Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 5, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

mike wilbon
  (1:06 PM)

What's Up everybody? Thanks for doing a Thursday chat...Just landing from Chicago where I covered Bulls-Hawks Game 2 last night...trying to figure out if I should be on a flight in the a.m. headed to Dallas to write the Lakers obit...We'll jump into that and more...

Terry (Madison)

What time in the day do you tape PTI?

mike wilbon
  (1:08 PM)

Usually around 4:30 eastern time, finishing around 5 or so...It can't be any earlier than that because stuff happens, you know? You try to tape at 2 or 3 and events will overtake what you've taped. For instance, we're awaiting some word from the NBA on Ron Artest and whether last night's clothesline will earn him a suspension or just a fine. The NBA probably won't even decide that until about 4...Some days we're live. But the show need to be really close to live so that we've got the latest on what's happening that day...

Brandon (Oregon)

I was thinking while watching Game 2 last night that while Boozer has defensive issues, this matchup vs. the Hawks and Josh Smith actually benefits Boozer because Smith is more likely to take long jumpers then actually drive to the basket, and he's much worse then Hansbrough at jumpers. Would you agree that defensively it's the best possible outcome for Boozer this series?

mike wilbon
  (1:10 PM)

Very nicely done. What are you, a coach? You summed it up and put a bow on it. Boozer, because he's got something akin to turn toe and can't explode off the floor at all, has been getting his shots blocked by Josh Smith. BUT, Smith is content to stand out there and shoot rainbow jumpers, something at which he ain't very good...The Boozer story is a top priority in Chicago right now. He got booed last night and Jokim Noah was a GREAT teammate to say to people, without showing irritation, "Hey, stop it. The guy is hurt, he's giving us everything we have and we need him so don't KILL his morale." Well done by Jokim.

jeff (NY)

What is wrong with lakers? It seems Pau have some serious issue as a "white swan" and the bench aside from Odom is just not there! The three point was horrible! What should Buss do in the offseason?

mike wilbon
  (1:13 PM)

Let's face it; nobody really knows "what's wrong" with the Lakers. There are hundreds of theories out there, including ones that make total sense but may not be the true answer, and some stuff that sounds insane (like Andrew Bynum's "trust issue" answer last night, which on the face of it sounded insane but could be right on the money. My theory, since you asked, is that the Lakers are worn out from playing so many games in three, now four, years. They're just worn the bleep out. They look frazzled and grumpy, sort of like Kornheiser most days. I'm serious, there's a reason why nobody has been to Four Finals in awhile, and being worn out from 100 games a year the previous three years is as good an explanation as I've heard.

Ha Nguyen (cambridge, ontario canada)

Watching Carlos Boozer during these playoffs are so frusting as he struggles with younger more atheltic guys, I almost feel that the Bulls are better off playing a combination of Gibson, Kurt Thomas and Omar whats your opinon on this.

mike wilbon
  (1:16 PM)

My opinion isn't all that different from yours. I just think it's not the time to overreact or make a point if you're coaching the Bulls. Just start Boozer and see what you get out of him that night. If healthy--and he's not healthy--you can get a 17-point, 17-rebound performance like he put up in Game 2 of the Pacers series. If he's ineffective and getting his shot smacked and not playing good defense, give more time to Taj Gibson, Kurt Thomas and Omer, all of whom play better defense but aren't as offensively polished as Boozer, which is why the Bulls signed him in the first place...You've got depth, so use it as Tibbs does...But there's no need to embarass Boozer. They're going to need him if they get past Atlanta and everybody on the team knows it even if the boo-birds don't...

Michael (B-Town)

Some are saying the great "Big Three Era" in San Antonio ended with the Grizzlies victory in the second round. Do you think the same could be said for Boston if Miami wins in 4 or 5?

mike wilbon
  (1:17 PM)

Great question...Probably, yes. If Miami, which is going to be around for awhile, just takes out Boston quickly then what are the Celtics going to do, just wait around and hope somebody else beats the Heat in the playoffs every year? They would have to keep Rondo, it seems to me, but everybody else would be tradeable...But I'm not ready to give up on the Celtics in this series. I think if they win Game 3 we've got a potential classic that most of us wanted to see.

