Chat with John Hollinger
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, NBA columnist John Hollinger will stop by to share his thoughts on all of the NBA news.
Send your questions now and join Hollinger Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
John Hollinger (3:06 PM)
Greetings everyone. Hard to believe it but training camp is here -- have already been to Portland and Orlando this week as they strive to give the league it's nightmare Finals pairing. On to the questions ....
How do you think the Cavs will do if Delonte misses an extended period of time either through suspension or other personal reasons?
John Hollinger (3:07 PM)
I'm not sure they're going to notice that much as long as Mo Williams and Anthony Parker stay healhty -- with the addition of Parker they can gloss over West's absence pretty easily; I'd argue he has as much or more value as the backup PG for Williams, where he's a major upgrade on Gibson. But that's a 10-minute job as long as Mo stays upright.
Chris (Indianapolis, IN)
Hi John. Doesn't the Blazers situation seem similar to the Bulls from a couple of years ago, in that they have a lot of young players, have tasted the playoffs, but are facing a lot of possible contract/playing time squabbles that might eat into chemistry?
John Hollinger (3:09 PM)
Similar, but enough differences to think it will play out differently. First, those Bulls were overachievers with a grinding head coach in Skiles -- McMillan isn't like that. Second, the key guy in Portland already has his money, and Aldridge may very well have his by the time the season starts.
How do you think the lakers will handle the drama of lamar marrying Khloe and the signing of Ron Artest? Do you think the lakers will win the championship again this year?
John Hollinger (3:12 PM)
I think they're pretty used to drama at this point, don't you? It's not like this is Charlotte suddenly getting deluged by media -- L.A.'s always been a circus. Not sure it will change much for anyone except Lamar.
John Hollinger (3:13 PM)
Sorry, had some speed issues there. Safari summoned from bullpen after another quick hook for Firefox.
Kevin O'Conner (Utah)
So should I start taking hard looks for that unprotected draft pick coming my way? Or is D'Antoni going to rain on my parade?
John Hollinger (3:14 PM)
Where it gets interesting is if the Jazz disappoint. Then they have a lot of temptation to pay somebody to take Boozer, and I'm sure that draft pick would be an acceptable form of payment. But as far as using that pick to take on a player, there's no chance of that happening until after the season when they can be under the tax again.
any chance the Hawks break into the top 3 in the east? or do you think they are a year away?
John Hollinger (3:15 PM)
The gulf between No. 3 and No. 4 in the East is the largest chasm between any two spots in the hierarchy right now, and I don't see that changing unless somebody has an unusual rash of injuries. I can't even say the Hawks are a year away -- what's going to be different for them next year?
John, what do you make of Joe Johnson refusing to sign an extension with the Hawks? Where does he end up in 2010?
John Hollinger (3:17 PM)
Probably the most prudent decision money wise -- he can get more years at the same money if he waits and it's almost certainly his last big payday. But it also puts heat on the Atlanta front office, especially since both Joe and they know he'd make a great second banana in someplace like Miami.
Evan Ebert (Oakland, CA)
I know I should blame management, but how do I not boo Stephan Jackson with all my heart on opening night? He's a mediocre player with a giant contract, that precludes him from leaving.
John Hollinger (3:19 PM)
You're within your rights to boo Jax -- the extension-followed-by-trade-demand routine is some serious hypocrisy. He's a big boy, he can handle it.
So in Sheridan's Boston article, Pierce again ignores the Magic and says he is only circling games against the Lakers and Cavs to test their mettle. Is there some kind of bias against the Magic that even the other NBA players feel?
John Hollinger (3:20 PM)
Remember, Pierce also had that Tweet during the Finals that took a shot at the Magic. Believe me, the guys in Orlando have noticed.
Rick (Round Rock, TX)
What kind of impact do you see DeJuan Blair having on the Spurs? Do you think his rebounding prowess will translate directly over?
John Hollinger (3:21 PM)
His rebounding should mostly translate, the only if is that Popovich likes to get four guys back on defense. Also, obviously, there's the little matter of whether he can defend inside at 6-7.
