Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
mike wilbon (1:06 PM)
Happy New Year everybody! We're certainly off to a rousing start in terms of sports news, what with the NFL firings and NBA developments and college football/basketball results...We'll jump right in...
Can't say I'm too excited about this year's NFL playoffs. A lot of teams seemed to back in, while others (Packers, Saints, Patriots) don't seem to play any defense at all. Is this a down year, or a sign of things to come?
mike wilbon (1:09 PM)
I must say, as much as I LOVE the NFL playoffs I think you're onto something here. The Packers, at 15-1, still seem to be less than a great team. They've gotten less love than any 15-1 team that I can recall, probably because the sports media--and I mean EVERYBODY in it, present company included--spent too much time obsessing over the Tim Tebow story...But we could spend 30 minutes on how and why that happened...Anyway, I'm with you to a degree. I'm not excited about any one team...They all seem so flawed. That could really make for a crazy couple of weekends, but going in I don't look at any team as the overwhelming favorite...
ESPN The Mag gave the Spurs a 0.6% chance of winning the title. Ridiculous, no?
mike wilbon (1:10 PM)
Not really...Not after Manu Ginobili suffered that broken hand the other night. Even before that I didn't think the Spurs had a great chance...Outside chance, sure, considering the Western Conference appears pretty week...but if Ginobili misses any length of time? Can't see it.
What are your thoughts on the Bulls game last night? Should we be thrilled by the fight in this team or worried about how bad the first 3 quarters were and the fact that, once again, we made our run with Boozer and Noah on the bench?
mike wilbon (1:12 PM)
The thing about this season, compacted and without a real training camp run-up, is that so much of it won't make any sense early on. The Bulls are 5-1 but had to pull out two games in the end. Then again, so is 5-1 Miami...The Heat won 2 at the buzzer, right? I think we need 20 games before we can make any real sense of what's going on, although the Heat, Bulls and Thunder do appear to be closer to form than anybody else. One thing to consider about Boozer/Noah: each had most of his good games when the other was injured last season, right? I think, though, the Bulls only measure is winning the games and finding enough offense to beat Miami in the playoffs.
Ryan Mathis (Olympia, WA)
What do you think of Ricky Rubio and my Timberwolves so far?
mike wilbon (1:16 PM)
Really exciting to watch. I was a serious, serious Rubio doubted, based on his inability to do much in international competition...did you see his stats in some of those competitions? Dreadful. But maybe his game is better suited to the NBA. He's thrown some Maravich/Magic passes already. His teammates seem excited to play with him. Kevin Love is one of the five best players in the league. I think to make any real progress as a team they have to turn Beasley into an asset, which too my way of thinking means trading him...Derrick Williams and Love would be some pair of forwards. And in Rick Adelman they have a proven veteran coach...Maybe 8th in the West is a goal...don't think it's reachable, but should be the goal.
Kevin Love (MN)
Why am I so damn good?
mike wilbon (1:17 PM)
Following up...Because you can shoot it, board it, pass it...got all the skills, that's why...This isn't a surprise to some of us who LOVED Love when he was in college...Question is, can Minny keep him? Lakers have already expressed an interest...And why wouldn't they? He's a California kid...may turn out to be a first-team all-NBA player this season.
Is the Wizards main problem cohesion, coaching, or just being young?
mike wilbon (1:20 PM)
Wizards have a couple of BIG problems, starting with having Blatche anywhere near the locker room. You can't be serious about winning if you have him on the team. NBA players have told me that for a couple of years and I thought they were exaggerating. He's not serious about his craft, about being a pro...He's poison. you want him AWAY from John Wall, and AWAY from McGee, who's a follower and can go either way. McGee would already be a force with a team of responsible players...But with Blatche...? And Nick Young should be a player of impact, and isn't. They're undermining Wall's development and everybody in the NBA knows it...I don't blame Flip for that; he didn't re-sign Blatche...
Charlie (McLean, VA)
The Wisconsin 3-pointer was waved off at the end of overtime yesterday because their were two clocks that were off by .2 seconds. Have you ever seen that happen? Did the refs do the right thing? Did they set a precedent that will hold up to go with the clock with less time?
mike wilbon (1:21 PM)
That should be a total embarrassment to the Big Ten to have that happen. It's inexcusable...
