Chat with John Hollinger
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, NBA columnist John Hollinger will stop by to share his thoughts on all of the NBA news.
Send your questions now and join Hollinger Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
John Hollinger (2:07 PM)
What's up everyone. Big 48 hours here at Hollinger HQ -- got the Bulls visiting the ATL tonight, and then it's off to Boston for Geekapalooza, aka the Sloan Sports conference.
So John, after watching Jameer Nelson go God mode on the Knicks last night, would you agree that he should be a higher scoring option while on the court?
John Hollinger (2:08 PM)
I hear Orlando fans talking about Jameer, but to me the 2nd half last night illustrated the other half of the equation -- Chauncey can't check quick guards. It's the one drawback from Felton-Billups exchange. Knicks should have had Douglas on Nelson and Chauncey defending Redick.
How is Dwight Howard not the leading contender for MVP, he is the leading candidate for DPOY, Top 3 Rebounder, Top 10 in the league in scoring and manages to make a bunch of mediocre defenders seem above average. Without him the Magics defense would resemble Golden State.
John Hollinger (2:10 PM)
To clear this up, I think Howard is a top-2 candidate, along with LeBron. Last night was a good example -- He totally dominated first quarter offensively, and then totally dominated 4th defensively. What was amazing was watching him bottle up Amare and then still rotate off to stop Melo and others.
I love the Raps core (Bargnani, DeRozan, Davis, & Johnson) and believe Calderon is in the to 40% of starting pg's in the NBA - Do you think I'm being overly optimistic about their future?
John Hollinger (2:11 PM)
Yes. The aforementioned core consist of two average players and two others aspiring to someday be average. Calderon is in the top 40% offensively and the bottom 2% defensively. Basically, Toronto has a bunch of decent players, but without a star or two it's going to be tough to move beyond 30 wins.
If and when the Grizz make the playoffs, which of the top 4 seeds do they match up best with and is there any chance of an upset?
John Hollinger (2:13 PM)
Well, I think they certainly have San Antonio a bit freaked out -- they played them to two close losses in San Antonio, owned them in Memphis last night, and Rudy Gay hasn't played a second in any of the three games. But as I wrote yesterday, I think they match up fairly well against any of the top four, and they're the one team that I'd want to avoid if I were one of them.
Don't know much about Rasual Butler, but he is supposedly headed to the Bulls. What can we expect to see from him?
John Hollinger (2:14 PM)
Invisibility, mostly. He's a role player and knows it -- all he will do is shoot long Js off the catch, and otherwise he'll hide in the corner on offense. He's fairly long and a decent defender even though he's a C athlete. Basically he's a taller Keith Bogans.
Adam Pratt Kern (Portsmouth)
Brewer to Celts a done deal? Seems like the best fit. DA is a genius.
John Hollinger (2:15 PM)
Issue for Brewer comes down to money -- he's got teams offering multiyear deals out of their midlevel exception money, which Boston can't match. I think it may come down to Charlotte, Dallas and New Orleans. It would be awesome if New Orleans outbid Dallas, just to see Mark Cuban's reaction.
you think arroyo will land a job somewhere this season? celts lack a backup PG
John Hollinger (2:16 PM)
Yes I do. I'm not sure if Boston's the place, I would think San Antonio has to take a hard look at him if they miss out on Brewer, or even if they don't. (Chris Quinn? Seriously? You really think we're buying that?)
Jeff (Houston TX)
If you were to predict ( with the current trend of stars teaming up) who do you think Deron Williams would team up with?
John Hollinger (2:17 PM)
Here's a possiblity NOBODY is talking about: Deron Williams and Dwight Howard teaming up in Anaheim for a relocated Kings team. Look at the cap situations, look at the market ... gotta think it's a possibility, right?
MATT (San Antonio)
First things first john, can the spurs maintain HCA with tony out? Second, whats the word on C. Brewer? The idea of him bolstering our defense has us spurs fans drooling.
