Chat with John Hollinger
Send your questions now and join John in The Show Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.
John Hollinger (3:14 PM)
Greetings all, and apologies for the late start. We'll make it up on the back end.
Without a doubt, Devin Harris should be a starter in this year's All-Star game, but it looks like Allen Iverson will be voted in. So barring a monumental snub, Harris should be named a reserve. Now which point guard will join him, Jameer Nelson or Rajon Rondo?
John Hollinger (3:15 PM)
I don't necessarily see it as an either/or proposition. When I did the math today there seemed to be room for all three. But Nelson gets in before Rondo.
Andrew (Portland, OR)
Is Brandon Roy a mortal lock as a west sub?
John Hollinger (3:16 PM)
Yes. I questioned his selection a year ago but he's an absolute no-brainer this year and would be among the greatest snubs of all time if he were somehow left off.
Matt (Champaign, IL)
You complain a lot about Tim Duncan being called a power forward instead of a center. Would it be better if players were just classified as "bigs," "wings," and point guards?
John Hollinger (3:18 PM)
I talked about this last year with RC Buford during the Duncan-as-a-center flap -- they should just do the ballot as bigs, wings and point guards, because that's how teams operate nowadays. The two forwards -- two guards -- one center view is an outdated concept, and it results in us having to decide whether somebody like Ginobili or McGrady is more of a "forward" or a "guard" when the real answer is that they're "wings."
Mike (Sandy, UT)
LOVE YOUR WORK! I'm sure there is a follow up article to today's Starters List, so give us a preview of your list of subs for East/West...
John Hollinger (3:18 PM)
There will be, but I want to give the players a chance to get in a few more games. All I can give away right now is that Jarron Collins didn't make it.
Ant (Orlando, FL)
Magic or Celtics tonight?
John Hollinger (3:20 PM)
Normally I'd pick the home team in a case like this ... but the Magic seem to save their best efforts for the road, and I really like how Boston has been playing this past week. Only one problem: Howard vs. Scalabrine. Bit of an issue there for the Cs. So I'll cautiously take Orlando ... very cautiously.
How many Jazz make the All star team? Deron and Millsap are both playing great but both missed some of the season
John Hollinger (3:21 PM)
I think T-Mac may have killed the chance of getting a Utah player onto the team. I'd say Deron and Millsap have roughly equal chances, but I wouldn't put the odds of either at better than 1-in-5 or so.
If the Heat play the Cavs in the first round, Miami can push the Cleveland to a game 6 or 7. True or False?
John Hollinger (3:22 PM)
Heaters are gonna be a tough out for anyone because of Wade, but Cleveland is the one team that I think would beat them fairly easily -- look at their advantages with Z and LeBron.
Joe Johnson is shooting for All-Stat status 3 years in a row. Is it possible he misses this year even though the Hakws are winning?
John Hollinger (3:23 PM)
It's possible, though unlikely, that Iverson being voted in ends up shafting Johnson. He has similar numbers to those he did a year ago at this time, and the Hawks have a better record this time, so logically he should fare at least as well ... but logic doesn't always play a big role in these affairs. Also, he once again is hitting a wall in January after playing too many minutes early in the season, which could hurt the final impression he makes on the judges.
Any thoughts or memories to share on todays announcement of Zo's retirement?
John Hollinger (3:25 PM)
He went on about a 3-minute speech in the Heat locker room while champagne was flying all around after they won Game 6 in Dallas. That was fun ... you'll never see a giddier locker room than that. People forget but they only won 52 games and were major underdogs in the final two rounds ... and a lot of people liked New Jersey to take them out in round two.
Mike (Portland, OR)
Does the fact that T-Mac being a lock to get into the All-Star game finally prompt some over-due change in the selection of all-stars?
John Hollinger (3:26 PM)
I think Yi Jianlian would have done it, because that would have been a truly embarrassing moment for the league. T-Mac is only mildly embarrassing, so the system will limp on as is for another year.
