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 (1:00 PM)
Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We will be talking NBA Draft & March Madness all hour! Let's roll ...
calexan1 (Columbus, OH)
I know Jabari Parker was publicly disappointed at his efforts in Duke's shocking loss to Mercer in the 1st Round (he should be), and he feels that his freshman season was "incomplete", but at the end of the day, I can't see him turning down the likelihood that he'll be a consensus Top 5 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft...maybe Top 3, versus coming back to Duke for his Sophomore year. Your thoughts?
Chad Ford (1:05 PM)
He's probably a Top 3 consensus right now with a few teams that would take him No. 1. So I don't think the issue is draft stock and I still think it's likely that he declares. The two issues for him are 1. He really enjoys school, wants to win a NCAA championship and Duke is going to have a loaded team next year with Jahil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow (ranked as No. 1, No. 4 and No. 11 incoming high school prospects by ESPN) all coming in. 2. He wants to be ready for the NBA and even though he's widely regarded as the most NBA ready freshman prospect, it's clear he has things to work on including his conditioning, defense and jumper. Jabari isn't all about the NBA so he'll take those things into consideration. At the end of the day, I think he's in. However, if he pulled a Marcus Smart and came back, wouldn't shock me either.
Chad if Adrian Panyne was 20 years old where would he go in this draft?
Chad Ford (1:07 PM)
He'd be a Top 10 pick. No question. He's having a great season. However, at 20 years old, Payne was a borderline second rounder. NBA scouts expect that every year you get better and a 23 year old dominating doesn't get the same amount of love as a 19 year old. You're supposed to be better. With that said, Payne is one of the few prospects that can really stretch the floor as a four. Those types of players are in high demand in the NBA and I think he ends up going late lottery to mid first round.
Why would anyone take Joel Embiid inside the top 10. I understand the upside but what big man that is injury prone has become healthy while playing in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:10 PM)
If Embiid declares for the draft, and it's a big if right now, NBA docs are going to look at that back very closely. Until that happens, we don't really know what the long term ramifications are of his back injury and it's sort of pointless to speculate. It could be minor or it could be a Jared Sullinger type situation. Remember Sullinger was projected as a Top 6 pick before NBA docs at the combine concluded that he'd need back surgery at some point. Sullinger dropped about 15 spots in the draft and sure enough, mid season Sullinger went down with back issues and had to have back surgery. But that's sort of a worst case scenario. We just don't know yet. I think, no matter what, even the concern about the back might lead to Embiid getting passed by as a potential No. 1 pick. But most teams still have him in the Top 3.
Nathan Benron (Edmonton, Ab, Canada)
Are we all overreacting to the disappointing game that Wiggins had in the 2nd round? To me, Stanford just had the right combination to get it done - big bigs and a strategy where they often sent 2 players in the zone towards Wiggins. Further, I think the announcers made a very apt point in questioning why Coach Self never made the adjustment to put Wiggins in attack mode from the foul line up in the zone. These are things that NBA coaches will do - to help put Wiggins in the right spots to succeed. Is he still the #1 prospect this year if he comes out?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
I love all the Canadians coming to the defense of Wiggins. You are right. Stanford had a great plan to neutralize Wiggins and neither he nor Bill Self really made the adjustments they needed to. This is all exacerbated by the fact that Wiggins had a rep early in the year of being too passive. Watching the game, I didn't think he was really being passive and neither did most scouts I spoke with. He was really well defended and didn't come up with an alternative. Of course, in the NBA, you are also really well defended. Defenses take away the things you love to do. Wiggins is going to have to continue to improve his skill set. But I haven't heard anyone in the NBA suggest that this one game will affect his draft stock at all. He's the No. 1 guy on our board and he's the No. 1 guy on most NBA boards right now. That can still change as we get into workouts and physicals, but I'd be surprised if it did.
Why Julius Randle isn't in the same group with Jabari Wiggins Embiid?For me he is a 20/10 guy waiting to happen. He will be 6'9 270-280 monster who is athletic can handle shoot pretty well for a PF, handle great for a PF, rebound great, pass well, and I believe he is a better defender at the next level than Parker
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
He was at the start of the season. But Kentucky's struggles along with his own (didn't have the jump shot he was advertised to have and struggled to finish over length around the basket combined with uninspired defensive efforts) dinged his stock a little. He's still ranked No. 5 on our Big Board and in certain scenarios could go a little higher. His play in the first two rounds has been terrific. If he can outplay Monrezl Harrell of Louisville and lead UK to the Final Four, he might be back in that conversation. Scouts are willing to give these elite young prospects the benefit of the doubt.
If you ran a team that needed a point guard, who are you taking to start right away? Ennis or Smart?
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
I'd probably take Dante Exum. But if he was off the board, depends on what I need. I think overall Smart is the better prospect. He's bigger, a better defender, and a more vocal leader. His lack of a jump shot and turnover issues do concern scouts and they should, but Smart has the ability to compensate with other areas of his game. Ennis is more steady, a better shooter and a purer point guard, but he lacks the physicality, size and motor of Smart. Both are in my Top 10 and you could make an argument for either one, but I'd lean toward Smart.
Why doesn't Aaron Gordon get more hype? He's a potential five-tool player. All he needs to fix is his jumper/free throw.
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
He gets a ton of it from NBA scouts. He doesn't really have a jump shot or a go to offensive move nevertheless he's ranked No. 6 on our Big Board, is a defensive nightmare for opponents, and has such amazing athletic abilities and a strong motor that he can just outplay the other side. If he had a jump shot, he'd be in the mix with Wiggins and Parker. He's that good and he's peaking at the right time for Arizona. If he and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (who is also a first round pick if he declares) keep playing like they did last weekend, Arizona is going to the Final Four.