Brett (Charlotte, NC)
If the Bobcats move Raja Bell and Tyson Chandler bounces back to pre-injury form, can't the Bobcats challenge for 8th?
John Hollinger (3:23 PM)
Not sure what moving Bell would have to do with it, unless you think they're somehow getting a 20-point scorer in return, but even if Chandler bounces back to pre-injury form the question is how will they score? If they're 27th in Offensive Efficiency again they aren't making the playoffs; adding Flip helps, but not as much as the Chandler deal hurts.
Bryan Colangelo (Toronto)
Why don't you like us?
John Hollinger (3:26 PM)
23rd in defense last year; swapped out the two best defenders from that team (O'Neal/Marion and Parker) for Turkoglu and Jack; pairing Bosh with another guy who isn't a center, or even a centre. Color me skeptical. It **could** work, they might mess people up so badly with the shooting and spacing that the soft D doesn't matter, but they won 33 games last year and it's not totally clear to me that they improved much.
Ray (San Antonio)
John, how do you predict the Spurs will only win 53 games? They won 54 games last year with Manu out much of the year, Tim playing slightly hobbled and Tony missing 10 games. They added RJ, McDyess and Blair and Tim and Manu rested the entire offseason. This is why we think you hate the Spurs.
John Hollinger (3:27 PM)
Look at the consensus predictions we had this summer -- that's about where everyone has San Antonio. In particular, I think you're really glossing over the knee thing with Duncan -- he wasn't nearly as effective at the end of last year, especially on D, and since it's a wear and tear injury we can't just assume he's going to go back to being a top-5 MVP candidate.
Sarah (Toledo, OH)
Hahaha these hate questions are cracking me up. So...who do you love then?
John Hollinger (3:28 PM)
I would have said "the Redskins" prior to Sunday......
Brett (Charlotte, NC)
Thanks for the team previews. Now, when are the player projections due? (Yeah, I know - patience is a virtue, be grateful for what you have, blah, blah, blah).
John Hollinger (3:29 PM)
Early next week, followed by another chat here on Tuesday.
Hi John, good to be talking NBA again! Do you honestly feel the Clippers will be in the hunt for the playoffs this year?
John Hollinger (3:29 PM)
"In the hunt" -- yes, I do believe so. Successful? No, probably not.
How surprised will you be if DeRozan starts in Toronto instead of Jack or Belinelli? That's what we're hearing in TO...
John Hollinger (3:30 PM)
Can't tell yet if it's training camp sunshine-blowing or if they're actually serious about it. Would be shocked if Jack isn't the one finishing regardless.
You do realize that Emeka Okafor isn't exactly a scoring machine, right?
John Hollinger (3:31 PM)
But compared to Chandler he's Bob McAdoo. Okafor averages five points per 40 minutes more than Chandler over the course of their careers. That's a large difference.
Andrew (San Francisco, CA)
Regarding opposing team FT%. Is it easy to rule out the same teams are smarter than others about who they foul?
John Hollinger (3:32 PM)
Somebody whose name now escapes me sent me a study he did on that exact topic, and found that virtually all of the difference was random.
The loss of Sessions is huge, but with Redd and Bogut coming back, and Skiles grinding for another year, they seem to have the best chance to overperform your projections like the Hawks did last year.
John Hollinger (3:35 PM)
Don't forget my beloved Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the most underrated defender in the league. Unfortunately you've got no stars, no point guard and too many question marks on the rest of the roster.
Freddy (Santa Ana, CA)
Hey John! Do you get to pick which teams you will visit during training camp or is it handed down from your bosses? I would love to have your job!!!!
John Hollinger (3:37 PM)
It's a little of both. All of us have geographic areas where we tend to do most of our work, so we naturally gravitate toward those teams at the start of the year. I guess I'm the oddball with the Southeast-Northwest axis.
Jay (San Francisco)
Would a trade of Stephen Jackson and Brandon Wright for Gerald Wallace fly or would Jack not be a LB guy?
