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 all hour. Let's roll ...
Tommy (Philadelphia, PA)
What's the latest info on whether or not Joel Embiid and/or Jabari Parker will enter the draft?
Chad Ford (1:07 PM)
Both are weighing their options. Both are seriously considering returning ... with Parker so much so that several scouts are claiming he's coming back to school. But I think that's premature. They have time. The deadline is April 27th to decide. However, if they declare after April 15th, there's no turning back. They'll lose their college eligibility. Parker is really NBA ready. He could obviously improve if he stayed, but he's a NBA starter from Day One. He'll get minutes and playing against the best competition is the best way to improve. The only good reason for him to stay is because he loves college, wants to lead Duke to a NCAA Championship and is OK just waiting. But as far as development goes, the NBA is his best option. Embiid is a little different. He's rawer and may not see the minutes Parker would see as a NBA rookie. He also has a big unknown with his back that could affect his draft stock if NBA doctors get wary. He would probably benefit more than Parker from returning for another year of college, but it's really hard to turn down a Top 3 pick. I think both will probably declare at the end of the day, but I wouldn't be shocked if they stayed either.
Where is Kyle Anderson gonna get drafted?
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
May be the single hardest guy for me to get my arms around right now. Some NBA scouts love him. I mean, really love him. Others don't like him at all. He's a very unique player. He won't fit on every team and it will ultimately come down to having a coach that believes in what he can, is willing to put the basketball in his hands and let him be who is -- a 6-9 point guard. If a team tries to turn him into something else, I think they'll be very disappointed. I think he goes somewhere between 10-35. That's the widest range I have for any player in the draft.
One player that I didn't know about before the tournament but do now is Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky. What is his pro potential? He looks to me like he can shoot, is quick, and has great footwork for a 7 footer.
Chad Ford (1:12 PM)
Kaminsky was awesome in that Arizona game. He looked like a mix between Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki. How often do you see seven footers running the floor like that, shooting threes and scoring with a soft touch around the rim. However, you have to be careful on Kaminsky. He's a junior and played, arguably, the best game of his career against Arizona. Before that game he was shooting 1-for-8 from three. He also has been a very mediocre rebounder in his career. Do you take a handful of really great games where he looks like a lottery pick, or do you look at him over the whole course of his career where he looked more like a second rounder? I'd argue you probably need to look at his whole body of work, but I understand who the excitement of one game can make you giddy. He was really, really good.
Where does Shabazz Napier end up? How much has his draft stock rised because of the NCAA Tournament?
Chad Ford (1:16 PM)
Good question. He's been, arguably, the best player in the NCAA tournament to date. He's hit clutch shot after clutch shot for UConn, has a sick handle and has willed UConn to the Final Four. But again, do you take four games and let that tell his story, or do you look at his four year career at UConn? Napier has gotten better. Much better. He's having a terrific senior season. But there are still legit questions about his position in the pros (he's more of a two guard at heart), his lack of size and lack of elite athletic ability, and his penchant, for much of his career at UConn, for playing selfishly. With that said, NBA scouts love winners and Napier has been carrying this team on his back at the right time. His stock has improved to the point that I think some teams would take him in the late first round. But I'm concerned they're overvaluing this run.
Should Dakari and Lee declare? theres always room for good big men prospects in the late first right?
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
No. They both aren't ready for the NBA and would just be toiling in the D-League. They can both really improve their draft stock with another year at Kentucky. While I think both would get looks as developmental projects late in the first. They need more time.
How much has the stock of the Harrison Twins risen?
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
They've played great. They've quieted the doubters. They've proven that you shouldn't write off heralded freshman just because they get off to a slow start. But I still think both players, despite their strong play for UK in the tournament are bubble first rounders. Aaron Harrison has always been in that place. I don't think his stock has moved much all year. Andrew was once considered a Top 10 pick and his stock has obviously fallen. He's helped it in the past two weeks (scouts will always find ways to give 6-5 point guards a second and third look) but he's not cracking the lottery. I hope they go back to school and really dominate next year. If they declare, they are likely late first rounders to early second rounders.