Cody (St. Louis)
Is Noah Vonleh a PF or C in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:24 PM)
Probably a PF. Kevin Pelton made a nice statistical comp between Vonleh and Bosh this week and I think you can see the connection between the two. Bosh played some center in the NBA with the Raptors, but he's really a four. Vonleh's the one guy, to me, who, with great workouts, could move his stock into the Top 5. He's a little rawer than other prospects, but he's got major upside.
talabac ( juptier)
Why has Dario Saric's name disappeared from mock draft boards?
Chad Ford (1:25 PM)
Saric hasn't officially announced anything, but we reported on Sunday that multiple sources say that he has an agreement in principle with Efes Pilson that will pay him $8.27 million euros during the next three years. There's no word yet on what the NBA buyout looks like, but he for sure won't be able to come to the NBA next season, and sources say it's highly unlikely he'll even declare for this year's draft.
Cleanthony Early seemed to really help himself. Is he a mid-first rounder?
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
He helped himself more than any other prospect this weekend. Was terrific for Wichita State. Looked like a prototypical NBA small forward with size, athleticism, the ability to take his defender off the dribble and a polished three point jump shot. He hasn't been as good as he was against Kentucky all season, but the fact that he scored 31 against UK in the tournament gave him a major boost. I think he's firmly in the first round right now and could go as high as the teens. If he was 2 years young, he'd go even higher.
Jarnell Stokes is undersized height wise, but his standing reach is nearly 9 feet. Is he a first rounder?
Chad Ford (1:30 PM)
Might be down the road. Rebounding is one stat that seems to translate pretty well from the NCAA to the NBA and Stokes has been an absolute beast on the offensive boards. He's one guy I'd watch really carefully. He's also a 20 year old junior, so he's young for his class. A little undersized, could lose a little weight, but a very interesting prospect.
How good would Aaron Craft be in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
He's the guy college basketball analysts all love and they all declare he'll be in the league. Every year there's one or two scrappy players like Craft that earn that designation. He plays so hard and is so, so tough I get why people cheer for him, but as far as NBA scouts are concerned, he's a borderline second round prospect.
How well will Rodney Hood do in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:32 PM)
Great size for his position and he can really shoot the basketball. Those two are good indicators. I don't think he's a star or even necessarily a starter, but with those two tools, he is projected to have a long NBA career.
Bryan (Boston, MA)
How has the display Shabazz Napier has put on in the tournament, especially the 2nd half against 'Nova changed the perceptions about him heading into the draft?
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
He's played four years at UConn and has been heavily scouted. If you've watched Shabazz a lot you know he's capable of putting up a huge game one night and an awful one the next. He's also an undersized two guard (most teams don't think he's a true PG) who isn't an elite athlete nor does he have great size. In short, great college player who will likely have to wait until the second round to hear his name called.
How much have the Harrison twins improved their stock over the last couple of weeks?
Chad Ford (1:38 PM)
Some. No one has forgot how much they've struggled early on and there are some fundamental weaknesses that both have that were exposed in college. But ... they've improved. They are playing with more confidence and the poor body language that plagued them in high school and early in their college career has started to go away. They are both NBA talents and if they keep leading UK to a title, could both be first round picks. But I don't see either regaining status as potential lottery picks this season. They'd need another dominant year at UK to do that.
What are scouts saying about Xavier Thames pro potential?
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
Wasn't really considered a pro prospect until his stellar play in the tournament. He's really an undersized two guard, but I noticed scouts trying to talk themselves into him being a point guard all weekend. NBA loves shooters.
Why isn't Melvin Ejim a bigger prospect?
Chad Ford (1:40 PM)
Age mostly. Wasn't a dominant prospect until his senior year. But I do think he's underrated by NBA guys and probably should be a little higher on their boards. I think he could contribute as a role player at the next level.
Any chance McDermott is a top 10 pick?
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
Yes. He's such a great shooter and such a heady scorer, someone could roll the dice on him that high. His jump shot isn't going anywhere. The big question around McDermott is who does he guard at the next level. If he can figure that out, there will be a place for him.
how high up draft boards has tj warren moved this past month?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
From bubble first rounder to someone who might get looks in the late lottery to mid first round.
What are your thoughts on Jusuf Nurkic? I've seen him listed as a lottery pick by other websites
Chad Ford (1:48 PM)
Could go that high. Has great size and is pretty skilled. Bigs rise as we get closer to the draft. But that fact that he's not a great athlete worries a lot of NBA people. Big men that struggle in that area are a dying breed in the NBA. There's Roy Hibbert and Marc Gasol ... but you have to be very good. Can he be very good? Have different scouts saying different things.
Surprised that Kyle Anderson isn't more highly rated on the big board. Has he improved his stock with his play in the tourney? Get he's is a liability defensively right now but he has to have top 10 potential.
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
He's such a unique player, I'm not sure anyone really knows what to do with him. In the right system, right coach, right teammates, he could be special. Few players his size see the game as well as he does and he's really improved his shooting as well. On the downside, not sure who he guards in the NBA and if a coach isn't willing to put the ball in his hands, the best parts of his game go away. If I was his agent, I'd be very picky about what team he goes to. Will mean all the difference with him.
What are your thoughts on Selden returning to KU for his sophomore year?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
Good move. Has lottery talent, but didn't show it this year. Should be the alpha dog on the this team next year.
MO (Los Angeles)
What do you think of Clint Capela? He looks like a big time athlete for a forward/center.
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Probably the hottest international player behind Exum. Big, athletic and putting up very solid numbers in France this season. Has a great shot of getting picked in the 10-20 range if he declares. Rumor is that he'll be at the Nike Hoop Summit. Could be a big coming out party for him.
Chad Ford (1:59 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Enjoy the tournament games this weekend. We'll do this again next week.