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Stan Van Gundy: Heat roster better than any of Jordan's Bulls rosters

Aug 18, 2010, 2:59 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for SVan_Gundy.jpgNo doubt the Heat are going to be good. Very good. But expectations some comparisons and expectations are getting a little ridiculous.

Stan Van Gundy is happy to feed the mania, as he did with Dan LeBatard on 790 the Ticket in Miami:

“If I look at what the Bulls did winning 72 games and I look at the Heat roster, I am going to tell you that the Heat roster is better than any roster that Michael Jordan played with the Bulls. I don’t think that people predicting them breaking the win total and being in the 70s and the whole thing, I don’t think those are expectations that are out of line based on their roster… Dwyane Wade is certainly, in my opinion anyway, as good as he was, is better than Scottie Pippen. Chris Bosh is better than Toni Kukoc. Mike Miller is every bit as good a shooter as (John) Paxson or (Steve) Kerr or anybody they put there. Plus, he’s 6′8″. If you start going down the list, I don’t think there is any question that the roster the Heat have is as talented a roster if not more so as any roster there has ever been in the NBA.”

Van Gundy is a pretty straight shooter, he says what he thinks.

But he also gets the game. The Heat are a top rival for Van Gundy’s Magic in the East and one way to knock them down a peg is to set the expectations for them so unrealistically high that even a very good season is perceived as a failure. Saying they will win 72 their first season together is way too high a bar (remember how long those Bulls had been together when they did it, and it was the second year after a diluting league expansion).

This is one way to start injecting some doubt into a team — have everyone around them saying they are not as good as they should be.

It may not work, but it’s a smart strategy for Van Gundy to try.

  1. Ripped Achilles - Aug 18, 2010 at 11:06 PM

    Is anyone besides me getting tired of this already. Actually, it took me about a day.

  2. Phil - Aug 18, 2010 at 11:21 PM

    The Heat are going to have trouble with Orlando. There is no way they’ll beat the Lakers.
    You forget, Lebron shuts down under pressure. Wade probably won’t make it through the season, and if he does, he’ll miss at least a dozen games. Bosh isn’t anything special.
    Van Gundy is just motivating his team. He’s trying to be Phil Jackson.

  3. john - Aug 18, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    wade, james,and bosh are the most skilled trio ever assembled on one team—in their prime. check the historical record.
    james is at 6-8 250 is the most talented basketball player ever, though not the most skilled or most driven; nobody has consistently shut him down—ever. his career average is near 27-8-8. jerry west made this point. he’s 25, give him time; judge his body of work when he is done. james averages over 30 points a game on artest (the league’s best on-ball defender)—check the statistical record.
    wade is the best all around finisher in the game after kobe. kobe has slowed/is aging as witnessed by the ways boston shut himdown but could earlier do nothing with dade’s 34 points per game in the recent playoffs. with james on that team miami steam rolls boston and la even last year. anyone with intellect knows this.
    in comparison to the 90’s bulls, the heat’s roster is more talented than any of those teams on papers—but they will have to prove their worth on the court. in pippen’s prime he barely scored 15 a game. wade gets that in a quarter and is also on the all-defensive team while playing with scubs. pippen never stopped a player as quick as wade at 6-4 getting to the rim—anymore than tayshun prince in the piston’s prime. only injuries have stopped wade.
    bosh is far more skilled than any player chicago had outside of jordan and pippen. look at the stats, look at their body of work. stop hating. clearly miami has to prove what they are this season and in the next 4. wade has already proved his worth, leading a team from 2 down to a 4-0 sweep to win a title averaging 35 poits a game in the series. pippen has never led a team to anything. and jordan has never faced talent like james. never. drexsler was the closest but james is two time mvp and the most powerfully talented/skilled athlete in basketball history. jorn would have to out scorehim which he could—but not shut him down.
    miami, if they can impose a running game on la will easily win the nba championship. that will require james at the point—that style changes everything. boston and orlando has no chance if miami masters the running game and imposes it on teams while playing the usually strong defense they historically have played—they were top 3 defensively in the nba last year even without james and bosh.
    they get atleast 70 wins. they win the title. they run any old, plodding, bluffing team in the ground next year with james at the point.

  4. hoog - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    I would have loved to see Pippen guard Wade 1vs1, and vice versa, and see how much better Wade was than Pippen. Also, Rodman driving Bosh batty would have been fun too.

