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 (3:01 PM)
Thanks for joining me for another edition of the NBA chat. Plenty of things going on around the league in recent days. Looking forward to sharing your takes and questions. Let's get right to it.
Cory (Omaha, NE)
What would you suggest McDermott working on between the end of NCAA and the NBA draft combine? Either add some strength and weight to market himself as a 6'8" stretch "4", or do training specific to maximizing speed/agility/vert and market himself as a "3"?
Michael Wallace (3:02 PM)
Just keep making shots. Shooting tends to translate from college to the NBA. Stephen Curry is an extreme example of that level of success. If McDermott can learn to be be a team defender, at the very least, and is nifty enough to create space to get off his shot at the next level, he'll be fine.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Do you think Lebron is looking around at this cast and thinking " I can't get it done with these guys next year. I have to head to LA, Dallas, or Houston." ?
Michael Wallace (3:05 PM)
No. I think those thoughts only tend to cross your mind after you've experienced failure with a group. LeBron only knows success with Miami, at least in terms of advancing to the NBA Finals for a chance to win a title. That's happened each year since he's been in Miami. I don't get the sense LeBron is looking to leave Miami. Why would he? Even if he's not completely confident in this cast moving forward, the Heat have flexibility to rebuild around him, potentially with plenty of cap space.
Stephan (Germany )
Next move lebron will work on this Summer to become an Even more complete player: fadeaway jumpshot? Think could Help him aging a lot
Michael Wallace (3:06 PM)
Depending on how far the Heat advance, this should be a summer when LeBron simply rests. His body and mind need to recover from four straight years of playing deep into June. If the Heat win it all again this year and three-peat, the last thing LeBron might want to see is a basketball court for at least a couple of months.
I know all the talk is about Carmelo to the Bulls. But so long as we are having some delusional fantasies, isn't Kevin Love a much better fit? Love is the perfect compliment to Rose (outside shooting) and Noah, who can cover up some of Love's defensive limitations. A line-up with a healthy Rose, Mirotic, Love, and Noah I think would challenge the Heat and the Pacers. It's not like the Bulls don't have assets - Charlotte's First round pick, their own first rounder, Butler, Taj Gibson. I have no idea if that's enough. It's clearly not "fair" value, but the Wolves aren't going to get fair value for Love because it's impossible. The only question is whether someone would offer them more than 2 mid first-rounders and 2 legit starting-calliber players (but not all-stars).
Michael Wallace (3:13 PM)
That's a well-reasoned point you make. And it makes plenty of sense. But I don't fault the Wolves for taking their time and believing they can do whatever it takes to keep Love. As you mention, they won't get equal value for him, so what's the rush to give him away. Chicago clearly needs another reliable piece to get to championship contention level. Theoretically, Love would get them there as long as it doesn't cost them Noah or Rose.
who is the most swaggy NBA player ever?
Michael Wallace (3:13 PM)
Walt "Clyde" Frazier
Drom John (Macon, GA)
The 76ers end the season at Miami. Assuming Miami is resting and the 76ers have clinched the worst record, what are the odds the 76ers win?
Michael Wallace (3:16 PM)
With the way the 76ers are playing right now, I wouldn't even put them in my Final Four of the NCAA Bracket. What that franchise has done this season is shameful. Don't give me that tanking nonsense, either. Because stripping your team's chances of winning down to absolutely nothing doesn't guarantee you'll get a franchise player. It certainly doesn't mean you'll be a conference title contender in three or four years. What it does promise is that your own fanbase will be ticked off and distrustful of the direction a few years.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Michael, Now that Phil Jackson is officially president of the New York Knicks, any speculation on who'll be a Knick in 2014-15 or somewhere else next season?
Michael Wallace (3:19 PM)
Let's put it this way, the Knicks had wide-open cap space in the biggest free agency offseason in NBA history, and all they walked away with in 2010 was Amar'e Stoudemire. Now, they're back in the process of having to dig themselves out of some bad contracts without any decent first-round draft picks to bargain with as assets. Phil will have his work cut out for him. Chances are, he'll be handcuffed to the core of this current roster for at least another season.
Has any NBA player that has a degree ever gotten it in something cool like engineering (I'm an engineer myself), or are most degrees in communications or business?
Michael Wallace (3:24 PM)
Grant Hill quickly comes to mind. I believe he double-majored in History and Political Science. I'd have to do some digging, but I'm sure there are tons of guys in the NBA who either earned degrees or majored in some rather advanced or unique areas of study.
MVP Ballot 1-5. Go!
Michael Wallace (3:26 PM)
1. Kevin Durant2. LeBron James3. Blake Griffin4. Joakim Noah5. Paul GeorgeHM: Dirk Nowitzki
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What do you think of Phil Jackson being the President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks?
Michael Wallace (3:29 PM)
I think it's a great PR move for the Knicks in terms of their quest to re-e-establish some credibility within the franchise. I also think it's a bit of a money grab for Jackson, who is probably as unqualified for the job as any corporate executive making $12 million a year. We know the man can coach and manage superstars. How well does that translate into building a team to win a championship from a roster, scouting and CBA management standpoint? We'll see. But this strikes me initially as a celebrity marriage more than anything. We'll soon learn if there's any substance to all of that style.