Hey John. What do you think of Rip coming off the bench instead of AI? I think that's the best move for the team. They need AI's warrior nature all the time. Salamat(Thanks)
John Hollinger (3:28 PM)
I believe that's the first time a Tagalog translation was included along with a question. I have been in favor of Rip being the one to come off the pine because AI is more of a natural backcourt partner for Stuckey, and because it's easier for Rip to get his shots as a reserve, and because I think Bynum has been better than Aflallo and this arrangement would tilt bench minutes in Bynum's direction. As for the warrior mentality, would like to see some of that on D from him.
What is your view on the rumoured exchange of medical records of O'Neal and Marion?
John Hollinger (3:29 PM)
Far less than meets the eye there -- standard procedure for any trade discussion, so it's not necessarily a sign of an imminent deal.
Brandon (Cedar Rapids)
John--think that Lebron's great shooting/passing night had anything to do with Rick Barry's comments about the flaws in his game? Doesn't seem like a coincidence to me...
John Hollinger (3:31 PM)
Actually, Barry said LeBron doesn't know how to use screens ... and most of his baskets came off wing isos last night. I didn't get a chance to work this into last night's story, so I might as well mention it here -- I asked Mike Brown about Barry's comments and he started doing back flips trying to avoid starting a controversy -- he said Rick Barry was a great player and is entitled to his opinion but didn't agree with him. As you'd expect ...
Should Philly just move on without Brand? There is no way I would go back to the half court game again. They should running and force Brand to keep up.
John Hollinger (3:33 PM)
I'm gonna keep saying this til I'm blue in the face -- they need to bench Dalembert and just put Brand in his spot at center and everything will be fine.
I don't understand how mike bibby is not mentioned as an all-star...career highs in shooting, second leading scorer, and people in atlanta will tell you he is the teams mvp!
John Hollinger (3:34 PM)
Have you seen Bibby play defense? That's why he's not going to make it. Bibby actually has a better PER than Johnson, but his massive defensive shortcomings are one reason Johnson is so overworked -- watch how they bend over backwards to try to hide him on D.
Blakeley (Edina, MN)
When is my boy Tapioca (Kevin Love) going to start garnering some ROY buzz?
John Hollinger (3:35 PM)
Not happening ... he's been as efficient as Rose or Mayo, but he doesn't have the playing time. ROY is won by somebody averaging 30+ minutes and Love isn't going to get there.
John, do you agree with the unstated rule that "all stars should only come from winning teams? And will that hurt D. Lee...15 and 11, second in double doubles and 4th in rebounding?
John Hollinger (3:36 PM)
Lee will be hurt more by the fact he's not quite good enough .. As far as the "only winning teams," coaches have taken that WAY too far in recent years -- almost every dubious all-star pick in recent times has been the second or third-best player on a winning team.
Jonathan (LA LA LAND)
John, tell me Luke Walton isn't the Lakers starter at the 3 for the whole year?
John Hollinger (3:37 PM)
He can't be any worse than the Snow Flake. I just wonder why they don't go ahead and start Ariza ... if he's making 3s, he can play with the first unit.
Walt (Scarsdale, NY)
Has Scalabrine earned any respect from you of late with his play in the starting lineup? Better defender than you realized, admit it.
John Hollinger (3:38 PM)
I've said before that Scalabrine is a good team defender and at least competent 1-on-1. But his shortcomings on offense and as a rebounder are fairly glaring.
Jon (Pasadena-City of Roses)
Hey John, does Pau get in as an all star reserve...he's been the Lakers most consistent starter all season???
John Hollinger (3:39 PM)
It would be unprecedented for a player with his resume, on a team with his record, to not get in. I'd say other than Dirk and maybe Roy he's the safest Western sub.
Jeff (Orlando, FL)
Why wasnt Rashard Lewis metioned for the all star game? He is leading the league in 3's, isnt he?