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Your thoughts on what you are seeing from the NBA season thus far? For me, I'm surprised at how out-of-shape some players are
mike wilbon (1:22 PM)
You'd have to point out specific players to me...I don't see that criticism as being valid in the games I've watched. Who? The star players, in particular, seem fit and ready to go, to me...And guys like Perkins and Boozer have come back in better shape than they were in when the playoffs ended...I don't see that at all. The play is uneven, yes, but I think that's due to lack of of camp and preseason...
Anyway Bulls can flip boozer?
mike wilbon (1:23 PM)
You mean trade him? No.
Ryan Mathis (Olympia, WA)
Has Ricky Rubio exceeded your expectation thus far?
mike wilbon (1:24 PM)
Hell yes! He was a big zero in international competition. But he's played very, very well so far...Of course, my bar was set pretty low.
The Jets seem to be a mess. What do you see them doing to rectify their offense?
mike wilbon (1:25 PM)
start with a new coordinator...isn't that the logical place? Somebody who can work better with Mark Sanchez, who clearly seems to have regressed...
David Kahn (Minneapolis, MN)
What do you think of Rubio now, Wilbon?
mike wilbon (1:27 PM)
I've said what I think of Rubio...On the other hand, don't be a clown dude. You want to crown him? You want to make him Steve Nash already? Don't be a jerk and act like you've got him in the Hall of Fame...Calm down and watch his evolution and see where he is after 40 games...Stop strutting. It's really stupid.
Jeff Van Hungry (New York)
Wilbon! Pardon the interruption, but I was hoping you would give me some thoughts on the Celtics. Should I write them off already?
mike wilbon (1:30 PM)
After one minute of an NBA season? Stop. Pro basketball ain't college football. They're not subject to BCS bias. They're not like Boise State or TCU, which is to say prevented by rule from climbing back into the mix over the course of the season. The Celtics aren't going to be anybody's favorite, especially not after losing jeff Green for the season...But I could still see the Celtics winning their division, which means having home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs...I don't see the Celtics, without a trade, being good enough to beat the Heat or Bulls but they can still beat anybody else in the Eastern Conference...
Adnan (Oak Brook)
Kevin Love a top 5 player?? He's not better than James,Howard,Wade,Paul,Dirk,Rose or Kobe!!
mike wilbon (1:32 PM)
I could see a scenario where the first All-NBA team is Rose/Kobe/Howard/James/Love...Suppose Dirk slips back a little with age...or Love just blows past him and leads Minnesota to a 6th seed in the West? Possible, I think...
Geez Rubio nation is taking over this chat. Relax people, 6 points and 6 assists per game aint nothing to write home about.
Javin (new york)
if lebron keeps up with 29 points 7 rebounds 7 assist and shooting at 60% field goal percentage, are we looking at another MVP trophy?
What's next for the Bears management, Forte, backup QB, etc
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
well, let me reboot and see if we can get over some technical difficulties...give me a second...
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
well, according to my screen I cannot publish the questions...so I'll try a couple of more and we'll give it another go last week...Somebody just very wisely wrote "No Durant?" Oooooops, just forgot. You have to have Durant...So maybe Love has to settle for top 10 player...Or top 7. I have KD as my pre-season choice for MVP so I've GOTTA have him...The memory ain't what it used to be...Yeah, any scenario presuming relative health has to have Durant and LeBron at the forward spots...Dwight Howard at center and either Rose/Kobe or CP3/Kobe ...and it's hard to see Love cracking that group, even if he pulls even with or passes Dirk...There won't be THAT much movement...Thanks for pointing out the oversight!
If you are the new GM of the Bears, what are you doing to improve this offseason? Signing Reggie Wayne sounds like a good start.
mike wilbon (1:39 PM)
I need a receiver, a tackle, a pass rusher (whether LB or DE) and...wait for it...A BACKUP QB!!!!!!
Pacers ceiling? and I kep hearing rumors about steve nash for Collison... This can't be real can it?
mike wilbon (1:41 PM)
Why in the world would the Suns do that? The Pacers, I think, can finish second behind the Bulls in their division..I can see the Pacers being a 5-seed and beating, say, the Knicks in the playoffs...I like what the Pacers have, all of it, the roster, the coaching staff...I love their depth, which most NBA folks will be of great importance this season...
Another year, another Big Ten failure in the bowls. If it werent for Michigan and Michigan State winning thrilling OT games, it would have been an even bigger disaster. What will it take for this conference to contend for national championships again?
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
One great team...And even then, Big Ten teams struggle in bowl games in really warm weather against southern and western schools who have speed and aren't traveling to play in, say, Milwaukee...This is nothing new...
