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 noon ET!
John Hollinger (12:11 PM)
Greetings from Portland everyone, where I'm witnessing sunshine for the first time in six days. Outlook is a bit less sunny for the local hoop fans after another disappointing effort from the Blazers backcourt. On to the questions ...
Pamela Handerson (...)
If you were Tom Thibodeau, would you have had Scal playing in that situation last night?
John Hollinger (12:13 PM)
Keep in mind that he had Scal in for the defensive stop, and then he kept him out there when he decided not to call timeout and press the advantage. I'm sure he would have liked to sub Korver back in and have KK take that shot, but they may not have got such a look if they'd call timeout first. Classic coaching Catch-22.
I see all these reporters say that it is time to trade Nash, but what are the Suns getting back that would be worth losing their cap space?
John Hollinger (12:14 PM)
The idea would be trade Nash for another expiring deal, plus additional assets. For instance, I'm sure Blazer fans can think of a point guard with an expiring deal that they'd happily surrender for Nash.
Dennis (Los Angeles)
Any insight on how the media and/or players around the league view the flopping situation going with the Clips? (cp3 and griffin)
John Hollinger (12:18 PM)
Said the Laker fan who was been cheering Derek Fisher doing the same thing the last 15 years. Look, lots of players do this, and generally the smartest players are the ones who are best at it. The Clippers are hardly unique in this respect, nor are they even outside the norm; if you want to see some flopping watch a Rockets game.
Any chance the Pacers are able to keep George Hill and Roy Hibbert AND sign Eric Gordon to a monster contract?
John Hollinger (12:19 PM)
They'd pretty much have to trade Granger for an expiring contract to pull that off. Getting Gordon will be easier said than done because it will require a huge offer sheet; I imagine if Gordon signed they would let Hill walk.
Should the Blazers match offers for Batum this offseason or would they be better off not overpaying?
John Hollinger (12:21 PM)
Yes to both. They'll match any reasonable offer for him. I think Blazers best-case scenario is that they can resign Gerald at a slightly lower number, sign a free agent point guard with cap space and then add Batum after all that, since his cap hold will be lower than his eventual contract dollars.
Thoughts on Shawn Marion and an unprotected 2012 1st rounder for Beasley? Dallas frees up space to chase DWill and Dwight, MN gets a potential lottery pick in a deep draft, and a veteran presence.
John Hollinger (12:23 PM)
Mavs already traded their pick for Odom; earliest one they can deal is in 2014, contingent on the pick going to L.A. this year, which it may not since it's top-20 protected. That's not much of an enticement. Besides, what does Minny want with Marion? I know Mavs fans are poring over potential scenarios to unload Marion and free cap space for the Dwight-Deron double, but this won't be easy.
Kevin (New Jersey)
How good has James Harden been? He's Top 10 in the NBA in PER, and has a TS% of .670. All-Star? Playing himself into a max contract?
John Hollinger (12:24 PM)
Harden will either get a max or near-max extension from OKC a year from now, or a max offer sheet as a restricted free agent, but that dude is definitely getting paid.
The Nuggets have just won 5 straight road games. Do you think they will get the #2 seed in the west? And if so get to the conference finals?
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
I think the first part of your question is more likely than the second. I still have questions about how Denver matches up in a postseason series that is less driven by depth, but the Playoff Odds project them to land second in the West in the regular season.
Would you rather have Eric Gordon for the next 4 years or James Harden?
John Hollinger (12:26 PM)
Harden. Just think he's more creative and has more room to improve.
How is Lamar Odom this bad? Has he been shooting right-handed this season?
John Hollinger (12:26 PM)
I'm as flabbergasted as you are. Even the standard "I'm out of shape" guys don't see a decline anywhere near this drastic. We may need to rename the Fluke Rule the Lamar Odom Rule.
What are your feelings regarding the new contracts for Danilo Gallinari (4 yrs and $42M) and Kosta Koufos (3 yrs. and $9M w/ opt-out by team). Did the Denver Nuggets over-pay? Can Wilson Chandler be used as a trade chip?
John Hollinger (12:27 PM)
Today's Per Diem is on those two extensions and that of Kevin Love. Be patient.
Billy King (New Jersey)
One game behind the Knicks? Two games out of Playoffs? All this without Brook Lopez?Things aren't looking as bad as I thought after week 2, huh?
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
I'm as amazed as you are. I went to New Jersey's first two home games and they looked ridiculously bad; in fact they never held a lead in either game. Between the awfulness of the East and their own mini-recovery, they still have a real shot at postseason.
