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!
Tavaris (Columbia, SC)
Why everybody overreacting about the Pacers beating the Heat??? They just need to calm down, I still got the Heat in 5 or 6, how about you???
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
Hi Everybody! Coming to you from Indianapolis between Games 1 and 2, and this is a perfect question to begin with after yesterday's result...And YES, Tavaris, people need to calm down...but "calm" is not what anybody does these days when it comes to sports conversation. Everybody wants to trot out "teams that win Game 1" stats and they want it to take on an "exit poll" kind of atmosphere, when the fact is Miami has lost 4 Game 1s in the last 3 years and won each of those series...swept three of them after losing Game 1...So yes, calm down. I still have Miami winning the series and in less than 7...Indy HAD to win Game 1 in order to even make this a really competitive series. And the Pacers played great yesterday...not good, great. But I expect Miami to win Game 2...I expect Coach Spo to put Udonis Haslem in the starting lineup and get LeBron James off of David West and onto Paul George...or at the very least Lance Stephenson...Spo has some adjustments to make and I think he and Miami will make them...There's really not much to suggest, with what we've seen since April, that Indy is going to come out and be great in consecutive games. I think it's 1-1 going back to Miami for Memorial Day Weekend...
Deven (New York, NY)
How do you think the Thunder will fare w/o Ibaka? Can they win the series?
mike wilbon (1:45 PM)
With Ibaka, I think OKC beats San Antonio. The one thing the Spurs have trouble with is super athletic players...and Russell Westbrook and Ibaka are simply superior athletes. Even with Westbrook shooting only 39 percent against Tony Parker in his career, OKC knows how to beat San Antonio, but Ibaka is such a huge part of that...his ability to hit a jump shot AND his defense. Ibaka can play Duncan, can play Leonard...But without him it's another story. Look, Collison is a nice player, a really valuable player coming off the bench, but he's not Ibaka...Teams aren't sitting around with an extra Ibaka. Hell, most teams don't even have a single guy like him. So, I think the Spurs will still struggle but I think they'll win...in 6 or 7...
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
sorry we had some technical difficulties for a second...I'm back...
Who would work better with Bulls? Love or Anthony?
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
Well...that's a great question. Anthony gives them a low-post scoring element they don't really have. Anthony, of course, can score from anywhere but he can wear people out from 10 feet, too...Love doesn't really do that...As a Bulls fan I'd take either in a heartbeat...Bad part for me is that Taj Gibson would have to go to have either...unless Carmelo wants to come for $14 million or something like that, which I do NOT see happening...Love, strategically, is more a jump shooter and the Bulls do too much of that. They need post scoring, and at least 2 more players who can put the ball on the floor and create without help. One thing I prefer about Love is he isn't a ball stopper...He doesn't need it long. Neither is a great defender...Love is younger, and cheaper since the "new max" salary is less than the "old max" which Carmelo makes...I'd take either...The Bulls had better not come back with nobody...although I could see them bringing over Mirotic from Europe, moving up a couple of spots to draft the kid from Creighton and adding, like, Trevor Ariza or Gordon Heyward,,,a second-tier guy...I'm NOT saying one of those two, but somebody of that profile...
What would you like to see happen with Kevin Love? What WILL happen with Love?
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
He'll tell Wolves management he'll walk next summer if they don't trade him before, and the Wolves will trade him...
Saw you on Howie Kurtz yesterday talking about Sterling and Sam. Was wondering if you thought the media outrage over the Dolphins player tweet, and other tweets that were critical of the Sam kiss is over the top. It seems like if you say anything mildly negative regarding Sam, the media will pounce on you.
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
Yeah, I worry about that, too. I believe in free speech both ways. Those players can tweet what they want, and people can jump on them with both feet. I am fine with ridicule. I believe in it...I would NOT have suspended the player in Miami or fined him...But I might have ripped him via Twitter, or with an official release. Free speech works both ways, remember...But suspension? No. Fine? No. Not for that. Now, Donald Sterling's speech, as an owner of a team, doesn't have to be tolerated by his league or by his billionaire partners who see what he did as socially irresponsible AND bad business, perhaps not even in that order. You sign into a private club and you're subject to the rules and opinions of other club members...THAT is a different standard and subject to a different set of rules...
Jason J (NYC)
How can the Thunder overcome the loss of Ibaka to defeat not only the Spurs but the Heat or Pacers in the next round?
Hockey talk! Do you think the Habs take a few liberties with the blueshirts tonight for them losing Price for the rest of the series?
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
What an awful development for Montreal...Price, in that third period of Game 7 against the Bruins in Boston, was as good as any goaltender I've ever seen. He's been Montreal's MVP in these playoffs, and to lose him like that is awful. I think the play that injured him was reckless, but I don't know it was intentional and there IS a difference. Do I expect the Habs to go after the Rangers in Game 2? Yep...But they can't, already down 1-0, take stupid penalties and put themselves in a 0-2 hole...Look, there are instances where substitute goaltenders play lights out, but they're so, so rare...so hard to count on that. I'd be sick if I was a fan of the Canadiens...and angry as hell at the Rangers.
Cj (north Hollywood) [via mobile]
If pacers/heat go 7... What happens?
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
I don't see it going 7...I see Miami winning tomorrow night in Game 2. From what we've seen so far this spring, what in the hell would make you think Indy will play great games back-to-back? Look, I applaud Frank Vogel and Indy for yesterday and I think they're the biggest threat to Miami in the East...but I gotta see more than one great performance at home to jump to conclusions...
Does this Pacers team remind you of the Pistons group that beaf the Lakers a few years back?
mike wilbon (2:12 PM)
No. not at all. This Pacers team, if you talk to coaches and GMs around the league, is fragile emotionally, which is why they've had the spring they've had...Those Pistons were anything but fragile. There was NOTHING fragile about them. Nothing.
