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 (12:02 PM)
Greetings everyone. Got a few real good playoff series so far, let's hope our fortune continues over the weekend. On to the questions ...
Eric (Dallas )
How did Ibaka get 2nd in the DPOY voting? He is not even the best defensive player on his fairly average defensive team?
John Hollinger (12:04 PM)
Everyone is mesmerized by the blocks. I think Ibaka is the best defender on that team overall, but he's not particularly good on the ball or in pick and roll coverage -- he's just absurdly good at bailing out teammates at the rim. Also, OKC gives up a ton of shots close to the basket, which helps his block totals but isn't a sign of great defense overall.
The Spurs are flat out terrifying. What's the key to beating them? Hope they don't play like that?
John Hollinger (12:05 PM)
I'm amazed the conversation is "can Miami win the title?" or "can LA win the title?" rather than the obvious "can anybody beat the Spurs?" This has been the best team in the league for the past three months, by a pretty considerable margin. Injuries can always level the playing field, but at full strength I can't see who beats them.
Phil (River Vale, NJ)
What's going on down in Atlanta, John? Why didn't Larry Drew give T-Mac his minutes both in the first and second half? I understand the bench gave up the lead in the 3rd/4th Q, but T-Mac barely played in those quarters and he doesn't run plays thru Mac, and he lets Marvin play all those unproductive minutes that i would rather give it to Mac. Is something wrong with larry drew and T-Mac as far as their relationship? He's the best bench player on that team and in my opinion, the second best-scorer behind Smith, Joe Johnson doesn't come close to T-Mac's all star level, even before he was hurt. the guy never came through the clutch. this guy still has a lot of game in him, his just not gettin' plays go through him. what do you think is gonna happen in game 3 and beyond?
John Hollinger (12:08 PM)
Thanks for chiming in Tracy. It's true that McGrady's minutes were pretty effective, but with Joe basically playing the 3 full time thre aren't a ton of minutes leftover for T-Mac. Marvin's playing time mostly came as a 4 in Game 2, which Tracy can't do. I think a more fair argument is to ask whether T-Mac could play at 3, push Joe to 2, and not use Willie Green as much.
Best playoff atmosphere...Grind House or OKC?
John Hollinger (12:09 PM)
Having covered that series last year I would go with OKC, but it's close. It's really great to see Memphis finally adopt that team over the past 2-3 years.
George Karl (Denver)
I thought we were supposed to scare the daylights out of LA--what am I doing wrong?!
John Hollinger (12:10 PM)
Denver can't score. I wrote about this in my Per Diem today, but their halfcourt offense is really struggling and I think playing Faried-Koufos up front is making it too easy for L.A.'s bigs to hang out in the paint. If the Nuggets are going to double Bynum on every catch anyway, they may be better off playing smaller, spacing the floor and turning the game into a track meet. Especially in the games in Denver.
The Mavs and Thunder have the most exciting series going thus far. If OKC wins, do they have an easier matchup with the Lakers in the next round?
John Hollinger (12:12 PM)
I would not call matching up against the Lakers "easy", but I do think the Mavs present some specific problems for them that the Lakers don't. Ibaka struggles guarding Dirk, and Marion defends Durant after the catch as well as anybody. (most other successful Durant defenders do it by limiting his catches, a la Tony Allen).
After last nights game, Do you think the Grizz can get a win in LA?
John Hollinger (12:13 PM)
Absolutely. Still think this series is going the distance. The Rudy Gay match-up is looking really problematic for the Clips though.
Miami seems to match up pretty well against the Spurs. They chase 3 point shooters like their lives depend on it and can put Wade on Tony and LeBron on Manu.
John Hollinger (12:14 PM)
Actually, Miami is terrible defending the 3. That series would be a real problem for them defensively.
Statistically speaking, doesn't transferring 10 of Kobes shots per game to Bynum/Gasol, make the Lakers a better offensive team?
John Hollinger (12:15 PM)
Transferring the shots isn't the problem, it's how many turnovers would result from doing so. Entering the ball to bigs is always more problematic than just letting a guard gun it, but the rewards are greater once the catch is made.
Jim (Westerville, OH)
Can the Bulls still win this series? They looked awfully overmatched the other night vs. Philly.
John Hollinger (12:15 PM)
Can't believe we're even asking this question. The Bulls had one bad quarter; I won't be shocked at all if they win the next three games.
Do you think with Pacers size and offensive weapons that they can defeat Heat in 2nd round of playoffs?
