Chat with John Hollinger
Send your questions now and join John in The Show Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET.
John Hollinger (3:06 PM)
Greetings all, lots of preseason hoops to discuss, so let's get started.
(J in Portland)
blazers: over/under 50 wins?
John Hollinger (3:06 PM)
I say under, by quite a bit. Portland fans are stoked about this team's potential, and it's possible they achieve it this season ... but much more likely that this is an up-and-down type year that hints at what's to come.
Sarge, Aliso VieJO, Ca.
Thaddeus Young is going to surprise. Name someone else who will blossom this year.
John Hollinger (3:07 PM)
J.R. Smith and Mike Conley are two of the guys I'm really high on for this year. J.R.'s case is the more solid of the two statistically, but his head makes him more of a wild card.
Give us your prediction for top three pics for ROY this year... please.
John Hollinger (3:08 PM)
Three, and exactly three, players will be in the running -- Greg Oden, Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose. Everyone else can forget about it. Smart money is on Oden since he had a year to bulk up.
Eric ( Miami Beach, FL )
Shaq said on Sept 10 he had 765 days left to play before retirement? Any explanation for why he says he will be finished on Sept 15, 2010?
John Hollinger (3:09 PM)
Clearly, he plans on representing the U.S. at the World Championships in Turkey before he exits.
Richard (Irvine, CA)
John: PER Question for you. You cit 15 as the avg. PER. But since stars have the ball a disproportionate time, shouldn't the mean PER be the barometer by which we determine whether or not a player is above or below average?
John Hollinger (3:11 PM)
The problem isn't that stars have the ball a disportionate amount of time, it's that they play a disproportionate number of minutes, so in any given year there are far more players below the mean PER than above it. However, the same goes for almost any stat in any category in any sport -- look at the league average in ERA or batting average or completion percentage or yards per carry, and you'll have more guys below it than above it, since the ones who are above get more chances to perform.
Brandon (Portland, Or)
Sleeper Alert: Nicolas Batum is suprising the heck out of people in Portland with his play so far, especially after being terrible in summer league. Nate has even mentioned the possibility of him starting with Webster going down and Outlaw's effectivness with the second unit. Your thoughts on Batum and his potential? Looks like a potential future defensive stopper.
John Hollinger (3:12 PM)
This is the part where I remind people not to get all jacked up over a single preseason game. It's nice that he played well, but let's not start shoving aside rotation players just yet.
John...AK47 coming off the bench will benefit, hinder, or make no difference for the Jazz?
John Hollinger (3:13 PM)
I think it helps if they can play a shooter out there with Brewer -- they've been trying Miles but Korver could be there too. It makes more sense to start one defender and one shooter, then bring the same combo off the pine, than to start Brewer-AK and come off the bench with Korver-Miles or Korver-Harpring.
The D (Indy)
Re: ROY -- no shot for K-Love, even with your PER projections from around draft time?
John Hollinger (3:14 PM)
Love is going to have difficulty gaining traction in that race because he's on a bad team, and because as much as I like him I don't think he'll touch Oden's production.
robin lopez...looking great, ya? was really surprised the other night watching him play. a little maturity, and some help with around the basket floaters and this guy might be very very similar to bynum. what says you?
John Hollinger (3:15 PM)
I enjoyed the shot blocks and it seems he can contribute in a Varejao-type of way, but the only similarity to Bynum is that his last name has five letters.
Lamar (FAROCKAWAY NY)
besides the blazer name another lottery team thats gonna be alot better this year ?
John Hollinger (3:16 PM)
Minnesota might be a lot better, though they have a long way to go. If they can get into the teens in Defensive Efficiency they could be this year's Portland, because they're gonna score points. In the East, Charlotte and Indiana are my sleepers to take the last two playoff spots.