  5. hoog - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    Historical fact? More like your opinion.
    Let’s not also forget, they all averaged their points as the number 1 option on each of their respective teams. How will things go when they have to share the ball.
    Rodman vs Bosh, win Rodman
    Pippen vs Wade, are you even kidding me?
    Jordan vs James, yet another 3 peat.
    Pippen never stopped a player as quick as Wade, and you bring up Prince? You do realize the Bulls TWICE won a 3 peat, and Prince wasn’t around then? That Detroit team did not face those Bulls teams.
    Quit drinking that Heat Kool-Aid. They have to still play the games. Its not going to be as easy as you think.
    What else do you expect Van Gundy to say, considering he has to play them all the time. Didn’t Lou Holtz always talk up his opponent, no matter how ridiculous it was?

  6. Colin Zvosec - Aug 19, 2010 at 12:58 AM

    If this were two years ago, Duncan would definitely be on that list. However, Tim is on his last legs. Still, the fact that you can argue him onto the list still proves my point.
    Pau is a Power Forward. He’s played Power Forward for the majority of his time with the Lakers. His height and skill have allowed him to play center when needed.
    Its like Tim Duncan. He’s pretty much been the center for the Spurs the last few years, but people still think of him as a power forward. And if I were to build a team looking to compete RIGHT NOW for championships, I’d have to go Dirk or Pau over Bosh, no question. But that’s just my opinion.

  7. john - Aug 19, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    check the statistical record. its available.
    as a first option pippen is not a 30 point scorer (in a 14+ year career he never scored more than 30 points 5 times. on his own he never was a champion; neither is rodman. he or rodman doesnt even make the hall without jordan. study what pippen did with portland and houston without excuses—what did he win? granted he was a very good defender in his prime and an average basketball talent overall—go to the statistical record. wade is 30+ points facing double and triple teams—no one agrees with your assessment of wade vs. pippen. wade is clearly better.
    bosh again has 24/11 on a losing team and is a consistent 20/10. Rodman played on the lakers, spurs, and even pistons when they were losing teams or weak. without jordan/pippen and isaiha/dumars he is not even discussed here because his rebounding and defense would never have won titles without the other hall of famers. he was not transendant, neither was pippen. wade, james and bosh are better on their own and have a chance—a chance—if they handle their business. no other team has the possiblities they have. boston is old. orlando is dumb/choke-oriented with vince carter being over the hill and chief choke artist. la will give them trouble if they have not mastered the running game with james at the point. but with riley having been there anddonethat withthe 90’s lakers, the heat will adapt their style to the talent and perfect a system/strategy which runs la off the court (marginalizing the hieght) enough to win the title.
    Finally, james and jordan is not clear cut even though jordan is the greatest of all time—a 15+ year career. he never played against a talent like james—a two time mvp before he’s 25. jordan is better, but not by much. wait and see when james is done then compare.
    all james, wade, and bosh have done is team up. it remains to be seen if they will win more titles than the bulls or more games in a season. i merely speak to the fact that they have the best chance given that they have two of the top 3 players in the league and a third who is top ten. and they are in their prime—never has a team had such accomplished individual talents on the same team in their prime. check the ages, statistics,accomplishments, size, skill, talent levels.
    just respect the facts of their bodies of work. honestly look at the evidence, go to the statistical record. my opinion that they win over 70 and win the title is just an opinion. but a comparison of the facts regarding talent and potential is firmly based on statistical evidence and historical facts that are available everywhere. from these facts one can arrive at probabilities or possibilites of success. that is all i have done.

  8. mel man - Aug 19, 2010 at 2:02 AM

    they have not even won a championship game, dont put these clowns with mjs team ,thats ridiculous

  9. Denny - Aug 19, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    Someone shut these van gundy brothers up they are just bitter against the bulls. Rodman or Grant would have guarded Bosh. This Miami team will be good but individually their big three have acomplished 1 championship 2 finals apperances been swept out the playoffs and lost as the higher seed countless times. Pippen took teams without Jordan further than Wade took teams without shaq

  10. Luki - Aug 19, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    Ehm… Stan Van Gundy mediocre coach at best…has no idea whatsoever
    Best players in Heat D Wade by far then James and … Bosh..
    Nobody in Miami team would be able to guard MJ heck nobody did before.. but this is not even close.. MJ would kill D Wade (not disrespectfull Wade is very good player)
    Pippen would easily guard James same cannot be said…
    And the best for last;]
    Bosh…. vs RODMAN hahaha that would be not even funny 😦 7 ppg ?
    Rodman guarded best PF C in his time.. No there is NO true Center in game and PF ehmm…( Shaq is old 😦 )
    So basicly compering this 2 team is not even close….
    LA Lakers dont like Kobe but his team is one to beat..
    Sry for my enlish;]

  11. Derrick - Aug 19, 2010 at 8:27 AM

    Just say “No” to the crack!

  12. Wesley - Aug 19, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    In the first paragraph: “But expectations some comparisons and expectations are getting a little ridiculous.”
    What? “But expectations some comparisons…”?
    Did you mean “But with expectations come comparisons…”?
    Though the writer should be attentive to that, I understand he’s trying to turn out work quickly. But who’s the editor on this site? Is there one?