Zach (Western Illinois University)

How soon into a game should the Bulls begin feeding Carlos Boozer the ball, it almost seems like they get around to it mid-2nd quarter which is unfortunate because by then he is usually in foul trouble? I think that getting him the ball earlier are more designed plays would help prevent the foul trouble and increase the inside numbers instead of settling for jumpshots from the get go as they have done in the first two games of this series with the hawks.

mike wilbon
  (1:20 PM)

I agree with that completely. If you remember that sequence during Game 1 of this series when they fed Boozer three straight times and he hit various shots and the Bulls had nearly seized control of the game (of course, Booze missed a 16-footer which would have pushed the lead to 8, but he's a helluva jump shooter from that range so I'm good with that shot). They should have done that earlier, maybe like the way the Jordan Bulls used to go repeatedly to Bill Cartwright early in the game to make people committ to a certain kind of defense. Yes, there were even a couple of sequences yesterday, gimpy as Booze was, when he and Rose played a little 2-man game. It's important, too, because Booze is such a good and willing passer. Yes, more and earlier.

Charlie (Bored at work)

Long time fan of PTI. Keep up the great work. If the Lakers lose this series, do you see everyone not named Kobe Bryant as tradeable this offseason?

mike wilbon
  (1:22 PM)

Almost the same question as the one about the Celtics. Yeah, I guess so. I'd start, if I ran the Lakers, by offering Andrew Bynum and something else for Dwight Howard. That would be my very first move, to convince the Orlando Magic management, if they're not already convinced, that Dwight's not staying so they might as well take a 24-year-old 7-footer for him...orlando doesn't want a repeat of the Shaq situation, where after he left for L.A. it took a decade to climb back to just being relevant again.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

How shocked are you at the Spurs, and now apparently the Lakers, sudden demise and abrupt fall from the top?

mike wilbon
  (1:23 PM)

Hmmm, maybe sad more than shocked. I'm 52 years old and have been covering sports for 31 years. I've seen lots of great teams come and go...The old Baltimore Orioles, the Joe Gibbs Washington Redskins, the Bill Walsh 49ers, Magic's Lakers, Larry's Celtics, Jordan's Bulls, the Aikman-Smith-Irvin Cowboys, hell the Gretzky Oilers...It has to happen. It's just time.

Brian (Office)

If LA loses, who becomes the favorite in the west? OKC?

mike wilbon
  (1:25 PM)

Are you sure OKC can beat Memphis, because I'm not. I think Dallas would become the fave. Look, Dirk is unstoppable right now. The Lakers can't guard him, so why would OKC be able to? Jason Kidd is having a flashback to the early 2000s when he led the Nets to the Finals. Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood have made a significant impact since joining the team. Dallas would be my favorite.

Brian (Office)

Who has a better (realistic) chance of winning their series, BOS or LA?

mike wilbon
  (1:25 PM)

Boston...They haven't played a home game yet.

mike wilbon
  (1:26 PM)

I don't know anymore. Look, I picked the Celtics in 7, but they'll need to win both games this weekend, Saturday and Monday, to win the series, in my opinion.

Dave (Tustin, Ca.)

Michael,The only post season award that really matters...Exec Of The Year!Regardless of wether we believe that the Miami Big 3 had a secret agreement or not all along, Riles has ice water running through his veins and he stayed the course and never deviated from his plan. if he missed, the Heat might be the worst team in basketball right now.Now, to my question...Can we expectg more heroics from Pat ala Bosh for Paul next year?

mike wilbon
  (1:28 PM)

For Chris Paul? Who would New Orleans want off that roster if you're keeping the Big Three? Answer: nobody. No, that's not going to happen. If Paul is a free agent and wants to go for $1.50 he can do that, sure. I guess Riles is exec of the year, but what if the Bulls beat the heat in the conference finals? Who then? Gar Forman/John Paxson, right? The Bulls totally remade their roster in one year and hired obviously the right coach. And spent a ton less money.

Taylor (MIA)

Will this series finally stop Larry Drew's quick hook with Jeff Teague? The man has played D Rose to a stalemate which in my opinion makes the Hawks better than the Bulls.

mike wilbon
  (1:31 PM)

Yeah, looks like Teague has to get a long, long look next year, right? Can the Hawks make Kirk Hinrich a backup, which is what he should be on a team with serious aspirations? Teague has done a really, really good job vs. Rose through two games. From listening to Larry this week, I think Teague had problems with his confidence. Sometimes a coach wants and needs to protect a guy and keep him from being roasted when he's young, which in turn helps his confidence over a period of time. Seems Teague's confidence ought to be just fine now.