John Hollinger (12:16 PM)
I think it will be a much more interesting series than people realize. Hibbert is a really tough match-up for Miami and the George/Granger combo matches up very well against LeBron and Wade. I still like Miami, but the series could easily go the distance.
Anthony Gomez (SA)
Danny Green, Most Improved Player Award!! possible or no chance?
John Hollinger (12:17 PM)
Highly unlikely. My argument with Green is that he was always good and the league just didn't realize it.
The Magic were awful last night. Any chance they win another game in the series?
John Hollinger (12:18 PM)
I kinda doubt it. Amazing stat from this series: Orlando's starting five has a defensive rebound rate of 51.1%. Meaning if Indiana misses a shot against them, they get it back nearly half the time.
Conventional Wisdom (Everywhere)
But the Spurs are old, and they play slow! How can they keep up with the fast, young Thunder?
John Hollinger (12:19 PM)
Thanks. The ignore-the-NBA-til-June crowd is gonna be shocked when they see this team zipping the ball up the court and raining 3s in the Finals.
Can the Hawks pull off another W to even the series?
John Hollinger (12:21 PM)
Obviously it's more likely in Game 4 than Game 3, given Josh Smith's status, but the real interesting part is that the advantage starts pushing heavily back to Atlanta if they can just get one of these. Zaza may be back in Game 5 and the Hawks will have a major board advantage with a Zaz-Josh frontcourt. Then you look ahead and think Horford returning, to face a Rose-less Bulls team, and ... but first they have to get a split against a ferocious defense with a very short-handed offensive squad. I do think they'll need more TMac, and I think they need Radmanovic to get some run and space the floor too.
Paul (New Jersey)
Who says no Amare for B Gordon and Charlie Villanueva? Also, can a team use the amnesty clause on a player acquired in a trade?
John Hollinger (12:23 PM)
Let me answer the second question first -- a team can NOT amnesty a player acquired in a trade, and that is why virtually no Amare trades are workable. Detroit is much better off just using amnesty on Gordon/Charlie V rather than try a trade like that.
Just heard a Dallas Sports media guy call the Spurs boring. How the heck does he still have a job?
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
I can't speak for that, but the image of the boring Spurs from that grueling 2005 Finals against Detroit needs a serious reboot. San Antonio is the league's best offensive team and Manu Ginobili arguably the league's most dynamic, daring, creative playmaker.
You really think Spurs will win title by just shooting 3 pointers the entire game? Tim Duncan is a fossil.
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
Actually Duncan has been killing lately. Best he's looked in the last three or four years.
Rob Hartwell (Newfoundland)
With a lot of teams having cap space this summer, someone has to target OJ Mayo. Think the Griz match an offer of 7 or 8 million per season?
John Hollinger (12:26 PM)
No I don't, because that kind of money will put Memphis deep into the luxury tax. I think it's very likely that they'll have to sign-and-trade Mayo and try to fill his spot with a cheaper player next season.
Steve (Palo Alto)
What do you feel the Nuggets need to do going forward? They have nice pieces (Lawson, Gallo, Faried) but what do they need to get to that next level?
John Hollinger (12:27 PM)
Right now they're focused on accumulating assets, but at some point a trade seems highly likely. There's diminishing returns to going 14 deep. For sure they'll deal Chris Andersen after the season, and otherwise I think they'd look at a lot of 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 type scenarios where they can upgrade a position.
Oliver (New York)
Come on John, Amare 1) came in way out of shape and overweight 2) Needs a pg to be efective 3 ) Does not work with Mello. Though, he won't be Amare of old, on the right team he can be a borderline All-Star. Are you really telling me Amare and maybe Shump for a. Scola and Martin b. Nene and Blatche c. Bargnani, Kleiza, Amir d. Tyreke Evans, Salmons and Garcia ?? wouldn't be entertained by any of those teams ???
John Hollinger (12:30 PM)
No, not one of them. His contract is uninsured, remember, which is why the Knicks were the only team to offer him that kind of money in the first place. And his deal is a cap-killer for the next three years. Trading him for another bad contract only makes sense if it's another club that already used its amnesty -- none of the four deals you mention above qualify. Again, you can NOT amnesty a player after trading for him.
Do you believe Kobe Bryant when he says the Lakers can win a championship this year?
John Hollinger (12:31 PM)
"Can" in the sense that an 8 seed "can" beat a 1 seed or an 11 seed "can" make the Final Four? sure. But this is the San Antonio Invitational; I've yet to see a compelling case for why the Lakers would win a seven-game series against them, and of course they would need to beat OKC just to get to that point.
Ernie Grunfeld (DC)
Blatche for Amare? Deal!