John Hollinger (2:19 PM)
It will be extremely difficult for San Antonio to punt a six-game advantage away in just 23 games, so I wouldn't sweat that one. As for Brewer, I think the Spurs like him for exactly the reason you mentioned. But I also think they're going to lose the bidding to a team with midlevel exception money.
It's only been four games, but what do you think the chances are that Denver overtakes OKC for in the division? I like the defense we are suddenly seeing.
John Hollinger (2:21 PM)
Overtaking OKC is probably a pipe dream, but I think there's a real chance Denver hangs on to the fifth seed in the West. The new Nuggets aren't as talented as the Melo-Billups group, but they're not as distracted either. End result, this is probably still a 46-ish win team. And I think their future remains pretty bright now that they're **finally** out of the Kenyon-induced cap hell that Kiki Vandeweghe left them in.
Anaheim - the New Jersey of the West.
John Hollinger (2:22 PM)
The Clippers resent that comment. I think Anaheim sees themselves as more akin to Philadelphia. But ask Stein, he's the expert on Orange County.
What do you think Washington should do personnel wise? The buy-outs of Thornton and Bibby signal that the front office is trying to save money for 2012?
John Hollinger (2:24 PM)
No, the buyout of Bibby was just straight manna from heaven. Trust me, they were thinking he'd stay there next year and help mentor John Wall, but when he agreed to leave $6 mil on the table they jumped on it. As for Thornton, he was gone next year anyway. I think the one change is that it makes it more plausible for Wiz to pursue free agents after re-signing Nick Young ... but they may also sit tight for another year.
Unbelievable what a difference Coach Thibs has made for the Bulls. Is he the coach of the year?
John Hollinger (2:25 PM)
He is in my book. As hard as it is to dismiss what Pop has done in San Antonio, or Doug Collins (my preseason pick) in Philly, or the underrated work Rick Carlisle has done with a rather imperfect roster in Dallas ... it's gotta be Thibs for how ridiculously they've overachieved at the defensive end.
JimmyZ (PHX, AZ)
Why ATL over PDX in your decision on where to live permanently?
John Hollinger (2:27 PM)
1) it's been sunny and 70 degrees here all week. PDX, not so much. 2) it's waaaay easier to cover the league from here, with a major hub and half the teams within a two-hour flight. On the negative side, the coffee sucks.
What are reasonable expectations for the Sixers in the playoffs? Any chance they upset the Celtics, Bulls or Magic? I know we're not built to play the heat.
John Hollinger (2:29 PM)
I'm not sure Philly's style translates well to match-ups against any of those four teams, but they seem to have played Boston fairly well the last couple of years. But basically, I'd suggest just enjoying the two home playoff games.
Blazers struggles since the Wallace trade: Any serious reason for concern?
John Hollinger (2:30 PM)
To me the obvious concern is whether Aldridge hurt his knee worse then he's letting on in the Atlanta game. If he's OK, then it's no major worries. If not, however, they just aren't going to be able to score enough to beat any good teams.
Why no love for Chuck Hayes in Defensive Player of the Year rankings?
John Hollinger (2:31 PM)
We don't grade on a curve based on height. What Chuck does is amazing because he's 6-6 ... but that doesn't make him better than Dwight Howard.
Initial thoughts on how Kirk Hinrich fits in with the Hawks? Can he help them get over the hump in the playoffs?
John Hollinger (2:32 PM)
Can't believe the Hawks' fortune in getting all three Bulls match-ups right after they picked up Hinrich. Could you imagine Bibby trying to guard Rose? ... As you can probably tell, I think Hinrich dramatically improves the Hawks defensively and that's been the case in the first three games, but I'm not sure it ultimately gets them any further in the playoffs. Well, unless he can guard Dwight Howard that is.
What do you think the Jazz should do with all their PFs? Next season I feel Favors should be starting. Who is the odd man out?
John Hollinger (2:33 PM)
I see Millsap returning to his sixth man role. He's had trouble playing with as much energy in a 40-minute situation, and starting exposes his shortcomings (literally) defensively.
