Michael Jordan

Jordan says in his prime he could beat LeBron one-on-one


Michael Jordan’s competitiveness hasn’t gone away.

NBA 2K14 hit store shelves today and with that 2KSports released a promotional video where they talked to Jordan about the competitive fire that drove him. That transitioned into questions of if Jordan thought could beat LeBron James or today’s other elite players one-on-one if he was still in his prime.

“I don’t think I would lose. Other than to Kobe Bryant because he steals all of my moves.”

What did you expect Jordan to say? Oh, and nice little dig at Kobe.

It’s a big hypothetical but I could see the argument that Jordan would beat LeBron one-on-one — Jordan was the better pure scorer. LeBron could be a bull getting to the rim, however both guys can defend. It comes down to this: If I need a guy to put the leather thing through the round thing, I’ll take MJ. And that’s what wins in on-on-one games.

If you want to make the argument LeBron is a better basketball player than Jordan, you argue for skills that do not help him in one-on-one games — passing, defending multiple positions, rebounding.

By the way, let me say this about the Jordan/LeBron comparisons (because that is where the comments will end up going anyway): There are two different arguments I think should be kept separate but get co-mingled. One is the resume argument — who has the better career accomplishments? Right now that is Jordan (LeBron is 29, we haven’t seen his full resume yet). LeBron may never win this battle, not only does Jordan have more rings but he came along at the right time with the right marketing behind him to become a cultural influence in a way LeBron could never duplicate. Nobody can. We’ll talk resumes when LeBron retires, but Jordan may well win the argument.

However, that is a separate argument from “who is the better player?” Resume is impacted by the players on your team and the quality of opponents, but who is the better player on the court is a barstool debate where you can argue either side (Jordan is the better scorer, LeBron has a better all-around game). This argument is a matter of opinion, although most people’s opinion will fall to the same side.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry
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The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.