Now that Wiggins has officially declared for the draft (not that anybody was surprised) what do you think his stats are going to look like for his rookie season? Also wondering who you think the best team (that actually has a shot at him) would be?
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
Really depends on his team. I doubt he starts off hot. Not sure he'll be the favorite for Rookie of the Year, even if he lands on a team that will give him huge minutes. He's a long-term play. It's by year three I think that people will be looking at Wiggins and be going "Wow!" He'll do some of that right out of the gate. But he needs to tighten up his handle, improve the consistency of his jumper before he'll be dominant. Those are both doable things. And I think he will. But early on his calling card will be defense.
Jack (Clemson, SC) [via mobile]
Could Dante Exum work as 2 alongside somebody like MCW at the next level?
Chad Ford (1:23 PM)
Yes, he can play both positions. But I know he really wants to be a NBA point guard and I don't think teams that have a young point guard will get a visit from Exum for workouts. I can't see his agent, Rob Pelinka, sending him to Philly for example. That obviously doesn't preclude the Sixers from taking him, but given how little teams really know about the kid, it could scare them away. I think he'd really like to play for the Lakers.
Jesse (Los Angeles)
Should Zach LaVine have declared for the draft? I foresee a trip to the D-League based on his abilities at this point. Is a team really willing to use their first round pick in this year's draft on a project like him?
Chad Ford (1:26 PM)
He probably should have stayed at UCLA. He needs to add strength and get more experience. He's not ready to be an impact player in the NBA. But I understand why he did it. The coaches son is playing point guard. He may not have started next year and even if he did, it would be out of position. NBA teams love his shooting ability and explosiveness athletically. He has tremendous upside. Someone will take him in the second half of the first round. He may play in the D-League, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if he gets minutes at the point. He's a long-term play and I think a pretty good one.
Has Rodney Hood said anything about the draft?
Chad Ford (1:27 PM)
Not officially, but he's strongly leaning toward declaring for the draft. I'd be shocked if he doesn't declare.
Is Aaron Gordon a top 5 pick?
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
Might be. I love him. Such a great athlete. Has a great basketball IQ. A great nose for the ball. Can defend multiple positions. Plays with an unreal motor. He's not a great offensive player yet. He can't really create his own shot and he's not a consistent shooter. But he does everything else well. I've been saying this all year, but I think he's an Andrei Kirilenko type player. That's a high compliment if you remember a young Kirilenko before injuries took their toll. A stat sheet stuffer who helps you win.
Thoughts about Stauskas? Is his defense that bad? Should MIN go for him with the N13 pick if Harris is already taken? (I assume MIN will go for the best SG available)
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
He can shoot. That means he'll get minutes right away. His defense isn't horrible, but he's never going to be a lock down defender. But teams genuinely love his quick release and his ability to handle the ball and create for himself and others. He'll go somewhere in that 13-20 range.
So can McDermott succeed in the NBA or not? Part of me says a guy who's 6'8" and can fill it up like that will find a way. Another part doesn't see how he'll be able to keep up with the pace and defensive expectation
Chad Ford (1:34 PM)
Define succeed. He's sort of like goat cheese and bruschetta. He's not for everyone. But if you can appreciate what he does well -- he can really shoot the basketball and has the IQ to find good looks -- he can be contributor in the NBA. But he's going to struggle to defend. And if you are drafting him thinking he's scoring 25 ppg in the NBA, you're going to be really disappointed.
Can Patric Young have any legitimate impact in the NBA? Looks like a stud but has ZERO offensive game!
Chad Ford (1:36 PM)
He can rebound. He can defend. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes and he has a NBA body. Sounds to me like a NBA big man who gets 10-15 minutes a night in the NBA. That's a valuable get in the late first or second round.
