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 2 p.m. ET!
John Hollinger (2:01 PM)
Greetings everyone, playoff races heating up and we're getting into awards season, so let's get right to it.
I don't think it's really fair to choose an MVP based on the most indispensable player because then a big man would win every year as there are so few good big men.
John Hollinger (2:03 PM)
you can argue if that should be the criteria. Here's the thing -- when people ask themselves if Most Valuable should mean Best Player on the Best Team, or Most Irreplaceable, or the Just Plain Best, or the Did The Most With the Least ... none of those answers are Rose. (Kobe, Howard, LeBron, Howard are the correct answers). I can't see any way to define "most valuable" where Rose comes out as the answer.
Chances Tony Allen gets awarded to an all defensive team?
John Hollinger (2:04 PM)
In my mind he's a no-brainer for the first team, and would have challenged Howard for Defensive Player of the Year if Hollins had played him all year. I think he'll safely make second team at worst, but we've seen some weird all-defense votes the last couple years.
Love your MVP article -- who would be your top 5 if you had a ballot?
John Hollinger (2:07 PM)
Interesting question, because if I had a ballot in real life I'd probably put Rose on it at 4 or 5 so as not to overly influence the vote. I'd definitely have Howard first, then I'd probably start splitting hairs between Kobe, LeBron and Dirk for the next three spots. I'd go LeBron, Kobe, then Dirk today, but perhaps not ten days from now. It's pretty close among them.
Where is the love for Ginobli and Nowitzki in the MVP race?
John Hollinger (2:08 PM)
Ginobili hasn't played enough or at a high enough level. Dirks' case is both helped and hurt by all the games he missed -- helped because it showed how bad Dallas is without him, hurt because, well, he missed all those games.
Chris (Los Angeles)
Olajuwan only won one MVP. This stuff happens. Nothing's changed. Get used to it. Jordan should have won it every friggin' year but he didn't.
John Hollinger (2:08 PM)
Congratulations for stumbling on the strongest plank in Rose's MVP case -- the This Is How We've Always Done It defense. I assume you're still pulling for the league leader in wins to get the Cy Young Award every year too.
Will (Hilton Head)
What's the best case scenario for the Nuggets in the playoffs?
John Hollinger (2:10 PM)
They aren't beating L.A., but I wouldn't be stunned if they won two rounds. It will be tough, even as well as they're playing, because the playoff format favors a star-laden team like OKC more than depth-driven team like Denver, and because they won't have home court in either of the first two rounds. But they're on an incredible roll, and their depth is a real weapon.
Rose has led his team to the best record in the East, while missing Boozer and Noah for a ton of games. How is that not incredibly valuable?
John Hollinger (2:11 PM)
The issue isn't whether it's valuable. The issue is whether it's more valuable than what's been done by every single other player in the entire league. Orlando is third in the NBA in defense with no good defensive players except Howard. Ponder that for a second. Tough to compete with value like that.
Show Ya Luv! (Philly)
Doug Collins = COY, right? What coach has done more with less talent, no all-star considerations?
John Hollinger (2:13 PM)
He'll be in the running, but in all honesty I think he's benefiting in part from something called "Not Being Eddie Jordan." Thibodeau has to be first for how he has the Bulls playing, although VDN should get a cut of his trophy, and I'd put Popovich and George Karl ahead of Collins right now too.
Did Pop's emphasis on the regular season doom San Antonio to a 1st or second round exit because of recent injuries?
John Hollinger (2:14 PM)
Take a look at the Spurs' minutes -- he wasn't playing his guys that much. You can't control when ankles turn, it just happens. Spurs may end up with a tough first-round series against Memphis now, although it looks increasingly like they may get Portland instead.
You just really credited Vinny Del Negro in the Bulls success? Congratulations.. somehow you just got dumber eyes of Bulls fans.
John Hollinger (2:15 PM)
You misread me ... I meant that following in VDN's footsteps makes Thibodeau's impact look even greater.
I'm a die hard fan and I want to know what you think about our chances against Dal Or SA in the playoffs. We're too big for SA and they're hurt. And We beat Dal in the series 3-1 this year. And why isn't Hollins getting more consideration for COY??? And Darrell Arthur for Sixth Man
John Hollinger (2:16 PM)
Hollins for COY when he forgot Tony Allen was on the team for half the year? Uh, don't think so. But he does have them playing hard, I'll give him that. As far as the Griz, ideally they'd move up to 6 and get Dallas, because I think they can give the Mavs a ton of problems.
