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.
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John Hollinger (12:07 PM)
Greetings everyone. Fresh from a whirlwind blitz through snowy Boston for the OKC game, on to campus in Bristol, and back to the ATL for last night's game against Portland. Lots to talk about so let's jump right in.
I am shocked to see the Mavs at number 5 on your rankings. What has them this high after two straight losses and mediocre play thus far?
John Hollinger (12:09 PM)
Dallas, for those who don't know, has the highest Power Ranking of any team in the West at the moment. A couple factors are at work here. First, look at how close the ratings are between spots 5 and 10 -- it's essentially a six-way tie. But also, the Mavs are rewarded right now via the last-10 games component. Later in the year it will start looking at a larger slice of games when it weighs recent performance, so a game like the 39-point win over Sacramento won't favor them quite as heavily. But Dallas has played better than 8-7.
Say the Knicks are able to sign Nash this summer. He only has probably 1 or 2 years left in the tank. He is nothing but a band-aid to put on a gun shot wound. Where do they go from there?
John Hollinger (12:10 PM)
That's New York's window anyway. Chandler, Amare and Melo all have three years on their deals after this one. So having Nash for two of them doesn't seem like such a bad thing.
Josh Smith and Joe Johnson (two of the more underappreciated players in the league in my opinion) have stepped up their production since the loss of Horford... The Hawks have now won four straight. How do you see them faring the next three months without Al?
John Hollinger (12:12 PM)
I think it's still an open question. All four games were at home and the last three weren't exactly emphatic. There's no question that Smith in particular has stepped up his game, and the bench has been unexpectedly productive. And having already banked 11 wins gives the Hawks a lot of breathing room should they hit some snags. But I think it's fair to wonder how well this will travel -- with six of next seven on the road we'll have our answer soon.
Danny C (NY)
There is a lot of competition for rookie of the year. Which rookie has impressed you the most?
John Hollinger (12:13 PM)
Actually, I see it as a two-way race between Ricky Rubio and Kyrie Irving. MarShon Brooks is still in this too, but after those three there's a pretty big dropoff before you get to the rest of the field.
Can I start buying into the Jazz? When I watch them they look like a good team, but my gut tells me they will come back to earth.
John Hollinger (12:14 PM)
Today's Per Diem column addresses this very topic. I'll have your answer in an hour or two....
Chauncey Billups (LA)
How did I get the reputation for making big shots when I almost always miss them?
John Hollinger (12:15 PM)
Back in the day, there was an NBA franchise in Detroit. Chauncey played for them and won a championship, and for two years in particular he did what he did last night with much more regularity.
Chances of Marc Gasol making the allstar team? And, does he deserve it?
John Hollinger (12:16 PM)
Unlikely but not out of the question. As far as deserving it, it's a bit early yet to be having those discussions.
George Karl (Denver)
How can I make a serious run in the playoffs with no stars?
John Hollinger (12:17 PM)
I have questions about that too, although I would argue Lawson is a fairly potent offensive creator.
Of course we re better than our current record. Most of the West is. If we played in the East we would be ranked even higher.
John Hollinger (12:21 PM)
Those schedule differences are less impactful than people suspect. Remember, 36 of the 66 games are identical regardless of which conference you're in. For an average team, playing in this year's East is worth about 2 wins over a 66-game schedule.
Bryan (Gold Beach, OR)
With the Blazers cold shooting on the road continuing last night, can anyone still consider them a contender in the West?
John Hollinger (12:22 PM)
I would say "fringe contender" -- but it's hard to score consistently when the No. 2 and No. 3 guys in shot attempts are both bricking in the mid-30s. Also, Aldridge has shrunk in some big moments against Houston and Atlanta. That said, if they were to stumble into a true starter-quality 5 they'd be pretty fearsome.
Doc Rivers (Boston)
Ainge said he was open to the idea of trading one of the big three. Which is the most likely candidate to get traded?
John Hollinger (12:23 PM)
Cap-wise, trading Pierce makes the most sense. Allen and Garnett are free agents after the season anyway, but Pierce has a big-money deal with two seasons left on it.
After what happened in Sac Town last night does Indiana trade Granger for Gordon tonight?
John Hollinger (12:24 PM)
Indiana needs a distributor much more than it needs to trade Granger. They had 13 assists against a bad defensive team; everything is 1-on-1 iso ball. Obviously Granger is a major culprit in that, but it's because he's initiating offense rather than playing off the ball and having a competent distributor feed him clean looks.
Marvin Williams (ATL)
Why won't Larry Drew play me more than 20 minutes a game?
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
I was a little surprised by that too -- Marvin was very sharp while he was out there but Drew opted to ride T-Mac in crunch time. Williams is having a good year but virtually never finishes games regardless of how well he's playing. Last year, when he struggled, this was more understandable.
Why does Iggy still get the ball at the end of games? Shouldnt it be LouWill and potentially Turner/Holiday(both can get their own shot, though might not make it).
John Hollinger (12:26 PM)
Or better yet, they could run an actual play instead of the Iso-Hero Shot set. But this isn't a Philly problem as much as a league-wide problem.
