Chat with Brian Windhorst
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, we will be chatting NBA when Brian Windhorst stops by. Windhorst writes for the "Heat Index" as a part of the TrueHoop blog network, but he knows plenty about the entire league due to his years covering the NBA.
Prior to joining ESPN.com as an NBA writer in 2010, Windhorst covered the Cleveland Cavaliers for seven years, first for the Akron Beacon Journal and then the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He's also the author of two books, "The Franchise" and "LeBron James: The Making of an MVP."
Send your questions now and join Windhorst Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Do you think ending the streak was a blessing in disguise? Now the heat can reduce starters' minutes and not be overly exhausted for the first round of the playoffs, potentially against the celtics.
Brian Windhorst (2:14 PM)
I think the players really wanted to get the record because they all sensed they had the chance to do something that would be at the very top of their career resume. Guys like LeBron, Wade, Bosh and Ray Allen have rings and are headed to the Hall of Fame but this truly would've been an all-time thing. I believe it consumed them for the last few weeks.Now that it's over, I expect them to have a bit of an emotional crash. They have a few big games coming up so that could get them up. But their attention will surely turn toward getting ready for the playoffs. That's a prudent strategy but it wasn't a preferred one to the players to be honest.
Buzzmaster (2:23 PM)
Hey guys, Brian is having some technical difficulties. He'll be back to answering your questions as soon as we combat the problem.
Brian Windhorst (2:25 PM)
Trying to get this fixed, thanks for patience.
Nimai Patel (Gainesville, Florida)
I've watched all three heat-knicks games this season. It seems to me that the knicks are gonna be a very tough out in the playoffs especially if they meet the heat because of their aggressive three point shooting. In addition, the heat's defense tries to force turnovers and leaves shooters open. Since the knicks don't turn the ball over and shoot 25+ threes a game, do you think they could really push the heat in the playoffs if they meet?
Brian Windhorst (2:25 PM)
As I've been saying about the Knicks when people have asked, I could construct a case where the Knicks could beat the Heat. That is not saying I would pick it to happen.To beat the Heat you have to: 1. Dominate the boards, 2. Beat their aggressive defense with ball movement especially to open 3-point shooters and 3. take care of the ball to limit those devastating fastbreaks.When the Knicks are playing well they can do all these things. Plus they have a star who can, at times, win games by himself. So if that series happened I would give the Knicks a chance. But it wouldn't be a great one.
Do you think Brooklyn presents a tough challenge for Miami in the 2nd round with Lopez and a revived Deron Williams?
Brian Windhorst (2:27 PM)
In theory, the Nets have a roster that should challenge the Heat. They have the ingredients. But all three games have been blowouts and I'm not sure the Nets can get healthy enough.Whoever would survive a Nets-Bulls series, which is what we may be headed for, I would assume would be playing well enough to get the Heat's attention.But I wouldn't pick them if Miami is healthy
Will Rovira (Alexandria, VA)
Did Dwyane Wade tweak his knee or rolled his ankle during the fourth quarter of the Bulls game and does LeBron having any injuries to be concerned to of?
Brian Windhorst (2:29 PM)
Wade is banged up. He's got a knee issue and an ankle issue and the other day in Chicago he said he has "something else I'm dealing with" but wouldn't elaborate.It sounds like he's going to play tonight but Erik Spoelstra said all players are "day-to-day" for the next three weeks.For all you ticket holders and bettors, I'm sorry, I suspect very little info until just before each game. Especially starting next week after the Knicks game in Miami
Brian Windhorst (2:31 PM)
No, the draft pick is lottery protected this year and next year. That means if the Sixers don't make the playoffs, and they won't, the pick is not transferred.The Heat currently hold no picks in this draft. And they seem to have no regrets about it.
hey Brian, to have a legit chance of getting Lebron back the Cavs have to make some progress but retain their cap space at the same time. how can they achieve both?
Brian Windhorst (2:34 PM)
I think it is impossible to handicap LeBron's future until we get to June of next year. The rest is informed speculation.It upsets people sometimes but part of my job is to analyze the league, talk to players, agents and executives and give informed speculation. It's what they do in front offices, we try to let fans in on thinking.The belief is that LeBron will opt out of his contract and become a free agent after next season. He may do so and immediately re-sign with the Heat. If he listens to other offers, he would likely listen to the Cavs. But they would have a lot of work to do to make a strong offer. Most importantly, they have to figure a way to acquire another All-Star level player besides Kyrie Irving. Otherwise it will be hard for LeBron to seriously consider leaving the good situation he has now.
Todd (Portland, Or)
How good is Sanders for the Bucks? What is his upside?
Brian Windhorst (2:37 PM)
Larry Sanders is a favorite of the numbers crowd because his advanced stats, especially on defense, set him apart. He's proven to be a quality addition to the Bucks.But let's be honest. He's a bit of a limited player who is really a specialist. It ensures he'll probably have a long career but if Sanders is considered one of your three or four best players you probably don't have a contender. If he's a guy who plays a role and can be valuable at the end of games for defense, that's where I project him to be at his best.
What's your take on LeBron's comments after the Bulls game?
Brian Windhorst (2:41 PM)
I don't think any of the fouls were out of line on LeBron. The Hinrich foul looked bad but I think LeBron was just as much at fault for him going to the floor because he left his feet.I think the Bulls got into his head a little bit and that manifested itself when he committed the flagrant on Boozer. Whether or not that truly was a flagrant, in a key moment in the game LeBron did something out of character that hurt his team because he was frustrated. You don't see that very often. That meant success for the Bulls.I suspect other teams took notes and may try this again with him. But because of his size and strength, I'm not sure this is a strategy that would work well over a long series. Teams have tried it in the past, especially the Wizards when LeBron played in Cleveland.