Craig (Oklahoma City)
What's your biggest upset if the playoffs started today?
John Hollinger (2:18 PM)
I think you have to look at Atlanta-Orlando actually. I don't even think the Hawks are any good, but that match-up is just about perfect for them, as we saw again last night. OKC-Denver is another good probability, as is Memphis against anyone except the Lakers.
Damon (Santa Cruz)
The conception that Rose could have been replaced with any of Rondo, CP3, DWill, etc., and the Bulls still would have done as well is bogus. Name one PG the Bulls would trade Rose for. He's the MVP.
John Hollinger (2:19 PM)
Name one C the Magic would trade Howard for. Name one SG the Lakers would trade Kobe for. Name one SF the Heat would trade LeBron for. Sorry, gotta do better than that. The Bulls would never trade Rose for Westbrook, but if it happened they would be in largely the same place.
Who cares about MVP? Let's talk playoffs! Can Boston pull themselves together in time to stop the Bulls (or even the Heat)?
John Hollinger (2:21 PM)
Think you might want to focus on the Sixers before you start pondering later rounds ... Philly has played well of late and they've done very well against Boston this year -- a -2 margin in three meetings, with the fourth on Tuesday in Beantown. I'm very worried about the Cs right now but will get an up close look at them in the ATL tomorrow.
After watching the Magic lately, what do you see as their weakness?? Not in terms of depth at a position, but a schematic weakness. I say perimeter defense....
John Hollinger (2:24 PM)
Perimeter D is a problem, yes, but Howard makes up for a lot of it. Orlando loses when it's offense struggles. Right now the things that stick out for me are 1) lack of depth between Redick being out and Arenas being so unrelentingly awful, and 2) Turk and Nelson aren't quite good enough to create quality shots consistently.
If not Rose, who is responsible for the Bulls' Association-best point differential?
John Hollinger (2:26 PM)
Rose is more responsible than any one else on the Bulls ... but the responsibility is a lot more widely distributed than it is on most teams. Like I mentioned in the story, Boozer, Noah and Deng would all be Orlando's second-best player, so it's tough to make the Rose-has-done-it-with-nothing claim. And the bench, of course, has been lights out.
Why the sudden backlash against Rose being MVP?? No one had a problem with it until the last few weeks, he has gotten any answer, in my opinion he has only gotten better, winning a good chunk of the Bulls games for them. Has that some how hurt his case for MVP because I don't see a reason for the backlash?
John Hollinger (2:27 PM)
I can't speak for anyone else, but I've always done an MVP column at this time of year. But as far as Rose just getting better ... no. Actually, his stats since the All-Star break are Baron-esque, but the Bulls have been winning anyway.
Bosh is the most irreplaceable player on the Heat. Does that make him more valuable than Lebron?
John Hollinger (2:28 PM)
A fallacy of the "bad backup test." You could replace Bosh with several other power forwards and do as well or better; it just happens that the Heat don't employ any of them.
Baron-esque? How can you justify that, when Rose literally scrapped together a win where dropped a 32-17 line, and when he assisted 17 of the team's 24 shots that were NOT made by him!?
John Hollinger (2:32 PM)
Because there were 19 other games since the break, and he shot bricks in most of them, except for the one where he had ten turnovers. Look, if Rose averaged 30 and 17 then he'd obviously be the MVP, but you can cherry pick the best games from lots of players and make them look like an MVP. But he's at 40.8% since the break and 28.9% on 3s.
John, please comment on how truly awful Outlaw has been. How could prok allow Thorn - who had one foot out the door - make such a signing?
John Hollinger (2:33 PM)
I think that might have been Avery's call actually, but I'm really amazed at how awful Outlaw has become in such a short amount of time. I saw him a ton of him in Portland, and he looked like a ghost of that player last weekend in Atlanta. Makes me wonder if the injury last year robbed some of his athleticism.
Kevin O'Connor (SLC)
How bout a question from a team that used to be in the playoffs? Help me out here John. What do I do with this group I've got, and who should I be looking to deal?
John Hollinger (2:35 PM)
I think they have a decent foundation, they just have to get better wing players -- that's what's killed them the past few years. AK's expiring will at least clear up the contract mess, but they really need Hayward to start showing a pulse. Should probably also try to move Raja Bell.
