Chat with Michael Wallace
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, NBA writer and blogger Michael Wallace stops by to chat about the latest news from around the league.
Send your questions now and join the chat Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Michael Wallace (2:04 PM)
First off, Happy New Year and thanks for your continued support and interest in our weekly NBA chat. Let's get right to the questions.
Hi from Sweden. Now when Miami released Harris, who do you think the Heat will pick up? Will they pick up anyone? Have a good day
Michael Wallace (2:06 PM)
First and foremost, the Heat insist the move to release Harris was done to maintain roster flexibility. So there's a good chance that the Heat will look around for a couple of days and then bring Harris back until the trade deadline shakes free a few more prospects. At this point, Miami believes their rebounding problems can be fixed internally. That appears to be the approach as they head west today for a six-game road trip.
Josh (Cedar Rapids)
How many wins do the lakers finish the season with? Which seed, if any, will they get in playoffs?
Michael Wallace (2:07 PM)
I still have faith in the Lakers. That's about it. They've shown me very little tangible evidence, other than the names on their roster, as to why I should believe so strongly in that faith. But I do think they're a playoff team and will climb to around sixth in the West. They're a broken team right now on many fronts, but I still think there's just too much experience, talent and ability there for them to completely crash and burn this season.
It seems that the Pacers are a good team that could win a playoff series and give someone a fight in round 2. How far are they from actually being a title contender?
Michael Wallace (2:10 PM)
That all depends on what Danny Granger can provide when he returns from injury. The Pacers proved last season that they're a tough enough team to give the Heat major problems. But their issue is that they don't have a consistent finisher they can rely on. In addition to that, there nights when Roy Hibbert plays more like he's 6-7 than 7-2. If Granger comes back and is productive, the only thing separating the Pacers from title contention is experience and confidence in big-moment situations. They have enough on the roster to stand up to anyone in the East.
Felipe de Mello Martins (Tucson, AZ)
Dear Michael, do you see the Heat adding a rebounder via unsigned free agent or a last time waiver wire pick up? It didn't work in 2011 (see Erick Dampier). Who could available AND would be a worth addition?
Michael Wallace (2:12 PM)
I'd counter the notion that it didn't work in the past for the Heat. Turiaf, Dampier, Magloire and Ilgauskas all did their job adequately when they were given consistent opportunities. They were big. They clogged holes and they rebounded. And then they vanished from the rotation when the playoffs came around. That part is on coach Erik Spoelstra and his rotation decisions. Hard to argue with the results, considering the Heat have made consecutive Finals appearances. But it wouldn't hurt to had another big just to get them through the wears and tears of the regular season.
Keith (Southfield, MI)
How can Greg Monroe get his offense back on track? Every few games he'll shoot well and put up big numbers, but too often he's bricking all over the place. Seems to me his running the offense at the top of the key is hurting his ability to get good looks at the rim (he's always been a poor shooter). The Pistons can't really afford to move him, though, as their perimeter players leave a lot to be desired as passers. How can he get better shots without while still running the offense through him?
Michael Wallace (2:15 PM)
I spoke with Greg earlier this season at length about this potentially being a breakout season for him. There's no reason he can't do for the Pistons the likes of what Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge are doing for the Heat and Blazers. Monroe has that special combination of size, talent and athleticism for a big man. But he's still learning how to be a featured player on a team. The issue is that the Pistons change from game to game how they want to play and who they're running the offense through. So far Greg is caught up in that internal struggle.
Spurs have an average margin of victory of 19 over the past 7 games.. insane right?
Michael Wallace (2:17 PM)
We've learned by now - or at least we should have - to never count out the Spurs. At least during the regular season. But the question now is whether they can get back to transferring that level of consistent dominance from the regular season into the post season. Make that deep into the postseason. I've said this many times and always catch a bit of backlash for it. But if I'm the defending champion Heat, the team that concerns me most of all the contenders out west in a potential Finals matchup, is the San Antonio Spurs.
What do you think the Raptors should do with Bargnani? Why is there always a pg controversy in Toronto?
Michael Wallace (2:20 PM)
It's no longer a matter of what the Raptors should do with him, it's a question of how much could they realistically expect to get in return for him. I don't see a lot of teams lining up for his services at the moment. That said, the point guard situation is always fluid in Toronto. They're legitimately two-deep at that spot, and, unlike with Bargnani, could entice numerous teams in trades if they want to make a move at the point guard spot.
Everybody keeps trying to explain portland's good start as a fluke. Would you like to take a different approach???
Michael Wallace (2:24 PM)
What's fluke-ish about having a big man capable of going for 20 and 10 every night? What's fluke-ish about defending on the perimeter and rebounding as consistently as just about any team in the league? And there's certainly nothing fluke-ish about Damian Lillard, a solid rookie of the year candidate who plays like he's been in the league five years. If all this holds up, Portland could be a scary team to face in the first round of the playoffs if you're one of the top three seeds in the West.
Cory (Parts Unknown US)
Bledsoe is too damn good to remain a backup. Any word around the campfire on who might be interested in him?
Michael Wallace (2:28 PM)
One of the few unfortunate aspects of the Clippers start this season is that Bledsoe's development has been tempered by having to play behind a legit MVP frontrunner in CP3 and alongside arguably the Sixth Man of the Year in Jamal Crawford. And those minutes will be reduced further when Chauncey Billups returns. But if I'm the Clippers, I hold onto Bledsoe as long as I can and hope he can remain patient. His future is extremely bright and I don't see Crawford or Billups sticking around too much longer.