John Hollinger (3:40 PM)
I didn't mention him as a starter because Bosh and Garnett are better, but he'll be in the mix for a reserve spot.
John H. (Minneapolis)
Is Al Jefferson an all-star this year? Ever?
John Hollinger (3:40 PM)
I think he has to be looked at very seriously, and I just hope the T'wolves record doesn't cause coaches to overlook how good he's been.
Do you think Sabby Telfair will put it together someday? Obviously he can handle the ball and pass. I think he would thrive on a running team right now if he was given consistent solid playing time. His shot will come.
John Hollinger (3:42 PM)
not sure what you mean by put it together. He's small and can't shoot, and isn't quite explosively quick enough to make up for it. He's basically a backup point guard, but he's forced to start in Minny.
DJ via mobile
Hey John, any idea on what Paxson's press conference yesterday meant? Is VDN sticking around? What coach makes most sense for the Bulls long-term?
John Hollinger (3:43 PM)
It was basically a state of the union address, but the non-endorsement of Vinny was glaring. I'm not close enough to the Bulls to really understand what's going on, but there's some bad feng shui over there and it wouldn't shock me at all if they make some major changes really soon.
John how do you justify writing an aritcle on Lebron's apparent amazing shooting night when he only shot 14-30? Thats less then his seasons FG%. Was it really that amazing of a night for him?
John Hollinger (3:45 PM)
Here's why I wrote it: Portland did everything right. They took away all his dunks and drives and turned him into a jump shooter ... and he still killed them. It wasn't just 14-of-30 -- it was 14-of-30 with 14 assists (by the way, I keep my own books during games and had him with 15 ... ) -- he would either take advantage of all the attention to get Mo an easy shot, or if the shot clock wound down he'd hit an unblockable stepback fadeaway.
Joel (Ottawa, Ontario)
Emeka Okafor: The most underappreciated center in the league? 14 ppg 6th among centers 11 reb 6th among centers 1.8 blks 5th among centers .585 fg 3rd among centers also 5th in minutes are his season averages - which, looking over the past month when the Bobcats are play .500 ball, have improved again. Is he a chance for the All Star game as a reserve?
John Hollinger (3:47 PM)
Okafor has a great chance at the All-Star team because the East doesn't have a true candidate at backup center. It's possible the coaches will take Bosh at that spot, but even if that happens Okafor stacks up pretty well against the other forward candidates. The biggest battle for Okafor is perception -- he's on a losing team and he's not what most people think of as a "star."
Joseph (New Orleans, La)
Any talk on the hornets aquiring a shooting guard? Ben Gordon perhaps.
John Hollinger (3:48 PM)
Two big questions for Hornets -- 1) what assets do they have to do a deal? Not much, really -- Julian wright is about it. 2) Wouldn't they rather address the frontcourt with any moves they make? You can see their dilemma -- they're a good team, but I'm not sure how they get better from here.
Douglar (Cleveland, OH)
When do the Cavs finally trade Wally?
John Hollinger (3:49 PM)
I think they're going to wait right up until the deadline -- both to see what needs crop up on their own roster, and to see if any other deals become available as teams fade out of contention.
Mitch Dubney (Malibu, CA)
Any way Camby sneaks onto the All-Star team? He certainly is deserving.
John Hollinger (3:50 PM)
Any shot Camby had probably went away when he rolled his ankle the other night. If he was in the East it wouldn't be as daunting an obstacle, but the West is so stacked at forward that I can't imagine him getting in.
Aaron (Provo, UT)
Hey John. Love your work. So which team is in desperate need of a new logo or new uniforms?
John Hollinger (3:52 PM)
Oklahoma City, obviously, needs to can its logo and try again. Otherwise I think the league is in pretty decent shape on that front ... a few you could quibble with if you really had to but nothing majorly bad.