  13. Gooch - Aug 19, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    I’m an old School Knicks fan and had followed the bulls run thru the years extensively.
    First off. The Defense the League was playing then was going to Iraq just to get in the paint.
    Could you see Wade or Lebron getting the same points in the 90’s era basketball? They would still score theirs but have to work a lot harder.
    If the Bulls played in this day and age in their prime, I think they could easily break their 72 win season.
    Heck I don’t see the Heat beating Hakeem’s Rockets either. LOL

  14. T. Rogers - Aug 19, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    I am sure someone has already mentioned this. I just don’t want to go through every post. But the Bulls had one HUGE advantage (even if you overlook MJ which was another HUGE advantage) Phil Jackson is light years ahead of Eric Spolstra (sp?). Riley is the GM. He won’t be on the bench night in and night out. He won’t be there during the tight games. Why don’t we let Miami go 40-3 (like Chicago did) before talking about them winning 70 games.

  15. J-Train - Aug 19, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    The Phil Jackson factor is a very good one. He is obviously better at coaching championships and handling superstars than about any coach in history.
    It sounds like to me that Stan Van Gundy is searching for some job security here. The last time i checked, this guy coaches a team that plays against the Heat. It would take a lot more nerve and chance for him to come out against the Heat and tell how confident he was in his team’s chances against the team. By him saying the Heat are better than any of the Bull’s championship teams, he’s taking pressure off himself and his team. If the Heat mop the floor with the Magic, everyone can say they expected it to happen.
    Anyone with any sense could not even compare the Bulls teams and this team. Lebron and Wade are superstars, granted. Wade has been fragile at times in his career however. Chris Bosh is a good player, but is nowhere near being a top tier superstar. He is just a good player from a small market team.
    Plus, anyone that calls Wade or Bosh as good as Pippen obviously has very short term memory. Scottie Pippen was most likely the second most talented player in the NBA during the majority of his career being second only to Jordan. He was a 6’7 player that could penetrate, shoot, rebound, pass, and was the best defensive player in the league. He was named as one of the 50 greatest of all time while still playing. Those guys couldn’t hold his jock strap.
    This is all being over hyped and overplayed because there is such a lack of big stories and big stars in the world of the NBA. The fact is that people just don’t care that much about professional basketball anymore and they are willing to do anything to change that.

  16. Drew - Aug 19, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    In terms of actual talent level, the Heat are better than Jordan’s Bulls. Whether they are a better TEAM is up for debate and will be borne out in time. The Bulls had a perfect makeup of one great superstar, one very good sidekick, and great role players. They did it all without a single dominant big man in all those championships. That is why I think much is being made of the Heat’s lack of dominant centre. How much do they need their centre to do? They will be fine. I believe they will win at least 70 games. Jordan is still the greatest player of all-time hands down in my mind, but he never had this collection of talent on his teams. We’ll see if the Heat can mesh.

  17. hardtimes - Aug 19, 2010 at 9:52 PM

    First of all Michael Jordan played against a way better teams than there are today with tougher rules. There were way more superstars in that era than today’s era. Everyone knows that. There was a superstar on every team. So your statement about Jordan not playing against players like Lebron is ridiculous. Mike played against and dunked on a way better cast of centers in the league back then. Players like Olajuwan, Ewing, Sampson, Mourning, Mutumbo, Parish, Malone, and Kareem. And that is just a few. How many dominant centers is in the league now? Maybe 5 if we are lucky. So think about what you are saying before you comment.
    And on VanGundys comment. He has to be trying to put to much pressure on the Heat. He said Wade was better than Pippen. Well Pip led the Bulls to the Conference Finals without MJ. Wade has not done nothing without Shaq. So how can you say that he is better than Pip. And the Bulls starting lineup was Ron Harper, Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Longley and Kukoc for 6th man. Miami has Chalmers, Wade, James, Bosh, and Ilgaskus with Miller for 6th man. Plus the Bulls had a young bench and Miami’s bench is old. And Kukoc would whoop Miller any day. Even Riley knows that Bulls team was better.
    So either Stan is as dumb as we think he is or he is trying to put more pressure on the Heat because Lebron and Bosh has shown they dont handle pressure well. Which is another reason that Bulls team is better.

