Marc Stein (4:00 PM)
Welcome back to chatland. As always we'll delve into topics around the league and mix in some Power Rankings discussion. To the questions ...
If the Magic fire Doc Rivers who beside the current assistant (Johny Davis?) could possibly come in and do any better this year? Would they consider Zeke and vice versa? Is there another Hubie Brown out there?
Marc Stein (4:04 PM)
If the Magic went outside, I see them giving Scott Skiles a long look. Skiles is a former Magician and has been looking for a shot to make a comeback after leaving the Suns. Isiah would be more expensive and I can't imagine the Magic want to spend a ton of money on a coach they're not sure about, and with the season already slipping away. Johnny Davis is indeed the likely candidate if the Magic goes the interim route. Either way it doesn't look good for Doc. Magic has arguably already lost the two easiest games on its trip.
Marc, if the Bulls lose these next 5 West Coast road games, they'll be 4-12 and Cartwright will be halfway out the door. But who can Paxson hire in the middle of December? He can't hire Doc Rivers, a guy with a worse record this year than Cartwright.
Marc Stein (4:07 PM)
I know Paxson would prefer not to make in-season changes and the Bulls have been marginally better lately, although still curiously bad at home. If the Magic does fire Doc, though, there figures to be plenty of interested parties in coming months, and remember that Doc is a Chicago guy.
gremliz23, manila, philippines
when ray allen returns from injury, where does that leave flip? is he going to battle my man earl boykins for 6th man of the year honors? or is nate gonna leave him starting?
Marc Stein (4:10 PM)
Knowing the Sonics, I wouldn't be surprised if they moved Radmanovic to five, Lewis to four and then play Barry, Lewis and Flip as a trio. OK, maybe not as a starting lineup, but you will see that unit. Going small and spreading the floor and relying on their shooters is Seattle's only hope for keeping this good start going. But if Flip keeps scoring in the 20s, I anticipate Nate leaving him in the starting lineup and possibly moving Brent into the sixth-man slot.
Jake (Colorado Springs
It's amazing how quickly you are to dump the Timberwolves but not the Spurs. The Wolves have two key injuries and have a starting line-up that returns just one starter from last season (Kevin Garnett) and a bench that has one person from last season (Gary Trent).
Marc Stein (4:11 PM)
Sorry, Jake. The Spurs definitely do get judged differently in the Power Rankings than the Wolves. The Spurs are the reigning champs and that always carries a little extra juice with me.
(103) John Romano (Berkeley, CA)
So where's the love for the Lakers? I know few people outside of Souther California are fans of the Lakers, but the Power Rankings are usually fair to them. Only one out of the five comments this year have been positive; and they have stayed in the top five the whole time! Other teams are playing well, but come on, give LA some credit.
Marc Stein (4:15 PM)
Love when people say I'm being too tough on the Lakers. Surprises are always nice. My comments this week mostly stem from the performance we saw in Memphis. The Grizz is certainly better than ever, but that continued a pattern of uneven performances from the Lakes. Phil Jackson, remember, came into this season saying he wanted to re-establish the LA defense as much as anything. Hasn't come close to happening yet. So a critical comment, along with the No. 1 ranking in a league where no one is dominating yet, doesn't sound like such a bad deal to me.
kozo (osaka, japan)
the big five teams aren't playing that big, and the bottom feeders aren't playing that bad. it's hard to make any strong arguments for or against your power rankings because it's still very hard to gauge how good everyone is. why is it taking so long for teams to find their rythmn.
Marc Stein (4:16 PM)
Welcome to my world, Kozo. Lots of coaching changes, lots of personnel changes and shorter training camps than ever = lack of rhythm.
(94) Aaron (West Hempstead, NY)
im a huge pacer fan, but im also realistic. i think this is the worst team they had in a while. brad miller leaves a HUGE hole in center and scott pollard isnt doing anything. the only thing that was improved was PG kenny anderson. and why did we get rid of tim hardaway? he was clutch for us last season. even though their record is nice, i think it will unfortunatly drop off.
Marc Stein (4:19 PM)
Lots of Pacer-bashing these days from Pacer fans. Not what I was expecting. But I have an item in Coast to Coast about the very subject you address. Can Jermaine continue to be as effective as he was last season without a jump-shooting center like Miller to open things up for him? Certainly a valid question, but remember this: Carlisle always gets more out of less. So if it's true what you say that the Pacers have lost a little quality, they still could have a better season.
With Darius Miles looking improved I think it is time for the Cavs to trade Ricky Davis, and with Lebron playing the minutes at the point do you think a package of Wagner and Davis could get the Cavs a player that could help push them into the playoffs this year?
Marc Stein (4:22 PM)
Cavs aren't "shopping" Ricky, but they're not discouraging people from calling, either. Unless he shares the ball consistently he's not going to help the Cavs. Sad thing is Ricky can be so good if he wants to be. But I was in Boston on Friday night and watched him shoot it every time he touched it until Silas pulled him out of the game with 4 minutes to go. Not pretty.
san juan , Puerto Rico
From what you have seen from Carlos Arroyo so far this season, does he deserve a long term deal or are the Jazz still skeptical (he's been playing high level basketball for around one year know, just didn't have the chance last year behind MJ and JS)
Marc Stein (4:24 PM)
It's still early. Arroyo has to do it for more than 10 games. But if he does this all season, Jazz will have to fight teams off to keep him.
