Chat with Michael Wallace
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Michael Wallace (3:02 PM)
Thanks for joining me for this Wednesday special edition of the NBA chat. Let's get right to your questions, and then we'll be back to our normal Tuesday slot next week.
So Durant will finally beat Lebron at something. Congrats on the mvp.
Michael Wallace (3:03 PM)
I still think the vote will turn out closer than many expect. It's not like Durant's season has been head-and-shoulders above LeBron's, all things considered. But Kevin Durant is this season's Most Valuable Player, as far as I'm concerned. Now, let's see if that translates into him carrying his team to the ultimate prize he wants - an NBA title.
Next year?s Bull?s lineup: PG. Napier, SG. Rose, SF. Butler, PF. Mirotic, C. Noah ? Bench: DJ, Hinrich, Dunleavy, Taj and Payne/McDermott. A very realistic option if we amnesty Boozer and sign Hinrich for the minimum. Napier can shoot, handle, play solid defense and contribute right away = everything Rose needs in his other guard. Rose can do a lot of great things off the ball and I know he can guard SGs with his strength. What would you think about that team?
Michael Wallace (3:06 PM)
There are a lot of "ifs" in that scenario. You have them getting both Napier and McDermott? That might be a stretch. Secondly, having Rose play at shooting guard at 6-1 or 6-2 is a bit of a stretch. There are going to be some very tough matchups defensively for him. Seems a bit far-fetched, but anyone can dream and hope at this point.
How silly was the whole "the Knicks are playing better because of jackson" media spin we had to endure two weeks ago?
Michael Wallace (3:08 PM)
I'm not sure how many people actually bought into that logic, considering the Knicks started to win a few games consistently before the Jackson hire was official. I've said all along that the only immediate impact the Jackson hire made was that it gave the Knicks a huge PR bump in approval. It took the focus off how disappointing the season has been overall for many. But the reality is the reality. That team has some work to do to get back to where expectations were, and it's going to take a season or two before there are any sustainable signs of improvement.
Please make sense of Indy? Why is he resting his whole team when they are still behind the Heat for home court?
Michael Wallace (3:10 PM)
Let me ask you a question. How do you fix a team that's having some serious psychological issues right now? You play more mind games and try to convince them that the biggest problem is not chemistry or character; that it's instead fatigue. Well, we'll see how this goes. I don't like the move, considering the initial goal the Pacers set at the outset of the season is rigth there within their grasp despite how poorly they've played the past few weeks. You've got four games left, you try to win at least two or three of them and then rest the final week going into the playoffs.
Alex (Lima, Peru)
First and foremost wanted to give you a major shout out for NAILING the Zo article from the other day. Mad Respect, any1 who's never herd of him or has ever watched an NBA game for that matter should read that article (you don't know a bigger Zo fan in the world than myself).Can you please tell me why ESPN is staying so politically correct about Miami's recent late game "controversial" calls. Can you be the first from ESPN to go out and say the reff's blew last night's goal tend on Bosh's lay up, Plumlee's foul and David West's travel-3 pointer at Indy? I don't want you to say we lost those games due to the refs (my thought), but at least can you be more harsh on the recent horrible officiating which ESPN is completely dodging?? HELP ME PLEASE M-DUB SWAGG!!!!!!!
Michael Wallace (3:13 PM)
There were some close calls in all of those games you mentioned. But overall, the Heat get their share of favorable calls as well. I'm not here to validate any conspiracy theory either way with regards to officiating. Those guys made tough calls - or decided not to - in the heat of the moment. Some go your way, some don't. And thanks for the shoutout on the coverage compliment. Much appreciated, as always.
Do you think guys like lebron, wade and cp3 will be in team USA summer camp even though they're near or over their 30's and already won olympic gold?
Michael Wallace (3:15 PM)
Wade is basically done with Olympic competition. He's had his run and both sides agree that it's probably best to move on to other options. I have a hard time seeing LeBron doing any extensive work with Team USA this summer, especially if the Heat make it back to the Finals. My guess is that this will be a summer of rest for James, from a basketball and mental standpoint. CP3 is in a different situation. He's younger and seems to be well beyond the shoulder and other nagging injuries that have slowed him earlier this season.