I like Utah's chances but with no shot blocking or a high scoring wing it seems they will have problems in the playoffs
John Hollinger (3:17 PM)
Utah doesn't need a high-scoring wing, they already have the league's best offense. The lack of shot-blocking is a more pertinent concern, I agree, but the real problem on D for Utah is the massive foul rate.
You predicted the Jazz > Lakers in the playoffs last year (in 5 I believe). You were wrong. This year, you're predicting the Jazz over the Lakers in the West again. Don't you learn?
John Hollinger (3:18 PM)
Actually, I picked the Lakers in six; go back and look. Before the playoffs I had Utah rated higher, but when the series began I went with L.A. since they were playing better at the time.
Rick (Franklin MI)
How do you like Milwaukee's chances this season? I think they're going to surprise lots of people...
John Hollinger (3:19 PM)
Well, they've "surprised" lots of people in the preseason, but probably not the way you were thinking. No team has looked worse so far.
Rowell V. Mullin (Oaktown, CA)
Why on earth would you give Steven Jackson an extension with 2 years left on his current contract and who is calling the shots in Golden State?
John Hollinger (3:21 PM)
Extension for Jackson makes no sense whatsoever. The Ellis thing, to me, did make some sense. Look, the easiest thing for Nelly and Mullin to do is spend the owner's money. But if I'm the owner, I want my $3 mil back, and if hurts Monta's feelings that's just too bad. The only troubling part, as you point out, is it again leaves us wondering who's running the store over there.
chris (new york Ny)
is it impossible 2 say that the knicks wont make the playoffs this year ?
John Hollinger (3:22 PM)
Nothing is impossible. But it would be highly improbable, let's put it that way.
Do you think the wizards will make the playoffs and that the big three will be all-star caliber players again?
John Hollinger (3:23 PM)
No and no. I think Arenas is unlikely to come back as the pre-injury Arenas, and that's why the $111 million deal they gave him was so goofy. Butler will be an All-Star again this year; Jamison won't join him unless they're over .500 at the break.
Ray: (Boston, MA)
"Before the playoffs I had Utah rated higher, but when the series began I went with L.A." Isn't that like saying, I voted for it before I voted against it?
John Hollinger (3:24 PM)
Very funny, I've got my chatters Swift Boating me now. I've had a ton of emails basically saying that I picked Utah to win that series, which I didn't do, so I had to set the record straight.
Jonathan (Atlanta, GA)
Hawks in the 13th spot? They played close to .500 ball after the Bibby trade and most of their core players are still naturally getting better (because they're so young). How does a MASH outfit like the Bobcats get more love than a playoff team?
John Hollinger (3:27 PM)
Atlanta won 37 games, lost its third-best player, and had no draft pick. It's reasonable to expect that they'll be worse, no?
Is there a more balanced starting five in the league than the Hornets'?
John Hollinger (3:28 PM)
Balanced how? You mean besides the part about every play running through the same guy? In all seriousness, it's a nice starting four ... the fifth spot, not so much. They're not getting midlevel value from Mo Pete.
Do you think CDR is going to suprise a lot of people this year?
John Hollinger (3:30 PM)
I had CDR rated as a first-rounder so it wouldn't surprise me if he cracks the rotation. That said, scoring on Miami's scrubs isn't exactly definitive proof that he's a player.
JJ (Auburn Hills)
If you looked up balanced starting five in the NBA dictionary it would read: see Detroit Pistons.
John Hollinger (3:30 PM)
Can't argue with that.
Quinn (Richmond, VA)
I know the Mavs are suppose to be a bubble team this year, but am I wrong for thinking that if Rick Carlisle will run like he says he will, and you can manage to get decent production from the young guys given a 2nd chance, these guys could make some noise?
John Hollinger (3:31 PM)
Two problems with that: 1) every coach says he's going to run in preseason; and 2) every team can make the "if our young guys take a step up" case. I see no compelling evidence why Dallas is a special case in that regard.
John, you only have 2 Pistons players with better then average PER...how do you expect them to win 54 games then? Thanks.
