Chat with Chad Ford
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford will drop by to talk some hoops.
Ford covers the NBA and NBA Draft for ESPN Insider and also makes appearances on ESPN Radio and ESPNEWS.
Send your questions now and join Ford Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chad Ford (1:00 PM)
Aloha everyone and thanks for coming to the chat today. I'm in Maui at the EA Sports Maui Invitational scouting some NBA prospects. We'll tackle NBA in the first half of the chat and then move on to the NBA Draft in the second half. Let's roll ...
Mike Dunlap for COTY!!!, but seriously, did Jordan actually hire the right coach, or are they winning more despite having Dunlap as their coach? All this minus their best wing (Henderson)...
Chad Ford (1:03 PM)
Lots of people in the league really respect him. I was talking to several GMs in Maui who all knew him and all say they aren't surprised the Bobcats are playing so much better. Who knew coaching mattered that much in the NBA? Bobcats are close to surpassing their win total for all last year in November.
If Memphis had drafted Harden instead of Thabeet, would they be favorites to win this year?
Chad Ford (1:04 PM)
Gotta believe the answer to that one is a big yes ... but also could say the same thing had they kept Kevin Love instead of trading him to Minnesota for O.J. Mayo. Given how well they're playing and how several of the top teams are struggling, I'm not sure they still aren't the favorites to win the West.
Hey Chad, could Harrison Barnes be a better Pro than college player. I always wondered when he was in college if his game was better suited for the pros and given the past four games he looks like he could be an all-rookie selection this year a maybe a future all-star.
Chad Ford (1:07 PM)
He coasted a lot in college. I think that was the biggest concern coming into the draft. There were times when he put it in a different gear, but they were inconsistent. I know the Warriors have been emphasizing to Barnes that he's not good enough to just always play in third gear at the NBA level. He seems to be responding. I'm not totally sure you can teach motor, but I do think you can address it and the Warriors seem to be working with him on his biggest weakness. If he's going to play like this consistently (and that's a big if this early in the season) they got a steal at No. 7.
At this moment, does the Sixers front office think they made a mistake trading for Bynum? Or do they still think they made the right move long term?
Chad Ford (1:09 PM)
It was a risk. Bynum has a history of injuries. But a calculated one. They had been shopping Iguodala for some time. They wanted to give more responsibility to Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. So I think they were going to make the deal one way or the other. Are they disappointed in Bynum? Big time. But it's too early to tell whether this was a bad move. They got him for the long haul.
Joseph (Issaquah, WA)
Obviously Lillard's age has helped him be more mature and play more like a second or third year player but has he shown more upside than a lot of analysts first thought?
Chad Ford (1:12 PM)
I was Lillard's biggest fan last year and I didn't anticipate him playing this well, this soon. The thing I loved about Lillard then (and now) is that he's such a hard worker. He spent the summer improving his game. He's done that every year he was a college player too. I don't think he's come close to hitting his ceiling yet though I do agree that his age and body helped him compete right away. Neil Olshey was giving me crap about my "B+" grade for the Blazers on draft night in Maui on Monday. Lillard was an A. It was the Meyers Leonard pick I wasn't in love with. But Blazers might have been right about that one too.
Ryan (Virginia beach)
are the Wizards the new Clippers? I'm an optimist, and the only thing I can be optimistic about is the chance for another high draft pick. This is just a horrible and horribly put together team.
Chad Ford (1:13 PM)
Don't think so for the simple fact that I think they have a much better owner who will do what it takes to turn this team around. However, I am a bit surprised at the blueprint early on. I'm not sure what the Wizard front office has done to keep their jobs. Even with a healthy John Wall, a healthy Nene and a more mature Brad Beal (give him time folks) they aren't that good.
Would you agree that K-Martin's play so far has softened the blow of losing Harden more than people expected?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
No. He's been good but he's not a long-term solution for them and I don't think he plays the same role that Harden did for them. I've yet to find another GM in the league who liked that deal for the Thunder which is rare given the high level of respect everyone (including me) has for Sam Presti.