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Love compiles stats, but he does not lead a team or take over games in crunch time.
mike wilbon (1:44 PM)
Yep, and that's why he can't go ahead of Durant and it's what he has to do to pull even with Dirk...because they do those things you suggest. Those guys are No. 1 players; Love, until he proves otherwise (and he might) is a great No. 2...maybe the best No. 2 in the league...but guys do evolve and get better...Maybe this is his time to do that. I don't want to rule that out...
Orange Bowl Prediction?
mike wilbon (1:46 PM)
Who's in it? Seriously, I couldn't care less...West Virginia and Clemson...is that it? Why would I care...The ACC and Big East teams stink worse than the Big Ten in bowls, which is saying something. I just can't get excited for that. I promise you I won't watch a second of it...College football purists, the people who are against a playoff, love boasting about how important every single game of the regular season is...Well, how about the games in the post-season. Without a playoff, many are a waste...like this one.
Wilbon, if Tebow loses this game in miserable fashion, will Denver still commit to him for 2012?
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
Four straight losses to end the season? I don't know if I would. I'd bring him back as the starter but hedge my bets. That's how it works in professional sports. Drink the kool-aid one day...spit it out the next...
MVP of the NBA so far??
mike wilbon (1:49 PM)
LeBron probably...if not him then D. Rose. Aren't they the teams with the best records in the best conference? Maybe L. Aldridge...Portland looked damn good in OKC last night and he's a terrific, under appreciated player...KD is going to climb in that race in about, oh, 24 hours...But you asked me "so far" and I gotta go with the guys leading the teams with the best record. LeBron's numbers are insane. Rose has won two games and Aldridge is leading a team NOBODY has doing anything this season...
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
And I guess K. Love comes after those guys...
Admit it, the Hawks put a scare into the East these past two days. Are they the 3rd best in the conference and not NYK or BOS?
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
Right now, yes...But you blow a 19-point lead (even if it is on the road) it's hard to pop your jersey, right?
Adnan (Oak Brook)
Are you willing to bet a steak dinner that Derick Rose will finish top 3 in MVP voting this year?
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
No...who cares? Rose's job now is to lead his team to the NBA Finals, plain and simple. He's done that trick already. Now it's time to navigate his team past Miami. That's his ONLY job...
George Karl (CO)
what do the Nuggets need to do to prove to you they are serious contenders?
mike wilbon (1:53 PM)
Win in the playoffs. This isn't about me, homey...You prove your a serious contender by winning in the playoffs...and if you're a newbie, you do it by winning for an entire regular season and finishing with a high enough seed to enter the playoffs at least looking like a contender. Denver, which I root for because I love George Karl, hasn't done that yet. BUT, the west is pretty wide open so maybe they can...It would be a fun story, but again, this ain't college football. Slow your roll...
Maybe you can't answer this because you work for ESPN, but what is up with Colin Cowherd's relentless attacks on John Wall? I don't get Cowherd's hate for this kid, who really represents everything you should want in a young NBA player. Seems mostly based on the fact that Wall did the dougie once, which really makes me question Cowherd's agenda.
mike wilbon (1:56 PM)
Stop with the incredibly naive "you work for ESPN." Pay attention. My opinion is my opinion, whether it conflicts with anybody else's or not...Ask Colin. How the hell would I know what his feelings are, personally, about John Wall? You think I call up Colin and ask his opinions about individual players everyday then keep it secret because ESPN tells me to? Really, are people that clueless? It also isn't enforced company policy to know the positions of everybody on the network or listen to every show. I know the positions of one guy: Kornheiser...cuz I hear them every day for 30 years...I like Colin...but I don't know his beef, if he actually has any, with Wall...Ask him...
Chad Ford is the one saying the collison/nash swap is in the works. Nash has to sign extension for indy though.
mike wilbon (1:57 PM)
Again, why would the Suns do that? What's in it for them? The people still going to Suns game tonight would, trust me, stop going immediately.
Mike (San Diego)
Really??? We're asking who the MVP is 6 games into the season? Does anyone ask who the NFL MVP is at halftime of week 2? Stop it knuckleheads!!!
mike wilbon (1:57 PM)
God bless you, Mike!
Evan (Portland, OR)
Correction: Kevin Love is an OREGON kid!
mike wilbon (1:58 PM)
Well, played his college ball in Los Angeles...Did he do 2 years at UCLA?
