Chat with John Hollinger
Send your questions now and join John in The Show Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.
John Hollinger (3:08 PM)
Greetings from Hollinger HQ in Atlanta. Between the Celtics streak, potential trades and the awesomeness of Bridgeport's Raven Mad Imperial Porter there's plenty to talk about this week, so let's get to it.
Josh C (Yellowknife, NT, Canada)
Hey John - Saw earlier today that Chad Ford listed Joe Dumars as a top 6 GM in the league. I disagreed, and went back and looked at his moves since 2004. Not impressive (but not John Paxson either). Is it that difficult a job? Could anybody off the street with hoops knowledge do it?
John Hollinger (3:11 PM)
Had a couple questions about this -- Dumars is unquestionabiy in the top five -- making the conference finals every year for a half decade is an amazing accomplishment. I think you have to put Pop and R.C. in San Antonio at the top of the list, but he's in the discussion for No. 2.
Chris Mullin, (Oakland, CA)
Can you let everyone know I have nothing to do with the Warriors orginization any longer. I'm just collecting a paycheck. Anthony Randolph or Brandon Wright for Felton makes me cry.
John Hollinger (3:12 PM)
Thanks for checking in. I felt a lot more optimistic about Golden State a couple months ago than I do now, but I'll know more after they come here tomorrow ...
Broseff (Denver, CO)
In your opinion, will the Celtics extend their winning streak to 20 games on Christmas Day, when they play the Lakers?
John Hollinger (3:13 PM)
Yes, I think it gets to 20 -- they have three fairly easy home games between now and then. But I don't think it gets past 20 -- too much pride at stake for L.A., and too many distractions with Christmas on the road.
Steve Smith on NBA TV said that my team has a glaring weakness -- that we can't shut down the opposing team's best perimeter player. Do you agree? We've heard about deals including Michael Redd or other offensive-minded players but who do you think we should add to shore up our perimeter D?
John Hollinger (3:14 PM)
Yes, real glaring -- Cavs are "only" no. 2 in Defensive Efficiency, which I guess pales besides their No. 1 offense. Sure, they don't have anyone who can match up with Dwyane Wade, but neither does anybody else.
With Boozer's big announcement, do you see Detroit going after him to replace 'Sheed? Or should they resign Wallace?
John Hollinger (3:15 PM)
If Boozer goes, pretty much everyone expects it to be to Miami. Where would you rather spend your next five winters?
Evan (Portland, OR)
If you were doing the NBA Awards Watch segment, where would you put Brandon Roy in the MVP race? Ahead of Joe Johnson I hope.
John Hollinger (3:17 PM)
I can't imagine making a list long enough to include either of them. Sorry.
David (Springville, UT)
John-the big debate in UT is between Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap. If you were O'Connor, what do you do (barring an Kirilenko trade)? Go with the more economical, sturdier, and less flashy Millsap or the proven scorer, injury-prone Boozer?
John Hollinger (3:18 PM)
Depends on the price. If you can get Millsap for midlevel money you're probably better off with that, and then maybe you can S&T with Boozer to get more help on the wings. But if Millsap is going to cost almost as much as Booz, I think you take Booz.
If Denver has to give up Linus Kleiza in order to get quality depth upfront, should that make such a move?
John Hollinger (3:19 PM)
Considering that he's a goner after the season, sure.
Do you really think that the Cavs are a better team than the Celtics?
John Hollinger (3:20 PM)
I think the Cavs have played better than the Celtics. Whether they're a better team or just had a really hot 25 games is still to be determined. However, if I'm in Boston they're the one team that I'm deathly afraid of -- if they're this good with LBJ playing 35 minutes, what will they be like when he plays 48?
Why is Kleiza a goner -- he'll be a restricted free agent.
John Hollinger (3:24 PM)
He has no incentive to re-sign and be stuck behind Melo for another five yers, and Denver has no incentive to pay somebody big dollars to play 10-15 minutes a game behind Melo.
John, looking good on Coast-to-Coast. I know you're more of a stats guy, but have you heard any names being linked to the Cavs for Wally's contract, outside of Marion?
