Morning Shootaround — August 10


VIDEO: LeBron James’ top 10 plays from the playoffs

MJ says he’d beat LeBron 1-on-1 | Exum injury doesn’t destroy Jazz | Time to make room for women coaches in NBA

NEWS OF THE MORNING

No. 1: MJ says he’d beat LeBron 1-on-1, all-time Bulls would top all-time Lakers — When Michael Jordan speaks, we all listen. And he said plenty over the weekend at his annual Flight School, answering plenty of pertinent questions for the campers in attendance, including how he’d handle LeBron James in a game of 1-on-1 in his prime and responded to Shaq‘s challenge in regards to how the all-time great Bulls teams would fare against an all-time great team of Los Angeles Lakers. He poked Kobe Bryant, too, and even discussed Kwame BrownPatrick Dorsey of ESPN.com has the details: 

What did I think about when Shaq said that the all-time five of the greatest Lakers could beat the Bulls’ five greatest players?

“I just felt like he was just talking. It’s a debate. The thing is that we would never know. I think we would have killed them. He thinks they would have killed us. You guys decide. It’s just a debate.”

Favorite player to play pick-up games with?

“My best pick-up game I’ve ever played was the games and the practices with the [1992] Dream Team. … My team was myself, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird and Chris Mullin. We played against Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, David Robinson — that’s five, right? — and we killed ’em.

Note: That’s not five; the other player team’s fifth had to be either Karl Malone, John Stockton or Christian Laettner. There’s also a chance Jordan is misremembering a bit, and he’s talking aboutthis scrimmage covered in-depth by Sports Illustrated, which featured a Jordan-Malone-Ewing-Pippen-Bird five against Magic, Barkley, Robinson, Mullin and Laettner (although a 40-36 final score in favor of Jordan’s team hardly constitutes a “killing.”)

If I had the chance to go one-on-one with Steph Curry or LeBron, which one would I choose to go one-on-one with?

“Right now, or when I was in my prime? Right now? Buddy, I couldn’t beat — well, I’d go against [Stephen] Curry because I’m a little bit bigger than him. So I could kind of back him in. But LeBron is a little bit too big.”

[Note: Take that, 34 percent of America.]

If I had a chance to add another member to team Jordan, who would I hire?

“I’m a big fan of [Mike] Trout, the baseball player. I absolutely love him. I wish I could hire him. But he’s Nike, so I can’t steal Nike’s guys.”

This is the ESPN question. I know it’s going to be all over ESPN. [Note: He was right.]If I was in my prime, could I beat LeBron in a one-on-one game?

[Long pause in which the campers mutter/shout their opinions.]

No question!

[Huge applause.]

What did I see in Kwame Brown when I drafted him [No. 1 overall for the Washington Wizards in 2001]?

“I, along with everybody that was in that draft room, wanted Kwame Brown because of his athleticism, his size, his speed. He was still a young talent, 18-year-old, 19-year-old kid.”

If you went back and you couldn’t play basketball or baseball, what sport would you play?

“Great question. I went to college, I got my degree in cultural geography, and everybody wanted to know what is cultural geography? Well it’s an introduction to meteorology. I always wanted to be the weather man. Don’t laugh. But that’s what I really wanted to do. So if I wasn’t playing basketball or baseball, I was going to tell you what the weather was going to be like tomorrow.”

[Note: Don’t think meteorology is a sport? Tell that to Jim Cantore!]

What kind of advice would I give Kobe Bryant?

[Uncomfortable laughter in the crowd.]

“Actually, Kobe and I are good friends. I like Kobe, we talk a lot, I hope he comes back healthy. I think he’s one of the great players of the game, I think he’s done a lot for the game, and he has a true love for the game of basketball. I absolutely have high regard for Kobe Bryant.

“Even though he stole all my moves, but that’s OK. I still love him like a brother.”

