February 08, 2002

Michael Jordan walks on water: (or comes really, really close). The Wizards are 26-21 and in third place in the Atlantic division. This same sorry team was 19-63 last year. It seems the initial sentiment of sports punditry was that he would "tarnish his legacy", then modified to "it'll be fun, but nothing will come out of it". If the Wizards just make the playoffs the legend of MJ will grow even larger (if such a thing is possible).

posted by owillis to basketball at 01:35 PM - 12 comments

Damn straight- the heckling was consistent even in the start of the season from most all quarters, until that first win streak started to shut people up. A true measure of his greatness as an athlete and a competitor is that he's not necessarily the greatest weapon in his team's arsenal on a particular night, and doesn't try to be- which is why they're winning. He's still way too good to ignore as a major threat, as his 51 points against Charlotte attest, but if a team spends too much time and effort shutting him down they could still lose when Hamilton or Haywood take advantage of that for 20-30 points. So while this season can already be counted a success in virtually every way, the Wizards still have a long way to go- and until they get into the 10+ games over .500 position, any cold streak or bad run against the top teams may knock them right back out of the playoff hunt. And their chances of going all the way, or even the conference finals, are still pretty much nil (although I may end up eating crow in a couple of months much as his preseason detractors are doing now). However, a playoff berth will be as much of a victory as anyone could have hoped for- and honestly, I don't know many teams that would want to face Jordan and the Wizards in a 5-game series; they could be a spoiler team with Jordan saving his energy for a series of 40-point explosions.

posted by hincandenza at 02:25 PM on February 08, 2002

Forget Jason "The Joker" Kidd, MJ is the MVP, hands down. (For the record, Jason isn't even one of my Top FIVE MVPS). Ask yourself this: Would the Nets trade Jason Kidd for Shaquille O' Neal? Kevin Garnett? Tracy McGrady? Tim Duncan?

posted by djacobs at 03:28 PM on February 08, 2002

Of course the Nets would trade Kidd for any of those guys, but that's not the right question. The right question is, would the Nets trade Kidd for any other point guard in the league? I'd bet no, and with good reason.

posted by thescoop at 03:44 PM on February 08, 2002

Blech.....more MJ adulation. No wonder I despise Les Boulez even more now than I did then. And don't give me any of this "Wizards" crap, they're still the Bullets to me!!!!

posted by PeteyStock at 03:51 PM on February 08, 2002

Actually, I don't think the Nets would trade Kidd for Garnett or McGrady (maybe not even Duncan). Nets have had talented superstars on their team before, but they have never consistently won. Kidd is helping the Nets win like never before. Why would they trade him for another superstar athlete? It's about chemistry, my friends, chemistry. Their record is better than the McGrady-led Magic, the Garnett-led Timberwolves, and the Duncan-led Spurs. Remember when Magic Johnson played for the Lakers, his stats were not always impressive. Don't underestimate the Kidd.

posted by jacknose at 03:56 PM on February 08, 2002

MJ continues to do what he does best. The pundits can say what they want but in the end, the stats will speak volumes for the man's legacy.

posted by RGarraud at 09:26 PM on February 08, 2002

And their chances of going all the way, or even the conference finals, are still pretty much nil (although I may end up eating crow in a couple of months much as his preseason detractors are doing now) Word. They just don't seem like a team that could win a title, but I wouldn't bet against Jordan in anything. Well, except baseball.

posted by diddlegnome at 04:07 AM on February 09, 2002

I'm still skeptical too. (And I do admit I haven't heard much to like about him as a person.) But I keep forgetting to not underestimate him. Still, I keep asking. Is Rip Hamilton as good as Scottie was? How about Popeye Jones/Rodman? Brendan Haywood/Longley? Kwame Brown/Wennington? Jordan'92/Jordan'02? Those comparisons are not too good. They'll make the playoffs and go out in the first round. Which would be a(nother) mammoth success.

posted by chicobangs at 01:53 PM on February 09, 2002

His preseason detractors were out of their mind. But a title? Rip Hamilton is pretty darn good. Popeye Jones can do several things that Rodman can't. Haywood/White clogs up space about as well as Longley. They can't beat LA or the Kings (or even the Nets) if the playoff games end up in the 95-110 pt range. But, if that good ol' playoff defense (you know, when the officials decriminalize the full nelson) reasserts itself in this brave new world of defensive 3-second calls. If the games get down into the 70-80 pt range, well nobody gets a favorable foul call like the Mike. And don't forget, NBA officials are David Stern's whores, if they have an opportunity to put the Jordanaires in the Finals, they will do their level best to make it happen.

posted by pastepotpete at 11:49 PM on February 09, 2002

I don't think he's human. All of my friends who are basketball fans said that there was no way the Wizards were going to the playoffs, especially after the way they started. But I had faith. Now that Jordan is back in shape (he said he was only 90 percent at the beginning of the season - and 20 lbs. overweight), it wouldn't surprise me if they tear it up for the rest of the season, even go really deep into the playoffs. Shit, it wouldn't surprise me if he steps up and they win it all. I don't expect it to happen, but it wouldn't surprise me.

posted by catatonic at 02:42 PM on February 10, 2002

Well, that *would* surprise me. Don't get me wrong, MJ is my favorite player to watch and it's amazing what he's done but there won't be any title in Washington this year. My favorite part of this whole thing is how he's showed up all those sportswriters who wrote some seriously vindictive, nasty copy about his return. It seems like a peculiarly American phenomenon, this need to rip down idols and heros. I mean, geez, the guy just likes to play.

posted by jeremias at 07:15 PM on February 10, 2002

jeremias, funny, in the UK we say that the need to snipe at our hereo's that we've built up beyond all expectation is a partuclairly British phenomenon.

posted by nedrichards at 05:25 PM on February 11, 2002

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