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 (12:05 PM)
Greetings all and welcome to the first chat of the season. I may have to shorten this to attend Damian Lillard's Hall of Fame induction.
So those Jeremy Lin and Asik contracts look pretty good right now.
John Hollinger (12:07 PM)
Let's not overreact to one game. That applies more deeply than Houston, obviously -- we just need to play out the season and see what happens in a lot of cases, and unfortunately we don't really like doing that. I was in favor of both deals, particularly Lin's.
Jun Pang (New York)
Why did Demar get 10 million a year when he barely deserves 4? He does nothing well.
John Hollinger (12:08 PM)
Definitely the biggest head-scratcher from last night's extension bonanza. DeRozan's biggest skill is the one that doesn't really move the needle much in terms of wins and losses, as a low-middling efficiency scorer of 2-point baskets. He's young enough to get better, but this is a classic case of the Raptors being their own worst enemy.
Is the Princeton offense better suited for when the Lakers want to control the tempo rather than it being their primary offense? Should their primary offense involve Steve Nash dominating the ball and running more pick and rolls?
John Hollinger (12:10 PM)
OF COURSE they should be running more stuff through Nash, but things go much more deeply than Nash. The offense in general just has no pace to it all, which is why you keep seeing Nash slooowly bringing the ball up and facing a lot more ball pressure than we're used to. And by the way, we wouldn't be talking about the offense if the Lakers were guarding anybody.
Kevin Lach (Atlanta)
2 nights in, who has impressed you the most (besides the obvious ones)
John Hollinger (12:10 PM)
One guy folks might not have seen was Dion Waiters in Cleveland -- thought he badly outplayed Beal and looked every bit the secondary creator that the Cavs need to play with Kyrie Irving.
This Eric Gordon situation stinks big time. Seems like he is refusing to play. Seems after all the good moves Dell Demps has made, this one is blowing up because he invested in a quitter
John Hollinger (12:12 PM)
Something isn't right there, that's for sure; it's extremely rare for a coach to basically say out loud that the doctors think the guy is OK but he still won't play, and Monty Williams isn't exactly Mr. Throw Em Under the Bus. But Gordon needs to realize he has absolutely zero leverage here.
Did Colangelo really just tie up 60 mil in DeRozan and Fields???
John Hollinger (12:13 PM)
This actually happened, yes. Toronto could have had max caps pace next summer too.
What was wrong with the Nuggets offense last night?
John Hollinger (12:14 PM)
The Nuggets have been the best team in the league at drawing fouls the past couple of years; last night they drew 11 free-throw attempts on 88 field-goal attempts, their worst FTA/FGA rate since Feb. 2, 2005. I had the Nuggets as an elite offensive team this year, but if they don't draw fouls they're hosed, because they don't have the shooting to make up for it. Obviously not having Gallo hurts, but his absence shouldn't be enough to produce a stinker like last night's.
Reginald (New Jersey)
What's wrong with the Lakers?
John Hollinger (12:15 PM)
I seriously don't have enough space here. Tomorrow's PER Diem will tackle it.
$41 to 48 over four years for jrue aint so bad, right?
John Hollinger (12:16 PM)
On the high side perhaps but not terrible, although I'd like to know more about how likely the incentives are (at $48M I think he's a serious reach). Jrue is the youngest player in his draft class, so he could still improve quite a bit.
Dan (New York)
Will OKC look back on the day the traded James Harden as one of their biggest mistakes ever?
John Hollinger (12:16 PM)
Pretty sure OKC knew Harden would blow up with another team. The question for them was how much value he had to the Thunder.
Bulls have to be ecstatic over the price they got Gibson extended at, right? 8/yr guaranteed with incentives seems very reasonable for his production, compared to what DeRozan and Holliday got (even accounting for Gibson's age)
John Hollinger (12:18 PM)
Thought it was a good deal for Chicago. Remember Gibson is very old for a fourth-year player so there's no real upside to factor in, unlike with the other guys. That said, Gibson is such a beast on defense - he's just waaaaaay more valuable at that end than the rest of the extension crew. Additionally, the $ are just low enough that it might take a Boozer amnesty out of play.
Surprised the bucks didn't extend Jennings?
