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!
Buzzmaster (12:54 PM)
Hey everybody, Mike hit some travel delays so he will be here at 1:30 pm ET.
mike (1:50 PM)
Hi everybody...thanks for joining...I'm just getting back from Chicago and the artistic dud of a game between Bears and Houston, which we can talk about...but I think the Lakers news is where we'll begin...
Same ole Bears huh Mike? I don't understand why they cannot beat a quality team the last 3 years. I am not a Lovie basher; however, it seems like since the Super Bowl loss, the Bears get outcoached in big games. Your Thoughts?
mike (1:57 PM)
Okay, I lied...We'll start with Bears-Texans...I don't think it's coaching, but I do agree with you on their inability in some situations...Now, I'm not going to say they didn't beat a quality team in 3 years...that's just wrong. They won at Philly last year when the Eagles were still pretty strong, on a Monday night...They beat the Lions who I believe were 10-6 and went to the playoffs. Don't know if the victory over Indy this year will wind up looking better than we thought it was at the time, but it could...anyway, they have lost to the good teams largely, in recent years, because they're not as good. The offense was certainly inept, mostly. The difference this season was that the offense was supposed to be so much better and it isn't...I did blame a coach, but not Lovie, for last night's offensive ineptitude. I blame Mike Tice. Now, you can always blame the head coach for hiring Tice, but I think Tice is really, really struggling during games as a playcaller and I have talked to so many recently retired players and former coaches who don't see Tice really dramatically improving in Year 1...which spells trouble against the really good teams and in the playoffs...
Bob Hoffman (Anchorage, Alaska)
How much time will it take for the Lakers to develop that Championship chemistry?
mike (1:58 PM)
It will still take weeks, not days, to develop chemistry (and it was going to take that long with Phil jackson or Mike D'Antoni or Red Auerbach...Championship chemistry? Until June, that's how long.
I think everyone is underestimating DAntoni...i think Phil's best days were behind him..
mike (2:03 PM)
You make a point most folks will dismiss but I'm not going to do that. Look, Mike D'Antoni ain't Phil Jackson and will never be...Phil, in my opinion, is the best coach/manager in the history of professional sports because of the way he manages stars/egos/talent/ownership/games...But if skipping some road trips and not going to all the practices is actually in play (I know there's some dispute over this) then Phil wouldn't be Phil anymore. I talked to one NBA coach this week who said the most important time in some ways that a coach has with his team comes during road trips, in hotels and on team planes and during bus rides...You can't have the head coach not at games. It wouldn't work, period, even with Phil Jackson. Phil is 67, right? And I think Mike is in his early 50s. If energy is a factor Mike HAS to have more...Now, D'Antoni's relationship with Steve Nash is huge in this equation...Mike's relationship with Kobe, too. They're the 2 most important players on the team and both of them love D'Antoni...Look, there won't be any questions aboout the offense, since Steve Nash CREATED D'Antoni's offense...The issue is the defense. Phil Jackson had the greatest defensive teams and turned them over to assistants (johnny bach, in chicago) who did incredible work. D'Antoni HAS to have a defensive coordinator, one selected preferably by Mitch Kupchak...
Bob Hoffman (Anchorage, Alaska)
How will Dwight Howard fit into the D'Antoni system?
mike (2:06 PM)
Well, Dwight doesn't have Amare Stoudemire's offensive skill set but he can do a lof of what a very young Stoudemire did...He can play pick-and-roll with the best of 'em and Pau, if he remains a Laker, can play pick-and-pop...The great offensive teams D'Antoni had all had multiple great shooters and the Lakers don't have that. But that offense featured shooters (Joe Johnson, Raja Bell, Leandro Barbosa) who have nowhere near Kobe's talent, but shot the ball at will nonetheless...I'm excited to see what they put together.
Keith H (Seattle)
Good morning, Michael. I'm sure there are many surprised about the D'Antoni hire instead of Jackson but it shouldn't be a jaw dropper. D'Antoni and Nash worked well together in the past and have an easy to understand offense vs. the triangle. This is a different time with a different roster. And don't forget the Lakers rolled over vs. Dallas in the playoffs in Phil's last game.
mike (2:07 PM)
Yeah, I'f fine with D'antoni coaching this team. At 3 years and $12 million that's about $18 million less than Phil would have been getting...okay, even with Phil understanding he wasn't going to get THAT much, he'd still have commanded at least $8 million a year...But again, as long as D'Antoni has an assistant to whom he turns over the defense completely, I think this will work well for the Lakers.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is Jim Buss letting his ego impair his common sense and good judgement?
mike (2:08 PM)
Jim Buss is such a wild-card...I think every owner and executive in the league would tell you--in fact, I know they would--they have ZERO idea of what Jerry's son is doing...and they doubt he has any idea of what he's doing.