Mark (Canada) [via mobile]
(Totally serious question) Were you ever into professional wrestling? RIP Ultimate Warrior
Michael Wallace (3:16 PM)
I'll take this question, only because my answer is "Yes". I was a huge fan of it in the early to mid 1980s. I went to the first WrestleMania as a kid when Hulk faced Andre the Giant. My favorite was Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka coming off the top rope. Don't get me started. Now back to hoops.
J. Caliendo (Dallas)
Got into a debate with some Mavs fans (I'm a Spurs fan) who think because Dirk cracked the Top 10 of all time (congrats to him), he supplants Duncan as the better player. Please explain to them to quit drinking Cuban's Kool-Aid. Dirk is a great all time scorer no doubt, but Duncan has always been the better leader not to mention he played both offense and defense. In my opinion, it's not even a close comparison. What are your thoughts?
Michael Wallace (3:19 PM)
I tend to defer to championship rings to decide these type of arguments, when players are relatively equal in talent and impact. Duncan, Dirk and Garnett are the greatest power forwards we've seen in the past 15 years. I could defend any of the three as the best of the group, but Duncan's stash of jewelry settles it to some extent.
Nuggets have been playing a little better the past couple of weeks. Is Scott still around next year (I think yes)? And, what do they need to do to make a run at making the playoffs next spring?
Michael Wallace (3:20 PM)
Scott? I'm thinking you're referring to Brian Shaw. Come on, man. You've got Byron Scott and Brian Shaw mixed up. There's a joke in there somewhere, but I'll pass right now in this forum.
Is this Raptors team for real? Here in Toronto, nobody is ready to believe yet. Can they make some noise in the playoffs?
Michael Wallace (3:23 PM)
They're the hardest team to get a read on, perhaps in the entire playoff field. Folks completely dismissed and ripped me on twitter last year, mainly in Toronto, when I suggested that DeRozan might be the second-best shooting guard in the East in short order. Between the way he's developed in addition to Kyle Lowery and what they've gotten down low from some productive and efficient bigs, they have the balance to be a dangerous threat to any team they face. What Toronto's coaching staff and front office have done this season is remarkable, considing they could have gone in the tank and tried to better their chances for Wiggins in the draft.
Good afternoon,Are Noah/Gibson the best one-two, defensive, low-post tandom?
Michael Wallace (3:25 PM)
I'd say the are as good as any. I also like Perkins/Ibaka on certain nights, as well as DeAndre and Blake as well as Gasol and Z-Bo.
Extremely hilarious that a man who bashes tanking and the importance of top 5 picks covers the MIAMI HEAT! Nobody is saying that tanking is a guarantee, but at least it gives you a chance, where as being an 8th seed gets you nowhere. The Sixers were put in an impossible position after the Bynum trade. Stop acting like there was a better alternative.
Michael Wallace (3:28 PM)
The Sixers put themselves in a horrible position with the Bynum trade. They aren't victims here. They acted in their own demise on that front. But hey, we'll see. That's what the draft and tanking are all about. Hope. Let's see how this turns out for Philly.
Michael, as a Heat fan I do not care whether LeBron was blocked or fouled.....they didn't call it a foul so it wasn't a foul. What I care about is that the Heat keep losing every close game they play and that they can't seem to beat a Nets team that had no problem losing by 44 in Portland and by 25 at home to OKC. If there was ever a game where you needed to get your revenge and blow the other team out, it was last night. They can make amends by winning a game they have every right losing in Memphis tonight.
Michael Wallace (3:30 PM)
That's the nature of the NBA, Josh. As soon as you try to make sense of something, the Pacers happen. There is very little correlation between a team's effort from one night to the next, from one matchup to the next, in this league. It's been a wild ride with the Heat all season. But aside from the Spurs, what squad hasn't endured one of those rides at some point this season?
Duncan and Tiago is one of the best defensive 4/5 combos in the league. Splitter's defense is almost comically underrated bc people only watched the Spurs play Miami, a bad matchup for him.
Michael Wallace (3:31 PM)
There we go again, overlooking the Spurs. Absolutely Duncan and Splitter are solid.
Hey Mike at the end of the day the 3rd seed in the east is?? And secondly Hogan/Giant was Mania 3/4. Hogan and T fought Piper and Orndolph at first Wrestlemania
Michael Wallace (3:32 PM)
I was there for that one, too. It's crazy, I go back 30 years with that event. The first five had me hooked, then I tried to grow up a little bit. AS far as the No. 3 seed, I think Toronto keeps it.