Jeff (Clearwater, FL)
What are the odds that the Timberwolves end up with a better record than the Mavericks?
John Hollinger (12:29 PM)
Better than zero, but it's a percentage in the single digits. Not easy to make up games in the standings with the short season, and Dallas was playing without a certain German chap who's pretty good.
Why aren't there more articles on Kyrie Irving? He's not as flashy as Rubio, but his stats show that he's a far more impactful player on his team at this point in the season and is a potential star in the making.
John Hollinger (12:30 PM)
Well, I wrote about Irving, so short of writing several more articles saying the same things I'm not sure what I can do. Rubio is a fascinating player to watch, but his shooting numbers are regressing back toward what we expected.
How's the Chris Paul deal looking now? Gordon is a) injured and b) leaving. Aminu and Kaman > Scola, Martin, Odom, and Dragic? Good call, commissioner.
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
I don't think Gordon is leaving. Restricted free agency still gives a big advantage to the home team. Indiana will go hard after Gordon since he's a rare "gettable" free agent for them, but New Orleans will match. And by the way, have you seen Odom and Scola this season?
Discuss the Dwight Howard to Philadelphia scenario? If Brand gets amnesty, could be an enticing fit.
John Hollinger (12:34 PM)
No chance of happening unless Dwight develops a fondness for cheesesteaks. Ditto for OKC, Chicago, Minnesota and all the other people trying to explain to me why Dwight should want to go there. Perhaps he should, but he doesn't. End of story.
Gorden Hayward will be an allstar if he ever gets aggressive offensively!
John Hollinger (12:35 PM)
I don't think so, but he's a really frustrating player to watch right now. Last night he reverted to his rookie year pick-and-nothing play, when they do a pick-and-roll and he neither turns the corner, nor hits the roll man, nor shoots the J, but merely wastes half the shot clock before leaving a flaming bag on Devin Harris's doorstep. He's a heck of an athlete but his instincts for the game aren't great.
Is Marcin Gortat the best center in the West? 2nd best overall? People don't realize how good this guy is.
John Hollinger (12:37 PM)
Easy, Romeo. But yes, Gortat-for-Turkoglu was quite a deal for the Suns and gives them a very good center making far below the norm for a player of his production.
Ryan (San Mateo, CA)
what beers have you been enjoying in Portland this week?
John Hollinger (12:39 PM)
Tried the Widmer Brothers Dark Saison for the first time. Solid but not spectacular. Also had an old favorite with the Terminal Gravity IPA.
Alan (Baton Rouge)
Thought on Gustavo Ayon's play? He has been highly efficient for the Hornets, and seems like he can push for a starting job within a month. I am surprised at how polished he is.
John Hollinger (12:40 PM)
Nice pickup for the Hornets, but with four decent bigs already it's tough to argue adding/subtracting him from the mix changes the outlook much. Biggest plus is what it means for the future -- I imagine he'll get a lot more burn next year when Kaman is gone.
JJ (Boise, Id)
Will Paul Millsap make the all star game this year? Where is the love, man??
John Hollinger (12:41 PM)
On performance to date, he deserves it. But he'll need to keep playing extremely well, he'll need the Jazz to keep above .500, and even after that he'll need a couple breaks, because he's going against players with far more substantial track records. I have to think Dirk, Love and LaMarcus are still ahead of him in the power forward queue, and Blake Griffin will be a starter.
Junior J. (Los Angeles, CA)
Can you give us your All-Star starters for both West/East? Thx.
John Hollinger (12:41 PM)
After 18 games? Pass. I'll revisit in a couple weeks.
Frank (Aiken, SC)
Am I kidding myself by looking at the '99 Knicks as a reason to be optimistic about the Celtics? The crazy schedule favors depth and young legs but all of that goes away in the playoffs....do I need to put the kool-aid down?
John Hollinger (12:42 PM)
I'm not sure what you're drinking but it definitely isn't Kool-Aid. Started a bit early this morning, did we?
What are your thoughts on Darren Collison as a Point Guard? Should he try and play more up tempo? I don't think he has the court vision to be an All-Star
John Hollinger (12:43 PM)
This is what he is ... a serviceable player who is probably better suited to coming off the bench but has to start because the Pacers don't have anybody better. He's better in an up-tempo game, yes, but none of his teammates are so it makes little sense for him to try playing that way.