Jazzy Jeff (NOLA)
Why is no one talking about Drew Brees? All I hear is Tebow this and Tebow that with the occasional Tom Brady uttered in the background.
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
People have talked about Brees all season, so you must be watching A&E or Lifetime or something. Brees has gotten as much attention as Aaron Rodgers because we, as a culture, are so obsessed with stats...Brees deserves it, too, because his offense is unstoppable and the Saints are a threat to win the whole thing and because Brees had a phenomenal year. I heard plenty about him...You got electricity in your building?
Are the Lakers still contenders?
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
Absolutely! In the Western Conference? Oh goodness, yes. With Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum...Sorry Clippers fans, but I have the Lakers, still, winning the Pacific Division.
Cheese (Washington, DC)
Mike, just wanted to let you know your fans here in town miss reading you in the Post. Seems like you've gotten lost over there at ESPN, I haven't seen too many of your columns over the past 6 months. What do you think of Bynum so far this season? He's been looking like a beast, Kobe might need to share the spotlight a little more. It's just like when Kobe was emerging in Shaq's shadow.
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
Thanks, I think...Trust me, I'm not lost. I'm writing most of my columns, as was the plan, for ESPNChicago.com and you probably don't have any specific interest in Chicago issues. I also don't write as much, not with increased duties for the network's basketball coverage...But I'm around, less than the old days...but still around...If Bynum plays like he did last night--okay, not 21 and 22 but 17 and 13--the Lakes will be tough to deal with come playoff time.
You seem really angry today. Calm down.
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
Not angry, just not a door mat. I poke back and swing back...makes for better back-and-forth, in my opinion...I don't suffer posers and strutters easily...80 percent of the people who ask questions in any forum I like...but the other 20 percent have to be given the business sometimes...this ain't church, Bro...It should be spirited, challenging...I don't get offended when people say to me, "Hey Dope, you forgot K. Durant," so it goes both ways...Gets me fired up for PTI...
Wilbon (SEC born, raised, and alum here) -- do you really think its would be any different if the SEC teams traveled to Milwaukee, say, to play a Big Ten team? I'm pretty sure those big fronts and big backs from Bama and LSU wouldn't have too much difficulty.
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
If SEC teams left 55, 60 degree weather to play on the frozen tundra of Wisconsin in January? Hell yeah it would make a difference. Hell, you're from DC? You people (I'm one of "you people for 30 years) can't even get yourselves to work and school at the forecast of one inch of snow...Hell, I KNOW what D.C. people are like...When a forecast there is 40 degrees the TV weather people call it "bitter cold." And DC is BARELY he south...You think the gameplan is the same if you go from Georgia and Alabama and Louisiana to Chicago or Milwaukee or Ann Arbor. Are you crazy?
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
sorry if that was too angry...
Joe (N. Carolina)
Who gets the last shoot. Lebron or Wade?
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
Twice this year already...Wade...worked out pretty good, too, hasn't it...2-0 with Wade taking it...
Jim (Maplewood, MN)
regarding the comment from Brian of Arkansas...have you watched any wolves games this year. He has been much more of a force in finishing games and is certainly acting more like a leader. Follow the games and the local reports!
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
Follow what I said, Dude. Read. I said Rubio has been terrific. What, you want me to compare him to Cousy. I watch the games, probably more of them and closer than you do...The kid has been a terrific passer, has rebounded better than even they expected in the front office. You got him being the MVP. I hope not because that would make you, well, a fool. But I trust you're just happy your team no longer stinks as much as it has in past years. I said they're exciting to watch and could make it to the playoffs, that you have a top 10 player in K-Love and a terrific coach in Adleman...You want more than that? Sorry, you gotta to a T-Wolves fan sit for that...
Do you see any of the China players (Wilson Chandler, JR Smith, Aaron Brooks) making an impact for the playoff push once their contracts expire?
mike wilbon (2:13 PM)
great question! They wouldn't get much time because they don't come back until March...but I think Wilson Chandler can help a team, whether it is the Nuggets or somebody else...I think JR coming late to a team could be risky, a team other than Denver, that is...Could Brooks help as a backup for a good team, say the Lakers? I don't think you want to rush a guy into big minutes, but "help" yeah...
mike wilbon (2:14 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...See you guys next Monday when we'll finally be getting ready for the final college football game of the season, but coming off the first weekend of the NFL playoffs...Even with no clear cut fave, in my opinion, I can't wait for those games, as always...Have a great week everybody and thanks...MW