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 (1:01 PM)
Aloha everyone and thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll be discussing NBA Draft and the NCAA tourney all hour. Let's roll ...
Craig (Boston, MA)
Hi Chad, love you insights! Don't undersized power forwards like Julius Randle have difficulty adapting to the NBA. Recent past comparable players include Derrick Williams, Thomas Robinson and Michael Beasley. What makes Julius Randle any different?
Chad Ford (1:06 PM)
I don't think he's undersized. He's 6-9 with a 6-11 wingspan. Not huge or particularly long. But he's not short for his position either. But there are concerns there about his ability to finish over length. He's No. 5 on our Big Board but of the Big 5, he's the one that could potentially slide. He's been a double-double machine at Kentucky, but there are worries about his offensive game.
Andrew L. Jordan (Greenwood, MS)
Have you heard about whether Laquinton Ross is leaning toward entering the draft? If so, is he a legit pro. He's a tweener and I can't see him defending any NBA position. Thanks.
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
I don't think he's a tweener at all. He's a good enough shooter to be a three in the NBA and I think he absolutely has the foot speed to guard threes at the next level. Whether he has the desire to? That's another question. I think he goes somewhere between 20-35 .
What is TJ Warren's draft stock?
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
Scouts have been reluctant all year because Warren's jump shot from beyond the arc is a weakness as is his overall lack of elite athletic ability. But he's been so effective scoring the basketball and is such a creative scorer, that he's been rising considerably over the last month. With that said, scouts had many of the same hesitations with Adam Morrison but drafted him high anyway based on his production in college. But he lacked the elite shooting or athletic ability to be such a creative scorer in the NBA. So be careful. The guy can score with the best of them, the question is whether he can do it at the NBA level.
Adam (Santa Cruz)
Imagine Marcus Smart has a monster tourney and leads OK State to a Final Four berth- is it possible he could be the first PG taken in the draft?
Chad Ford (1:13 PM)
For sure. He's going to go high no matter what happens. But if he can get OK State even to the Sweet 16, it means he knocked out a No. 1 seed and will regain some of the mojo he had coming into the season. He's been playing great since coming off the suspension. But a big tourney may convince the Magic, who loved him last year, to take him as long as they don't land the No. 1 or 2 pick.
Neil (Ohio) [via mobile]
Don't you think Wiggins is more of a Corey Brewer-type player than phenom?
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
No ... no .... no ... no ... no. Quit listening to my buddy Jeff Goodman. Wiggins has always been the guy in this draft. There was a month or two early this year where Embiid became a hot name among NBA people because of his size and his quick learning curve, but once he went down with back issues and Wiggins starting taking over ... Wiggins moved back into No. 1. He's an elite athlete, already an amazing defender and he scores so effortlessly. He needs to improve his jumper, tighten his handle and learn how to play in attack mode all the time. But everything else is there and given his work ethic, he's going to improve that jump shot and handle and then it will come down to ... will he have the confidence to take over the game.
if DeAndre Kane was 20 where would he be drafted? he has all the physical tools but where do you think he gets drafted if at all?
Chad Ford (1:19 PM)
Lottery pick. But he turns 25 before the draft. That's a HUGE difference. He's supposed to be dominating people at that age. Makes it so much harder to scout because he's a man playing against boys.
Are upperclassmen undervalued? Guys like Adreian Payne, CJ Wilcox or Patric Young all seem underrated to me.
Chad Ford (1:21 PM)
Those three all deserve a closer look by scouts. All three playing well. Payne is one of the few true stretch fours in this draft. He'll go somewhere in the 15-25 range. Wilcox is just such a great shooter. Washington's struggles haven't helped his stock, but teams love shooters who are also good athletes which means Wilcox will be in the 20-35 range. Lots of love for Young lately from scouts. No one thinks he's going to be a special NBA player. But rotation bigs that will defend and bring toughness are hard to come by. He's a 25-40 range.
He has cooled off alot but from my eyes an just raw gifts Zach LaVine has top 3 upside in this draft do you agree?
Chad Ford (1:24 PM)
LaVine has cooled down from his hot start. But it's always been about potential with him anyway. Great size for his position, lethal jump shooter and a great athlete. And most scouts believe he could play some point in the NBA. I think Jamal Crawford might be a good comp though LaVine is a better shooter. He'll go somewhere in the late lottery to mid first round if he declares. He could be a Top 10 pick however with another year at UCLA.
Jusuf Nurkic or Willie Cauley-Stein?
Chad Ford (1:25 PM)
Probably Cauley-Stein. Nurkic is much more skilled. But Cauley-Stein is a NBA athlete and that matters. His shot blocking should get his name called somewhere in the late lottery to mid first round.
Does Wichita State have any NBA prospects? Has there ever been a 1 seed without any?