John Hollinger (3:33 PM)
Billups, Hamilton, Sheed, Maxiell and Amir Johnson all project above; Stuckey and Prince are just a whisker below.
John: Who are your favorite announcers to listen to call a game? I'll watch a game I don't care about just to hear Doug Collins call it. I feel as if I learn something about basketball whenever I watch a game he is calling.
John Hollinger (3:35 PM)
You're trying to upset me, aren't you? Collins drives me crazy with his end-of-quarter obsession and his selective use of evidence to "prove" it. Best announcing crew is Marv Albert and anybody; Mike Breen is great too on play by play. Albert and Fratello on Nets game will be awesome this year; too bad about the games they'll be calling.
Adam (Seattle, WA)
Whats your take on Oklahoma City this year? Can Durant take the next step and can Jeff Green really play a 4?
John Hollinger (3:37 PM)
I would have ended that question before "a 4". Green needs to prove he can play, period, before we start haggling over what his best position is. Last year was a disaster. Durant, on the other hand, should take a solid step forward.
It seems like Utah's foul rate would translate to more postseason success, given the theory that refs hold their whistles a bit more on the playoffs. Is this the right line of thinking? Have you ever done an analysis on whether or not less fouls are really called in the playoffs?
John Hollinger (3:38 PM)
That theory is exactly that -- a theory. Little evidence to back it up in recent years. In fact the reason they lost to L.A. last year was because Kobe averaged 93 free-throw attempts a game.
Brandon (birmingham alabama)
Have the Magic done anything in preseason to make you think they could make a lot of noise this year?
John Hollinger (3:39 PM)
Not really, but I'll take a closer look when they come to Atlanta next week. I'm concerned about their bench in particular, looks awfully weak for a quasi-contender.
How will the Chicago Bulls Fare this year can we say they will be fighting for position between 6-8
John Hollinger (3:41 PM)
The Bulls will be one of six teams fighting for the last two playoff spots in the East. I presume that barring injury Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, Philly, Orlando and Toronto are safe; that leaves Chicago, Miami, Washington, Charlotte, Indiana and Atlanta vying for the final two slots. I picked Charlotte and Indiana, but really you might as well throw darts.
Your saying Rudy has no chance for ROY? Absolutly entertaining, and already knows the pro game.
John Hollinger (3:41 PM)
No chance. Won't play enough and won't play well enough when he does. He's gonna be fantastic, but don't get ahead of yourself on this one. In fact, as a calming exercise, go back and look at Manu's first-year stats.
Who will be the odd man out in the Bull's guard rotation?
John Hollinger (3:42 PM)
Gotta be Larry Hughes. He's the one guy who they really have no reason to play -- Hinrich and Gordon are good, Rose and Sefolosha are young. Hughes is neither good nor young.
Do you see Amir Johnson ever becoming what the Pistons have him hyped up to be? What do you see his ceiling being?
John Hollinger (3:44 PM)
I think he could be fantastic and may very well lead the league in blocks at some point, but he has to cut his foul rate if he wants to average more than 20 minutes a game.
Darin (Nashville, TN)
I agree with most everyone that Chris Paul is the best point guard. But, why are people so quick to put Deron Williams second? As of today, I think Nash is the second best pg. What do you say?
John Hollinger (3:45 PM)
For 2007-08, either Nash or Billups was second and Williams was fourth. For 2008-09, I suspect Williams will pass both of them. Though Nash made a crazy spinorama move in that outdoor game.
I'm confused by your comments about Jeff Green and his ability to "play" in the NBA. 11 and 4 while playing next to a machine gun on a sorry team is a step in the right direction.
John Hollinger (3:48 PM)
And this is why we don't use per-game averages. 11 and 4 in 20 minutes would be excellent. 11 and 4 in 28.1 minutes, with 42.9% shooting and one of the highest TO rates at his position? That's horrid.