Y do some coaches implement small ball when it is proven that it will not get you a championship...if i'm a coach i'm only implementing what can ultimately get me a championship. your thoughts?
John Hollinger (3:54 PM)
Check out last year's Finals and look at how often James Posey was playing power forward. Going small can absolutely work even at the highest levels.
David - St. Louis
Have you seen the Wizards road uniforms? Blech...
John Hollinger (3:55 PM)
Was gonna bring those up .. and the black and gold "alternate" togs, which I don't believe I've seen this year, were probably the ugliest uni of the past decade.
Role play John...you're Kevin Pritchard, do you stand pat or make a move before the deadline?
John Hollinger (3:57 PM)
I don't think they see nearly as much urgency as their fans do. People there are acting like he has to decide whether to trade Sergio or Bayless by tomorrow ... in reality, he's in great shape there and besides, he could just as easily decide to keep both and trade Blake in the summer. Biggest question mark is the LaFrentz contract, but I'm not sure they want to take on a bunch of 2010 money now that Miles is back on the books. I think they'll only move it if a home run presents itself.
Joe Johnson fading? I wonder if the Raptors feel the same way! Those were 2 cold blooded jumpers!
John Hollinger (3:58 PM)
Check out his splits -- second year in a row his numbers have dipped heading into the break. In a related story, he plays over 40 minutes a game and often chases the other team's point guard on D.
John, PLEEEZ answer this Suns question. It seems like you've been down on them a lot this year, but now I'm realizing my hopes may be false ones. Is the window closed/sun already set?
John Hollinger (3:59 PM)
The Richardson trade gave them a nice little boost as far as making the playoffs and possibly even winning a round. But as far as contending for a title goes ... I think Kerr needs to find some magic dust that gets them another quality big, and he has very few assets to do it with.
Will you ever admit that stats don't tell the whole story?
John Hollinger (4:01 PM)
Duh. If stats told the whole story we wouldn't need scouts.
Jess (Phoenix, AZ)
Thoughts on the state of the Suns? Can they turn this late slip up around or is this a team that needs to soon be blown up?
John Hollinger (4:02 PM)
I think Suns fans might be overreacting a bit to the past few games. I agree that Amare's near-shutout in Beantown was a bit jarring, but losing a close road game in New York shouldn't have people on the ledge.
Jesse: (Ladera Ranch, CA)
Once Bynum gets his swagger back, which seems to be coming slowly but surely does any team really have a chance to beat them over 7 games?
John Hollinger (4:03 PM)
I've said all year that Bynum is the key with L.A. -- look at the games when he's played well, they're almost unbeatable. But he doesn't play well as consistently as Pau and Kobe do.
First, as an avid Sixers fan I couldnt agree more about benching Sammy Goaltend. Second, any good shooters out there for the Sixers to trade for?
John Hollinger (4:05 PM)
Seems like the Sixers have solved the shooting problem internally lately -- everyone's raining 3s over there all of a sudden. Actually Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young are likely to be good outside shooters with enough reps, it's just gonna take a little bit of time.
Is VC All-Star worthy? Is there a better backcourt in the league this year than Harris/VC?
John Hollinger (4:05 PM)
VC has played All-Star caliber basketball, but I just don't think when it comes down to it the coaches are going to put two Nets on their list.
Its crazy being a Hawks fan and watching a Lakers or Heat game. If Joe Johnson was sent to the line 10-16 times a game like Bryant and Wade, he would score 30 a night easily. Maybe he needs to learn how to be a baby and start throwing his arms around like a 5 year old.
John Hollinger (4:07 PM)
Or maybe he needs a better first step ... it's not an accident that those players get to the line so much, and it's not because they're duping the refs every night. Johnson's size allows him to shoot over most opponents and he does this very well, but Kobe and Wade get by their man more often and that's why they draw more fouls.
If Brandon Roy is an all-star why aren't I? I'm a better overall player than he is and we're basically the same age.