***

No. 2: Exum injury doesn’t destroy Jazz — Losing Dante Exum to a torn ACL is a blow for the Utah Jazz. There is no doubt about that. But it’s not the end of the team’s playoff hopes, at least that’s the way Brad Rock of the Deseret News sees it:

Dante Exum tore his ACL last week, playing in an international game. Jazz fans reacted like a plague had descended. In reality, the team only lost its starting point guard. That’s disappointing, but not cataclysmic. It’s an injury he’ll get over. And it really could have been worse. He could have fractured his foot or knee, a problem that sometimes persists until it ends a player’s career. Or it might have been Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert or Derrick Favors that went down in a freakish summer incident. All the aforementioned players are more important to next year’s success than the guard who averaged 4.8 points his rookie season.

Exum has potential, but so far that’s mostly what we’ve seen. He has a rare skill set. But this is a side road, not a cliff overhang.

My advice is to calm down.

Jazz fans can catch him on the rebound.

It’s understandable why there has been so much consternation. Exum’s defensive rating in March was better than Kawhi Leonard or Gobert. I felt sorry for him when he went down. The instant I saw his heel hit the floor in that awkward way, I thought, “Uh-oh.” I’m sure he thought something even more descriptive.

Some are already speculating Exum is injury prone. He missed virtually all summer league play due to an ankle sprain. It’s possible the Jazz have another Greg Oden on their hands. But that comparison, at this point, is wildly speculative. Exum played in all 82 regular-season games as a rookie.

Those who say the injury torpedoed Jazz hopes are ignoring the possibility Trey Burke will have his best season. I’m not convinced Burke is a true starting point guard in the NBA. He lost his spot to Exum midway through last season. But on the sunshiny side, not many teams have a backup point guard better than Burke. He has started 111 NBA games.

John Stockton didn’t become the fulltime Jazz starter until his fourth year. He started five games his rookie season, 38 the next year and just two his third. That’s because Stockton was playing behind Rickey Green, a one-time All-Star.

It wasn’t until his fourth season that Stockton flourished, getting 79 starts.

Burke is beginning his third season.

***

No. 3: Time to make room for women coaches in the NBA — Becky Hammon (Spurs) and Nancy Lieberman (Kings) are pioneering a movement that some feel is long overdue, women coaching in the NBA. But it takes two sides to create change in this instance. And it’s time for the powers that be to make room for women coaches, writes Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News:

If players on the Sacramento Kings ever distrust the credentials of their new assistant coach, they can always Google “Nancy Lieberman” and discover an impressive resumé more than worthy of the position.

“I’m like a puppy,” Lieberman says. “I come with papers. I have pedigree. I’m not a mutt. And I’ve never been in a situation where I thought people didn’t respect me.”

Lieberman, 57, has played and worked in basketball ever since she was a young phenom in the Brooklyn playgrounds, growing into the talented athlete known as Lady Magic. She was a national champion at Old Dominion … a member of the U.S. women’s Olympic team … a charter member of the Women’s Basketball League … a USBL player, alongside men, with an average one season of 2.8 assists per game … head coach of a men’s team in the D-League …

You can look it all up. She even became a mentor to mischievous Micheal Ray Richardson, and remains good friends with Sugar. The fact that it took this long for Lieberman to get a job with an NBA team is testimony to the intractable nature of professional sports, and of the well-established old boys’ network.

Until now, that is.

Over the last year or so, we have finally witnessed some long overdue breakthroughs for women at the highest coaching levels of sport.

Becky Hammon not only was hired by Gregg Popovich as an assistant with the Spurs, she was appointed head coach of San Antonio’s Las Vegas Summer League team — where she won the title. Jen Welter was named inside linebackers coach with the Arizona Cardinals. Amelie Mauresmo was hired as Andy Murray’s chief tennis coach. Barbara Underhill has worked with several NHL teams and individual players as a skating coach.

Lieberman became the latest to break through, after impressing head coach George Karl with her work in the summer league in Vegas. She fully realizes both the importance and irony of such an accomplishment.

“Every job of significance I’ve had has been championed by a man — Pat Riley, Jerry West, Donnie Nelson, now Vlade Divac (Kings president of basketball operations) and George Karl,” she says. “I’m fortunate these particular men have been front and center. But we have a woman who’s running for president. Change is happening every second. It’s in front of us. If Becky Hammon is the first assistant and then nobody comes after her, we haven’t succeeded. The true test is who comes next.”

