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 (12:59 PM)
Hi everyone. I'm in Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine. It will be televised live on ESPNU Thursday and Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM. Will be taking draft questions all hour. Let's roll ...
Deven (New York, NY)
Any thoughts on Andrew Wiggins committing to Kansas?
Chad Ford (1:01 PM)
As both a draft analyst and a Kansas homer, I'm thrilled. I watch every KU game anyway, so this makes it easy! He's the best high school prospect we've had since Kevin Durant. Think Kansas is a perfect fit for him. Bill Self is a great coach and he fits well into the talent already there. He would go No. 1 this year and he's a heavy, heavy favorite to go No. 1 in a stacked 2014 draft class.
Deven (New York, NY)
What's the latest Nerlens Noel? How's his knee holding up?
Chad Ford (1:02 PM)
He's rehabbing. He'll be at the Draft Combine, but obviously won't be doing drills or athletic testing. Medicals and interviews will be it. This should be where docs get their first real look at Noel's knee. Will probably be the biggest day for him leading up to the draft.
Morgan (Encinitas, CA)
The more I watch of Ben McLemore, and the more I read about his work ethic and drive, the more I think he should be the first player off the board in June. Doesn't he have the highest upside in the draft in relation to a somewhat safe pick, as he seems to have a solid likelihood to make at least one All-Star team?
Chad Ford (1:04 PM)
All worthy points. Question is motor and aggressiveness. He's a very nice young man who can be very deferential. NBA players need to have a little alpha dog in them to rise above other competitive, talented players. That's the biggest worry and unfortunately, it's a hard thing to teach. Players tend to either have it or they don't.
Mike R (San Francisco)
Heard that Timmy Hardaway Jr has been tearing it up. Do you think this has affected his draft stock?
Chad Ford (1:05 PM)
Just saw him workout in Chicago yesterday. Was very impressed. Goes hard all the time. Not a lot of holes in his game. Has a 7-foot wingspan which is phenomenal for a two guard. Very competitive. NBA scouts were wishy washy on him all year, but I could see him performing really well in workouts and moving up sort of the same way MarShon Brooks did a few years ago.
What are the main things scouts keep an eye out for during the combine?
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
It's tough honestly. The top players won't participate in the drills. The rest will, but truthfully, the drills won't tell you much. One thing they look for is effort and energy. When players don't take this seriously, it's a red flag. They'll be looking for conditioning. Who has been working out and getting their body better. Some times they are looking to see whether a prospect has been working on a weakness. Have the adjusted shot mechanics or tightened up a handle. Interviews and the medical are the two biggest things. This is their first time to meet the players and ask them tough questions. Obviously the medical is the first chance for team doctors to have a look. Most overrated is the athletic testing. It's sexy, but doesn't have a huge impact on draft decisions.
Julien T (Brooklyn)
What are your thoughts on Ricky Ledo?
Chad Ford (1:10 PM)
Definite sleeper. One of the 5 or 6 guys that scouts are most excited to see here. Glen Rice Jr., Rudy Gobert, C.J. McCollum and Mike Muscala are other guys scouts are keen at getting a closer look at.
Steve (Los Angeles )
What have you heard about the kid norvel pelle? Hearing buzz that he may surprise a lot of people and move up the draft board!
Chad Ford (1:10 PM)
He's the other super sleeper. Almost a blank slate. He could really help or really hurt himself the next two days.
Couch Gm (GB)
Who do you think can boost their stock the most at the combine? I feel Steven Adams is going to really help himself because he has NBA size already and should test well athletically.
Chad Ford (1:12 PM)
Sort of think the opposite. It's tough for big guys to look good in the drill setting. He's not the most skilled big here (Cody Zeller, for example, would look good). Athletic testing should help, but the drills will probably emphasize how raw he is on the offensive end of things.
Mike R (San Francisco)
Which team has the most to lose by not getting the 1st overall pick? Orlando, Cleveland, or Charlotte?
Chad Ford (1:13 PM)
Charlotte. Has the least amount of top tier young talent of any of the high lottery teams.
It seems like there are always some bigs who don't look so big when you see them against nba guys. Anyone in the camp look like that to you?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
Think this is where Zeller could get dinged. Isn't long and don't think he's a legit 7 footer. He's trying to position himself as a face the basket four right now as he knows the measurements are going to help his case.
None of the top teams in the draft are going to get a franchise player. So isn't the dream scenario to get Noel, let him rehab most of the year, and then get Wiggins, Parker or Randle next year to go with him?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
Exactly. I actually think that's helping Noel's case with teams like Orlando and Charlotte. Going for the double-play.
Are Glen Rice Jr.'s problems at Georgia Tech a red flag?