The NHL has three big U.S. teams remaining in the playoffs, as well as the league's most storied franchise. Although Carey Price's injury takes some of the luster off of the Habs, there's not really a bad matchup to be had, is there?
mike wilbon (2:15 PM)
The NHL would object to a Los Angeles-New York matchup, Kings v. Rangers? I don't think so...The NHL would object to a matchup between the defending champs, Chicago vs. New York? Uh, no chance. Blackhawks and Montreal? a Finals the NHL had a couple of times in the 1970s? No. Kings v Canadians would get lost in much of the midwest and eastern U.S. but it would be a great matchup as well, although the injury to Price takes the luster off that, it seems. I'm just hoping the Blackhawks use the extra day's rest and take Game 2 at home from the Kings...
If Sterling fights the NBA in court, and this becomes a long drawn out process, the players won't strike, right? They are smart enough to know, I assume the legal system in this country is long and complicated.
mike wilbon (2:16 PM)
Boycott, not strike, is the word you're looking for...And if probably depends on how the players view the NBA"s position, and the positions taken of the individual owners and how hard the push is to get rid of Sterling.
PLEASE ANSWER PLEASE MIKE.... here is my question!!! DO you see kevin Love coming to Detroit on a sign and trade with Monroe and Bynum.. Minn gets a low post guy in Monroe for years.. and we get Love.. then we Detroit sign Deng to play the three.. starting five of Jennings/KCP/Deng/Love/Drummond.. with Josh Smith coming off the bench.. tell me is this good!!
mike wilbon (2:20 PM)
No. Kevin Love, who is a free agent in a year, isn't going to a team that isn't in the playoffs, and doesn't have a couple of players in place already. The Warriors make sense because of Curry and Thompson and Iguodala and Bogut (if David Lee and Harrison Barnes are traded to Minn)...The Bulls make sense because of Noah and Rose and Butler and two first-round picks (if Taj Gibson and Mirotic and a pick are traded and Boozer is traded or amnestied)...Detroit doesn't have that...Golden State and the Bulls are established playoff teams that NEED exactly what Love does...and he knows it.
Tavaris (Columbia, SC)
Thank you for answering my question. I'm in high school who aspires to be a sportswriter and hope to work at ESPN one day. I really appreciate you answering my question.
mike wilbon (2:24 PM)
Tavaris...Great to hear and Good Luck! I love doing what I've done and wouldn't change a single thing along the way, even if I had the chance. I never once have awakened and didn't want to go to work, not once. And I don't know many of my friends, regardless of what they do, who would say that...
Marcus (berwyn) [via mobile]
Did we all forget how good the pacers were before the allstar break?
mike wilbon (2:24 PM)
Yeah we forgot...And so apparently did they.
Hey Mike, the Pacers are the only threat to Miami, not the biggest. Only two teams left that can win the East
mike wilbon (2:25 PM)
I mean of ALL the teams in the East all season, Knucklehead...
Big golf fan here. Wonder what you think of my theory that the reason the PGA Tour is struggling right now is that there are to many good players? Golf needs stars, guys that can win 5 times a year. What we have now is a different player winning every week.
mike wilbon (2:28 PM)
It's a different way of saying the same thing most folks are observing. Too many good players isn't a problem. The lack of standout players, of great players, of transcendent players is a problem. No Tiger, no Phil is a problem in terms of keeping people who aren't golf fanatics interested. I love golf and will watch no matter who is playing. I watch the LPGA, the Champions, amateur golf...BUT I'm not the issue. Getting casual sports fans to stop what they're doing in the spring/summer and tune in because a BIG STAR is doing something, somebody who captures their imagination, now that's the problem. Tiger did that more than anybody modern golf has ever seen...Phil did it in a support role, from the No. 2 position...They are identifiable stars...and the issue for golf is coming up with stars to replace them. The NBA had this issue when Jordan retired, followed by Barkley, Malone/Stockton and that entire Dream Team...The NBA needed five or six years to pull out of that malaise and golf is facing the same problem, only bigger...because golf is 100 percent dependent on those stars.
Charles (San Jose)
Any idea why Love isn't considering the Suns? They were just a few games behind the Warriors and are much more loaded in the future assets category with draft picks and cap space.
mike wilbon (2:32 PM)
Yes Sir! I'm with you on this. I don't know why Carmelo isn't considering the Suns. I do think the Suns are in somewhat a precarious position. they could go backward if they commit too much money to the wrong player/players. I wouldn't pay Bledsoe max money...They need a star, so that Dragic can settle into a great No. 2 position. Question is, how much more will the Morris twins want in terms of playing time and shots? What about Green and some of the others who are now perhaps thinking its "me" time? Now, maybe Hornacek, who had a wonderful season as coach there, can put a cap on that. But Love playing off Dragic would be a wow!
How do you see the OKC-SA series pan out? Ive got Spurs in 7, but if Ibaka was in i'd take the Thunder. Also, who really needs to step up in Ibaka's absence?
mike wilbon (2:35 PM)
I see it playing out about that way, too...The pressure is now on Collison to play great AND stay out of foul trouble, which could be difficult...And, they need some quality minutes out of Kendrick Perkins, particularly at the defensive end...But Perkins isn't going to score much. Collison will need to do that...Adams, the rook, can give good minutes and defend but also will be challenged to score. Ibaka is so polished...such a terrific two-way player.
mike wilbon (2:36 PM)
okay, gotta run...I'm sorry...Must prepare for PTI which will be on at the usual time today...See you guys next TUESDAY...Monday is Memorial Day and while I'm working in Miami (Game 4) I presume most of you will be occupied with great Holiday things...So we'll go Tuesday after Game 4 instead...MW