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Tracy McGrady got his number retired (in China) … Dunk king Zach LaVine was at his high-flying best Sunday in Seattle … The New York Knicks have a trick shot artist in their midst in Kristaps Porzingis …

64 Comments

  1. johnnytc1 says:

    Ha!

  2. johnnytc1 says:

    I B takin my talents to get my butt whopped by MJ in one on one! It would b like takin your talents to the finals every year and losing. LBJ’s favorite song is an oldie but goodie. It goes something like this:

    Sometimes I dream, that he is me, I move and grove, like Mike, ohhhh I want to be like Mike…

    Never gona happen King. Basketball is a team game…Can’t wait for the play off’s to start to see more pouting, flopping and selfish play. enjoy the rest of your summer “best player in the world”

  3. Kobe@Manila says:

    LBJ will try to recruit one star player in order to beat MJ.. He always wants help..

  4. johnnytc1 says:

    I b takin my talents against MJ and I b getin my butt whopped! Just like every year in the playoffs. LBJ is the most over rated ball hog in NBA history. Flopping and whining is his speciality. Not winning championships. Can’t wait of the playoffs to start.

    Sometime I dream that he is me, like Mike oh I want to be like Mike…. Sorry LBJ not going to happen…

  5. Winit says:

    Let’s make it clear. Lebron has ZERO chance to beat MJ. His offense has flaw, check out his match up against Kawhi Leonard if you wanna argue. With MJ’s defense, Lebron wouldn’t have an easy time driving to the basket and score the way he bullies other players in the NBA.

  6. arizon67@gmail.com says:

    MJ great bb player but very small as human being. He is fully covered with hate when it comes to LBJ. He knows better than anyone else that down the road LBJ will be undisputed GOAT.

  7. Nick says:

    “And it’s time for the powers that be to make room for women coaches, writes Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News”

    Uh, haven’t two women coaches just been hired? So what are you trying to prove, Mr. Bondy? Do you want a quota? I think the way these women have been hired is exactly the way the process should work. Great, highly experienced head coaches have recognized talent in these women, and hired them! Unfortunately, other areas of our society succumb to the artificial, selt-righteous drumbeat of people like Bondy and become biased and obsessed with the numbers.

    If the NBA stays it’s course and abhors the PC empty shirts, there will be plenty of women coaches, and yes, even head coaches in time. And most importantly, they will all be qualified!

  8. Wickedfrog says:

    What made me laugh is that people do not realized MJ Kobe and Lebron belong to different ERA and different way of playing style in the game. MJ very good scorer and great a leader. Kobe very good scorer but no leadership,all about Kobe. Lebron James less shooting want his teammates involve in the game. Aight, NBA basketball is 5-5 ahehehe
    Dont forget MJ Did not get those rings without his healthy teammates during his time. Before, pippen was his teamate did the chicago bulls got any championship??

  9. chris williamson says:

    I think the one question if i could ask Jordan that has never been asked is: If you had to give one ring away, what player do you believe deserves a ring more than any other?

  10. Stitch00 says:

    5 on 5, form my point of view, MJ’s role was without a doubt superior to LBJ’s, 1 on 1, just the two of them in their prime time, I’m not sure. Definetely it would be a ‘breathtaker’ match, but I guess MJ just couldn’t stop that beast of a player. I see MJ as a perfect, romantic human basketball player, an all in one, but on the other hand, i see LBJ as an unstoppable, ruthless and upgraded basketball device, a prototype for the future.

    • AJI says:

      I think you have it the other way. Lebron is good 5 on 5 while MJ is the best 1 on 1. No question at all. His offense is flawless while Lebron rely a lot on his body instead of jump shoot. MJ won defensive player of the year once and his defense won’t give Lebron an easy time driving to the basket and score like he bully the players nowadays. Look at Lebron’s match up with Kawhi Leonard. His offensive efficiency drops a lot against him.