Chad Ford (1:16 PM)
Yes, but he's been on his best behavior, by all accounts this year. Think NBA teams will grill him in interviews for sure. But if he comes out OK, he's going way higher than we originally thought. Have him mid-first round right now.
q (South Dakota)
Chad Ford (1:18 PM)
Can't wait to see him in this environment. Intriguing game and size for his position. Could see a team like the Jazz surprising people and grabbing him at 21.
bob (san diego)
Do you think a top 5 team will reach for Shabazz Muhammad? DO you seem him as a NBA starter? What team does he fit with?
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
I'm skeptical right now. Has a lot to prove this week both on the floor, in athletic testing and in interviews. I'm keeping an open mind, but just wasn't that impressed with what I saw all year at UCLA. Will be watching him closely. Think it would be a big mistake if he skips the drills portion. Would just feed the narrative that he believes he's entitled to be drafted high based on what he did in high school.
Allen (So CaL)
I really like what I saw of Dennis Schroeder at the Hoops Summit. Is it a stretch to think that he'll be the 2nd PG taken off the board when it's all said and done?
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
Probably. Burke, McCollum and Carter-Williams probably go ahead of him. But he could be next after that. Thrilled he's going to be playing in the combine. Will be great to see him matched up against his peers.
What do you think of DJ Stephens?
Chad Ford (1:21 PM)
Think he may be the most underrated player in the draft. Think he should've been given an invite to the Combine. I know offensively he's not going to do much in the NBA, but with that motor and elite athletic ability, feel he'll be a great defensive lock down rotation player.
What are the things scouts will be looking for from Olynyk during the combine
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
He should look good here. He's skilled and pretty athletic. What scouts question is the toughness, but unfortunately, in this setting, that just doesn't get tested. Will have to wait for workouts.
What happened with Erick Green? He had 1st round potential during season and then seems to have trailed off.
Chad Ford (1:25 PM)
He's on the bubble. Questions about whether he's a point. But the guy can really score
Clay (Dallas, TX)
Seth Curry. Does a team like SA or OKC take a flier on him to shore up their bench scoring? Seth is perhaps more Dell than Steph, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Chad Ford (1:26 PM)
His brother is certainly help his stock right now. Curry is injured and won't be participating in the drills and athletic testing, so it will be hard to help his stock here. Ditto for Ryan Kelly.
Can Dieng help himself in Chicago?
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
No. His ankle is hurt and he's actually walking around in a walking boot. So no drills or athletic testing for him. Probably better off. His stellar play in the NCAA Tournament is the lasting image he wants for scouts.
Archie Goodwin; is there a market for 6'5" hyperathletic combo guards with no decision making ability, a broken shot, and a propensity for hard falls?
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
He's probably 6-3 but you have the rest just about right. I'm having a very hard time placing him right now. Every scout and GM I speak with is down on him. Doesn't mean he won't impress in workouts, but I think he could end up on the wrong side of the first round bubble.
Tabb (Tampa, Florida)
Is Deshaun Thomas at the combine? Doesn't he have to prove in interviews and drills that he can play defense?
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
That's one of the biggest questions but no defense in the combine and as far as interviews go, that's not the time to prove it.
How do you think Jeff Withey will fair against the other bigs in the combine? What is a realistic range for him to be taken?
Chad Ford (1:30 PM)
Not a great event for him unless they ran a drill asking bigs to block as many shots as possible in 3 minutes without committing fouls. Then he'd come out on top. He's in the 19-25 range.
Who do you think will get the first promise?
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
Dario Saric. He's not staying in the draft if he's not a lottery pick. So if he stays, someone promised him in the lottery.
What are Reggie Bullock's chances of sneaking into the bottom of the 1st as a 3 and D guy?
Chad Ford (1:32 PM)
Good. Can play right away. Fills a role. Definitely a possibility in the 20s.
Where do you have Alan Crabbe going in the draft?
Chad Ford (1:33 PM)
Late teens to 20s. One of the best shooters in the draft. Needs to test well in the athletic testing this week.
Any chance Trey Burke goes #1?
Chad Ford (1:33 PM)
Yes, if the Magic get the No. 1 pick. Possibly if the Pelicans do as well. But outside ...
Where does Grant Jerrett get drafted? One of the best shooters in the draft who just happens to be 6'10
Chad Ford (1:34 PM)
Yes. He's likely to go in the second round. Teams like stretch fours and I think he can do that, with time in the D-League, in the NBA.
How do you think CJ McCollum will fare at the Combine?