Dave (Bay Area)
Has the culture really changed in Golden State? Coach Jackson did preach defense, didn't he?
Michael Wallace (2:32 PM)
He does. But Jackson also is smart enough to realize he has a team that's built to get out in transition and create matchup problems with their speed and athleticism. It will be interesting to see what happens with their pace and priorities when Andrew Bogut finally returns from injury and is ready to be planted in the middle of that lane. But of all the teams that have gotten off to relatively surprising starts this season (Knicks, Hawks, Blazers, etc.) the Warriors are easily the most fun to watch.
Deven (New York, NY)
Would the Rockets really consider trading Jeremy Lin?
Michael Wallace (2:38 PM)
In the NBA, when you have an asset that other teams might covet, you have to consider all of your options. But will the Rockets actually follow through and trade Lin? I'd be somewhat surprised if that were to be the case. Lin and James Harden haven't always made their backcourt connection appear seamless, but their both on, they have a dynamic working that not many teams have in the league. The Rockets could use another frontcourt scorer to balance out that roster. But I think Lin stays.
Deven (New York, NY)
Do you think Dwyane Wade is a dirty player?
Michael Wallace (2:39 PM)
Sneaky? Yes. Calculated? Yes. But flat-out dirty? No.
Omarvls (North Hollywood, CA)
Michael, is J.Herrellson the Heat's Tim Tebow? Is he so bad in practice that Coach Spo won't even suite him up now the Pittman is in the D-League I mean i though who would be a poor man's D. Lee or at least a poor man's P.Milsap , the guy is 6'10 275 lbs and probably in the best shape in his life. What a shame!
Michael Wallace (2:40 PM)
Well, considering the Heat just announced they've waived Harrellson, doesn't look like he'll get that opportunity in Miami.
JoeKreative (Bronx, New York)
So by your Grade of F for DWade..and your reasons..you are clearly Blaming him for being a Dirty Player?!. I thought of you as being a decent pundit, but after that..you are an idiot for even going there!
Michael Wallace (2:42 PM)
That grade of "F" I gave Wade for missing the Milwaukee game to serve that suspension was based on the fact that he committed a violation that ultimately hurt his team.
@doyyin (Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria) [via mobile]
D-Wade is not a dirty player in my view. He shows remorse often, means he's just emotional and won't be over-ridden. Rondo and Garnett are special examples of dirties in the League today. Wade is not one.
Michael Wallace (2:46 PM)
I've seen Wade on several occasions make it obvious that he was taking a hard foul to send a message, whether out of retaliation or frustration with the way officials called - or didn't call - a certain play. He doesn't have a history of doing it and trying to get away with it. Most of his calculated hard fouls are done knowing full well there would be backlash from the officials. Does that make him dirty? You can make that argument. I don't think it rises to the level of flagrantly dirty. But there's a fine line there. A very fine one.
ariel new orleans [via mobile]
Do you think the heat have a chance to be a dynasty even though they would have to win this season title and the next which would be lebrons last year on contract
Michael Wallace (2:48 PM)
They'd have to put a three-peat together, or string three together over the course of four or five seasons, for that dynasty talk to commence. As long as LeBron is in Miami, the Heat will be an annual title contender. He could opt out - or extend - his contract with the Heat as early as after next season. Being around him daily, I don't get the sense that he's even thinking along those lines just yet. But you truly never know with these guys.
Barbershop J (Cleveland,Ohio)
How far can the Clippers' go in the playoffs?
Michael Wallace (2:54 PM)
The way they've been playing recently, they are a championship-type team. I'm still not sure I'd trust Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the fourth quarter of close games late in the playoffs. But I more than trust Chris Paul and Billups, if he's healthy by then. They have the leadership and depth to overcome any of their shortcomings right now. From top to bottom, my take is the Clippers just might be the most complete team in the league - although I'd like to see them add a 3-point shooter.
Jim C. (Boise, Idaho)
What's wrong with Pau Gasol? I watch a lot of Laker games and I honestly wonder if Jamison or Hill might be a better starter than Gasol right now. He looks lost, lethargic and terrible. Can't move, can't guard anyone, and can't hit the broad side of a barn with his shot.
Michael Wallace (2:57 PM)
No question, Pau is physically slowing down and has been dealing with a knee issue. But I'm not certain if his struggles right now aren't as much mental as they are anything else. The guy has been dealing with trade attempts and rumors for two years now. Yes, he's a professional and gets paid very well to do his job, but you also have to believe in what the team is trying to do. It doesn't seem Pau has any true belief in the direction the Lakers are going, and that feeling often seems to be mutual.
Nick (Quakertown, PA)
Although his minutes won't allow him to actually win, should Tim Duncan be a top 5 MVP candidate. 18, 10 and 2.5 blocks and the way he's re-anchoring the Spurs' D is almost unbelievable.
Michael Wallace (3:01 PM)
What he's doing at this stage - and age - is nothing short of remarkable. Pundits and skeptics can question Gregg Popovich's methods all they want. But the man knows what he's doing and how to get the best out of his veterans during the regular season. No, Duncan isn't the MVP of the league. But he's the best center in the league right now, regardless of what the official lineup says about his position.
Michael Wallace (3:02 PM)
Hey, that's my time for today folks. Thanks again for joining me for the weekly NBA chat. Can't wait to do this again next week. If you didn't get your question answered this time around, hop back in line next week and I'll do my best to get to as many of them as possible. Until then, peace. MW
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