FanPost

A Random Discussion for a Friday


Until Taylor Corp. decides on a head coach, Michael Beasley breaks another bone (or law), or Ricky Rubio hits double figures in a FIBA game, there isn't much to discuss about the Wolves.  So, I thought I'd throw out a completely random comment about Michael Jordan that might stir some debate.

The Bulls third championship came in 1993, after a season in which they won 57 games.  Jordan, Pippen, Grant, and Armstrong each played 77 games or more, so it wasn't a fluky win-total in terms of how it represented their performance, that season.  They beat a Phoenix Suns team in 6 games, with that huge Paxson trey in Game 6.  Had the shot missed, they go to a Game 7 on the road. 

Michael Jordan, considered by many to be the unquestionably-greatest player of all time, then changes sports to play minor league baseball.  The Bulls don't get anything in return for the reigning Finals MVP.  I'm not sure if that type of uncompensated loss has happened at any other time in the NBA.  In other words, the downgrade should have been very dramatic.

The following season, the Bulls won 55 games, two short of their previous total with a healthy MJ.  In this season, Pippen actually missed 10 games, and they had a 58-win pace for the 72 games he played.  The Bulls swept Cleveland (3-0) in Round 1 of the playoffs.  In Round 2, they met the eventual East Champs and Game 7 of the Finalists, Knicks.  Had this not happened, the Bulls probably would have moved on to face the Pacers in the East Finals, and who knows beyond that.  In any case, they lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Semifinals, after a 55-win season.  Certainly, this is worse than the 57-win, championship season one year earlier.  But having just lost Michael Jordan and replaced him with some Pete Myers and rookie Toni Kukoc, one would expect a more dramatic change.

The following year, Jordan came back midway through the year and the Bulls lost to Shaq and Penny.  Most blame that on MJ being out of shape and/or rusty.  What many forget is that Horace Grant, a staple on the first Three-Peat Bulls, was now on the other side, playing for the Magic instead of the Bulls.  When the Bulls regained glory with what was possibly the best team ever (1996, 72-wins), they inexplicably acquired Dennis Rodman who was one of the best forwards in the league at that time, and an upgrade over Ho Grant, who was no slouch in his own right.

All of this is to say that I think Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest player of all time.  But there is an argument for a lot of others.  In my lifetime, that includes Shaq, Duncan, Kobe, and LeBron.  If I were older, I'd probably include Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, and others.

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