John Hollinger (3:39 PM)
It's more that he's not a Bob Johnson guy with that three-year extension -- that was why they traded Okafor for Chandler, remember.
hey john do you think Vince Carter can fill the shoes of a Hedo Turk. in Orlando?
John Hollinger (3:40 PM)
This is probably the biggest misunderstanding of the offseason. Carter is a better player than Turkoglu. Much better. Scores more, defends better, had a better pure point rating last season. I didn't put this in my report, but I asked Carter to compare his game to Turkoglu's and I think he nearly choked on his tongue. I think he'll do more than just fill the shoes.
Who do you see stepping up big for Houston this year?
John Hollinger (3:41 PM)
Landry is the one with breakout potential, as he's been extremely effective offensively on a per-minute basis. The question is whether he can pair with Scola for long stretches -- that makes for a very short frontcourt.
If the Bulls packaged Tyrus Thomas and Jerome James's expiring deal to Utah for Boozer, would that be enough to make them contenders this year? Seems like a win win for both sides.
John Hollinger (3:43 PM)
Folks, when you're setting up trades for your teams you have to think about the other side. Utah would trade Boozer to reduce it's tax payment; that's the entire logic. He's already expiring, so they don't need somebody else's expirings. They have to trade with a team that's either under the cap or has a trade exception to take Korver, otherwise they're not cutting their tax payment and the trade becomes pointless.
Drunk On Mystery (Baltimore)
Dwight Howard says he wants to shoot 75% from the FT line. If he does that, are the Magic the clear favorites?
John Hollinger (3:45 PM)
Stan set that as a goal on Tuesday, and I find it absurd. The median center shot 68% last year, and two of his teammates with much better strokes (Pietrus and Barnes) failed to hit 75% last year. As I mentioned in my bullets, if he somehow manages to get to 70% and keeps his rate at ten attempts per game, it would add about three wins to the Magic over the course of the season.
Gallinari...breakout candidate this year? Is 15 ppg out of the question if he is healthy?
John Hollinger (3:46 PM)
He's an interesting one because of how well he shot in his limited minutes a year ago. He had solid translated #s from Europe, too. I don't focus on the ppg because that's highly dependent on minutes, but I think he can be a quality 3/4 at the offensive end ... defensively, he still needs a lot of work.
Does D-Will make the All Star team this year? He has to be the best player in the league who hasnt' made an all star team, right?
John Hollinger (3:47 PM)
Yes and yes. His numbers after his ankle healed last year were sick.
Do you think Earl Clark could suprise people this season and eventually become a starter?
John Hollinger (3:49 PM)
Let's hope he gives them a different kind of "surprise" than Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic gave them a year ago. As far as starting, can't see him beating out any of Hill-Richardson-Stoudemire at the 2-3-4 spots unless there's an injury.
Seems like everyone is down on the nuggets for not making many moves this summer, but keeping the team they had that was two games from the finals can't be bad. What do you think of them?
John Hollinger (3:50 PM)
I like the moves they did make -- Lawson was seriously undervalued on draft day and Afflalo replaces what Jones gave them. Just understand that a lot of things had to go right for the Nuggies last year, and they won't necessarily be as fortunate this time around.
AI, Mayo, Gay, Randolph, Gasol or Thabeet. Your thoughts on that starting 5
John Hollinger (3:50 PM)
The league record for fewest assists in a season stands in serious peril. As I mentioned in my preview, this team puts the "Me" in "Memphis"
Do you see OJ Mayo playing more of a PG role on offense when playing with Allen Iverson?
John Hollinger (3:52 PM)
i keep hearing talk about this, but Mayo to me isn't much of a PG candidate. He can handle the ball but he can't even beat SGs off the dribble, much less PGs, and he looks for his jumper more than anything.
Kyle (Cleveland, OH)
Will the Magic still have a match up advantage over the Cavs with VC instead of Hedo?
John Hollinger (3:54 PM)
That went away regardless -- Cleveland brought in Shaq to deal with Howard and Moon and Parker to deal with the size on the perimeter. Besides, I never thought the Turkoglu match-up was the big problem for Cleveland in that series -- it was Howard who killed them.