Kenneth Faried (End of the Bench)
Hey coach, I'm down here. I'm very raw but I'm still better than Moz, Koufos and Birdman.
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
He'll get his turn. Well, as long as Karl doesn't mistakenly think he's Renaldo Balkman
Will Josh Smith be on the Eastern All-Stars this year?
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
I think this might be his year, yes. But we still have a lot of ball to play between now and when the teams are selected.
Tyler Hansbrough (Indianapolis)
Why should I pass when I can look baffled after every foul?
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Sixers = overrated. They had an easy schedule and played at least a couple teams when they were missing their best player. Discuss.
John Hollinger (12:29 PM)
Beating the hell out of bad teams is actually a very strong indicator of quality. I don't think Philly is the No. 1 team or anything, but they're going to win the Atlantic and have a top-four seed (top-three if Dwight gets moved).
Is Byron Mullens a legit starting center?
John Hollinger (12:30 PM)
Maybe. He's pretty worthless defensively and needs to show more toughness, but offensively he may be good enough to more than offset his defensive shortcomings. Few bigs shoot the ball that well, and he can do it even when he's crowded. Plus, he can jump and finish.
Manuel (Costa Rica)
Hey John, right now the Heat would meet in Magic in the first round of the playoffs. Unlikely though that would be, who do you think would take that series?
John Hollinger (12:31 PM)
Ryan (San Mateo, CA)
W's fan here. My friends continue to say that David Lee is an All-Star. Please try to contain your laughter and bring them back to reality for me.
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
Done. But it will be interesting to see if the Warriors make their ridiculous over the top nobodys-listening-to-you All-Star push for Monta again, or if they shift their attention to Lee this year.
Hollinger, I've received responses from a few of your peers at ESPN and was curious what your thoughts on a Lebron for Dwight Howard trade are. To me it seems like it makes sense for both teams and would make Miami almost unbeatable and keep the Magic relevant. What do you think?
John Hollinger (12:33 PM)
I wrote about it a couple months ago and think it makes sense on several levels. But it's not happening.
With the new rules of the CBA how do the wolves sign k-Love to a max deal and then sign Ricky 3 years later?
John Hollinger (12:34 PM)
It's actually not that complicated. I've never understood all the fretting over whether stars will extend their rookie contracts; nobody has EVER turned one down when the money got to max territory. I'd be shocked if Love, Westbrook, Griffin, Rubio et al ever taste restricted free agency.
I've no questions. I'm just chilling, enjoying my money.
meech (akron ohio )
is kobe able to keep playin 37 minutes a night and play the whole season and perform in the playoffs
John Hollinger (12:36 PM)
Henry Abbott had a very interesting dissertation today on this very topic. The Cliff Notes version: You're right to be worried about all the minutes he's playing.
John, who are good options for the Blazers in free agency? Not too many bigs out there...
John Hollinger (12:37 PM)
Well, there's this Oden kid ....
Mikhail Porkhrov (Russia)
I want to thank the Kings for funding my presidential campaign for giving Outlaw 12M.
Ricky Rubio's shot has been way off the last couple games (1-8 last night). If he keeps getting 9+ assists with great rebounding and steals numbers, is he still an effective point guard?
John Hollinger (12:38 PM)
Yes. I think we all expected his shooting numbers would regress a bit, the only question was how far. I don't expect him to keep shooting 1-for-8 any more than I expected him to keep hitting 50% on 3s. But as long as he stays above 40 he's a very valuable player because of all the other stuff he does.
Who on Houston's crowded roster is most likely to be traded come trade deadline time? Thanks
John Hollinger (12:39 PM)
I think you have to look at Budinger. He's getting squeezed on minutes, but he has one of the best contracts in basketball (900K this year and next) and he can score. On the right team he'd be a very valuable addition.
deron williams (nj)
why is everyone saying im leaving the nets because of our bad start? i said 90 % chance id stay before the season, and we can only improve our shaky defense, right? (texts dwight howard)
John Hollinger (12:40 PM)
good luck with that. If the Nets don't get Dwight, Deron is as good as gone.
Any potential trade targets for the T'Wolves? Ridnour and Ellington have stepped up but Love/Rubio definitely need help.
John Hollinger (12:42 PM)
Remember, 'Sota is still trying to develop a lot of these kids. Obviously Wes Johnson and a couple other guys have been disappointing, but it's too early to cut bait just yet.
How perfect would Budinger be on the Knicks? Could knock down the 3 and open up the court for Melo and Amare. What about a Budinger for Shumpert swap?
John Hollinger (12:44 PM)
Not sure you'd see much difference unfortunately. Knicks' entire problem is lack of a guard who can get Amare and the secondary guys easy looks; Melo can iso for his points but the rest of the offense is a mess. Also, Budinger play the same spot as Melo
Paul Pierce for Rudy Gay?
John Hollinger (12:45 PM)
Memphis would be insane to do that deal. Bigger picture, that's the problem with trading Pierce now; his value is discounted because of his age and slow start.
