Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green made waves recently while live-tweeting the replay of a classic, ’90s NBA Finals matchup between the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen Chicago Bulls and the Stockton-to-Malone Utah Jazz. His hot take: that the KD-era Dubs would have wiped the court with both teams.
“I’m watching the 98 Bulls vs Utah in the Finals… I can’t help but notice our 2017 team would’ve beaten these Bulls by a dub and these Jazz by 40 if they’re going to play these brands of basketball,” Green tweeted on July 25.
That post elicited a range of responses from the hoops intelligentsia, some of which espoused support of Green’s declaration while others were clearly beholden the basketball gods of yore.
Most recently, former Warriors baller and three-time All-Star Gilbert Arenas dropped what he considered to be a truth bomb on Draymond’s controversial dream-match pick.
Arenas Has the Ultimate Respect for Jordan in the Matchup
During a recently-clipped interview with Vladimir Lyubovny, Arenas was asked point-blank if he felt the same as Green. Clearly, he does not.
“I disagree — a dub? Beating Michael Jordan by dub?” Arenas laughed. “I don’t know, man… Nah. You’re talking about a guy who thrived — like, he was single-handedly beating the Dream Team’s opponents when he got mad. You heard the Dream Team story, when they played against the the college kids and the college kids came in and they won the first one because they sat Michael Jordan and they said we were sitting Michael Jordan on purpose. Then, when they put him in, they beat them by like 30-40.
“He’s a different breed, he’s a different mindset.”
Although Arenas confessed that the 1998 Bulls and 2017 Warriors both had incredible two-way prowess, he simply couldn’t envision a scenario where the latter could keep His Airness in check, even when it was pointed out to him the the Dubs, at times, were able to prevent LeBron James from going full-on nuclear in the Finals.
“[Jordan is] more explosive off the one-two step. You know, LeBron is like a train once he gets to moving… It’s after he gets his first two steps, then it’s like, ‘Oh, alright — freight train.’ With Jordan, his first two steps were just cat-like. So, when you have him in half-court and he decides to do this and go, it’s too late. So, I don’t see you containing Michael, period.”
Arenas Says the Bulls’ D Would Win Out Over the Warriors Incredible Perimeter Attack
Essentially, Arenas believes that the combination of MJ’s supremacy and the Bulls’ ability to lock down are just more bankable than Steph and the Warriors’ perimeter-oriented offense.
“You have more scoring power, so you’re gonna have to score, but they got [Dennis] Rodman, they have Jordan, they have Ron Harper. These are all all Klay Thompsons, basically. Like, I don’t know if Klay Thompson is first — I mean, I think he’s made first-team on defense, but [the Bulls] have a whole team full of first-team all-defenders.”
So, while he appreciates Green’s hubris he cannot, in good faith, accept his position on the hypothetical bout.
“I respect Draymond Green’s confidence — I wouldn’t be happy putting my money on either one of them, but Golden State has to live and die by that three. So, if it was a seven-game series, it’d be hard to bet your money on Golden State.”