Even if Jordan hadn't retired, Robert Horry thinks there's no way Bulls would've beaten Rockets in '94 or '95 NBA Finals

Even if Jordan hadn't retired, Robert Horry thinks there's no way Bulls would've beaten Rockets in '94 or '95 NBA Finals

Even if Michael Jordan chose not to retire from basketball for almost two full seasons to play baseball, former NBA forward Robert Horry thinks his Houston Rockets would’ve defeated the Bulls if the two teams met in the 1994 and 1995 NBA Finals.

On this week’s Scoop B Radio podcast, Horry said his team would’ve conquered Chicago regardless of if they had Jordan, who returned to the court in March of 1995, or not.

“But I truly believe the way that we were playing and that big dominant force, Hakeem Olajuwon, that we had down there was too much,” Horry said.

The Rockets won the 1994 and 1995 NBA Finals, with Olajuwon winning series MVP both times, but some speculate what the result could’ve been if Jordan’s Bulls were Houston’s opposition in both of those years. Chicago won three championships in a row from 1991-93.

Horry thinks the Bulls were a good matchup for players like Olajuwon, a Hall of Fame center and Rockets franchise scoring leader with 26,511 points.

“I played for Phil [Jackson] and he doesn’t like to double team and you had to double Hakeem [Olajuwon] or he would have had 50 on you,” Horry said. “So I think we would have won. It would have been a good game. … I know everybody thinks that Michael Jordan is the greatest to ever play the game, but Dream [Olajuwon] isn’t too shabby.”

According to Horry, Olajuwon isn’t the only one who would cause problems for Chicago. He believes Houston guard Vernon Maxwell would’ve shut down Jordan defensively.

“Dream [Olajuwon] must go against who they had at center and Mike [Jordan] would have had to go against Vernon Maxwell, who is a good defender,” Horry said. “So I think in that sense, we would have had the edge.”

These remarks come after Kenny “The Jet” Smith’s comments last year on the Scoop B Radio podcast, when he said the same 1993-95 Rockets team would’ve thwarted the Bulls even if Chicago had their fully stacked, championship-winning group.

“We [the Rockets] would’ve beat the Bulls without a question, they didn’t match up well with us and during those years that they were actually winning championships, which wasn’t the playoffs. We were 8-2 against them during those years. We matched up well with them. We wouldn’t have been scared,” Smith said.

On ESPN’s The Jump, Scottie Pippen fired back at Smith’s comments.

“He forgot what my role was: I cut the head off of snakes; and I’m calling him the snake of that team," Pippen said about Smith.

Even though it wasn’t the same team, the Bulls played well without Jordan in the 1993-94 season and went 55-27. They ended up losing to the New York Knicks in the second round of the playoffs.

But Chicago needed their best player back during the 1994-95 regular season. The Bulls were barely a .500 team when Jordan announced his return to basketball on March 18, 1995. He led his squad to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but lost to the Orlando Magic.

“And actually everyone forgets he was playing the second year, he was wearing number 45 and the team they lost to the Orlando Magic, we swept them,” Smith said about the time the Rockets overcame the same Orlando team that beat the Bulls in the 1995 playoffs.  ”We were that much better than them that year, they lost to them.”

Chicago’s star-studded basketball franchise would still go on to three-peat once again from 1996-98, completing a historic feat.

But with Jordan off the Bulls for the entire 1993-94 season and rejoining the franchise towards the end of 1995, one can only guess who would’ve won the Chicago-Houston matchup if the NBA great never left basketball and got his team to the Finals both years.

Jimmy Butler may have gotten uninvited to the Wade's BBQ again


Jimmy Butler may have gotten uninvited to the Wade's BBQ again

Jimmy Butler is in hot water with the Wades ... again.

Maybe not really, but the two former Bulls teammates exchanged pleasantries on Instagram after Butler commented on a photo Dwyane Wade's wife Gabrielle Union posted poolside, saying: "WELL DAMN!!"

Wade, a three-time all-defensive second team, came to his wife's defense when Butler posted a video the next day with the caption: "The good, the bad, and the ugly...", prompting Wade to respond: "Put well damn in caps on my wife photo again and you're gonna see what the good, the bad and the ugly is like."

*Mic drop*

It appears this won't affect Butler getting an invite to the next get together. Or so he hopes...

"Well that escalated quickly," Butler responded to Wade. "Point noted.. I'm still coming to the bbq tho 😂😂😂"

SI names Lauri Markkanen a top-five candidate for a breakout season

SI names Lauri Markkanen a top-five candidate for a breakout season

Lauri Markkanen has been making headlines this offseason, mostly for bulking up considerably, and making appearances around Chicago at Nike camps and Jabari Parker’s camp, but as the season nears, his on-the-court exploits are starting to come up as well. On Thursday, Sports Illustrated put Lauri Markkanen on their list of five breakout candidates for the 2018-19 season

SI writer Michael Shapiro had this to say about Markkanen:

Markkanen has all the tools to be a future All-Star, and it looks as though he has the mindset, too. He seemed to take his matchup with Porzingis personally in early January, demanding the ball down the stretch en route to a career-high 33 points in a road victory. The Bulls enter 2018-19 on the outside of the East playoff picture, but Chicago is now home to the NBA’s newest unicorn.

High praise indeed for Markkanen, and well-deserved praise considering that he finished with a usage rate lower with the Bulls than his college stint at Arizona, yet still was able to have an impact on the Bulls. Shapiro mentioned Markkanen’s burgeoning off-the-dribble game as the skill that most stood out, and speaks to the Finnish big man’s All-Star potential. 

While the 21-year-old’s threes lived up to the hype, it was his prowess of the bounce that made the biggest impression. Markkanen showed a deft handle and array of canny fakes in the post, adding a mean streak to boot. The Finnisher lived up to his nickname, unafraid of contact and eager to fight for position in the post. The stereotype of the soft European big man doesn’t apply here.

The numbers back this up. 

Among the Bulls top 10 players in drives per game last season, Markkanen finished second in field percentage (on drives) at 46.1 percent. If that numbers rises, or more likely, Markkanen drives to the basket more, his scoring total will increase. And when it came to finishing around the paint in general, he shot  67.6 percent on shots from zero-to-three feet, making him the third best in that range out of the Bulls top nine rotation players last season. Yet among the same group of players, Markkanen ranked sixth in shot attempts from zero-to-three feet. With the presence of Wendell Carter Jr., and another year of internal growth from Bobby Portis- bigs that can stretch the floor -Markkanen should be the recipient of more plays putting him in a position to score around the basket.

On a roster that will surely give big minutes to Parker, Kris Dunn, Carter, Chandler Hutchison and a working-his-way-back to form Zach LaVine, Markkanen may be surest 3-point shooter on the floor. This means defenses will key in on his outside shot. If players are routinely closing out hard on Markkanen- as they should -this will open up more driving opportunities for the nimble seven-footer. 

The third or fourth season is usually when young players take the leap from good to great, but Markkanen will be playing with the most talented group of teammates he has ever been surrounded with. How he handles playing with this group will go a long way towards establishing what kind of player he will be in the future, specifically if he is an All-Star caliber talent. On the 2018-19 Bulls, someone will have to hover around a 20 percent usage rate, making them a clear third-option, whoever that player is, his last name should not be Markkanen.