  11. Roberto says:

    Jordan will always b the man… And the greatest… Long story short

  12. It's a team game says:

    The question pretty much says it all. “Who would win 1-on-1?”. LeBron plays for the team, trying to include everyone. MJ’s first thought is ‘Show I’m the best!’, which is why LBJ is more valuable in a team game. Unless you’re a 14 gamer it doesn’t really matter who’d win 1-on-1.

  13. Cruzader says:

    I totally agree, MJ can beat James,,,Kobe can beat James too….

    • gerrytotos says:

      Simply because MJ and Kobe’s games are more flexible than LeBron’s game is. When they were at their prime, they were better dribblers and ball handlers than Lebron is. Though, Lebron is an all-around skilled forward with brute force; MJ and Kobe will school Lebron on a one on one mid-twenty year olds’ show down.

  14. enriquerombout says:

    I find it an joke and an insult to think Lebron is as good as MJ.
    I even find Lebron is not worth being compared to Kobe.

    The only person who comes close to the GOAT is Kobe.

  15. Travis says:

    Scottie Pippin is clearly being under estimated here. He was like a Jimmy Butler on roids. Both his offense and defense were better. He complemented MJ very well. Only if DRose would stay healthy we would see similarities in today’s Bulls and the 90s Bulls. Joakim with Rodman like hustle but with a sweet court vision. Pau with Luc Longly size but with way better skills. Then there’s a Steve Kerr coming off the bench in McBuckets. A Toni Kukoc in Mirotic and the awsome support from Taj and Snell and the rest of the bench.

  16. Harriethehawk says:

    OKC already has dibs on Portland’s spot.

  17. Harriethehawk says:

    Utah Jazz wasn’t making playoffs even w a healthy Exum. What are they smoking and what current playoff team were they supposedly going to knock off?? Dallas? Could be. Lol

  18. ChiefJustice says:

    I can’t believe you Michael!
    Why would you – in all your greatness, and in your prime – want to play with an average player?
    I just can’t believe you!

  19. KLEMMELO says:

    You’re talking about pitting two completely different players against each other 1v1. MJ is the most dominant/skilled and creative scorer this game has ever seen, Hes also regarded as one of if not the best 1v1 player thats played. Not to mention being one of a few SF/Guards to win DPOTY enforcing the point he is an elite defender. Going up against Lebron who is an athletic freak of nature who embodies everything about the ideal of “making your team mates better”. when its all said and done he’ll be regarded as the best all round forward this game has seen. Hes a gifted facilitator and hes Bball IQ is off the charts, hes ability to score is dependant largely on hes physical gifts. There-fore lebron is limited in hes ability to break down a defender and make hes own offence, a sometimes inconsistent midrange game effects hes dominate ability to score which is also faining due to hes gradual loss of power and explosion which is to be expected coming with old age. MJ’s skill level and the fact he is probably the best 2-way player ever, has me leaning more towards MJ coming out on top 1v1 but its not like its a walk over. You cant deny lebrons size, strength and dominance in the paint.

    Theres no point mentioning “era’s” or the teams they played on because this is a conversation about 1v1 ball and straight away your taking lebrons one huge advantage on the court in setting up team mates and demanding attention on and off the ball creating space and mismatches… Which is what the game is based on today. Compared to MJ’s time of fast paced possesions, iso ball and physical defence, which has only been influenced by the change in game rules and the leagues tendancy for a more free flowing and “good looking” style of play. There both Killers in their own right and are the greatest players in their prime. I dont understand why their constantly compared to each other anyways and i blame the media for continuously throwing fuel on the fire. In the end you Cant come down on the players for how the league has changed ether, and as an ulitmate competitor your going to manipulate and use the rules to your advantage in anyway possible to get the win.

  20. taekayo says:

    The MJ vs. Lebron could go either way, depending on which era they’ll play in.

    If its the late 80’s and early 90’s, MJ would have the upper hand. Though LBJ is stronger, MJ is much tougher on playing a very physical, hard-nosed, bruising game. He has been through the Bad Boys, among other “dirty players”, who literally impales opponent’s scorers. Meanwhile LBJ, unless on a break away dunk or an uncontested 3, would always complain on every contact he gets. Plus, he has to be carried off the court whenever he gets hurt hahaha.