Adrian (Melbourne Australia)
Why don't the Thunder just run the Durant/Westbrook pick and roll...it's unstoppable!
Michael Wallace (3:32 PM)
I'm sure they mix in some sets here and there. But both of those guys prefer their own space to operate. Durant can get his shot off under just about any circumstance, and needs to be in a rhythm to do so. Westbrook can beat anyone in the league off the dribble, without having to navigate around or over a potential extra defender.
Hey Michael, when Rose comes back, do you think he will inhibit some of the play of his teammates who seem to be growing without him?
Michael Wallace (3:34 PM)
The bigger question is, when Rose comes back, how long can he keep himself healthy? From a game standpoint, he's a team-first guy and won't have any problems fitting back in. Remember, this roster was tailor-made for Rose. But they've been reduced the past couple of seasons to being an elite-level supporting cast desperately in need of a superstar.
Could Tim hardaway jr ever become an all star or 20 ppg scorer or is he best used as a bench scorer like jr smith was last year
Michael Wallace (3:37 PM)
He certainly can score in bunches. There aren't many guys averaging 20 in this league. He has the potential and would be drawing a bit more consideration for rookie of the year if the Knicks were firmly in the playoff mix. Let's see how he adjusts next season when opposing teams make the defensive adjustments to his game.
Adam (Cleveland) [via mobile]
Why won't the Heat feed Oden the ball when he's out there?!
Michael Wallace (3:39 PM)
Because he's still learning how to digest a proper diet after nearly four years of NBA inactivity. Oden is rusty. He needs to work off more of it over the next few weeks, and it'll help if the Heat keep him in the starting lineup for a few games to see how quickly he catches on. The key with Oden, though, is making sure his conditioning and confidence are at decent levels.
T.J. (OKC, OK)
Hey Michael, Do you believe the Thunder will amnesty Kendrick Perkins after this year? Why/why not?
Michael Wallace (3:41 PM)
I know that's the talk among a section of the fan base in OKC. But if this up-and-down stretch the Thunder have been on without Perkins and Thabo available has proved anything, it's underscored their worth to the team. Perkins is a defensive specialist at this point, and matches up with only a select few centers in the league. But OKC knows they'll need him if they face Houston, the Clippers or Memphis in the West playoffs.
Are the Raptors the most pleasant surprise in the NBA this season?
Michael Wallace (3:42 PM)
Yes, right up there with the Suns and what the Bulls have been able to do without Derrick Rose.
Actually, you're wrong. The Sixers fan base is excited that the front office actually has a plan, instead of being an 8th seed. So no, we aren't ticked off like you think we are.
Michael Wallace (3:45 PM)
I can see the excitement from all the empty seats. Well, okay, then have fun waiting the next decade to contend for a title. Indiana and OKC are the exceptions to all of this tanking-for-a-turnaround logic, not the rule. Just ask Cleveland, Charlotte, Sacramento, Detroit ... I could go on and on.
How good is John wall and how far can he take this team not only this year but in the future as well
Michael Wallace (3:52 PM)
You could argue and make a very strong case that Wall might be the league's most improved player. What he's done to help the Wizards improve has been nothing short of fantastic. His playmaking and scoring are already at an elite level. But he needs to improve his shooting, especially from distance, to approach that level of being almost unstoppable. The Wizards will be an interesting team to watch in the playoffs, especially if they get Nene back on his feet.
Kendrick Perkins should be on a beach somewhere RETIRED... dude is terrible and hurts the Thunder against teams that play "small ball"
Michael Wallace (3:54 PM)
How many teams out west that OKC must get through play "small ball" without a dominant center in the paint? Hey, I'm not here to defend Perkins. He's not for everyone. He's a specialist at best, and not an effective, every night starting center. But he has value on that team. Until Steve Adams gets more experience and confidence, which could be relatively soon, there will likely be a place in OKC for Perkins for the time being.
Marvin Stone (Phoenixville, PA)
What would the alternative for the Sixers be? Doug Collins screwed the team with horrible moves & evaluation / allocation of minutes to young players. Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes were walking after this year and at best that would have gotten 5-7 more wins
Michael Wallace (3:59 PM)
If you're going to bottom out - with hopes of a relatively timely turnaround - you need to bottom out with assets on your roster. San Antonio did it because Robinson got hurt. They got lucky by getting Duncan. OKC had assets when they got Durant, and then Westbrook. If you're 7th or 8th seed, you're one great scouting department and mid-firstrounder or quality free agent from jumping to a 4th seed. You build a young team by allowing them to experience the playoffs and what it's like to get to that level. No one wants to be Atlanta, a perpetual first-round playoff team and not much else. I get that. But you're banking on a lot if you think a ping-pong ball is worth throwing away a season or two or three. No one goes from the lottery to the conference Finals. It takes time, a plan and gradual advancement.
Michael Wallace (4:01 PM)
Well, that's my time for this week. Thanks for your questions and takes. As always, I enjoy these chats. Until next week, take care and peace. MW