawks close that game out its 1-1; would you be asking that question if Seabrook had kept his head? No. Don't get me wrong; it could cost them defense of their title...They've got to come out tonight and control the game from the start...I'm there as a fan tonight, nervous as hell already...
The Heat would not lose a series to the Clippers. You know as well as anyone that in the NBA, its all about the ascension. This Clippers team has not even been to a Western Conference finals.....you have to gradually advance before you get to the title.
mike wilbon (2:17 PM)
Usually, you do, yes...But what about Dallas 3 years ago after they'd dropped out of serious contention? What about Miami three years ago after the acquisition of LeBron and Bosh? it's not often it happens but I don't know I'd take Miami over the Clippers if they play this spring. In fact, I think the Clippers are a better team right now, despite losing Game 1 to G.S. The Heat has been struggling at barely over .500 the last 25 games...
If the Pacers go out early, doesn't the blame lie more with Bird, and some of the questionable moves he made?
mike wilbon (2:19 PM)
Bird HAS to be accountable for the deal that sent away Granger AND brought in Evan Turner, who apparently is resented by Lance Stephenson, who sees Turner as a guy Bird has brought in to replace him, which would keep the team with Stephenson's Bird rights from having to overpay him...$$$$, boys and girls, often lead to resentment in pro sports locker rooms...So, while Bird has been publicly critical of his coach, Frank Vogel, for not confronting players Bird has some of this on his hands because the move, plain and simple, backfired...
JoJo (Chicago) [via mobile]
Do the bulls have to use the bobcats pick this year?
mike wilbon (2:20 PM)
Yes...I think it is No. 16 overall in the first round.
What are your thoughts on Patrick Beverley? I love him as a player, but also am a bit bias as a Rockets fan.
mike wilbon (2:21 PM)
I love his energy and tenacity and he can play the hell out of some defense...I just think he's better, on a championship-caliber team, coming off the bench as the 6th man...But how can you now love his enthusiasm...
mike wilbon (2:23 PM)
Okay, gotta run because I've got some radio time with Waddle & Slivy coming up here in Chicago and THEN PTI and then I gotta slip into my Bobby Hull jersey and go nervously to the United Center for Game 3 of Blues-Blackhawks...Thanks for chatting everybody...Puck Night/Ball Night..Can't wait...See you next week...MW