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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. aussie fan - Aug 20, 2010 at 4:21 AM

    this is crazy – surely they should win at least one game before the are compared to such a great team??
    my hope is they dont win one in the first 3 years – it will be interesting to see if they then persaveer or it gets broken up. it wont be easy to win in the east – the lakers will get at least one easy series again and have a deeper team this season than either of the last two!!!

  2. davidly - Aug 20, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Let’s see: So he’s saying that the Heat’s starting PF is better than the Bulls, then, sixth man? What about Worm?
    And in more “comparing the 96 Bulls bench to the Heat’s starters” news: Considering the fact that Kerr is still the all-time NBA three-point leader, it’s a joke to compare him to… what’s the name of the guy he was comparing him to again?

  3. Zed - Aug 20, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    Miami is not just in a position to win 70 games; they stand to make history and go undefeated in the regular season. There’s no way to defend against a two-headed monster at the wings; the Jordan/Pippen combo proved that to every basketball fan with eyes and intelligence. Phil is mulling it over and sweating profusely. But, it’s not all bad – his great coaching career will end in crushing defeat.
    However, there is a little wrinkle in Pat Riley’s otherwise perfect plan of getting his revenge. His name is Carmelo. If that dude is allowed to go east to Orlando then we would have to rethink the whole equation. Orlando will have created their own superpower to challenge the Heat and Boston for the right to meet Kobe and the Lakers. If Pat Riley doesn’t pull strings, whip out his magic wand to make certain that that doesn’t happen, that Carmelo stays in the Western conference, then the Heat’s clear path to complete dominance will be blocked. But, that’s how heroes are born. All we can do is wait to see it all unfold. I can’t wait!

  4. Notfol - Aug 20, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    You’re talking about Pippen’s later years. The 93-94 season was Pippen’s one year where he led a team in his prime.
    Pippen’s 93-94 stats:
    22 points, .49% FG, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.9 steals
    Wade’s stats from last year, when he happened to be the same age as Scottie during 93-94:
    26 points, .47% FG, 4.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.8 steals
    I think there’s a case to be made that Pippen was nearly Wade’s equal on offense, while far surpassing him on D.

  5. Notfol - Aug 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    In a position to go undefeated? I doubt it. The Bulls were a better team, but they also benefited from the addition of recent expansion teams in the league. I think SVG & his brother ‘Jeff The Mortician’ are trying to mess with heads.

  6. ray ray - Aug 20, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    MJ and Wade would cancel each other out?!? Come’on man! You were making sense until you said that. Jordan was bigger, stronger, more athletic, smarter, killer instict, etc… come’on

  7. phishfan - Aug 20, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Geez. All these haters from other teams BEGGED to have either Bosh, Wade and especially Lebron. Miami got all Three 3!!!!
    They kept Haslem, and got great outside shooters in House and Miller. Anthony is an excellent defender. This team will not only be an offensive juggernaut, but a defensive force as well.
    Now you are all lying to yourselves. Someone mentioned that LA and Boston are not “picking” the Heat to win it all. That is the dumbest comment ever. What do you expect them to say?
    Although the games still have to be played, barring injury Miami will be a dynasty and the other teams really don’t stand a chance.
    The heat have a rough equivalent of 2 Kobes!
    We’ll see what happens. I have been a Heat fan since the days of Rory sparrow and Rony Seikaly – so I am not a bandwagon jumper.
    Some of these fans that were begging and would be celebrating wildly if they had landed anyone of the 3, especially Lebron – are no hypocritically downplaying the superb trio for the ages.
    One more thing, why is Carmelo not being hated the way Lebron is even when his situation is probably worse. LBJ served his “sentence” in Cleveland. Carmelo is still under contract.
    I have never seen so much hypocrisy. All the sweeter when the Heat have their victory parades.
    Riley is a genius…Go Heat!

  8. john - Aug 20, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    crafty, like a used-car salesman. you are comparing one year. get the career average: its 24.9 (wade) to 13.8 including playoffs. pippen was an exceptional talent; he deserves credit for being good but he is not to be mentioned with james and wade who have carried teams for nearly a decade. league mvps and finals mvps are not to be compared with supporting cast players. this is not logical. finally, pippen’s career is over. its in the books.
    wade, james, and bosh are in their prime—experienced, skilled, driven and on the same team. these are great talents. no need to slander them. lets see what happens.