Chris (Philadelphia, PA)
How high is Kobe on your current MVP ballot? He's consistently been in the top 6 of PER (now #5) and he plays for an elite contender. While this doesn't place him above someone like LeBron, he's certainly in the top 3 or 4, right? At least above the likes of Paul (worse PER, worse record), Rose (better record, but significantly worse PER), and Durant (worse PER, worse record), right? In fact, this may be an underrated story at this point - of the PER top 10, he's the only 30-something and one past his prime - no small feat considering the league's current glut of talent.
John Hollinger (2:35 PM)
You're correct that, amazingly, Kobe probably isn't getting as much MVP attention this year as he should, and that he probably should be higher on ballots than Rose and Durant. I still see it as a LeBron-Howard top two, then a wide gap, and then we can start having debates about other guys.
Jonathan (Cambridge, MA)
Is there any chance that Jeff Green pulls a Boris Diaw and shows a vast improvement simply because he was playing the wrong position?
John Hollinger (2:36 PM)
I think there's a chance, yes, but let's be realistic about the level of improvement -- Diaw had one of the greatest one-year PER jumps in league history, so don't use that as the barometer. But I think Green can be very effective when he plays against 3s and takes them into the block. When he plays against 4s and tries to spot up on the perimeter, not so much.
It's a FIVE game lead the Spurs have!
John Hollinger (2:37 PM)
It was six when Parker went out, so that was my focus. But yes, it is now five games with 22 left to play.
Should Heat fans be concerned with their record against good teams (even though they are losing these games at a low point differential). Also what do you think of the Bibby signing?
John Hollinger (2:39 PM)
I know people want to make a big deal about this and say how much it matters, but honestly, it doesn't matter. Or to put it more precisely, there is no evidence that how you play against Boston and Dallas is any more predictive, come playoff time, than how you play against Cleveland and Toronto. For reference, Miami fans may want to research how their 2006 title team fared against the "elite" squads in the regular season.
Tony Allen D player of year? He has got to be in the running his steals per 48 minutes and the way he has changed the Grizz D intensity?
John Hollinger (2:40 PM)
He hasn't played enough minutes to win that prize, but he is the best perimeter defensive player in the league. Chris Wallace should get more credit than he's been given for that signing.
Marc (Malden, MA)
The Perkins for Green trade sucks.
John Hollinger (2:41 PM)
I want to see how they look with Shaq before I weight in too strongly one way or the other. But I'll get a closer look on Friday at the Gah-den for Cs-Warriors.
Al, Los Angeles [via mobile]
J: why didn't the Lakers get involved in the last minute player movement? They are playing better of late...think they have the team to win a third in a row?
John Hollinger (2:42 PM)
What did they have to offer? The only thing the Lakers could have done is traded a bad contract for an even worse one, because they didn't have any good draft picks or young players or even expiring contracts to put into a deal.
Andre Igudala is a better defender than Tony Allen.
John Hollinger (2:44 PM)
I won't go that far, but I do think his defense is vastly underrated. People who dump on his contract don't understand how rare it is to have a wing player who can do what he does at both ends ... but now that the Sixers are winning he's likely to be viewed more as "part of the solution" and less as "part of the problem."
Have you heard anything about colangelo's possible extension? Will it happen and do you think he should be extended?
John Hollinger (2:46 PM)
I'm told it's very likely to happen. I'm lukewarm on it; certainly there are worse GMs in the league than Colangelo, but if I were MLSE I wouldn't be giving him a long-term deal and I would really push him to make a more inspired coaching hire.
Why would the knicks waive Corey Brewer and sign Derrick Brown? Am I missing something here?
John Hollinger (2:48 PM)
It's not why they would waive Brewer and sign Brown, who is a useful player, but why they would waive Brewer to sign Jared Jeffries. Conspiracy theorists trying to prove that Isiah Thomas is secretly pulling the levers at MSG should use this move as Exhibit A. The fact that a dozen teams fell all over themselves to chase Brewer shows you what a moronic move it was for the Knicks to cut him loose.