John Hollinger (3:29 PM)
Thanks for the props, and the emails from those who saw my cameo on Coast to Coast on Tuesday. As for the Wally trade rumor, here's the thing -- teams have discussions about players all the time, so just hearing that teams have had discussions about a possible trade is less informative than you might think. I think if Cleveland makes a move it will be closer to the deadline -- right now they're just trying not to screw up a good thing.
John, Good article about the game last night. I dont want to make excuses for the Hawks, but what did you think about the refs during the 3rd quarter when the hawks were tryin to pull away? Also.... The Hawks will be the ___ seed in the East this year. Did the Hawks impress you last night?
John Hollinger (3:32 PM)
I think the Hawks will be 4th or 5th, depending on whether Detroit wakes up or not. As for the calls in the 3rd, yes, got a few messages on that. The double dribble was a pretty egregious error, but the other calls either were correct (the continuation calls, which some people seemed to have a problem with) or didn't ultimately impact the game (giving Pierce a free timeout when he fell down).
Amongst the Lakers, Celtics, and Cavs, which of them do you think has the capacity to become a much better team by playoff time without making a move?
John Hollinger (3:33 PM)
Clearly L.A. Farmar is playing well below his established level and they're not getting what they might have hoped for from Odom.
Chris Paul (NOH)
What do you think is holding us back this year? I thought we'd do at least as well as last year with the addition of Posey...what gives?
John Hollinger (3:34 PM)
I think it's your perception that's the problem. Hornets are on pace to win 56 games. Last year they won .... 56.
Any hope for the Bulls in trading for a post player? Could we move Gooden and a pick and/or parts for Boozer? Could we put together a package for Kaman? Help!
John Hollinger (3:36 PM)
There isn't going to be a fire sale on Boozer, everybody, so unless you have some serious quality to offer wipe that thought from your minds. As for Kaman, I think that's more plausible -- Tyrus Thomas and Andres Nocioni would make for a nice package I'd think.
John, the Raptors are in a serious funk. Bryan Colangelo traded almost all of our usuable assets AND A FIRST ROUND PICK to address rebounding and defense with the dead legs of Jermaine O'Neal. Now, we are worse in defense & rebounding, we have backup PG, and still a glaring weakness at SF, plus Bargnani has no value because he is playing horrible. What do u do?
John Hollinger (3:37 PM)
Fire the coach!! Wait, they tried that. Um .... basically, get the same guys to play better. Not an easy task for Mr. Triano, but at the very least this team should be better than it is defensively.
Is it possible that Eddie Jordan *was* actually holding Andray Blatche back? The kid has looked significantly better since Tapscott took over (even if the Wizards as a team remain poor).
John Hollinger (3:39 PM)
It's possible, yes, but it may also have been that Blatche needed a month to get into basketball shape. Dude didn't exactly show up chiseled to camp this year.
Don't forget that Kleiza's also worthless. I hope he's gone- can't shoot, won't rebound, won't even attempt to play D. J.R. gets ragged on, but at least he tries.
John Hollinger (3:39 PM)
Worthless is an exaggeration, but you're right that he's a pretty bad defender. He's a useful bench player as a combo forward, but I'm not sure he'll ever start.
Your thoughts on Don Nelson this year? He seems to have gone off the deep end with his refusal to play Wright and Randolph and his limited minutes for Biedrins. Yet its OK for Stephen Jackson to shoot 13-64 over a 4 game span...
John Hollinger (3:42 PM)
I am completely bewildered by Golden State. Saw them in preseason and thought they'd have a decent team, and instead they're a walking affront to the game. The playing time is only part of it -- they're ridiculously selfish offensively (not just Corey either) and unbelievably timid on D.
Bob (Boston, Mass)
Dont you think your ratings need to be tweaked if a team goes 16 straight wins has two less losses and even beats the team above it( first game ) and still doesnt get top spot?
John Hollinger (3:45 PM)
So you want everything to be about a five-point game that happened nearly two months ago in Boston's building? Some Celtics fans are having a hard time with the idea that they can be playing better than a year ago and still be No. 2, but that's how good the Cavs have been. If Cleveland had spotted every opponent 10 points before the game started, they'd still have the league's fourth-best record (18 double digit wins in 25 games). That's unbelievable.