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
The Knicks best hope of an Amare deal is that there are GMs like Ernie Grunfeld still in the league.
Brad (Philadelphia, Pa)
So..you think the Sixers have no chance with Rose out of the picture? Your discounting Collins in game adjustments as the reason for the win and stating that it was a bad game by the bulls? Maybe they miss Rose more than you think!!?
John Hollinger (12:34 PM)
Well, in the regular season without Rose still they had a better point differential than any other team in the league, so I'm still thinking it was one bad night by Chicago. The shocker is that Philly scored so easily; they were a very bad offensive team over the final two-thirds of the season and the Bulls' defense has been lights out with or without Rose. I'm guessing that won't hold up.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
What about the conventional wisdom that defense wins championships? The Spurs are not great defensively, though they have been better of late and in crunch time. Thanks.
John Hollinger (12:35 PM)
You mean like the 2011 Mavs? Yes, you need to be somewhat competent on defense, but having a supercharged offense is pretty darned effective too.
Chris (Atlanta, GA)
John,As a Hawks fan I'm torn wouldn't it be better for the hawks to lose this series then blow up the core. Or should I root for them to win and see if they can make it to the ECF causing management to continue with the same core. Or doe it really matter because no matter what management is going to say if they had a healthy Horford things would be different?
John Hollinger (12:39 PM)
They're committed to this core; the only player they've shown any willingness to deal has been Marvin, and nobody wants him. (Side note: Marvin is a pleasant young man who works very hard on his game. It's not his fault Billy Knight was the general mangler and picked him. But I'd still rather have Chris Paul). All the Josh Smith trade stuff has been fed by his agent; the Hawks have shown little to no interest in moving him. The only way any of this changes is if the team is sold and new management takes over.
Angel (New York)
Why didn't Marion land 2nd on the DPOY votes? As you pointed out, Ibaka is horrible at defense, just gets blocks on help defense. Why is that the espn experts can't see this?
John Hollinger (12:41 PM)
Actually, ESPN doesn't name the DPOY -- it's a broad-based sampling of 121 writers and broadcasters. I've never had a ballot and several of my colleagues don't either, precisely because they don't want it to be all ESPN deciding the award and it easily could be. As for Marion in particular, he's been very good defensively this year, but I'd argue three other players at his own position -- LeBron, Deng and Iguodala -- have been better, and Grant Hill at least his equal. Tough year for small forwards to get recognition on D.
Getting blocks on help defense is still a part of defense...
John Hollinger (12:43 PM)
Absolutely. There's just nothing to back up the idea that Ibaka is a world-class defensive player overall ... for instance, the Thunder's results barely change when he's off the floor, and that's been true the last couple years. And they're somewhat terrified of having him guard Dirk.
Josh (Lancaster, PA)
Your thoughts on Avery Bradley?
John Hollinger (12:45 PM)
Best at pressuring the ball since Lindsey Hunter, and possibly better. One area Teague has been hugely valuable is that Bradley's pressure hasn't affected him; I've seen other guards be unable to cross halfcourt against Bradley. He's still very young and his shot is coming around; I don't think he'll ever be a natural at the point but his defensive value is so huge that he can play the 2 with Rondo.
Why are all your columns anti-Lakers?
John Hollinger (12:45 PM)
It took 46 minutes, but here we go ....
Jay (Ft Lauderdale)
Do you see Miami even playing a game 6 before the finals?
John Hollinger (12:46 PM)
Yes, for two reasons. First, Indiana will give them a series. Second, they don't have home-court against the Bulls, and that's still their most likely conference finals opponent. If so, a six-game series it he most likely outcome of that.
Will Chicago amnesty Carlos Boozer this summer? If no, why not?
John Hollinger (12:48 PM)
Absolutely not, and the reason is that they have no means of replacing him. Teams don't get an "amnesty exception"; Boozer's money comes off the cap but Chicago would still be over it, meaning they could only replace him with a midlevel player. In other words, somebody far worse than Boozer.
Where do you rank Sefolosha as a defensive stopper? Kobe has had some struggles with him among others.
John Hollinger (12:50 PM)
Good but by no means great. He definitely has value but he's never shown a huge statistical impact, and even against the Kobes of the world he's often sitting in 4th quarters.
Did you seriously suggest that a team play Vladimir Radmanovic MORE?
John Hollinger (12:50 PM)
Boston shrunk the floor to the size of a head of a pin at the end of Game 2 and Atlanta had nobody to make them pay for it. V-Rad could pay some dividends against these guys.