Which Eastern conference team do you think would give the Heat the most trouble in the playoffs? And which team do the players have the most respect for?
Brian Windhorst (2:43 PM)
I'd love to see the Heat play the Celtics again. I decided years ago that I'd rather be accused of overestimating the Celtics than underestimating them. I refuse to kick dirt on them until Garnett retires or Pieces leaves.Even without Rondo, I feel like a reasonably healthy Celtics team would still give the Heat a great series. These two teams truly bring out the best in each other and genuinely dislike each other. There's a long history of bad blood and respect. That's what we love to see in the postseason and I'd like to see it again.
Why is Lebron even considering the Lakers in 2014? Doesn't this look bad for his image if he continuely keeps chasing titles by moving cities? Most greats have stayed in 1, maybe 2 cities-but definitely have not changed during the prime of their careers.
Brian Windhorst (2:48 PM)
At the beginning of the season, I wrote a story about how the Lakers might target LeBron in the summer of 2014 after Kobe and Pau Gasol's contracts are up, giving them a bunch of cap room. A day later in an interview with the Orange Co. Register, team owner Jim Buss said the team indeed intended to chase the top free agents in 2014.For some reason, many people seemed to infer that LeBron was interested in the Lakers. All I reported was this was a long-term plan by the Lakers depending on what happened with Kobe. And I expect it to be their plan.LeBron has the luxury on not worrying about free agency until June and July of 2014. At the time he may even decide to stay in his contract, which he has the chance to do. He may consider the Lakers, he may consider the Cavs or Bulls. Those teams have to prepare for such a moment, LeBron does not.The Lakers are preparing. At the moment, I don't see LeBron going there. But we'll see what happens.
How far can the Bulls go in the playoffs (as 5th or 6th seed) without Derek Rose?
Brian Windhorst (2:53 PM)
The Bulls play a game that was built for the playoffs. They play rough, they play great defense, and they have a coach who is great when he can game plan for a team. The extra day he had to prepare for the Heat and put in a game plan is one of the reasons they won the game.But the Bulls talent level from two years ago when they reached the conference finals just isn't the same. The team shed key role players this season. History has shown us that, generally, the more a team counts on Nate Robinson the more limited their upside it. Sorry, Nate.Even if Rose comes back, I project their ceiling to be the second round. All things considered, if they could pull that off it would be a great season considering everything.
The Heat have been very fortunate this year to stay healthy. Chicago, Boston, and Indiana have all lost important players for the season, and New York has been pretty banged up. Do you see the Heat resting guys now until the playoffs start so that they won't be in the same boat?
Brian Windhorst (2:55 PM)
The Eastern Conference is a wasteland of injuries. The Heat's health is a major reason they've been able to dominate, especially in the second half of the season. I've been covering the league 11 years and it's the worst I seen it. So many teams have lost imporant players.I see health as the only thing between the Heat and a third straight trip to the Finals.
what would you offer Bynum if you are sixers, 2 yrs 25m?
Brian Windhorst (2:59 PM)
The Bynum situation will be interesting to watch in the offseason. Last year, the Sixers consulted four doctors and all of them signed off on Bynum's knees.I suspect Bynum will get interest from elsewhere and it's possible someone will take a risk and give him a max deal. Not for four years but teams have always been willing to risk for size.There's a chance there will be some changeover in Philly. Until we see how that plays out, it will be hard to predict what they do with Bynum.
Juan (Cambridge, MA)
Do you think the Spurs have a chance to beat the Heat in the Finals?
Brian Windhorst (3:03 PM)
The Spurs-Heat thing is interesting because I'm not sure how the teams really match up. They have only really played each other once in the last two seasons. Earlier this season, Pop sent Duncan, Parker and Ginobili home. Last year they played once because of the lockout. The Heat haven't even been to San Antonio for more than two years. The Spurs were dominating but then the Heat hit a bunch of 3-pointers and won at the end.That's why I think Sunday's game could have some value. You would think the Heat would have trouble with their aggressive defense against Parker because his quickness can beat it. Also the Spurs are a great 3-point shooting team that has excellent bigs.Most important, the Spurs just don't foul. In fact, they historically don't foul. They have perfected it. LeBron and Wade really need to get to the line to be effective.I think it could be a great Finals matchup.
Paul (New York)
Do you think Lebron is head and shoulders above melo or do you think Melo is almost at his level?
Brian Windhorst (3:05 PM)
At this point, LeBron is pretty much head and shoulders above everyone. No player in the league can dominate at both ends at multiple positions like he can now.People can make fun of me for saying it and they can make fun of LeBron and take shots at him. But he's about to win his fourth MVP in the last five years and he's just entering his prime.
Why do people consider Anthony Davis a bust?
Brian Windhorst (3:06 PM)
Anyone who would say this hasn't followed basketball for too long.
Janik Jin (South Korea)
What you think America should do in order to stop North Korea?
Brian Windhorst (3:08 PM)
I don't know much about their national team. My guess would be to trap the pick-and-rolls and play small so you could take advantage of our shooters and athletes.And press, I would surely press.
Brian Windhorst (3:09 PM)
Thanks for putting up with the technical issues and sending questions. Have a good weekend. I'm looking forward to Ohio State-Wichita State tomorrow night for sure.