Do you think not having the alley-oops to Chandler this year will hurt CP3's assist averages?
John Hollinger (3:55 PM)
They only hooked up on those an average of less than once a game, and Okafor is far more capable of making short bank shots and finishes off passes away from the hoop than Chandler. So basically, no.
Should the Clippers make a move to get a small forward? Thornton doesn't seeem like the right fit for them.
John Hollinger (3:56 PM)
Would love to see that and it wouldn't shock me if Butler started and Thornton became a sixth man, where his offensive tendencies wouldn't be so disruptive. But bigger need for Clips right now is backup PG -- you have one of the league's most injury prone starters and you're riding Telfair as the backup? Good luck with that.
Who in your eyes is a good backup pg? I'm comparing Dragic's numbers with Farmar's and they're extremely comparable. I think you need to go back and examine Dragic's season past the first half.
John Hollinger (3:57 PM)
Thank you for making my case for me -- Farmar was terrible last year. I have about a hundred Laker fans nodding in agreement right now. Farmar has tremendous talent, which he displayed the year before and may again this year, but both he and Dragic were awful in 2008-09.
Ajee (Flagstaff, AZ)
If Toronto gets off to a rough start, could you see a potential trade of Chris Bosh, so that they don't lose him for nothing in the summer? Perhaps, the Knicks could get him with a Gallinari, Jordan Hill package that includes an expiring contract like Darko.
John Hollinger (3:58 PM)
I think the Knicks would be reluctant to trade assets like that for Bosh if they knew they could get him for free after the season (and that trading for Bosh eliminated their pursuit of LeBron). But I do think the Raps would have to look hard at a Bosh trade if they struggle, because if they don't win 45 I seriously doubt he's staying.
Pleasure P (ATL)
Why do you hate on the lakers, specifically Kobe so much?
John Hollinger (3:59 PM)
Glad to see everyone's in midseason form around here. Now we just need some Jazz fans to start arguing about Chris Paul and we'll be all set.
Mike (College Park, Md)
Any chance the Jazz could deal Boozer for a 3 who can score? Stephen Jackson? John Salmons? Couldn't either one of those make the Jazz serious contenders?
John Hollinger (4:01 PM)
More than a 3 who can score, I think they need one who can shoot. I know they have Korver but he's seriously one-dimensional and he actually hasn't shot *that* well since coming to Utah -- just in the high 30s. If they could get somebody like Mike Miller or Ray Allen (not that they're available) ... that would be a game-changer.
Regarding your opener - how come a Portland vs. Orlando finals is such a bad thing for the NBA, while a Pittsburgh vs. Arizona isn't in anybody's mind a low-ratings affair?
John Hollinger (4:03 PM)
Because somehow the Steelers have more fans than just about anybody -- think more along the lines of the Tennessee-St. Louis Super Bowl for your comparison.
You said earlier that it was OK to boo Captain Jack because he is a big boy, who can handle it. What in his past makes you think that is true? Maybe boo from the upper deck, but if you are anywhere near courtside, I think you'd do so at your own peril.
John Hollinger (4:04 PM)
A valid point. If you're seated in the lower bowl, you probably should have an exit strategy.
Are we going to see D. Rose in the All-Star game this year or is he going to get snubbed again for the likes of Mo Williams
John Hollinger (4:06 PM)
Clarification: Rose didn't get snubbed last year. He wasn't nearly good enough. That may very well change this year if his playoff performance is any basis, but he'll have to improve his defense dramatically (most overlooked story of last season was how godawful he was on D) and keep working on the jumper.
What chances do the Bulls have of getting one of the big money free agents after the year?
John Hollinger (4:07 PM)
A fantastic one, and I think they've been very much under the radar in the 2010 free agency discussions -- especially since it's Dwyane Wade's hometown. That, incidentally, is why you'll probably see Chicago stand pat with this roster even if they struggle.
John Hollinger (4:07 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have but thanks again for all the great questions. We'll do this again on Tuesday, when all the player comments should be available.