John Hollinger (4:08 PM)
Um, no. But the Sixers' recent hot spurt might get Iggy some consideration for a spot on the East roster.
Jeff (Elsah, IL)
Who would you say deserves the Coach of the Year for the first half of the season?
John Hollinger (4:09 PM)
HAS TO be Stan Van Gundy. Nobody thought this team would have the league's best record, or anything close to it.
Aaron (Provo, UT)
Who you got in the Super Bowl?
John Hollinger (4:10 PM)
Heart says Zona, head says Pittsburgh. Pretty amazing week for Phoenix sports fans either way -- Super Bowl and All-Star Weekend in the same 7-day period.
After we crush the Celtics tonight we people finally get off our backs about being legit or not?
John Hollinger (4:11 PM)
Winning the national TV games against Boston tonight and Cleveland next will go a long way toward making them legit with the talking heads ... just remember that in the big picture, they're two of 82.
What's Greek for "Truck Party"?
John Hollinger (4:12 PM)
Post of the day. Better question -- is it possible to poison a locker room even if nobody else in it speaks the same language?
Perkins played last night so he'll probably play tonight as well - not Scalabrine.
John Hollinger (4:13 PM)
Thanks, a few other folks pointed that out as well ... missed that in my excitement over Cavs-Blazers last night.
Will I be playing in Phoenix?
John Hollinger (4:14 PM)
The bias against players from losing teams is a concern, but I think there's enough recognition for how well Granger has played that he should be safe.
Will an Orlando win mean that much? Boston just played last night.
John Hollinger (4:16 PM)
It will be far bigger in the eyes of the mainstream media than it is in the context of the NBA season, that's for certain. But I like this matchup because both clubs are playing real well right now ... you don't necessarily get that a lot at this point in the season.
Any chance D Rose gets a look for the All Star game? All the coaches we've played against seem to love him..
John Hollinger (4:16 PM)
Sorry, too many point guards ahead of him in the queue and too much losing by the Bulls for Rose to merit any serious consideration.
Out of all the euphoria over the Magic I'd like to point out that if this "core" doesn't get it done in the playoffs there a very few ways for the Magic to get much better. They are locked into Howard, Lewis (or is that Lew$s) and Nelson.
John Hollinger (4:17 PM)
I agree -- that's where the Lewis contract hurts them, because it takes away all their flexibility from here forward and, possibly, could even end up costing them Turkoglu this summer.
Lakers played last night, so they're starters are worn out. We've got a legit shot at a win if they jsut player their bench right?
John Hollinger (4:19 PM)
Thank you for pointing that we follow up Boston-Orlando with about the worst TNT doubleheader match-up I can remember -- Wizards at Lakers. Should be a hoot.
Hey John, what are your thoughts on the Spurs' quiet first half, and still the Spurs' are 2nd in the West? And that's without having two healthy stars for much of the 41...
John Hollinger (4:21 PM)
It's nice, but their record is misleading. San Antonio has played the easy part of its schedule and now it gets really rough, and even with Manu and Tony the past month-plus their results haven't exactly been overwhelming. They're lurking, but they still have work to do.
Come on, you don't want to see Bynum dunk on me while Blatche and McGee sit on the bench?
John Hollinger (4:21 PM)
Thanks for bringing that up ... I am as puzzled as you are why McGee isn't playing more, he looks like a stud in the making.
So what happens if Orlando gets smashed tonight in Boston?
John Hollinger (4:23 PM)
They fire their travel coordinator -- the game is in Orlando. But more seriously, the Magic have been real good about not getting too high or too low for any one game, so I'm sure they can shrug off a negative result pretty quickly.
John Hollinger (4:24 PM)
Folks, you're not gonna believe this but the sun appears to be making an appearance in Portland right now. I'm going to head outside and see if I'm just hallucinating ... thanks for all the great questions, and we'll do this again next week from Orlando before the Cavs-Magic showdown.