What is Marcus Smart's ceiling in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:38 PM)
It's high because he works so hard on his game and has a physical advantage at his position. While he's not the most explosive athlete, he's big, strong and plays with such toughness and with great intensity. He's going to be a power guard. Think Tyreke Evans with great leadership skills. He'd be a different player with a different attitude and I think that's why many scouts are still excited about him. He has obvious weaknesses surrounding his jump shot and his tendency to try to do too much. But he'll keep working on those. Few players work as hard as Smart does and I think that's why he'll succeed in the pros. I wouldn't hesitate to take him in the Top 10.
Thoughts on Russ Smith? He feels to me like one of those early 2nd round steals when you look back in 5 years.
Chad Ford (1:40 PM)
Might be. I always thought of him as an undersized two guard who took too many bad shots. Sort of a poor man's Allen Iverson. But I thought he took genuine strides this year as a playmaker. If he can get others involved and improve his shot selection, he could be a steal in the second round because he can really, really score and has elite quickness.
Thoughts on Dinwiddie reports that he's turning pro? Seems like he would be better served on waiting a year?
Chad Ford (1:42 PM)
He was a late first rounder before the injury. After it, he's probably a second round pick. He should have returned to school I think.
How much is Julius Randle's stock rising with Kentucky's recent success and could he go #1?
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
Think he's a Top 5-6 pick. I think Wiggins, Parker and Embiid all go ahead of him. Possibly Dante Exum depending on how the ping-pong balls fall. Then it's Randle, Aaron Gordon and Noah Vonleh. Different teams prefer different players. They are all bunched together in a scrum right now.
Any chance Oaklands 3 point stud Bader gets drafted?
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
For sure. Many scouts believe Travis Bader is the best shooter in this draft. Averaged 4.5 made threes a game this season. Has a real shot at the second round.
Hey Chad, is Clint Capela this years Giannis? Have you heard what teams like him?
Chad Ford (1:48 PM)
He's not the mystery that Giannis was. Plays for Chalon. Has been putting up impressive numbers this season. He's scheduled to play at the Nike Hoop Summit next weekend which will give scouts an up close and personal look at him. If he plays really well there, he's probably a lottery pick.
So it sounds like Dario Saric is planning on declaring for this draft according to reports I have read, Is it true, what have you heard?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
Hearing and reporting the opposite. His dad also told papers yesterday he didn't think his son was ready for the NBA and that he didn't want him to declare. Not saying he won't change his mind. Last year he declared, got a promise from a team in the lottery, and then withdrew anyway. But that's where his camp is leaning right now.
Cody (South Dakota)
What is Elfrid Payton's draft range? And is his teammate Shawn Long more of a 2015 prospect? Or would he crack the first round if he came out this year?
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
Payton is really intriguing. 20-40 range. Great athlete. Quick. Has length. Not a great shooter and needs to add strength. Long is a real sleeper. Think he might be able to crack the first round next year and would be a legit second rounder this year if he declared.
Heard anything on Jerami Grant? Has been very quiet on that front, do you think he's leaning towards staying another year?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
Still deciding. He's a late lottery to mid first rounder if he declares. He obviously needs to improve his skill set. He's really just a great athlete with a great motor right now. But teams are intrigued.
Matt (Fort Collins)
Any thoughts on Khem Birch?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
Hear he's leaning toward declaring. Lots of scouts and GMs intrigued with him as a potential second round pick.
What are you hearing about TJ Warren and where he might end up? Is he a post-lottery pick, first round or just solid second round?
Chad Ford (1:57 PM)
Mid to late first rounder right now. Incredible scorer. Mediocre athlete, shooter and defender caught between positions.
Hearing that Alex Poythress is leaning towards entering. Do you think he'd even be drafted? Doesn't seem to have an NBA position
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
He might. He could be a terrific defender at the next level. Can guard multiple positions. Offensively, he's not going to give you much. Maybe a Luc Richard Mbah a Moute type player?
Predictions for the Final Four?
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
Florida over UConn. Kentucky over Wisconsin. Florida over Kentucky for the title.
Chad Ford (2:01 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Thanks so much for coming to the chat today. We will do it again next week. Have fun watching the Final Four!