  9. Brandon - Aug 21, 2010 at 1:37 AM

    I think the comparison to Pippin should actually be Lebron. They both have a more all-around style of point-forward play. And Lebron is definitely better than Pippin, atleast on the offensive end.
    Wade isn’t better than Jordan, but he’s about as close as you get short of Kobe, and Wade’s style is more Jordanesque. And Bosh is definitely a far more all-around talented player than Grant/Rodman… although I’m not as sure if he will be as impactful as Rodman’s defensive and rebounding presence in the playoffs.
    I’d give them the Heat the edge in the Grant era, but not the Rodman era.
    Kukoc+Harper is really were the 95′ Bulls pull away. People forget how good Harper was, since he ended up roleplaying that Bulls organization… he was a 20ppg guard and a solid defender when he was w/ the Clippers.
    Plus those Bulls were just an amazingly dominant defensive team, and while I think the Heat will be good defensively, dominant doesn’t come to mind.

  10. Vanes - Aug 23, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    I think the heat will beat Bulls records.

  11. David R - Aug 26, 2010 at 6:40 AM

    You talk about points. What Jordan, Pippen and Rodman did was take away those points. Head to head Jordan and Pippen top Wade and LeBron total points. Basically Jordan and Pippen get closer to their regular season average while keeping LeBron and Wade BELOW theirs. And Bosh will be lucky to score A POINT against Rodman.
    What made those Bulls teams great was not the individual talent player for player but the pure awesome chemistry that they had as one team. Either 3 peat team had incredible talent. That 72 win team with Edwards, Longley and Wennington at Center. Individually they were nothing but combined they were a force. Jud Buechler, Dickey Simpson, Jack Haley, Jason Caffey and Randy Brown not your household names. Players like Ron Harper, Steve Kerr, Tony Kukoc and John Salley were good players but not superstars. With Jordan, Pippen pushing the offense and Players like Kerr and Kukoc making you pay for doubling either Jordan or Pippen. And you laugh at Rodman, he couldn’t score a point if his life depended on it. But if you wanted someone shut down and every rebound available. HE WAS A GOD. I cannot count how many times I would sit back and just laugh at Rodman and how he was shutting someone down. Name me one player in todays game that knew his role better than RODMAN.. NO ONE. IMO he was the greatest rebounder and defender ever to play the game. But EVERY BULL knew his job. And they crushed everyone. 85-13 for the season. This was a machine. As perfect of a team as you will ever see on a basketball court.
    I don’t think James, Bosh, and Wade will be able to mesh into a single unit like the Jordan Era Bulls.
    Just so you know. Even if they were to win 82 games. They still would not have been as great as that team the Bulls had. These are a bunch of Superstars who can’t win a title on their own (Minus Wade) Joining forces to get a piece of hardware on their finger. Forget the challenge of winning one for your home team, Yeah I am talking to you QUEEN LBJ. The Bulls were built with Chemistry in mind. The Heat is built to get a couple superstars a ring cause they can’t get it on their own.
    Dream Team Regular season. 68-14 @ best.

  12. mike - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    I like this post the most of all the ones I read. And to insert some calamity, John’s point is what I’d use to separate Lebron from Kobe. The former may have (and this is highly debatable) a more complete offensive game, but Kobe will move a mountain to get over a tree stump. And I think it’s safe to say Lebron needs to do better on defense to earn his ‘next-one’ credentials. Kobe’s defense seems to be on par in today’s game with how Jordan fared in the league during his time. So looking forward to LA vs. MIA. Also, let the meme begin: every time Miami loses, the headlines must say, “missing in action.”

  13. Anonymous - Sep 1, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    Pippen was probably the best on the ball defender the league has ever had.
    I may agree that Wade, Lebron, and Bosh form a better core than Jordan ever had, but can you imagine Wade, Lebron, and Bosh playing AGAINST the Jordan Bulls? I’d bet on the Bulls 10 games out of 10, as of right now. Maybe they will show me different, but as of right now, gimme the Bulls any day.

  14. Michael Ramirez - Sep 15, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Wade, Lebron and Bosh are certainly talented players, but talented players doesn’t necessarily equal talented team….. The MJ Bulls were a talented TEAM and they had superior leadership and coaching!

  15. ASDF - Sep 16, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    lebron james seems like an ok guy, but he just comes from that “new school” generation Y weird mentality that most people over 30 don’t get. It’s like we preached BS to them hoping that they would get that it was bs, but just things that we had to say to keep the cultural police happy. A funny thing happened along the way though…they actually bought into the crap and now we have to deal with what we have created…
    I haven’t exactly refined this theory, but hey it’s the internet, right?,

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