Al (Newark (NJ))

Is not having a real center hurting the HEAT chances so far....

mike wilbon
  (1:31 PM)

The Heat is 6-1 in the playoffs so far...how much could anything be hurting them?

jim (Normal, Il)

Is Dallas the worst matchup for the bulls because they have no one that can guard dirk besides Noah but then who takes on Haywood and Chandler in post?

mike wilbon
  (1:33 PM)

Deng is my bet for the guy who would be assigned to guard Dirk. Don't forget, Luol is 6-9; he's not giving away too much size. Noah would get him when Dallas goes small and puts Dirk at the 4 or even the 5. Kurt Thomas might be needed for more minutes, and Asik...That's the luxury of having 5 bigs...But we're getting ahead of ourselves. The look ahead for Dallas is fine, but the Bulls have their hands full with Dallas right now.

Dennis (Mexico)

Been watching all the Bulls games and noticed that with the exception of last night, when Rose and Bulls have a chance to go 2 for 1 at the end of quarters, they get into a slow set and take a shot at 17 or 18 seconds instead of taking one at the 30 second mark and giving themselves in extra position. Why doesnt Rose or Thibs correct this? Extra possesions help.

mike wilbon
  (1:35 PM)

Your observation is right on. But I would suggest that this team is so much a work in progress. I don't believe one person in the Bulls organization would have bet one dime the team would finish the regular season with the best record in the NBA. They're still figuring it out. Tibbs, remember, is a rookie head coach. And Rose, remember, is still 22 years old. What bothers me more is that the Bulls are such a bad team at the end of quarters and halftime, always letting teams back into games that shouldn't be close.

mike wilbon
  (1:36 PM)

I don't know about GMs. I'd take Kobe for 45 minutes, then I want Carmelo Anthony taking the last shot.

Phil (PR)

Hey Wilbon. Why every GM takes Kobe for the last shot, when he is 36 of 116 (31%) and 6 of 23 (26%) in the playoffs? I know is his reputation but the numbers lie? Hope you can answer this.

mike wilbon
  (1:36 PM)

That was the previous question I didn't post...Ooops, sorry.

Mike (IL)

Seems like this season is a changing of the guard as far as rivalries and dominant teams go. Good for basketball, right? I mean, what's not to love about a new Grizzlies-Thunder rivalry and (likely) soon to be rekindled Bulls-Heat one?

mike wilbon
  (1:42 PM)

Well, there are some people (mostly who like in big cities) who want Celtics-Lakers to continue forever, people who think it's the divine right of big market teams to rule the roost. And they--read Korhneiser--hate the notion of Memphis advancing, or even Oklahoma City advancing. I do think its great for the league because it makes the product more inclusive across the board. But yes, I see a transition, from Celtics/Lakers/Spurs to Heat/Bulls/Thunder. We've got to wait awhile before pronouncing the Grizzlies the next great thing, but they could be in that group, for sure.

Phil (New York)

Agreed, Mavs should be the favorite. How people automatically put OKC above the Mavs is ludicrous. Mavs finished with a significantly better record, and correct me if I'm wrong, Mavs have always dominated the Thunder in their matchups.

mike wilbon
  (1:42 PM)

Good points. Thanks for that.

Durant (Cloud 9)

I own Lebron. I just won the scoring title again. We are about to win the championship. Derrick Rose is really the MVP?

mike wilbon
  (1:43 PM)

Are you really the MVP; there's another guy on your team taking more shots than you...

ant 4000 (dmv)

will there be basketball next season?

mike wilbon
  (1:43 PM)

yes, around the first of February...much like 1999.

Michael Joseph (Lou Malnati's )

Is there ANY way the Bulls can trade Boozer at the end of the season for any value?

mike wilbon
  (1:44 PM)

Stop. Seroiusly, take a drink of water and just sit down...

john (FL)

Mike, which college basketball team has the most upside, GT, UVA or ILL? I'm trying to settle a wager

mike wilbon
  (1:44 PM)

Illinois? I don't know!!! What kind of wager is that?