Do you think Memphis and the Clippers are contenders in west?
Chad Ford (1:16 PM)
I do. Think both teams are on par with San Antonio, Lakers and Thunder.
Sasha (The D)
Hey Chad, how surprised are you by Andre Drummond's early play and what do you think his ceiling is?
Chad Ford (1:19 PM)
Not surprised long-term. Anthony Davis was the only other player in the draft with his physical gifts. Drummond in fact, may have more. But surprised he's this productive this early. If he keeps up the learning curve, he'll eventually, along with Greg Monroe, form one of the best young front lines in the league. But again, it's early.
Jesse FC (Los Angeles, CA)
How concerned should Knicks fans be about Amare's return (and possible insertion into the starting lineup) fouling up the Knicks near-flawless chemistry?
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
A little. Things are clicking right now for New York and I do see the potential there for Amare to mess up the chemistry. But then again, he could just become a super sub off the bench and make them even stronger. I was a bit wary of the Knicks early on, but have spoken with a number of teams that played them and all of them believe they're for real.
Do you see a young player in the league who isnt getting much media attention that we should keep an eye on?
Chad Ford (1:23 PM)
Eric Bledsoe is playing very well this year in just under 20 mpg for the Clippers. If the Clippers are able to re-sign Chris Paul this summer, I suspect that they'll have a ton of teams offering to take Bledsoe off their hands. Doubt the Clippers will do anything before they know whether Paul is staying. But if he signs, Bledsoe will be a very hot commodity.
Draper (USS Carney(DDG 64) USN)
Is it too early to tell or is Anthony Davis going to be injury prone?
Chad Ford (1:25 PM)
One month into the season? Yes, too early.
cris (New York)
My friend tells me he thinks the west is better than the east with the rise of the Knicks and Nets you think possibly the east is better
Chad Ford (1:26 PM)
No. Heat are better. But I'd take the next 5 teams in the West -- Grizz, Clippers, Spurs, Lakers, Thunder -- over any team in the East.
Hi Chad - should Celtics fan be concerned yet? Can they right the ship and win in the playoffs as constructed? Thanks
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
Not concerned at all. This team understands that the games that matter are in April, May and June. The only team that I KNOW is better are the Heat. Knicks will give them a run for their money, but just don't see any other teams in the East right now giving them major problems in the playoffs. Maybe the Bulls if Derrick Rose comes back healthy at some point this season.
What happens to Josh Smith? I thought the new CBA protected draft picks by offering more years and money to stay with the player's team. Josh has to wait till year's end to get those years and money. Why gamble like Cleveland did? Trade Josh before the deadline Hawks have to protect themselves.
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
I think the Hawks are actually hoping things go sour in LA, Dwight decides he doesn't want to be there and will join his good friend, Josh in Atlanta. So I'm not sure he goes anywhere this year ...
Chad, Time to move Otto Porter up even higher. Man, he's really impressed me this week, great versatility.
Chad Ford (1:34 PM)
Might be looking at the wrong draft board. He's been in the lottery for us since we debuted our Top 100 in July. He currently sits at No. 11. He may end up moving up five or six more spots ... still a lot of fluidity at the top of the draft board. I personally love him. I think a lot of scouts had questions and I think many of those questions started to disappear after his strong play versus UCLA and in the second half versus Indiana.
Do you think Shabazz is the favorite for the number 1 pick next year?
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
No favorite right now. Shabazz, Zeller and Noel all have their supporters and detractors. I do think Alex Poythress is a potential sleeper pick as the No. 1 pick. Of all the players I've seen so far, he's been the most impressive and I think many NBA scouts agree with that.
Alex (Los Angeles)
What's the buzz about Nerlens Noel? He looks better on offense than I thought.
Chad Ford (1:38 PM)
He's not a great offensive player. But he hasn't been horrible either. I think once the comparisons to Anthony Davis stop, people will be able to evaluate him for what he is, a long, athletic five who can block shots and run the floor and get dunks. His biggest issue right now is strength. He really gets pushed around in the post.