Is the key to the Magic's success in the playoffs....JJ Redick?! He's their best bench player, and without him, that means Arenas or QRich has to play more.
John Hollinger (2:36 PM)
It's scary to think that might be true ... but I'm not sure he's gonna be back for a while. Abdomenal injuries are notoriously slow-healing, and he's still up in Vancouver working with the docs.
Samuel (Long Beach CA)
Why has Milwakee been struggling in their offense so much, and just all around? Before the season started I was expecting them to be the number 6 or even 5 seed? Why the dropoff? Are injuries throughought the season to blame?
John Hollinger (2:38 PM)
Three factors to me: 1) injuries, especially losing Jennings for so long when they had a stopgap solution at backup PG and losing Gooden for basically all year, 2) Maggette suddenly getting old; he was going to cure the FT problems from a year ago, but he lost a step (at least). 3) They should have signed-and-traded Salmons and cashed in on his strong close last year. Now he's dead weight with that deal.
Where the bulls actually smart by not trading omar asik for courtney lee? you see that block on kevin love?
John Hollinger (2:38 PM)
Nobody even knows who Asik is, but the dude is an amazingly good help defender and very springy off the flooor. He's still mistake-prone on offense, but defensively he's a monster.
Amar'e Stoudemire (NYC)
Wait, you're telling me Milwaukee's offense has been STRUGGLING?!
John Hollinger (2:39 PM)
Well played. Yes, when the Bucks don't play the Knicks they have all kinds of problems. In ATL two weeks ago they hardly ever got inside the 3-point line off the dribble.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
I feel that the Nugs will trade Ray Felton after the season and give Lawson the full-time PG spot. Would you agree with that decision?
John Hollinger (2:40 PM)
They might, but I'd only do that if they can package some goods to get a star -- kind of like the Melo deal the Knicks made, except while retaining their sanity. Felton can be a very good third guard because he's comfortable playing off the ball and can check bigger players.
What changed your mind about the Bulls bench? In your NBA preview you thought they were shallow (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/preview2010/news/story?page=Predictions1011-Bulls). Was it a particular player emerging?
John Hollinger (2:42 PM)
Good point. A couple of things swung it for me -- first of all, they start Bogans so Brewer is coming off the bench. Second, Asik. I had his offense and rebounding projected about right from his Euro stats, but I had no idea he'd be this kind of defensive presence. And finally, Taj Gibson made some pretty sizable improvements on D. I probably should have seen that one coming.
Odom for 6th man of the year? Dude has done everything this year.
John Hollinger (2:43 PM)
got my vote.
April 10th, Bulls vs. Magic, winner takes MVP. Deal?
John Hollinger (2:43 PM)
Can they switch teammates at halftime?
Provincial Knicks Fans (NYC)
Why no MVP love for Carmelo Anthony? He's a superstar!
Ok, so you are not a big buyer of Melo. Considering the Knicks have placed the next 4-5 years of the franchise behind Melo and Stat, to give them the best shot at being a title contender, do you think they should go after some high energy role players at point and center or try to get another max contract like a Chris Paul?
John Hollinger (2:45 PM)
What the Knicks need most are a 2 and a 5 who care about nothing except defending and making spot-up jump shots. Toney Douglas might actually be the guy at the 2, even if he's a little small. At the 5? Still a casting call.
Did the hawks make a mistake in trading Jordan Crawford. 39 points last night!
John Hollinger (2:47 PM)
Not sure yet. He's getting a lot of points but massively inefficiently. Clearly he can create shots but he's just a head down gunner right now, gotta see if he can refine that skill at all.
Hey John, big bulls fan here. I think you're probably right about this MVP debate, but you still suck.
John Hollinger (2:47 PM)
Um, thanks. I think.
CBars (Windy City)
Hawks made the mistake when they signed JJ to max contract.
John Hollinger (2:49 PM)
You say "The" like it's the only one. But I have some good news -- while the Hawks still can't afford a real coach, they did switch to using fresh cream at the media room coffee machine. One of only a few doing that.
If the Bulls make the Finals, do they have a shot of beating the Lakers? Gasol destroyed Boozer in the playoffs last year, and while Rose is a huge advantage over Fisher, Kobe is also a huge advantage over anyone the Bulls can put at sg.
John Hollinger (2:50 PM)
I think they do have a good shot vs. L.A. yes. Boozer will be exposed defensively vs. L.A.'s bigs, but Thibs' system works very well against iso scorers like Kobe and Fish is gonna be a traffic cone for Rose. Bulls might be the one team that would rather face L.A. than San Antonio.