John Hollinger (12:18 PM)
Not really. The Bucks have a lot of question marks heading into this season, from the front office on down, and I touched on that a little more in today's Per Diem.
roncag (Wahoo Nation)
I know it's just 1 game John, but you have to like what you seen from Lillard last night. Is he exactly what this going-nowhere Blazers team needed?
John Hollinger (12:19 PM)
I liked what I saw, he plays as kind of a less powerful Chauncey Billups. At least, he does against Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Chris Duhon. Lakers have struggled defending point of attack for years, so we'll see how Lillard does against some PGs that can actually move in the coming days and weeks.
What are Lillards chances to win ROY?
John Hollinger (12:20 PM)
Lots of people asking this. Not sure if you saw but Anthony Davis wasn't too shabby last night either, and he was facing Tim Duncan.
Marcelo (San Francisco)
Utah has a lot of assets in front court and Favors needs to get more playing time. Do the Jazz make a move early in the season or wait?
John Hollinger (12:21 PM)
I think they'll play it out til the trade deadline, giving them more time to see exactly how far along Favors and Kanter are (Kanter was beastly in preseason). But I do think a Jefferson deal makes a lot of sense for them.
Is George Karl a good coach? Last night, the Sixers seemed vastly more prepared.
John Hollinger (12:22 PM)
It's amazing how much better coaches look when the ball goes in. I voted Karl for my Coach of the Year in our preseason picks, but that was a cynical pick -- I figured the Nuggets were the team most likely to exceed general expectations, and that's generally how Coach of the Year gets decided, so voila.
JimmyZ (Parts Unknown)
Why is koufos starting over $44 million dollar man javale mcgee?
John Hollinger (12:23 PM)
Because he's better. McGee got paid on potential but he hasn't backed it up yet. Also, the Nuggets like using McGee with master alleyoop thrower Andre Miller.
How soon till Mike D'Antoni or phil jackson is coaching this lakers team?
John Hollinger (12:24 PM)
LOL ... they're not firing Mike Brown after two games. If you haven't noticed, L.A.'s front office can actually be pretty stubborn.
Evan Hecht (Boston)
I feel like the C's almost have too much depth at guard with Lee, Terry, Barbosa, and eventually Bradley. Any chance they try to package a couple guards for an impact forward at the trade deadline? Does that make any sense?
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
There's no way to get minutes for all of them and I do suspect they signed Barbosa as much for a trade chip as to use him themselves. He's kind of a poor replica of Terry, shooting a bit worse and being even more flammable on defense, so there's really no reason to have them both.
Is Nic Batum going to have a monster year for the Blazers?
John Hollinger (12:26 PM)
Strong open for both Batum and Matthews, I liked their general aggression. That said, the woes of their opponent have to be taken into account. Most teams aren't going to let Batum dribble in from the 3-point line for an uncontested dunk.
Do the Grizzlies still not value shooting?
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
I wouldn't put it that way -- it's not like they're hiding 45% 3-point shooters on the bench. The problem has been acquiring them. They made a reach of a trade with Cunningham-Ellington trying to solve the problem, but I don't think he's the answer.
David (St. Louis)
Can we expect to see less trades at the deadline due the new CBA?
John Hollinger (12:29 PM)
No, if anything we'll see more -- contracts are shorter and teams in general have more flexible cap structures, plus they loosened the matching rules quite a bit.
Does last night allude to Blazers being better than advertised, or expose the Lakers as being further away from being dominant as we thought.
John Hollinger (12:30 PM)
Credit the Blazers, but I thought last night the story was much more the Lakers and how completely discombobulated they look. Gonna need to combobulate themselves fast.
This has been thrown around a lot on C's fansites, but Josh Smith to the Celtics? What's your take?
John Hollinger (12:31 PM)
Do the Hawks get any players back or do they just give Smith to Boston out of kindness? I'm not sure there's a match here.
Ben (Conover, WI)
What do the Bucks do with their logjam of PFs?
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
I think it's pretty much a given that Milwaukee will be active in the trade market this season. It takes two to tango so we don't know what they'll be able to accomplish, but I'd say everything's on the table there right now.
Do you think Vasquez should be the starting point if and when Gordon comes back? Rivers has looked pretty bad.
