Chat with Michael Wallace
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, NBA reporter Michael Wallace stops by to chat about the latest news from around the league.
In addition to writing about the NBA, Wallace is also a frequent contributor to the "Heat Index" and the TrueHoop Network. Prior to working for ESPN, Wallace spent more than a decade covering the ACC, SEC, NFL and the NBA for other publications.
Send your questions now and join Wallace Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Michael Wallace (3:04 PM)
Thanks for joining me for another week of NBA chatting. Looking forward to your questions and takes. let's get right to them.
jim trevethan (solon, ohio)
KOBE? fri night a go or no go?
Michael Wallace (3:06 PM)
Kobe might be the most unpredictable superstar we've ever seen. I totally bought into the 1225 thing he did on Twitter several weeks ago, with all signs pointing to his return coming on that Christmas Day game against the Miami Heat. But considering the days off the Lakers have leading into Friday's game, it makes sense to target that date as his initial test run coming off the injury. So I say it's a definite maybe.
Lack of chemistry is being told as the reason for east teams to be so poor (by Dominique Wilkins on ESPN first take today). Is that really a reason.
Michael Wallace (3:08 PM)
No. Because there are a lot of moving parts in the West as well, and they've been able to play really good basketball on that side of the country. I do think injuries to marquee players in the East have taken the conference down a notch, namely to Derrick Rose, Tyson Chandler and Deron Williams. The Bulls, Knicks and Nets were supposed to be the teams challenging the Heat and Pacers in the East.
Ed (Queens Village)
Can Blazers challenge Thunder for Northwest division or be top 3 seed in west?
Michael Wallace (3:10 PM)
Can they? They already are. But I believe, barring injury, the Blazers can sustain what they've been doing. I like the additions of Mo Williams and Robin Lopez. Any time a team can bolster the point guard and center position with that type of experience and energy, it's a major boost. I do think Portland will contend with OKC, and I also see them capable of challenging the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs and Thunder for a top-three spot in the West.
Can Paul George realistically be an MVP candidate?
Michael Wallace (3:13 PM)
Indiana is probably the most balanced team in the league, from point guard to center. But they go as Paul George goes. He's already a legit MVP candidate. And it's also possible the Pacers can also boast coach of the year (Vogel), sixth man of the year (Scola), defensive player of the year (Hibbert) and most improved (Stephenson) if they're not careful.
can the Bobcats sneak into the playoffs?
Michael Wallace (3:18 PM)
Sneak? Not really the right word there. But the Bobcats are one of about six teams in the East who can seriously vy for one of the final three playoff spots in the East. The Heat, Pacers, Hawks and Nets, yes, the Nets, will take the top four spots. From there, it's wide open. And Charlotte, one of the better defensive teams in the league, will have a great shot to end their playoff drought.
is the east really bad enough the wizards could host a playoff series?
Michael Wallace (3:21 PM)
It's still early. Really early. The standings as they appear today will likely be completely different two weeks from now. Eventually, the East will sort itself out. But that said, it's clearly a two-team race between the Pacers and Heat at this point. I don't see that changing all that much. But the Wizards are playing really good basketball the past two weeks. John Wall has every right to believe he's one of the elite point guards in the league.
The Wizards have looked good as of late but their bench is downright awful. Should they stand pat since its early in the season and hope things get better or should they make a move for a backup center since it seems Seraphin isn't cutting it or for a backup point guard since Maynor is a mess?
Michael Wallace (3:45 PM)
The problem is they don't have many assets to deal that would net them a quality reserve. They're still holding out hope that Otto Porter Jr. can get into the mix at some point. But depth, or the lack thereof, is sometihng the Wizards are going to have to address if they want to make some serious noise in the East.
The Dallas Mavericks are looking pretty good so far this season, Dirk and Ellis are great with each other, How far do you think this Dallas Mavericks team can go?
Michael Wallace (3:47 PM)
It seems like they've been in every game they've played this season. They play an exciting brand of basketball, but you have to wonder about their depth. I don't think they are dynamic enough defensively to shut down any of the marquee teams in the West. If I had to peg where they fall, it would be about sixth in the West right now - which might be generous. But you're right, Dirk just won't let this team die, no matter who's on the roster.
knicks are lost on both sides of the ball. how much blame falls on the coach? while not a championship team, most considered the knicks to be at least decent.
Michael Wallace (3:51 PM)
What you're seeing now is what makes Tyson Chandler so valuable on this team, on both ends of the court. Still, it shouldn't be this bad for the Knicks. They are a much better team than that record indicates. Carmelo Anthony is supposed to be an MVP candidate. He's got to find a way to be more productive beyond points and FGAs. And Amare Stoudemire is basically non-existent on this team despite that massive contract. Looks like the Knicks will have to gut this roster and start over one way or another.
What's stopping us from another SA VS Heat Finals besides injuries?
Michael Wallace (3:54 PM)
Don't count out the Pacers, Oklahoma City and a few other series threats just yet. But it looks like the Heat and Spurs have picked up where they left off last June. The Spurs just keep finding a way. And the Heat are off to the best start in franchise history, although it seems like they haven't even played consistently well yet.
Ben (Austin TX)
Since the topic of the day is the disparity between the Eastern and Western conferences, I've got an partial solution: Move New Orleans to the East an Milwaukee to the West. Geographically, it's only off by a few miles. The Pelicans would be the East's new third-best team, and Milwaukee will shrink the gap by perenially sucking in the West.
Michael Wallace (3:57 PM)
That's actually pretty funny.
Will Suns make playoff in the tough western conference?
Michael Wallace (3:58 PM)
Michael Wallace (4:01 PM)
That's my time for this week. Thanks for joining the chat. Talk to you guys next week at this same time. Until then, peace - MW