Jason (Chootiya, Ohio)
John, are you REALLY gonna bet against Lebron leading the league in PER. Seriously?
John Hollinger (3:49 PM)
I was surprised when the projections had CP and not LeBron, since LeBron has led two of the past three years. I thought for sure he'd be first, so yes, this would be a tough one for me to put money on.
Sean (McKinney, Texas)
How can Greg Oden win ROY? I know he didn't play last season, but he still was in the NBA and on a team and getting paid. This isn't like college where you sit one season as a red-shirt freshman and then can still play 4 more years.
John Hollinger (3:50 PM)
According to the league, he qualifies as a rookie. Their rules, not mine.
So, Mr. Expert, 40% shooting in about 40 minutes per game while nearly leading the league in turnovers is what makes Durant a great candidate for stardom?
John Hollinger (3:52 PM)
Durant had a much lower TO rate (11.7 vs. 14.0) than Green and a higher TS% (51.9 to 49.2), while creating about 50% more shots.
CJ Miles (SLC)
Don't sleep on me, seriously.
John Hollinger (3:52 PM)
I'm not. Though speaking of sleeping, if you don't wake up soon this opportunity to start will pass you by.
Erik (Cleveland, OH)
Who do you think will be the starting 2 guard for the Cavaliers out of Wally, Sasha or Delonte? And if it were you who would you choose?
John Hollinger (3:54 PM)
I think it needs to be Delonte, just because Wally can't stay with quick 2s. Sasha is the best defender of the bunch but he's so bad on offense that I don't think the tradeoff is worth it.
Who's more likely to become a star between Leon Powe and Carl Landry
John Hollinger (3:56 PM)
Can I go with "none of the above?" Powe has more potential to be a scorer; his big limitation right now is his foul rate and general defense. Landry's "star" potential is more as a Dale Davis/Tyrone Hill type.
Who's the odd man out in Boston: Cassell, Miles or Scal?
John Hollinger (3:57 PM)
I'll go with D) Gabe Pruitt. Though I wouldn't be shocked if they cut Scal instead.
The Hawks lost their third best player??? I'd rank their three best players as Horford, Josh Smith, and Joe Johnson. Childress is better than one of those guys? If so, how? Even though Bibby has regressed (I'd I know about his showing in the playoffs) I'd be hard pressed to say Childress is better than him (though I could be swayed on him).
John Hollinger (3:59 PM)
I live in ATL and am at Phillips all the time. Horford was more indispensible, because they didn't have another dirty-work guy, but in terms of sheer, in-a-vacuum quality, Chils was their third-best player.
Jake - Redondo Beach
John - how do you envision Rudy Fernandez fitting into Portland's rotation?
John Hollinger (4:01 PM)
I'll guess 15-20 minutes a night, toward the lower end at first and then increasing as the year goes on, subbing in for Roy and then periodically playing together with him in the backcourt when Roy moves to point, or at the 3 when Nate goes small.
Jake (New Haven, CT)
Do you think Crawford will thrive in D'antoni's system? What kind of numbers do you expect him to put up? If not Crawford, who do you think will fare best in the new system (Nate Rob...)?
John Hollinger (4:02 PM)
I'm not sure why everyone is pointing to Crawford as a guy who'll blow up under D'Antoni. Isiah played him 40-plus minutes and let him do whatever he wanted; that's the ceiling folks, it's not getting any better than that for him. Playing fast doesn't mean guys with terrible shot selection automatically blossom. Actually, the guy I think will do best compared to last year is Randolph.
Jeff (Detroit, MI)
John, any chance Curry gives Walter Hermann decent backup minutes this season?
John Hollinger (4:03 PM)
Looks like Herrmann will be the 9th man in an 8-man rotation ... he'll play when somebody else has fouls or if Tayshaun ever decides to miss a game.
John Hollinger (4:04 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for all the great questions and we'll do this again next week.
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