Michael Jordan is the best basketball player to ever grace our planet. This is not debatable. He was the most dominant scorer ever to play on the perimeter. He defended the perimeter as well, or better, than any other player. When Michael wanted to facilitate, he was one of the best facilitators ever. MJ became one of the best back to the basket players in his last few years with the Bulls. There will never be another Michael Jordan, but he will never be as good at running a team as Larry Bird.
There is a pretty good chance that here in a few months Larry Bird will become the first man ever to win MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year. Bird coached the Pacers to the NBA finals, stepped aside and had them set to compete for an NBA title a few years later, but some knucklehead hit Ron Artest in the head with a beer. After that Bird had perhaps the most difficult rebuilding job in league history. He had to get rid of some legitimately talented guys in exchange for non-threatening players who the fans would not associate with the brawl in the Palace.
After a few years of floating around the bottom of the middle of the pack in the East, Bird looks as though he has positioned the Pacers to be a perennial post-season contender. Roy Hibbert
stole earned an All-Star spot, Darren Collison is a solid point guard, Tyler Hansbrough annoys opposing teams and fans alike, and Paul George may be 7'7” before his career is over. Bird somehow brought in George Hill and David West. Danny Granger is an Olympian and a former All-Star, but perhaps most importantly a huge trading chip for Bird. Let’s not forget that there is a very good chance Eric Gordon will trade in his Hornets gear for his hometown Pacers uniform.
Bird has built a team that can compete extremely well with their biggest division rival, my beloved Bulls. Collison is quick enough to harass Rose from time to time. Paul George will be a tough match-up for Luol Deng, especially when he grows to 8' tall. Psycho-T seems to have career games every time he sees the Bulls, but that may have a little bit to do with the defense of Carlos Boozer. Jeff Foster comes off the bench to take a few cheap shots at Rose. He also wears too much hair gel for a 45 year-old man. Just felt like that was worth noting.
Michael Jordan, meanwhile, drafted Kwame Brown in Washington and sent away Rip Hamilton. Then he bought the Charlotte Bobcats, built a decent contender, and for some unknown reason, tore them apart. Jordan may have eliminated the possibility of ever bringing in a marque free-agent after he was instrumental in extending the lockout. Why is it that MJ seems to be failing where Bird has succeeded? Is it all of Jordan's off court obligations? Larry had his McDonald's commercial, but not much else. Is it because he has a good back and can play golf every day in Charlotte? The Legend lives in snowy Indianapolis (unless of course the Super Bowl is in town), and probably cannot withstand the strain on his back 18 holes of golf would have.
The biggest reason Jordan has not been successful as a basketball front office man is that he does not understand anything other than greatness on the basketball court. He won his first three titles despite being on a team that did not totally get along. He seems to think he can put together any combination of players and have success. With Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace, Jordan had a group he could have built around and won some games. Instead, he traded his two best players for very little, and then drafted Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo.
If the NBA season consisted of pick-up games and workouts, Charlotte would probably be better than Indiana. Unfortunately for Mike, it does not. Bird has built a unit that plays well together and wins games it shouldn't. Jordan has built a team that is 3-24 and has lost 10 straight. Perhaps Jordan should pull a LeBron and convince Larry to move down to North Carolina and run his club for him.
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