    But if they play today, LBJ can flop his way and would win because MJ would eventually foul out, even on a one-on-one game.

  21. Kishore says:

    Lebron is too big, too strong, too fast. Plus he is a great defender. I know we all are good with our imaginations but this one is tough to predict. Maybe one day a super computer simulation can show how it would play out.

  22. michael says:

    Kobe did great in the Rucker, I’m not sure they can beat him 1 on 1 his crossover is ridiculous street ball style.

    As far as individual performances in a nba game, for me its too hard to decide all three players are amazing.

  23. Chino says:

    MJ>>>>>>>>>>>>>>DUNCAN>or=KOBE>>>>LBJ

  24. kenny says:

    Jordan by far Jamens is good but not near as good as Jordan was

  25. FACT says:

    Last NBA Finals.. Only Lebron does is back down his opponent til the basket is too close… what a tallent!

  26. Emmanuel Alan Cagampang says:

    for me, michael and lebron is a better player…
    who’s the greatest?thats the question…
    MJ’s the greatest of his time…no one can break his record…

  27. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Kobe took Jordan’s moves to the next level, and he’s more compettive then Lebron, Kobe best ever.

  28. jsm says:

    who cares who would win one on one but lebron better team player that whats matter the most

    • AJI says:

      No only being a good team player doesn’t win championship. MJ is the best individual player plus great team player. MJ is the best overall.

  29. his Heirness says:

    air Jordan would make leBrick look like a second tier player, crying like a girl when he was done

  30. Kamaehu DeRamos says:

    This subject irritates me so much, LEBRON JAMES would win, look at the stats, size and speed…. The only thing MJ beats him in is points in some years only because he was a damn hog cheese, no joke.

  31. Marty says:

    MJ seems to be obsessed with James. This because his minions think he’s a god(not). Jordan no doubt one of the best however I can’t clearly say he’s the GOAT.

  32. jim ward says:

    The Lakers would have been victorious if Jerry West and George Mikan replaced Bryant and O’Neal.

  33. jim ward says:

    In his prime, Oscar Robertson could have taken either James or Jordan.

  34. NBAIQ says:

    Is Jordan blind? Jimmy Butler just sitting in front of him at a summer camp. I’m sure he’d sign with Team Jordan. I’ll be waiting for those “J-Buckets” shoes coming out of the Jordan brand!!

  35. Bill says:

    For the record, the list of all time Lakers greats is so long that it is laughable to think that the all-time Bulls greats team could compete with them. After Jordan, who is on everyone”s mind when considering the best player of all time, you drop precipitously to Pippen who may or may not deserve to be in the all-time top 50. After that? Well you decide.

    No need to enumerate all the Lakers greats but many consider Wilt the greatest of all-time (and the records he set validates this position). Many consider Magic the greatest point guard of all time and Kareem was an incredible player with a vast collection of league MVP Awards and of course is the all-time NBA scoring leader.

    Imagine Kareem at the 5, Wilt at the 4 (and during his prime he was more than athletic enough to guard 4s, Elgin Baylor at the 3, Kobe or Jerry West (take your pick) at the two, and Magic playing point. When Kareem needed a blow Shaq could come in and wreak havoc for a few minutes each half. Wow!!

    And the bulls starting 5? Well, again, no contest.

    • AJI says:

      MJ is just supporting his own team. Any player would do that no matter how. Yes Lakers all time greats might have an edge but you would barely hear any of these great players say they would lose in a hypothetical game. Shaq would say Kobe and him are the greatest 1-2 punch of all time. Every USA dream team thinks they are the best. Wilt says he can score 70 pts every game in the 90s. Russell says his Celtics are still the best all the way till the end of the 90s. It’s just the pride and the competitive nature of the players.