Do you think Rose is a 1st or 2nd team all-NBA?
John Hollinger (2:50 PM)
With CP's recent slump I think it's now extremely likely that Rose is first-team All-NBA. We still have 20 games left and anything can happen, but I'm guessing team is something like Rose-LeBron-Dirk-Howard, with battle between Wade and Kobe at the 2 the wild card.
Is there any analytical basis for thinking Shane Battier was worth trading for Hasheem Thabeet? What was Daryl Morey thinking?
John Hollinger (2:52 PM)
They got a first round pick and saved luxury tax money. That about offset any risk of paying Thabeet's contract next year. Whatever they get from him on the court is gravy. But from an analytical basis, I think Houston's logic is that they used the late-model Dikembe Mutombo as a one-man zone very effectively, and may be able to use Thabeet the same way.
you sure duncan isn't 1st team all nba? He did start the all star game
John Hollinger (2:52 PM)
Well played. Somebody ask if he'd like to the power forward or the center.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
Is Jeff Green any good as a defender? His defensive plus-minus numbers are not good and his adjusted plus-minus is even worse. Can it all be explained by playing the wrong position? Seems sketchy.
John Hollinger (2:55 PM)
Actually I think that's the entirety of the explanation -- OKC asked Green to check starting power forwards and he couldn't do it, plus the guy who replaced him (Ibaka) is a monster on D so it made his comparisons look even worse. For reference check the Memphis game when Z-Bo had 87 points and 38 rebounds. Or maybe it just felt that way. But Green is big and mobile, and I have to think Boston got him with one player in mind: LeBron James.
San Antonio got pounded last night missing its third-best player. How much of its success this season is a mirage caused by perfect health?
John Hollinger (2:56 PM)
Don't overthink this: they're 49-11. They just played like crap last night. Yes, not having injuries has helped them, but many of their competitors have had few injuries too.
What are the chances Jazz move millsap and try to get a Big defensive center? Then big al can go back to PF.
John Hollinger (2:58 PM)
I think they see Favors as being that guy. But I wonder if Jazz will try to make it work with Fes again next year. He can really change games with his size if they can keep him out of the clubs.
"A relocated Kings team"? You think they are as good as gone from Sacramento?
John Hollinger (3:00 PM)
I think it's more likely than not, let me put it that way. I hate to see it happen to another great fan base, but the economics seem strongly in A-town's favor. Biggest threat is a Buss-Sterling alliance (!) working the back rooms and forming a block of owners to oppose it.
Kris (Ventura, CA)
Please tell me the Spurs are more interested in TJ Ford instead of Arroyo. At least he's the lesser of two evils. Is either player even interested in SA? We just need to plug a hole until Parker returns ...
John Hollinger (3:02 PM)
T.J. Ford? The Spurs? Surely you jet. He doesn't space the floor, he has a selfish streak, he's clashed with coaches, he's weak defensively ... not exactly your prototypical San Antonio player. Also, it's a moot point, as the Pacers haven't bought him out.
Hi John. Now that your rankings are starting to spit out some good numbers for the Mavs, what are your thoughts on their chances of coming out of the West?
John Hollinger (3:03 PM)
I'm withholding judgment because I want to see more of them with Beaubois. Certainly I take them much more seriously than I did a year ago, let's put it that way. But I also wonder how much some of the smoke and mirrors on defense will work in a best-of-seven format.
They might not win a series but do you think the Suns will be a tough first round matchup for somebody with the way they are playing right now?
John Hollinger (3:05 PM)
Well, I can't imagine San Antonio is too excited about the 1-8 possibilities after what happened a year ago. But don't go too far with the "streaking Suns" meme -- if not for two buzzer shots we'd be lamenting how they lost to Indiana and New Jersey.
John Hollinger (3:05 PM)
Alright folks, that's all the time I have, but check in tonight for my report from Bulls-Hawks and we'll do this again on my regular Thursday gig next week.