June 2, 1997
Michael Jordan is the greatest. But these Chicago Bulls aren't.
is certainly a terrific team," says Bob Cousy, who has played on a few
great ones himself, "but I don't rank them up there with the all-time
best. People are going a little too fast when they put this team in that
Cousy has seen all the great
ones. He came into the league in the 1950s when the Minneapolis Lakers
were the first NBA dynasty, and has watched others grow and fade ever
"You look at George Mikan's Lakers,
or our Celtic teams, or some of Wilt Chamberlain's teams in Philly, or
Magic Johnson and the Lakers - all of the teams that had a long run -
and they had two things: the great center and a standout point guard,"
says Cousy. "The Bulls have neither. They have Michael, in my opinion
the greatest player ever, and Scottie Pippen, a very good small forward.
The rest of the team is just average, but players who become very good
with the presence of Jordan.
"Take him out
of that lineup, and the rest of them" - Pippen excluded - "are just
average. The team would be the same way. What a luxury it must be to
play with Michael. He can control a game. He can make all the shots. At
the end of the game, he wants to take every big shot. I don't care who
you are - when it comes down to taking the last shot in a big game,
everyone gets a little tight. I felt bad for poor Karl Malone in the
first game, missing those two foul shots at the end. We've all been
there. It happens.
"I think it will hurt
the Jazz in the long run. I think if they won that first game, they
would get the idea they could beat the Bulls. In the second game, they
came out very tentative. Guys like John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek were
passing up shots they would normally take, and you can't beat Chicago
that way." Aside from getting a solid grasp of the new terminology used
by Pete Carrolls's staff, Drew Bledsoe is focusing on two areas in which
to keep improving.