(83) David Biderman (Los Angeles)
Not to be extremely cross, but explain to me just how exactly the Clippers are ranked number 21??? They have had a tougher start to the season than any other team in the league, considering their start in Japan, and missing their number one scorer, rebounder, and defensive player since the first game of the season, yet they are still 4-2. Percentage wise, that puts them higher than almost every team in the league. They are playing well together, their defense is improving every game, and they are number one in the league in points scored per game. For the first time in almost a decade, the team is playing dedicated basketball, has their two main players locked down, and have a coach who cares, and they are ranked 21st in the league......please explain.
Marc Stein (4:30 PM)
Good points all, David. I just need to see the Clips sustain it a little longer. From about No. 14 to No. 21, you could shuffle those teams into various spots. The bad start and the Brand injury sent the Clips spiraling to the bottom, but they need a few quality wins to keep climbing. Dunleavy and Q are on everyone's radar, but the wins have been on the pedestrian side so far.
What is your take on Jason Kidd's inability to develop a reliable jumper? Why is it that a guy like Grant Hill can learn to shoot (witness his last year in Detroit) but Kidd cannot, lack of effort? Also when is the media going to catch up to this and call him on it?
Marc Stein (4:32 PM)
He does everything else so well that I won't be calling him on it. He has taken his team to two straight Finals, makes big shots in spite of the jumper issues and is one of the few guys in this league who unquestionably makes everyone better. You've come to the wrong place for J-Kidd bashing.
(89) Bobby Wolfson (Ottawa)
Marc, How can you list the Raptors behind the Celtics and 76ers? The Raps have lost against the Lakers, Kings, Blazers, T'Wolves, and split against the Wiz --- all of which were on the road, and given the competition, were to be expected with that difficult a schedule. They are undefeated at home and remain winners in all close games (save the Blazer game). Philly hasn't won against Eastern Conference contenders at home yet (L versus the Pacers and Hornets). Celtics lost to both the Bulls and Nets at home, and Hornets and Pistons on the road. As Bosh emerges, Toronto can only improve on their offensive game, while continuing to rank in the top 5 in defence (PTs Allowed). Let's wait till Philly and Boston play as tough a West Coast swing to see who's legit then.
Marc Stein (4:34 PM)
As stated, you can move Nos. 14-21 all over the board. The Wolves are threatening to drop into that group if they don't start clicking. But I'm with you on Bosh. I liked him before the Sunday explosion.
Kings Question Please
Hey Marc, Am I the only person watching the NBA that is impressed with the Kings this season? Brad Miller has been as good as advertised, and will likely be coming off the bench in a few weeks. He and B Jax coming off the bench along with Wallace. Do you honestly think they dont have a chance to make a run at it? I guess they'll just keep flying under the radar for now.
Marc Stein (4:37 PM)
You're one of the few, yeah, because they've been blowing leads and, worst of all, giving up a lot of points. Didn't think they'd miss C-Webb more defensively than offensively but that's the way it looks when you look at the numbers. They definitely still have a chance to make a title run if Webber comes back and makes it into the playoffs healthy, but the Kings' bench is indeed thinner and smaller.
If you were starting a franchise, and you had to choose between Hakeem Olajuwan in his prime or Shaquille O'neal in his prime, who would you pick? I would pick Hakeem, he dominated the game on both ends of the floor while playing against some of the greatest Centers of all time. Shaq's biggest competiion was Vlade Divac.
Marc Stein (4:39 PM)
If Shaq is at his best, I go with Shaq. I'd just like to see him at his best more often.
Paul (San Antonio)
What is the possibility of Kobe becoming a Spur for next year? The Spurs won?t have the most money to offer him, but they can offer him a nice amount of money with several contracts being up this year for the Spurs (Hedo, Mercer, etc). I know people are saying that maybe Kobe might want to be on a team where he is the main superstar, but who wouldn?t want to play with Tim Duncan?
Marc Stein (4:41 PM)
No chance. He wouldn't want to be second-fiddle to Duncan. Spurs are going to need their money to lock up Manu anyway. They will need to use cap room to match the offers Manu will undoubtedly get.
The Suns are off to a very slow start, and many critics are counting them out already. In my personal opinion, I think the last 3 losses have been a wakeup call for them, and they will soon get it all together and start to mesh. What are your thoughts?
Marc Stein (4:48 PM)
You can only hope, Shannon. The Suns' start is doubly disappointing because they're one of the few teams that came into the season with continuity -- they weren't working in big, new pieces or adjusting to a new coach. And this is not the year to fall behind in the West.
Jeffrey (Camarillo, CA)
Has there been a Cedric Ceballos sighting recently? Any chance of him playing for NBA team over the Globetrotters?
Marc Stein (4:49 PM)
Cal State Fullerton's beloved Ced is still grinding away -- just signed in the CBA -- to keep his comeback bid going. No one wants to see him back in the league more than me.
Marc Stein (4:51 PM)
Thanks for all the good questions, everyone. We'll do it again next Monday, as always. Until then, look for Slams and Dunks on Wednesday and a new Stein Line and Coast to Coast on Friday ... along with other items sprinkled in during the week.