Kevin (Albany, NY)
Thoughts on the Rockets not picking up options on Williams, Flynn, Thabeet and Hill? Frees up for next year but not sure where that gets us
John Hollinger (12:45 PM)
Well, none of the four played last night, and declining the options gives them $15 million in cap space instead of $0. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Kenneth (Marietta, GA)
Orlando seems intent on keeping Dwight for the whole year and seem to be in position for the 4 or 5 seed. What can the Magic do to push the team this year for a run at the finals and keeping Dwight long term?
John Hollinger (12:47 PM)
That's the big problem -- Orlando doesn't have great trade assets, they just have a bunch of veterans on fairly expensive contracts, and nobody wants to trade for that. Their best asset is Anderson, but he's in the perfect system for his game and it would make little sense to deal him.
Does PER take into account the fact that everyone surrounding John Wall is garbage?
John Hollinger (12:48 PM)
He's not the first player in history to be on a bad team. It's a bit rich to blame Andray Blatche or Rashard Lewis for all of Wall's turnovers and missed jumpers.
brody (San Francsico)
John - I've been a huge Kings fan since the start of the Mitch Richmond era. I thought Tyus Edney was the future at one point (I was in the 5th grade then so forgive me). I've rooted so hard for this team, good or bad...but right now, I'm feeling hopeless like many of us are in Sac. Is our GM the problem? Hard to blame the players before the guy who brought the players in to begin with. In your opinion, who is your core here? I'm starting to think Tyreke is tradeable.
John Hollinger (12:53 PM)
Your GM is *part* of the problem, but it all starts at the top. The Maloofs run a zero-accountability organization; the fact Petrie is still there is merely the worst symptom. As far as your core, you can't trade Tyreke while his value is down like this. He needs to be a full-time 2 and needs to learn to share the rock better, and they need to put in a better system and, again, hold their guys accountable when they jog back on defense and take terrible shots.
John, has the window passed for Tayshaun Prince to be traded for something worthwhile? His age looks to have caught up with him, and he's taking minutes/touches away from some of the younger guys.
John Hollinger (12:54 PM)
If they wanted to do that they should have signed-and-traded him during free agency. Prince can probably play better than he's shown, but you're correct that he's been a big disappointment. Daye's performance as a full-time 3 last night leaves you wondering if Prince is just getting in the way of the rebuilding project.
Do you think Kyle Lowry should be an all star?
John Hollinger (12:58 PM)
I think maybe Houston's announcers should wait until he's scored an actual point before pushing so hard for him during the games. (While we're at it, Clyde Drexler might want to learn who the opponent's players are. But I'm getting off topic). He's having a fine season and merits consideration, but Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Mike Conley and Ty Lawson all are in the same boat and I suspect only one of them is going to make it.
Is Carlos Boozer the worst defender in the league? I'm being serious, i watch the NBA a lot and i have yet to see someone as bad
John Hollinger (12:59 PM)
I take it you didn't see Jimmer Fredette in Portland the other night. Boozer isn't as bad as you think, he just stands out because Chicago's other three frontcourt players are monstrously good defenders.
Matt (State College)
Thoughts on Jeff Teague? He still has some hiccups but I've been really impressed with his work in the full-time starting role for the Hawks.
John Hollinger (1:01 PM)
Yes, he's been really solid. Not great, but solid. Which is a major upgrade on what they had before. Speaking of the Hawks, I'm very interested to see what Hinrich can bring as a combo guard off the bench, which I think is the best role for him. He may end up finishing a lot of games as the wing defensive stopper.
Chandler parsons...what do you think?
John Hollinger (1:03 PM)
Lots of raw skills, reminds some of Trevor Ariza in that he's got length and quick hands and run the floor and finish, but he's a fairly awful shooter. Also, he has to realize he's leaving the break exposed when he goes for those spectacular follow dunks and choose his spots better.
Andrew Bogut is awesome, but is he out so often that the Bucks should be thinking on trading him while people still think remember how good he can be?
John Hollinger (1:04 PM)
He sprained an ankle; it happens. Bogut was completely dominating that game defensively before he went out, and it's not like the Bucks are going to lure a free agent of his caliber to Milwaukee. Let's not panic just yet.
Tiago (San Antonio)
Isn't it about time I was starting?
John Hollinger (1:05 PM)
He's making the case for it. I think they still worry about a Tiago-Tim front line and like having more shooting and mobility out there. Bringing him off the bench they can control the match-ups a bit more and use Tiago-Tim only when its advantageous.
I had the Dark Saison at the Widmer Brewpub before the Kings game earlier this week. I wasnt very impressed either. Is there an answer at the pg position on Portlands roster? Felton is a turnover machine, Crawford is a chucker and Nate McMillin doesnt trust rookies(Nolan Smith).