John Hollinger (12:33 PM)
I do, because I don't think Rivers is a point guard at all, but the Hornets seem pretty committed to the idea.
Was the plan in NO to bring Anderson off the bench all along? With that contract? Did he get demoted in preseason?
John Hollinger (12:34 PM)
I'm surprised they're doing this too, but I can understand the logic -- they want to save Davis some pounding at the center position until his body fills out, so that's why Lopez starts instead of Anderson.
I know the Cavs have only played one game and it was the Wizards, but how good can they be this year?
John Hollinger (12:36 PM)
I think they're going to win in the low 30s. Opener pretty much followed what I'd thought originally -- dynamic backcourt, decent frontcourt, weak at small forward, sketchy bench. They defended better than usual, but their toothless opponent may have had something to do with that.
The Rockets bench outside of Delfino looked pretty horrendous. Is this the first year the Rockets bench won't be a benefit?
John Hollinger (12:38 PM)
I think there's a decent chance of that, especially since they're depending on so many kids this year. Also, their defense is going to nosedive anytime Asik leaves the floor, as they really have no backup 5.
Mike Jensen (Utah)
Do you think Marvin Williams fits in a lot better with the Jazz or do you think last night was a fluke game and he'll end up being the same player he was the Hawks?
John Hollinger (12:38 PM)
The latter, but I'll be happy for Marvin if he proves me wrong.
Why are the Rockets playing Marcus Morris over Terrence Jones? Marcus was painful to watch.
John Hollinger (12:41 PM)
I was shocked he started last night after McHale kept him nailed to the bench all of last season. Not an impressive debut either. I expect Terrence Jones or Royce White to be in that position eventually.
Peter (East Lansing)
Which game are you most looking forward to tonight? Which team (or player) needs to make the biggest statement?
John Hollinger (12:41 PM)
Uh, there's one game tonight.
Could Paul Millsap pull off playing the 3 for long stretches now that the Jazz have shooters like Mo Williams and Randy Foye to stretch the court?
John Hollinger (12:42 PM)
Maybe in 1995. In 2012? not so much. They can use this lineup as a gimmick at times, but I'd be shocked if it proves sustainable.
Why did the Warriors go to the Landry-Lee 4-5 combo last night? As a long time Warriors fan, I don't want them to give up 115 points every night again.
John Hollinger (12:43 PM)
When Bogut is off the floor it's either that or Festivus, so I do think you'll see that Landry-Lee combo a fair amount. And yes, it will be awful defensively, but it will get them points too.
The Clips bench looks pretty salty. Do they take another step forward this year?
John Hollinger (12:45 PM)
I actually don't thin their bench is particularly strong. Very good in the backcourt, yes, but very shaky in the frontcourt. I have low expectations for Odom and Grant Hill, and they have a replacement level backup 5.
Will you be at Phillips Friday? I can't wait!
John Hollinger (12:46 PM)
Missing the Linsanity unfortunately. Had to choose between that and the Lake Show here in Portland and went with the latter. But I'll be watching closely.
Gentry said afterwards he thinks this Suns team will be really good. Is he wrong?
John Hollinger (12:47 PM)
What's he supposed to say? "I think we'll go 28-54"??? Phoenix has a lot of work to do.
Expand more on your "a Jefferson deal makes a lot of sense" comment for the Jazz. I would rather see Millsap stay, but the vibe is that Millsap would be moved first.
John Hollinger (12:48 PM)
Favors is a 5, and as Kanter fills out he'll probably be closer to a 5 than a 4. So it seems to me you'd rather keep Millsap, a pure 4, rather than Jefferson. Otherwise the defensive mobility issues will really be a problem.
Hey John, what are your impressions and thoughts about the Grizz from last night? What's your season forecast for them?
John Hollinger (12:49 PM)
Nothing about last night changes my general impression. They lost a road game to a good team, which is normal. Have them pegged for the 5 seed out West.
Ryan Hollins (LA)
Replacement Level? That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said about me
John Hollinger (12:49 PM)
Might have overrated you actually. We shall see....
John Hollinger (12:51 PM)
Folks that's all the time I have, but thanks again for all the great questions and we'll do this again next week. Stay tuned for today's Per Diem, looking at some teams that may be unusually desperate deal-makers in the coming months.
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