  18. john - Aug 19, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    i merely present statistics/facts in line with history. this miami team must prove itself. but they have the raw materials to do great things for the next 5 years or longer if healthy. wade and james carry teams, pippen and rodman never could; they were second teir very good players—-not in the league with mvp james/wade. james is a 2-time league mvp before 25 and wade is already a finals mvp. pippen never and rodman never were. wade and james are also on the all defensive team and miami was number 3 in defense even last year. they will have a chance to win 70 each year if healthy, and necessary.
    chicago had great teams; jordan was the best ever. it remains to be seen what miami will do. but they have great talent now. jackson is the greatest coach of all time—by far; miamis coaching if riley is not the coach is clearly out classed—but phil was beaten by the pistons and the celtics with average coaches.
    my comment was that miami has 2 of the three greatest players in the league today. marginalizing them or deluding oneself by saying they are no good is ignorant and childish. the bulls never played against players with james, wade, and bosh skills on the same team. jordan at his best against the pistons was not enough for nearly 5 years. so he was not perfect. jordan was never shut down. no one has shut down wade or james, they get to the rack at will under the present rules and are more than strong/fast enough under other rules. in fact james is the most talented/strongest all-around basketball player ever according to jerry west.
    we will see what they get done in the next 5 years.

  19. john - Aug 19, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    i also like james at the point with miller at the 3 and haslem the sixth man, fast breaking style of the la 80-90’s, mixed with the pat rily defense of the knicks and heat. wade and james must set the tone. they still need a james posey type player to fill out the roster. get rid of charmers; arryo/house be the point sub off bench. again it is what miami has a chance to do that i speak of not the past. it is silly/unwise to think that slow 6-0 players from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s players could compete with 6-8 players with more talent and abilities (evolved by learning from the past)at the same positions today. James (2-time mvp) is an improvement on anything pippen saw in the 90′; so too is wade and bosh.
    it is unwise to allow emotions to dominate objective facts. miami has a chance to run wild on the league for 5 years if they stay healthy. they are just that good. 70+ wins and titles are their possibilities. it is probable that they achieve both yearly. even las vegas has them winning the title over even the lakers. boston is old/done. orlando is dumb, chokes at the freethrow line and has cowardly vince. chicago has only noah with basketball IQ— the rest of that team is still getting folk to take SAT exams at memphis; la is very good and will be a test. but miami with james at the point causes all kinds of match up problems if they are running similart to the way the 80’s lakers ran philly of the court without kareem for the title. i don’t see la keeping up.

  20. Mal - Aug 20, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    Gotta set one thing straight. Pippen DID lead the bulls to the Eastern Conf. Finals without Jordan. Let’s face it, without that bogus foul on Pippen in NY, it woulda been bulls vs houston that year. Now lets look at Bosh. How far did he get? nowhere. how far did Wade get without shaq? nowhere again. Lebron has shown to be a best a quitter with no killer instinct. Kobe edges Lebron as best player for that reason. So for all those so called “facts”, just shut the hell up. I see people taking shots at Pippen, but he’s a hall of famer with six rings and plenty of individual accolades. Food for thought. If anybody played behind Jordan, who could average more than 25 points a game. No damn body. Jordan was show stopper and Pippen the perfect compliment. The least a true basketball fan could do is give Pippen credit for his accomplishments. How the hell could he be the premier player on a team with the ultimate player on hand. People, think before you speak. btw, I concur with never comparing lebron to MJ. haha.

  21. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    bobby…your points are all valid…BUT wade and jordan canceling each other out? Cmon…Jordan would have owned wade. And this is from a DWade fan….

  22. dobaldz - Aug 20, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    obviously SVG,like his brother, hates MJ for so many reasons. I remember there was a time he gave a strong opinion that “MJ was not the best NBA player ever” and even mentioned the likes of Bill Russel and others to justify his opinion which i believed only his brother agreed. Poor loser

  23. Desi Battle - Aug 20, 2010 at 1:57 AM

    SVG is why the Magic can’t get over the hump. Have you herd what is coming out of Boston and LA? neither team is saying anything about Miami being great. Does this mean he thinks his Orlando team is better also? maybe he shud quit and follow the heat season. The Lakers are still the best team in basket ball followed by the bigger Celtics and then the Heat. Magic would be there but there coach is too busy in Miami. Fire him already and get someone that understand the game. He has the biggest weapon in the league and does not know how to use him.

  24. Desi_B - Aug 20, 2010 at 2:33 AM

    R U really that stupid or are you just kidding? Wade scored 34 because boston did not care about anyone else on his team. It is about winning championships. look that up on your facto meter and tell me how many Wade, Bosh and Lebron have together. The NBA has only had two maybe three teams without a dominant big man win championships. 1st of course are the Jordan Bulls. You could make a case about the Celtics but they did not dominate the middle but they certainly controlled it. The last are the current Lakers. As THE Laker fan I am hear to tell you without Bynum Healthy beating the Celtics in 7 games is going to be tough. and yes we will be playing the bigger better Celtics from the east again.

  25. Jack - Aug 20, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    lol wade better than pip? lmao!

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