Chad Ford (1:30 PM)
They do actually. Ron Baker is a potential late first rounder. Some teams like Cleanthony Early will get a lot of looks as a potential second rounder and some NBA scouts are also eyeing point guard Fred VanVleet. This is a talented, athletic team. Don't sleep on them just because they are Wichita State. I'm not saying they're going to win the tournament, but they were worthy of a one seed.
Should Kyle Anderson return for another year? Would another year of college benefits him?
Chad Ford (1:33 PM)
Probably not. He's such a unique player, but he really improved in every area he could this year. His jump shot is better. He nearly doubled his assists per game. The issue with him is that he's non-athlete and UCLA has to hide him on defense. That's only going to become a bigger issue in the NBA -- but it's not something he can really improve. He isn't going to get more athletic. On the right team, with the right coach and system, I think he can be a very effective NBA player.
What do scouts think about Nick Johnson? He seems like he has all the tools to be a NBA SG. No?
Chad Ford (1:34 PM)
If he was three inches taller, he'd probably be a lottery pick. But it's much harder for 6-2/6-3 two guards to thrive in the NBA. It helps that Nick is such an explosive athlete, but that alone won't do it. That's why he's on the first round bubble.
Willie(Toronto) [via mobile]
Can Jarnell Stokes play in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
Rebounding tends to be the one stat that translates from college to the pros and Stokes has proven to be a beast in the paint, especially on the offensive glass. He's got a chance, yes. Some teams like him as a late first rounder. Most have him in the second round.
How much do you think Embiid's injury affects both his draft stock and his chances of returning to school?
Chad Ford (1:37 PM)
Bill Self is saying that at some point he'll play in the tournament assuming KU survives the weekend, so that's good news. Backs are scary issues to NBA teams. They'll look at that pretty carefully at the combine. If there are lingering issues and he needs surgery etc., I think he probably stays out of the draft. If everything is clear, he's a Top 3 pick.
Princess Anna (Arendele)
What are the chances either of Ennis or Grant come back for another year?
Chad Ford (1:38 PM)
Doubt we see either back in school Ennis stock will never be higher. He's riding a high right now for his steadiness as a freshman. He won't get any higher by staying in school. Grant obviously could as he still needs to work on that jumper, but his stock is high enough as a late lottery to mid first round guy to justify the jump. I think they'll lose both of them.
Elfrid Payton, complete unknown to most, what can you tell us about him?
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
Long, lanky point guard who is very slithery. He's so smooth and has the ability to get wherever he wants on the floor. He's also a terrific defender with long arms and quickness. His jump shot is a mess and he needs to add strength to improve his ability to finish around the rim, but he's a gamer. Scouts have him on the first round bubble right now. Also watch his teammate Shawn Long. Many NBA scouts are very intrigued with his combination of size, athleticism and his shooting abilities. He may be the most underrated player on our board.
Will Russ Smith be a successful NBA player?
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
He hasn't had a lot of support from NBA guys the first three years in the league. But he's been earning respect this year by cutting down on the amount of crazy shots he takes and learning how to run the point. He almost doubled his assist-to-turnover ration this year and is shooting much higher percentages from the field. No one doubts his quickness or his ability to score on anyone. But for the first time you can plausibly argue he could play some point coming off the bench in the NBA. He's moved back into the discussion in the second round and frankly, with a big tournament, could end up in the first.
Mark my words, Chad: Jahii Carson will be the steal of the draft.
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
Could be. I like him a lot. Such a great scorer. He's undersized, but that's the only real knock I have on him. I'm surprised more teams don't have him firmly in the first round. He's all over boards from 20-40.
Rah-Steam (Hackensack, N.J.)
How good is this young Louisville center?
Chad Ford (1:47 PM)
Montrezl Harrell? Lottery pick. A bit undersized, but makes up for it with length, athleticism, strength and motor.
Can you give us a few small school sleepers to watch?
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
I already talked about Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long from Louisiana Lafayette. George Beamon of Manhattan is one of my favorites. He's long, athletic and though his jumper is ugly, it goes in. A real scoring machine. Langston Hall of Mercer is a 6-4 point guard who can shoot. Shayne Whittington of Western Michigan is a great stretch four prospect. Taylor Braun of North Dakota State. Jeremy Ingram of North Carolina Central
Nnam [via mobile]
Does Melvin Ejjim have a place in the league?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
I think he does. Has size, can rebound and score. Second rounder.
What are your picks for the Final Four?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Kansas (of course), Michigan State, Louisville and Arizona. I have Michigan State and Louisville in the Championship game. Two veteran teams, but I'm going with Louisville to win it again. And by the way, my bracket will have, as it has for all but one time in the last decade, Kansas winning it all. Yes, I'm a homer.
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Make sure you check out our Region-by-Region breakdown of the top NBA prospects for every team in the tournament. South, East and Midwest regions are up. West will be up tomorrow. Have an amazing weekend.