Why is Derek Fisher getting minutes? Why not play Sefolosha if you are just going to park Fisher in the corner and have Harden handle the ball?
John Hollinger (12:51 PM)
Made this exact point in today's Per Diem. He's not using Thabo with the smallball unit and I have no idea why.
Will Portland package it's picks? If so for a proven player or to move up in the draft?
John Hollinger (12:52 PM)
Every indication is that the Blazers want to use their picks in a trade to get some immediate help, and then dive into free agency, and then at the end of all that re-sign Batum. They aren't interested in rebuilding while they have an All-Star power forward in his prime.
Ryan (New York)
Is there a more sensitive fan base than the lakers?
John Hollinger (12:54 PM)
Yes, actually. I'd argue Dallas, Utah and Toronto, at least any time Toronto has been relevant. Except if Kobe is involved, then the Lakers shoot up to No. 1
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
I still love the fact that you hate the Mavs, picked against them last year, and they won the Championship, and you cannot ever rewrite history with all of your goofy formulas.
John Hollinger (12:55 PM)
on cue ...
How about Amare for Richard Jefferson and Biedrins? While unlikely, a change of scenery may wake up Biedrins.
John Hollinger (12:56 PM)
The Warriors are enough of a "win the press conference" organization that they might actually do this. But that's the type of deal the Knicks would be looking at with Amare -- taking somebody else's trash. Not sure that appeals to them.
Falco Lombardi (My Spaceship)
Your 2011 NBA Champions, the Spurs! Oh...
John Hollinger (12:57 PM)
I picked the Heat and had the Spurs losing in the second round. Otherwise, spot on ...
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
My buddy is a Lakers' fan and he told me that Kobe is (currently) the best player in the NBA. He looked completely confused when I told him he was wrong.
John Hollinger (12:58 PM)
He's the most famous player in the NBA. I'll give him that.
Do you like the regular season or playoffs more?
John Hollinger (12:59 PM)
Playoffs, by a mile. Love the intensity boost, and love that we can really focus on individual games.
Kendrick Perkins (Setting a moving screen)
Will these playoffs end all the talk about OKC using its amnesty on me?
John Hollinger (1:01 PM)
Actually I suspect they will only increase such conversation. The only dilemma is whether the Thunder can do anything notable with the extra cap/tax room. It may make more sense to wait on dropping the ax until Harden/Ibaka extensions kick in and they need breathing room under the tax line.
I bet a friend of mine Boston would win this series after the lost game one by the simple token that the Hawks set off the confetti and streamers after winning one game. Act like you've been here before Atlanta!
John Hollinger (1:03 PM)
What's crazy is that they've been to the second round four straight years ... they HAVE been there before! Not sure why they were feeling so festive this early.
John, Orlando used their amnesty on Gilbert Arenas after they traded for him. Why can't a team trade for Amare and amnesty him afterwards?
John Hollinger (1:03 PM)
Had to be a player on the team's roster as of the new CBA agreement (i.e. November 2011). Anyone traded after that date cannot be amnestied.
Are you also answering questions in the comment section below?
John Hollinger (1:04 PM)
No, but some loser likes to pretend apparently. We're taking care of it.
I believe you mean three straight years, John.
John Hollinger (1:05 PM)
Hey, '08 felt like a series win. It had been a while.
What's up with Celtics players and fans? No Celtic has ever been guilty of a foul.
John Hollinger (1:06 PM)
Actually that's pretty much everybody, not just the Celtics. The more grating thing is that everyone makes it sounds like Boston is the only team in the series with any injuries.
are the jazz in any way capable of making a trade for one of the blazers picks?
John Hollinger (1:07 PM)
Well, Portland rather clearly likes Millsap, so that's a starting point for any discussions I'd imagine.
Thank you for not addressing the jazz in this chat. Silence is the best way for people to possibly forget about what is happening right now.
Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)
This chat room mirrors real life. No one really does give a crap about the Pacers.
Chris (New York, NY)
Does Woodson get extended, or has this series exposed the fact that he is still the exact same guy he was in Atlanta? The man's never won a single game in the second round of the playoffs and runs a ridiculously simple, predictable offense. Does Dolan ignore that because of a 26 game sample in a condensed season?
John Hollinger (1:09 PM)
I do think Woodson will be back unless the Knicks can lure Phil Jackson from his teepee to take the gig. Unfortunately, that's the danger with an interim coach ... if he's successful in a short period there's a lot of pressure to keep him around.
John Hollinger (1:09 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have but thanks again for the great questions. We'll do this again next week, time to be determined once we know my playoff schedule.