Chad Ford (1:36 PM)
Excited to see. He's only recently been cleared for full activity (he broke his foot in January) so I'm not sure if he'll be 100 percent. But looking forward to seeing him out there with everyone. It's unlikely, as a top prospect, that he actually does the drills, but we should see him in the athletic testing.
Can Caldwell-Pope get himself into the Lottery with a good workout at the combine?
Chad Ford (1:36 PM)
Think he's already there, honestly. Think he'll get looks as high as No. 9 to the Wolves. But yes, a good workout in Chicago would help.
Which of the "second-tier" point guards could possibly separate themselves or benefit themselves the most at the combine.. Pressey, Siva, Lorenzo Brown, Canaan, Ray McCallum, Pierre Jackson...?
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
Could/should add Shane Larkin and Dennis Schroeder to the top of that list. They both will look good in the combine setting. Ditto for Jackson who is an elite athlete. Canaan too ... These guys will all be going head-to-head in workouts and then I think you'll start to see some separation. But to me Larkin, Schroeder and Jackson are the best of that group right now.
If Gobert shows well at the combine, how high do you think his stock could rise? Could he be a top 10 pick in this draft?
Chad Ford (1:40 PM)
For sure. He may have the most to gain of anyone. With a 7-foot-9 wingspan, you just have to show you have a heart. Scouts aren't sure. If he competes really hard here, it will be very, very good for him.
Jared (Orlando, FL)
Do you know why Michael Snaer was not invited to the combine?
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
The NBA provides all 30 teams with a ballot of a few hundred draft-eligible players. Each team votes for 60 players & NBA tallies the votes. The NBA invites the players receiving the most votes from teams with an eye toward arriving at (or near) 60 total participants. Snaer, surprisingly, didn't make the cut.
McKay Lasko (Pleasant Grove, Ut)
Any chance the Jazz package their 2 first rounders to move up with their eyes on Trey Burke?
Chad Ford (1:42 PM)
Don't think 14 & 21 together could get them high enough to get Burke. Would likely need to get into the Top 5 or 6.
McLemore vs Oladipo?
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
NBA guys are leaning McLemore but I just spoke with Tim Hardaway Jr. yesterday and he had an interesting take. He played against both players this year (Oladipo twice) and said both were very tough. However, he felt Oladipo was the toughest because he could get you at both ends and you could never lose sight of him on the court.
I feel like MCW is being overrated. I'm a Syracuse fan so I watched him all year. The size and defense are nice, but his shooting is bad, his handle is only okay, and while he makes some great passes he is also turnover prone. Thoughts?
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
You're not alone. HOWEVER, some scouts actually feel the opposite and feel's way underrated right now. Big PG who can handle and they believe he's a much better shooter than he showed at Syracuse.
Robb H. (Provo )
Brandon Davies won the MVP at the PIT and earned himself an invite to the combine. Will he be picked in the second round, or go UFA?
Chad Ford (1:47 PM)
He really impressed people at Portsmouth. IF he plays like he belongs here ... yes, I think he could be a 2nd round pick.
Sot (Biloxi, Miss.)
What did you see in Isaiah Canaan yesterday? And where do you think he will go?Late first or 2 round, in the middle.
Chad Ford (1:48 PM)
Very quick. Great body. Very athletic. Great scorer. Looks small to me. I'm 6-1 and he wasn't as tall as me. Maybe 5-11? Still needs to work on that jumper, mistakes with the ball. Tim Hadaway Jr. game him a tough time.
From what you saw at the recent workout, how does James Southerland look athletically compared to the other prospects? Was he able to defend well in a man to man setting? If so, I think he could turn into a solid role player as a 3+D guy. Great size for the SF position, and in the gym range.
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
He's a good athlete. He's a quick jumper. Doesn't get that high in the air, but is quick off his feet. Defensively he moves his feet very well. Excellent shooter. Good size as a 3. Looks like a solid rotation SF in the league.
Compared to writing about other drafts, is writing about this one a bit tedious? Is this like covering minor league baseball when you've been an MLB beat writer for 15 years?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
No. Actually more challenging. Anthony Davis, MKG, Brad Beal, Lillard, Drummond ... these were obvious NBA talents. Just a lot harder this year. Some of these guys will be good NBA players. A lot of them won't be. Trying to figure out the real deal has been a challenge. Love it actually.
Nick (San Diego)
How will Jamaal Franklin fair at the combine?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
He's also in a walking boot right now. Injured his ankle a few weeks ago. Still a week or two away from being back to 100 percent. So no drills or athletic testing. Too bad on Franklin. Would've loved to see that vertical.
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Have to do some press events for the Combine tomorrow. We have an update Big Board today on Insider. Make sure you watch the Draft Combine on Thursday and Friday from 10 am ET to 3 pm ET on ESPNU!