Jeremy (Sterling VA)
Do you remember a Sunday where three starting quarterbacks were knocked out with concessions? With the NFL preaching safety..whats the next step for protecting players...
mike (2:14 PM)
Let's see, why don't we call roll: Cutler/Vick/Alex Smith...Did I miss anybody? Three is a lot...I just hope all of them are back Sunday. You have to start to wonder about Vick, who runs like a sprinter, leaning forward, head out over his feet...He's had quite a few concussions now and you have to wonder what it means...
Would you rather have Phil over D'Antoni? Nash clearly lost a step so D'Antoni's system may not work as well but has Phil lost a step trying to compete against these super teams or teams that are much more youthful?
mike (2:16 PM)
I'd always rather have Phil Jackson...BUT I'm not taking Phil is some reduced capacity where he's missing games and practices, even if it's just the second of back-to-backs on the road...I'm not having that...How do you control Ron Artest and some of the other young players if they see Phil Jackson isn't really and truly all-in, as in committed to his schedule. No way, to me, that could have worked...So, instead of a reduced Phil I'd take D'Antoni with one major stipulation: he has to have a defensive ace, a defensive coordinator if you will...
Liz M. (Hanover, MD)
I think Pau is underestimated as a player...why would LA want to trade him? Who could they get in return with the same skill set?
mike (2:19 PM)
The reason they would trade Pau is to get an athletic wing player, which they do NOT have right now...I don't think the Lakers can win without an athletic wing...and the only guy who has that kind of value to get a stud athletic player in a trade is Pau...
Hopefully the concussions were of the mild variety. As a Jet fan one of the most hideous things I saw (several times) was Wayne Chrebet on his back with a vacant expression on his face. Saw this look on Aikman's face a few times too. I'm glad they got Cutler and Alex Smith off the field given what we now know about concussions, but at least they weren't so out of it that they had to stop playing immediately.
mike (2:21 PM)
Very well said. I was in chicago last night and listened to Lovie Smith after the game talk about Cutler's symptoms and how he seemed fine immediately after the hits they think caused him to be concussed but was worse toward the end of halftime...Yes, it's good to see these measures being taken, I completely agree with you...
Joshua Bass (Los Angeles)
Lakers with D'Antoni. Finals? Would love your thoughts and prediction on this. Also what moves do you think will be made, now that they have a run and gone (Showtime) offense come the deadline? Do you think Pau for Smith is still a possibility? Imagine The front court as Howard and Smith scary...
mike (2:27 PM)
I don't know that it's going to be run-and-gun in the way we used to see Phoenix play with D'Antoni and Steve Nash...that 7 seconds or less offense was possible because of an entire roster built to play just that way, from Nash to lane-filling Shawn Marion who needed ZERO plays called for him, to a young marksman in Joe Johnson to Amare who got up and down the court like a young Connie Hawkins...I watched those 2005-6-7 teams in person and it was basketball as art. I've never seen anything as entertaining...and remember it came ont he heels of the Sacramento Kings running the, aheam, Princeton offense to perfection with Chris Weber and Vlade Divac as the playmaking pivot men...I digress...I have no predictions on what the Lakers will look like. I have no idea, can't tell you...I just want to watch it unfold...By "Smith" I presume you're refering to josh Smith of ATL...but the Hawks taking on Gasol's salary ($18 million) is very speculative, and 2 years...The Lakers could use J-Smoove, who can't shoot even though he thinks he can...Now, he would replace Amare as the lane-filler...but that still can't shoot and the Lakers need shooters.
Rob (San Antonio)
Bigger surprise; The Giants laying another egg (a rather large one at that) or Tennessee thumping Miami after the way they played last week?
mike (2:29 PM)
Giants napping is a bigger surprise for me. A second straight loss. Okay, losing tot he Steelers is no shocker, but Cincy? And the Giants looked so bad in losing. It's not like they were locked in some tight game that was decided late. The Giants, especially Eli Manning, played like slobs in that game...
mike (2:36 PM)
Okay, gotta run and get the latest info possible on D'Antoni and his staff and possible changes the lakers will be making so we can discuss all of it on PTI...thanks for chatting everybody...See you Monday...Thanks...MW