Josh (NY)

You'd still take Kobe over Lebron for the first 45 minutes of a game? I just want to make sure I understand you. . . before my uncontrollable guffaw.

mike wilbon
  (1:45 PM)

The question was about Kobe as a finisher...And I would take Kobe for 45 minutes with Carmelo taking the last shot. What's wrong with that? I'd take LeBron for 45 minutes, too, as long as Carmelo got the last shot because LeBron sure isn't the best closer in the league.

Drew (DC)

Mike, please tell me how a team can have both the COY and the MVP in the same season? How does that make sense? Doesn't having D. Rose make it seem like Thibodeau had a lot to work with in Chicago?

mike wilbon
  (1:48 PM)

Tibbs had one All-Star, had about six new players (Boozer, Korver, Asik, Thomas, Watson, Brewer...and I'm sure I'm missing somebody) and was a rookie coach. Who do you want as coach of the year? I voted Tibbs second, behind George Karl who had hell to manage in Denver, and ahead of Doug Collins, who did a damn nice job in Philly. Seems Lionel Hollins should have gotten more votes than he did. AND, Pop (while having a lot to work with) nonetheless did a 180 spinorama move with his team, philosophically, I'm betting because he thought the best chance that team had to win was to shed it's toe--to-toe style of the past decade...It worked like a charm during the regular season, but not in the playoffs.

Faraz (Chicago )

"I guess Riles is exec of the year, but what if the Bulls beat the heat in the conference finals? Who then?" According to that logic, if the Heat win over the Bulls, should they give the MVP to LeBron?

mike wilbon
  (1:49 PM)

MVP is a regular season award...Isn't Exec of the Year still up for grabs?

Carlos Romo (San Juan, PR.)

How did the Lakers let Barea slice and dice them so badly? He looked like Chris Paul out there, even gave an assist to Brendan Haywood!

mike wilbon
  (1:49 PM)

Barea is a pretty good guard who's been around awhile, and it's no secret that small guards who can get into the lane have given the Lakers trouble for quite awhile. (See Chris Paul)

Ben (FL)

Why don't you try answering a tough question for once in your life?

mike wilbon
  (1:50 PM)

Why don't you find something reasonable to say for once in yours?

david (boston)

does shaq play in game 3. and what should celtics fans expect from him

mike wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

I think Shaq will play, but I don't see any huge impact. I mean, how many minutes at once can he play? Six? Eight? And what kind of shape will he be in? Even pushing and shoving demands more energy than people think...I just wonder how effective he can be in this series.

Jason (Seattle)

Are any well-managed small-market teams losing money? Have a hard time buying the league's line if San Antonio, Portland, OKC, the Jazz, etc., are making money. Why should owners be guaranteed a profit if they run their business into the ground and offer a bad product? In what other field would that argument fly?

mike wilbon
  (1:53 PM)

Well, that's what the players union will be arguing...And one a side note, while I liked OKC when I went to interview Kevin Durant in the fall and he gave me an overview of what to do and where and how charming it is there, Seattle is one of my five favorite cities in America and I CANNOT BELIEVE that team isn't playing in Key Arena! Vancouver-Seattle should be where this is playing out instead of OKC and Memphis. Sorry, don't go crazy, I'm fine with OKC and Memphis (love Beale St. and the BBQ) but they're not Vancouver (prettiest city in North America) and Seattle.

Omer Asik (Chicago)

Um,Why dont Derrick go back to his midrange game? And why do some people panic about the Bulls??They are a grimey team........And I still dont think the Bulls need Boozer to win.

mike wilbon
  (2:01 PM)

I agree totally with that. With the mid-range jumper you're in traffic and have to get lift on that shot, as opposed to the 3 where you are often guarded less tightly and can shoot it without launching yourself over 6-10 guys. The Bulls KNOW they're a "grimey team" and that they have to rebound and play D to win, AND THAT THEY NEED BOOZE, which is why Noah appealed to the fans in Chicago last night to not boo him.Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Shane Battier is our guest today so check it out...And we're back to Monday at 1 next week...thanks everybody, have a great weekend! MW

John (DC)

Hey, Mike - what do you say? Head on up to West Point with us for the Cats' game on September 17th?

mike wilbon
  (2:01 PM)

I'm seriously thinking about it!

Raymond (Ohio)

Chicago has no chance at beating Miami, Boston, LA or Dallas in a seven game series. Thoughts?

mike wilbon
  (2:02 PM)

You're too far off-based for me to even come back...That's my thought.