Is this guy better than that guy? An age-old debate
Yes, we’re all over the map today and I presume we will be for a few days as we try to figure out how to fill this space with odd and interesting stuff with a dearth of basketball news to dissect.
All ideas considered.
Until then …
Did you all see the story from Friday morning where Scottie Pippen said LeBron James could be a better player eventually than Michael Jordan.
My immediate reaction?
Scottie had a few too many mimosas before going on the air to do the morning radio show.
Now, there is no denying LeBron’s talents and if the last two playoff series haven’t shown that he can be the most dominant player in the game right now, I don’t know what will.
What he did, especially in the Chicago series, was amazing.
He took over offensively, he took over defensively, your eyes were drawn to him every time you looked at the court.
But better than Michael?
Call me in six championships.
Or call me in three championships.
Or maybe one.
But quite aside from that, the thing that made Jordan stand out to me – and the thing he’s got all over LeBron and almost everyone else – is he didn’t take games off.
It would have been easy for him to coast a lot of nights, to let others do their thing, to just show up.
But he didn’t.
He played as hard as he could on a Tuesday night in Milwaukee or a Sunday afternoon in Toronto or a game in the NBA Final.
I don’t know if it was his superior will to compete and dominate his opponent and the game or what but it’s what made him stand out, to me.
Now, I’m not saying that LeBron mails it in on a regular basis. But I have seen him, in person, be less than fully engaged in games and I never saw that from Michael.
On pure athletic ability, there’s not much to separate the two; in fact, James is such a freak of nature he may be the best pure athlete to ever play the game.
But that’s not all there is.
And here I thought after Latka that Rev. Jim would be the next of his crew to shuffle off this mortal coil.
As the whole NBA Travelling Circus And Playoff Road Show heads to south Florida to start the Finals on Tuesday, here’s something for all of you HOTH fans to chew on:
If the series goes seven games and the Heat win because of homecourt advantage, there’s one team to thank:
Remember way back in mid-April, last game of the regular season, Miami rests Bosh, Wade and James for a game at the Air Canada Centre?
I’m sure you do. Eddie House has about a million points, other no-names go nuts and Heat win?
Well, if the Raptors win that game, Miami doesn’t get home court advantage in a series with the Mavs and if the home crowd carries them in Game 7, we know who to blame, right?
An age-old question right up there with Betty-Veronica, Ginger-Maryanne.
Ignatowski or Kramer?
Okay, people. Listen up?
The mail’s almost full but I haven’t started to answer it (that’ll be tonight’s task, I imagine) so there’s room for you. Do it here.
And here’s a sampling:
Q: Hey Doug. John Hollinger wrote the other day that Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose have had similar playoffs (some great moments, but also some poor shooting, too many turnovers, and some late-game struggles), but the stories about them have been completely different. (Even now, Rose doesn't seem to be taking as much heat as one might assume.) Do you think they're being treated fairly? Also, any insight on how these stories pick up steam?
Craig B, Toronto
A: I think I might disagree on the point about Rose not getting as much heat as one might assume. He was getting killed in Chicago.
But I see the point and I imagine this is why:
Westbrook is the “other” guy and he did seem to take the better player, Durant, out of the action for too long in too many games. And that, I believe is where the basis of that criticism came.
Rose, on the other hand, was saddled with an offensively-challenged team and simply had to try to do a lot so the Bulls had a chance.
And the stories pick up steam, mostly, because the media needs something to chatter about on off-days and story lines to develop when games are on and Westbrook was a lightning rod. Doesn’t make it right, necessarily, but that seems to be the way it is; we need something to do and a good give-and-take on the relative merits of a specific player isn’t a bad way to talk about a series.
Was quite interesting to act as a moderator for one of the panels at Canada Basketball’s first Congress yesterday afternoon.
It was Wayne Parrish (CEO of Canada Basketball), Adam Wedlake (executive director of Manitoba Basketball) and Sam Gibbs (chief athletic therapist for Canada Basketball) discussing the paradigm shift in how organizations use the mainstream media, social media and training programs now as opposed to how they used them a decade ago.
Today they’ll discuss better ways to involve women and new Canadians into the sport and while I know I may be biased, what the organization is doing is outstanding.
As I said yesterday to them, when I first started hanging around the game at the national and international level, there were all kinds of fractures and mistrust that dominated the game from coast-to-coast. Seeing people from all the provinces discussing the same thing, with representatives of the grassroots game, elite programs and officials is a major step.
And a good one.
I liked the Barcas over the Madrids in the Copa del Rey final so I have to cheer for them in the Champions League thing today against Man United, right?
I’m thinking 3-1.
I finally got a chance to sit and watch the final three minutes of so of Heat-Bulls closely yesterday.
Craziest finish to an NBA playoff game I ever saw in person.
(And the qualifier is “in person.”) Second would have been Jordan’s finish to his final game as a Bull in ’98 in Utah.
That was incredible. Jordan stripping Malone of the ball in post in the final minute, heading up the court, pushing off on Bryon Russell (sure it was a push-off but big whoop, happens all the time) and then hitting that dramatic game-winner.
But the Jordan play pales in comparison to what the Heat did. Sitting in the room watching it again – it was hard to pay absolute attention when I was sweating a very average story that had to be re-written in about four minutes – it amazes me how Miami simply did everything right and the Bulls did everything wrong.
And that final possession, the one that ended with Rose trying to hoist an awful shot from the perimeter, would be among the most disorganized, big-moment plays of all time.