    • Come on Bill says:

      I agree that the top Lakers 5 would beat a top five Bulls team. You also have to take into consideration how well players fit together. The 04 Pistons defeated the Lakers in the finals when both Shaq and Kobe were in their primes. Also, I think you greatly disrespect Scottie Pippin. You either are too young to remember or too old and have forgotten. Pippin was a phenomenal player. I’m not going to say he was as good as LeBron but he was LeBronesque with all that he could do. He was in conversation for MVP the years MJ played baseball. He is easily a top 50 player of all time… absolutely no question… you lose a lot of credit with your comment “who may or may not deserve to be in the all-time top 50.”

      • gerrytotos says:

        Detroit did beat Kobe and Shaq at their prime, but not at their pick performances simply because Kobe and Shaq was feuding all year long; during the finals Kobe intentionally didn’t play at his best, he was tired of Shaq getting all the MVP trophies while they were both equally deserving of them. As we all know, right after the finals; Shaq was sent away and a few years after, Kobe had won almost 3 NBA titles, but He did win 2 titles and all the trophies.

  36. PK says:

    There is only one true king
    MJ no23 !!!!!

  37. juancho says:

    micheal jordan is a G.O.A.T.

  38. juancho says:

    lebron james, micheal jordan in his prime,,, u are plus 10 u cant win with micheal lebron,,, u are very far from jordan, if i choose between kobe & lebron, i will choose kobe, micheal is no,1 kobe no, 2 lebron no, 3…

  39. mando beyondo says:

    MJ IS THE GOD OF BASKETBALL, THERE IS NO OTHER!

  40. Kb24 says:

    So let’s start the season 1 on 1 then not 5 on 5 right mj?

  41. KidEternalE says:

    Lebron James is the best basketball player in the world right now. An in-prime Michael Jordan, who was also the best in his day and regarded as the greatest all-around basketball player of all time for a reason, and now-Lebron, I feel, would both have an equal chance to win. I know this, they’d have to run it back a bunch of times. Surely they wouldn’t play just one game and at the end of the day I’m sure each would’ve beaten the other a few times. Jordan would bring out the best in Lebron, who would do same in turn for Jordan. They may even push one another beyond their own established level of talent. They may compete at such a high level that at the end of the day they’d have impressed even themselves by breaking the mold of their own talent. Maybe they’d both be so great that they actually cancelled out each others greatest and after a long game they’d have to settle for a 0-0 tie…naaah. Jordan said he could be Lebron no question. He never said Lebron couldn’t beat him as well. Who plays just one game. Let’s just say, for the sake of as concrete a debate as possible given the hypothetical nature of all things concerning time travel, that they did play just one game. I think it would go on for ever. They’d trade basket for basket for the foreseeable future – maybe even for all eternity. Monkey wrench time- what about if Kevin Durant were added to the debate.

    • KidEternalE says:

      Meant to say greatness.

    • AJI says:

      It won’t go on forever. MJ clearly has an edge over Lebron due to his offense. His offensive skill is flawless. Lebron is known as the best all-around team player in today’s game. But 1-on-1? Not a chance! He would rely a lot on his body driving to the basket in stead of shooting while MJ could do both perfectly. Plus MJ’s defense wouldn’t give lebron an easy time driving to the basket and score like other NBA players he faces nowadays.

  42. Joe says:

    KOBE-GOAT pERIOD……..

  43. AJI says:

    Kobe can even beat Lebron one on one, not to mention MJ. We are talking about 1 on 1 here, not team basketball

    • cracykid says:

      you know whats funny about that comment…… KOBE WAS THE TEAM lamooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    • Gbola says:

      MJ and Kobe learn basketball by picking up on 1-on-1 games.
      They’ve always enjoyed humiliating a player one-on-one.

      Lebron grew up being a team player.
      He is ONLY just Embracing this one-on-one thing NOT BY HIS CHOICE but due to circumstances.

      As a result, Either Kobe OR MJ would’ve spanked.Lebron in a One-on-One game.

      In addition, 5 seconds to go in an even game of basketball, who do you count on – MJ or Lebron.
      The difference is clear.

  44. AC says:

    MJ – for sure !!!

  45. Baye says:

    Come on MJ. You know LBJ would eat you up!

  46. Luis Corcino says:

    Lol i love MJ! “Even though i he stole all my moves, but that’s OK, i still love it like a brother ” Just epic MJ.