He may play for the first time in three years tonight - what are your thoughts on E. Curry's upside for the Heat?
John Hollinger (12:46 PM)
I have no idea why Miami is doing this. Even in his best seasons, Curry was a piece that I struggle to see fitting in Miami -- bad defender and rebounder, black hole in post, turnover-prone, etc.
Brian (San Fransisco)
John, do the Blazers HAVE to trade Batum? Not a franchise that historically overpays for potential guys...
John Hollinger (12:48 PM)
Disagree heavily on that one -- Paul Allen HATES letting young guys leave, especially since the one time he did it (Jermaine O'Neal) it burned him. I'm hearing they're still pretty far apart on an extension -- Batum's asking for a lot -- but won't be surprised if they got one done.
Kyle (Cleveland, OH)
According to Brian Windhorst, the Knicks would love to have Ramon Sessions. Would the Cavs want anyone from their roster (within reason)?
John Hollinger (12:49 PM)
Sessions would be great in New York -- classic pick-and-roll point guard who can get Amare shots and get the Knicks some points without running iso on every play. He can't guard my keyboard, but that's why he's available inexpensively. I think the Cavs might want a draft pick more than any current Knick.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Do you ever receive questions about the Charlotte Bobcats?
John Hollinger (12:50 PM)
Yes, believe it or not. Already had a Mullens question today and another poster wanted to know about Biyombo.
Andrew (West Chester, PA)
would the Rockets trade Kyle Lowry for Gasol?
John Hollinger (12:51 PM)
Faster than you can say paella. Wouldn't work under the cap without other players though.
Will the Blazers ship Marcus Camby's expiring or has he become too valuable?
John Hollinger (12:52 PM)
I can absolutely see this happening if the right deal comes along. Portland has some interesting assets it could package if it wants to go that way.
Hey John, Bobcats question here, what's the over/under on Diaw eating Biyombo, like actually consuming him...?
Is too much chemistry really a problem for the Blazers?
John Hollinger (12:54 PM)
I had this same conversation with somebody else (not Jason Quick) before last night's game; I do think it is a real phenomenon that they're all being a bit too "nice" to each other.
Melo for D-Will?
John Hollinger (12:56 PM)
Makes a ton of sense for Jersey. Makes *some* sense for New York. Keep in mind that this could be done as an extend-and-trade after the season as well. I would expect the Knicks to ask for a sweetener, given that they're basically saving the Nets from Armageddon and that Melo is having a better year than Williams.
Raymond Felton (Portland)
Please tell me my awful shooting, high turnovers, and questionable decisions on a nightly basis are just a result of the lockout and lack of off-season. I'll check your answer after I come back from Voodoo Donuts.
John Hollinger (12:58 PM)
Felton has definitely been a disappointment, and obviously heightening worries over his conditioning. He barely played in fourth quarter last night, and it's possible that if his play doesn't improve Nolan Smith will begin to ... wait for it ... eat into his minutes.
Sharad (New York, NY)
Are the Mavs better off without Kidd? It seems like he seirously stagnates the offense
John Hollinger (12:59 PM)
Still way too early to go there. But the Mavs have definitely looked their best during his absences.
You do understand that you need to show an east coast bias in these chats. Quit with the Portland questions
Laughing (In Minnesota)
You just said it's too early to cut bait on some of these disappointing Twolves. Which one is too early? Wes Johnson? Michael Beasley? Darko? This team is a competent wing away from being playoff bound. Our best actual guard is probably our rookie 2nd round pick or Martell Webster, neither of whom are healthy
John Hollinger (1:01 PM)
Too early to cut bait on Johnson, Ellington and Pekovic in particular. I would even stick with Beasley, at least for the rest of this season. I never had any faith in Darko so that's an easy call for me. But the hard part about Minnesota's newfound competence is that there's now more pressure to make winning plays consistently, and a lot of these guys are still figuring it out.
Scott (Santa Barbara)
Thoughts on Westbrook just getting paid? 5 years $78 million
John Hollinger (1:04 PM)
Apparently Yahoo is reporting this. If so it means they can only give Harden four years when he's up for his extension next year. Remember that the dollars in max extensions are always speculative -- it depends on next year's cap number and whether Westbrook qualifies for the "30%" max extension.
Wes (Frankfort, KY)
What are your thoughts on Chris Singleton so far?
John Hollinger (1:05 PM)
Same way I felt on draft day - has a chance to be a James Posey type because of his wing defense, catch and shoot 3s and rebounding. He has no other offensive skills -- can't handle or create -- and thus zero star potential, but he is freakishly big for a wing defender and could become a very effective smallball 4 in another couple years.
Does Ridnour have any trade value? He has been important for Minny, but he is kind of redundant for them to keep around, isn't he?
John Hollinger (1:06 PM)
Agree on all fronts. Ridnour is another guy who would be a great fit with the Knicks; excels at running pick-and-roll and breaking down defenses.
John Hollinger (1:07 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for the great questions and we'll do this again next week.
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