John Hollinger (1:07 PM)
I think they have to look hard at starting Batum at the 2 and bringing Matthews off the bench. Batum isn't really a 2, but he's outplayed Matthews so badly of late that it's a fairly easy decision. I'm also surprised Elliot Williams hasn't received a longer look. As for Crawford, he's perfect in that role -- he'll take some bad shots, but Portland's bench doesn't have a ton of shot creators. The bigger issue is Felton. He's been a major disappointment and there aren't obvious alternatives lying around.
Why isn't Evan Turner starting over Meeks? I understand Meeeks spreads the floor, but Evan is a better defender, rebounder, and overall scorer..
John Hollinger (1:09 PM)
You want Turner to have as many of his minutes as possible away from Iguodala because they're so duplicative of each other. That's why you start Meeks. Also, for all his gifts Turner is still missing the one (shooting accuracy) that would really make him a high-value player and force the Sixers to start him.
With Marc Gasol carrying the load offensively, wouldn't Memphis be better off starting a defensive-minded, strong rebounding 4 instead of Speights?
John Hollinger (1:11 PM)
Yes, but that wasn't readily available. Speights is going to get torched by the better 4s, as we saw LaMarcus Aldridge do to him the other night, but the Griz also need offense from that spot to replace what Z-Bo was giving them.
Your pre-season hate for the hawks is becoming legendary. I think you picked them to be in 12th place in the east a couple of years ago. They were supposed to miss the playoffs this season. What say you now?
John Hollinger (1:14 PM)
Last year I picked them to win 46 games and they won 44. In 2008 I was the only person in captivity to pick them to make the playoffs. But yes, it's my blind hatred of the team I see every day that skews my brain. They're better than I thought this year. It happens.
Jeremy (Denver, CO)
Should we get excited by Wittman getting his first win as Wizards' coach or was it a fluke?
John Hollinger (1:15 PM)
It was a home game against the Bobcats, meaning it's the single easiest game they'll have on the schedule this season. Let's not get carried away.
Please talk about the raptors.
John Hollinger (1:17 PM)
Nice job gutting out a W last night after Bargnani went down; unfortunately his reinjury likely subjects them to a couple more weeks of "74 points on 36% shooting" type nights. They got more from Kleiza than I expected last night and he may help the scoring problems a bit, but big picture they're a marginal playoff contender at full strength and much less than that with any injuries.
Just admit that this is about the 6th straight season the hawks will out perform the "experts" projections. And that 44 wins last year was a bit misleading. they were pretty much locked in to the 5th seed with a month to go and didn't really start trying again until the playoffs.
John Hollinger (1:18 PM)
Except for the ones where they didn't. And that 44 wins was misleading in two directions - ATL gave up more points than they scored and was fortunate to end up at 44.
Couldn't the Blazers package Batum and Felton for a good point guard like Nash. I think the Blazers will have to overpay to keep Batum when they already having a starting 3 they have to pay. Shouldn't they look at moving one of them before the deadline?
John Hollinger (1:19 PM)
The Blazers would not give up Batum to get Nash. I suspect they would happily give up Smith, Williams or a future pick, but not Batum.
george karl (denver)
what do you think are the chances of Al Harrington winning "6th Man" award
John Hollinger (1:20 PM)
Watch James Harden. It's over. Everybody else is playing for second.
Would YOU give Batum for Nash? I would. I like Batum, but I don't think his ceiling is much higher than what he is right now.
John Hollinger (1:22 PM)
"what he is right now" is pretty darned good. You were hoping for Clyde Drexler?
I've watched the Bucks go through extended periods of only jump shots, almost no points in the paint or drawing fouls. Is this the players settling or a poor offensive scheme by Skiles?
John Hollinger (1:23 PM)
Actually, it's the roster -- Milwaukee has very few players who can get to the basket. One ray of hope however is Udrih's return; you saw how much more easily the second unit has flowed the past few games with him running the point. Yet another reason the Salmons trade was highway robbery.
John (Fort Worth)
So is Harden the reincarnation of Ginobili or could he be even better?
John Hollinger (1:23 PM)
Every time I see Harden, I think Manu. I'd say your comparison is pretty spot-on.
John Hollinger (1:24 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have but thanks again for the great questions. We'll do this again at the same time next week.
John Hollinger (12:02 PM)
Greetings all, where we have plenty to talk about following a 24-hour whirlwind through the conference finals, lottery and assorted conspiracy theories. Per Diem on the lottery implications should be up soon. In the meantime, fire away...