Simmons and Russillo (Carefully) Compare Ant To MJ

Photo Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Ryen Russillo joined Bill Simmons on his latest podcast to discuss the NBA’s must-see stars and “trickiest” playoff teams before offering their hottest take. Simmons and Russillo agreed on the league’s two biggest must-see stars, but they started to differentiate once they got to No. 3.

“So here’s where it gets interesting, you just saw this guy in person, is Wemby your No. 3?” asked Simmons.

“Not yet, no,” answered Russillo.

“Who’s your No. 3?” Simmons asked.

“It’s Ant,” Russillo responded.

“Oh, okay. Make the case,” said Simmons.

“Look, I know he sucked the other night against Milwaukee. But the missed dunk he had in the lane was probably one of my favorite highlights of the week,” Russillo offered.

“I just, I hate to say it reminds me of somebody, but he does move like him a little. Let’s not even say his name.”

“Ehh…,” Simmons reacted.

Russillo was careful comparing Anthony Edwards to Michael Jordan.

It’s not even fair to Ant or the other guy we’re talking about.

There’s just some stuff, and his passing on these deep drives is getting better and better. Like, it’s not out of nowhere. You can see some glimpses. And I do think these drive passes, we almost give him too much credit for, because it’s like, ‘Hey, the guys are all stationed where they’re supposed to be stationed.’

But there’s times when he’s getting a pass out to a corner or a break where I’m like, ‘How did he even get that out there?’

So I think the physical moments with him, the, like, top one percent athleticism with him, and to tie it into it’s been one of the best teams in the league this year, that I would have Ant [at] No. 3.

“I know you don’t want to mention him, we don’t want to put this on him,” Simmons responded. “Kobe reminded everyone the most of Jordan. And, in some ways was doing a really great Jordan impersonation, even mimicking how he shot.”

“How about how he talked?” Russillo added. “Even like the cadence, that was almost weird.”

Simmons said that Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade reminded him the most of Jordan, but Edwards is a close third.

It was like when we did Creed in Philly, we did the live thing, and Creed has that scene when Donnie is watching the second Balboa-Creed fight, and he gets up in front of the TV and starts mimicking all of Creed’s punches and movements in it. And you see the TV behind him, and he’s doing it exactly.

That’s the level Kobe was at with Jordan. He tried to mirror so many of the things that Jordan did. So he would be No. 1.

Wade, I always thought had some MJ in him before his knees started to go the second Miami year. But if you watched him, especially in 2009, when he had nobody. But I thought the closest from all the stuff he did to Jordan. Because he didn’t shoot threes. He just tried to get to the rim. He had that pull-up game.

And then Edwards, there is moments where you get a little déjà-MJ. Plus, he carries himself like the f—in’ alpha. Like, ‘I’m the best-looking person in this building. I’m the best athlete in this building. I am completely unafraid of the other team. Don’t trash-talk me, I’ll get upset.’

There’s just some elements.

Russillo then made a point about how Kawhi Leonard reacted when the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Clippers.

Yeah, and then after they had beaten the Clippers, and you can take all these top teams and go, ‘Hey, what about that outcome? What about that outcome?’ Right?

Because I thought that win for them was huge, the way the Clippers had just been beating on everybody for two straight months. But then the weird part about calling out the Clippers and them being old, and then when Kawhi was asked about it, Kawhi downplayed it.

I don’t know if that’s just Kawhi, who doesn’t want to talk to anybody, or if there was an element of, ‘I’ll let Ant mess with us, I’ll let that guy mess with us because he’s him.’ And I don’t mean that in the mean way.

And the other funny thing from All-Star weekend was everyone cannot wait to show off their ‘fits, and he’s in a hoodie, like, ‘I don’t even care.’

Simmons and Russillo were careful comparing Ant and MJ, but Simmons backed Rusillo up when he went in that direction. Edwards has to win in the playoffs before we can really start comparing him to Jordan in any capacity, but Vanity Fair recently asked if Ant is the next face of the NBA. Edwards is having a moment.

We should all be careful invoking MJ’s name in comparison to anyone, but Simmons and Russillo aren’t completely out of bounds here.

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