Why am I not getting much love for our success? I understand that I am no Rondo but 8.4ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.8bpg and making the paint virtually a no-lay-up-zone is not so shabby, is it?
John Hollinger (3:47 PM)
I've felt this since last year -- that his physicality takes a huge burden off KG and allows him to be the maniacal inside-outside guy that he is. And he had a game-saving block last night on Johnson.
chris (redlands, CA)
do you think you might ever be able to add component that takes the 'wear and tear' of a season into account for your ratings? eg Marc Stein keeping the Lakers below the Celts (makes sense now) for not playing as many back to backs or games in general?
John Hollinger (3:48 PM)
I have home-road in there, but I suppose I could add some kind of back-to-back component. I think in the end you'd find it changed things very little.
Nimesh Patel (Orlando)
Who wins tonight's game Superman or Timmy?
John Hollinger (3:50 PM)
Is Superman even playing? That's the bigger question. Should be a good one though -- Spurs are hot and Magic haven't played well at home the past two years.
is it safe to say the bulls are in the playoffs after going 12-13 after a circus road trip to the west and a really tough schedule
John Hollinger (3:51 PM)
no, very little in the East is safe right now. There are too many average teams vying for spots in the 5-13 range, and Chicago hasn't separated itself from that group. Current playoff odds have them at slightly better than 50-50 to get in.
Bob (Boston, Mass)
I am fine with your point that one 5-point home win is not the difference. But how about losing twice as many games, while playing a weaker schedule?
John Hollinger (3:53 PM)
Because the other data doesn't back up the W-L differential. Celtics are 7-0 in games decided by five or less, with two of those in overtime -- that isn't going to continue, historically even the best teams are around .500 in those games. Meanwhile, Cavs have only had seven games all season that they didn't win by double digits. That's the difference between being great and being fortunate.
So your pick for the Christmas game is the Lakers then? If so, ready to wager something on that? Say ummm, your dignity and an unbiased professionalism from there on, IF the lakers lose?
John Hollinger (3:55 PM)
Shapes up as pretty close to a pick-em game in the Power Rankings, so I wouldn't bet anything important on it. I just think L.A. has a ton riding on this one.
I'm jealous of the porter. Did you bring some back home with you from OR?
John Hollinger (3:58 PM)
Nah, couldn't -- had it out of the cask at Bridgeport. Best beer I've had in a long time.
Brian (Boerne, TX)
I'm not even a Celtic's fan, and I think your rating system is a joke. No way that a team goes 24-2, and is not rated above a team 21-4, whom it also beat. Just because the Cavs beat a bunch of crappy teams by 20 points shouldn't factor in one bit.
John Hollinger (4:00 PM)
History tells us it should ... because it gives us a better predictor of future results. Better yet, put the opener in Cleveland and they're both three-loss teams -- except one has played far better in its 20-plus victories. Now would you feel better about it?
John, why can't the Hawks get more nationally televised games? That playoff series last year didn't convince the networks that they could draw an audience?
John Hollinger (4:02 PM)
Hawks don't have a marquee star for marketing purposes, which is why teams like Miami gets more national TV even though they're a worse team. But Hawks are also better than the TV folks expected; I think we might see them sneak a couple more Hawks games in during the second half of the season.
Wow. Did you just call 24-2 fortunate???
John Hollinger (4:06 PM)
Boston has been awesome, but they have the scoring margin of a team that's 22-4, which isn't quite as awesome-looking as 24-2. They're ahead of Cleveland in the standings because they've played great AND been fortunate. But that doesn't mean they've played better than the Cavs.
John, thanks for doing this chat. It is always nice to be reminded every now and then how unreasonable and myopic Boston fans can be.
John Hollinger (4:08 PM)
Sheesh, you'd think I was talking about Utah or Toronto with the venom I'm getting.
John Hollinger (4:09 PM)
Folks that's all the time I have but thanks for the questions and we'll do this again next week at 3.
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