Joseph (Provo, UT. )
Does Roy Williams not get the most out of his players? It appears that Macadoo is doing teh same thing that Barnes did. A big recruit that isn't playing up to the potential.
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
It's a question I was discussing with a number of GMs yesterday. Obviously UNC gets a lot of blue chip talent which means they're going to be good no matter what. But how many of those players actually develop or get better while they are at UNC? I can name a bunch of players at Kentucky who improve their games with Cal. Much harder to come up with examples among the elite UNC recruits. Not sure how much development they get there.
Do GM's really put so much value on 1 game? McAdoo had a stinker last night...how much will that effect him?
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
No. But there have been concerns for a while and when you're the only elite player in a tournament, you get a lot of intense focus. McAdoo just doesn't seem to have added much of anything to his game. His body looks good. That's about it. He's not very skilled and the turnovers are a real problem. He'll get better as the season goes on ... and his stock will rise if he does. But he just has not been impressive here in either game.
What do you think Archie Goodwin Ceiling is as far as the draft and who does he remind you of with his game??
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
Cal has been comparing him to Russell Westbrook. That's a VERY high ceiling, but not a terrible comp. So maybe a poor man's Westbrook?
Any of the Illini guards going to get drafted? Which has the best chance at success in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
Brandon Paul has been playing great all year. Has the athletic ability, is shooting the ball really well. A bit undersized, but he's got a chance.
Would Andrew Wiggins go #1 in this years draft, being that it's so weak?
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
Really now, every year they talk about how weak this draft class is, then in June they come back to somewhere in the middle. People are bellyaching about this class. Not really that bad is it?
Chad Ford (1:47 PM)
True. There's a lot of angst because lottery teams need guys who are difference makers and when the scouts are watching early, it's hard to project these guys as difference makers in the NBA. But once we get closer, they have to pick someone and they end up falling in love. But just for perspective ... I'm not totally sure that any of the Top 3 guys would've cracked the Top 7 last year.
Cody Zeller. Applicable NBA comparison? Do you see him declaring at the end of the year?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
Don't have a good comp for Zeller. He's very good. Plays smart. Skilled. Hard worker. Good size. Just not sure what he is or what his upside will be. Some scouts LOVE him. Others just LIKE him. Don't know anyone who doesn't like him however.
Can you explain to me why you have Anthony Bennett and Marcus Smart so much higher on your draft boards than everyone else?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
I think some have been down on Bennett because they see him as a tweener. He is, sort of. But he's long, is an explosive athlete and can score from anywhere on the floor. I watched a lot of tape on him this summer and he really stood out to me. Ditto for several NBA scouts that I really trust. For Smart? I think NBA scouts really love big point guards. Smart has the whole package. He's big, athletic, can score and pass, has a high basketball IQ and is a natural leader. He's not a great shooter, but that hasn't stopped teams in the past from taking big point guards high. I don't know where others are ranking him, but I think he's a lottery pick all the way. In fact, I'm worried I have him too low on my Big Board.
Any thoughts on Vander Blue's pro prospects? Great size and athletic ability if he shows he can play the point, but will his outside shot prevent him from playing at the next level?
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
He's played very well in Maui. He's always had the raw skills, just never played with any assertiveness on the offensive end. I think this could be a breakout year for him. Not sure he's a first rounder, but could be if he plays well all year.
Is Doug McCdermotta 1st rounder? i don't see it personally.
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
You can't even spell his name. And no, I don't see him as a first rounder. Great college player however.
Do you see Gorgui Deng declaring this year?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
Yes. He's old for his class. Weak draft. Good time to go.
What player was the hardest for you to project coming out of college in the last 10 years?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Right now I'm struggling with UCLA's Kyle Anderson. Never seen a player quite like him before. He's going to be very, very tough to figure out as far as pro potential goes.
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today! Have a Happy Thanksgiving. See you next week ...