I watch a lot of Bulls games and I can tell you why Rose's shooting has been horrible. He see's waves of defenders constantly running at him. I can't imagine there is another player in the league drawing more defensive attention right now (granted, partly due to LeBron having another top-5 player beside him). And thats why stats alone do not tell the whole story.
John Hollinger (2:51 PM)
Watch a Magic game, and watch it **off the ball**. I'll show you defensive attention.
Kirk Hinrich and Jason/Jaron Collins is the difference between getting blown out and winning a 7 game series??
John Hollinger (2:53 PM)
No, the Magic also are a lot different than they were a year ago ... almost entirely for the worse.
Isn't it a bad sign when your team seems thrilled just to be able to beat the Nets at home?
John Hollinger (2:53 PM)
It is, but it's better than the alternative. Knicks had lost a few close ones to good teams in the losing streak, so they were bound to have it turn their way in these last two.
Are you seeing the effects of losing Perkins on the Celtics or are they just trying to get healthy and rested before the playoffs?
John Hollinger (2:55 PM)
The entire problem for Boston has been on offense, so pegging the trade of Perkins seems terribly misplaced. Rondo is in a bad slump, the other guys seem a little dead-legged, and the injuries have sapped the bench. But I'll be watching Cs much more intently in next 48 hours.
I liked your article about Rose v Dwight on the MVP... but this happens every year, a guy producing better numbers on a 50 win team will miss out because his team isn't as good as the guy on the 60 win team. It happened to Kobe when Dirk & Nash won it, it happened to Lebron when Kobe won it, it happened to Wade when Lebron won it 2 years ago, and Durant again to Lebron last year. Its just hard to call them "valuable" when they are such an important player on such a good team
John Hollinger (2:57 PM)
Kidd won 52. Nash won 54. Iverson won 56. But if you want to set the wins cut-off even higher, it still isn't Rose, it's Kobe. That's the issue this year -- no matter how you define the question, the answer isn't Rose. But people are voting for stories instead of players.
Jordan (Los Angeles, CA)
So how exactly is facing SA harder in the finals for the bulls compared to the Lakers?
John Hollinger (2:59 PM)
The way they play defense under Thibs -- flood the strong side, make the other team play drive and kick. It's why they had so much trouble with a Euro-style like Toronto's. San Antonio got 103 and 99 in the two meetings; I don't know how well they'll stop the Bulls, but they can score on them.
John, have you watched the Bulls play at all this year? Even one game? I think people would take your MVP talk more seriously if you can tell us you've actually seen Derrick Rose play and not just the highlights on NBATV.
John Hollinger (3:02 PM)
Seen them in person four times -- Rockets, Magic, Hawks and Blazers. But of course, it's a well-known fact that if you use stats it means you don't watch games, because everyone knows that anyone so interested in the game that they're willing to comb through all this data couldn't possibly like the game enough to watch it, too.
john in your article today you said that howard should win mvp based on the fact that there are no other good centers in the league, does that mean that in 1994 karl malone should've won over olajuwon because there were so many good centers but the power forward position was weak?
John Hollinger (3:03 PM)
It's not just that there are no good centers .. it's that there's nobody you could replace Howard with, at any position.
How about Jerry Sloan for COY? Just look at how much the Jazz have fallen since he stepped aside and you realize how much he brought to the table, and how he made this team better than it really is...
John Hollinger (3:04 PM)
He's definitely leading all coaches in on-court vs. off-court differential. Give him that.
Dwight Howard (Orlando, FL)
John -- Come on sure im a statistically beast for 46 mins but doesn't an MVP have to play all 48? Meaning I can't shoot free throws and become a liability at end of games
John Hollinger (3:04 PM)
This argument always slays me. The other team has the ball at the end of games too, right? But the best defensive player in the league is a liability in that situation?
What year did Kidd win the MVP again?
John Hollinger (3:07 PM)
Came a close second in 2003, in what would have been the greatest award travesty in league history. That's why I mentioned him here, and in the story -- the "voting the story" theme was the same. And that's really the mentality I'm trying to change in today's story -- what annoys me is not that Rose will win but the mindset that produced the result. And I'm sorry, but saying "this is how we've always done it" isn't good enough.
John Hollinger (3:08 PM)
Folks that's all the time I have but thanks again for all the great questions. We'll do this again next week.
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