Is Andrew Bynum's career over?
Michael Wallace (3:34 PM)
Unfortunately, it probably was two years ago, but nobody listened to his knees.
As I begin to accept the fact that the Knicks aren't going to the playoffs I've found myself looking for another team to follow. By nature I want some kind of underdog but I want one with a chance of moving on. I'm leaning towards Dallas. Who would you pick for fun underdog team to follow?
Michael Wallace (3:35 PM)
There is no wilder ride in the NBA from a night to night basis than the Golden State Warriors. They could reach the Finals just as easily as they could get bounced in the first round.
Marie (Ford, KY)
Do you think Pau Gasol might sign with the Grizzlies to be able to play with his brother?
Michael Wallace (3:36 PM)
No. I believe the Gasol brothers are beyond that sort of pairing, unless Pau is willing to come off the bench as a backup center. But he's still looking to start somewhere, and rightfully so.
Have you ever been to the BMO HARRIS BRADLEY CENTER? Do you think Milwaukee will lose its team soon? Thanks.
Michael Wallace (3:39 PM)
I've been there plenty of times. I absolutely love the floor level club level leading to the court that has the photo of a young Kareem and Oscar kneeling at the scorer's table about to check into the game back in the day. I hope they don't lose the team, but the threat of Seattle always makes some of these shaky current NBA markets a bit nervous about the future.
How can ESPN pimp a stat that shows Derek Fisher as a top 3 defender in the NBA?
Michael Wallace (3:41 PM)
Numbers can be tweaked, contorted, distorted and presented to make a case for just about any argument. You have a choice as to which stats you want to believe and buy.
Matthew (Virginia )
I keep reading articles about potential opponents for the MAVS and everyone keeps saying that they'd want to face OKC. Why on earth would they want to face the more than likely MVP and Westbrook? I figured they want the Clippers; every game they've played against them they've built a double digit lead but lost two of them. Thoughts? Thanks!
Michael Wallace (3:42 PM)
The Mavs aren't in any position to be picky. What I can say is that aside from the Spurs getting knocked off from the start, I wouldn't be surprised by any outcome out West, from the first round through the conference finals.
People need to start realizing Ujiiri has made the Raptors the Nuggets(post Melo) of the east.....
Michael Wallace (3:43 PM)
And, he got rid of Toronto's version of Carmelo (Rudy Gay) right off the bat, too.
Tavaris (Columbia, SC)
Do you agree with me that Durant winning the MVP, will mean very little if LeBron beats him in the Finals???
Michael Wallace (3:45 PM)
Of course winning the MVP means something. But it's also obvious that both of those players would prefer an NBA title over the MVP trophy.
Angel (New York)
I think the better question is between KG and Dirk? Who do you have?
Michael Wallace (3:47 PM)
I would gladly trade down to the No. 2 pick and pick up an additional asset and walk away just as happy with whichever of those two players falls to my spot.
Best NBA/wrestler crossover? Rodman? Mailman? Shaq?
Michael Wallace (3:47 PM)
jim trevethan (solon ohio)
when does kevin love head to lakers, off season, middle of next season, or end of season, minn has to trade him to lakers and get something in return
Michael Wallace (3:50 PM)
Tough, tough call there. But if I'm the Lakers and got the No.1-3 pick, I'd part with it to get Kevin Love. I'm not sure that's how it will play out, though.
Is D Wade done as a 25 ppg guy in the NBA or is this season the result of the knee procedures. And where do you have him on the list of all time SG. I got MJ, Kobe, West, and then Wade...
Michael Wallace (3:52 PM)
The question isn't whether Wade could average 25 ppg, it's whether he will play 30, 50 or 60 games to do it. When he's available, he's still an elite guard in the league. But the availability is the issue at this point. I've got him top-5 all time. He falls in line after Jordan and Kobe, but is right in there with West and Iverson.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
More bad acting - WWF or the NBA?
Michael Wallace (3:52 PM)
Both have become a flopfest on many nights.
Brighter future... Oladipo or MCW
Michael Wallace (3:54 PM)
Well, Orlando's a sunnier place overall. But the Magic have better parts right now to help Oladipo grow. Let's see how this draft turns out.
Hornacek or Pop for COY?
Michael Wallace (3:56 PM)
Right this very minute, my top five are Pop, Hornacek, Thibs, Casey, Spoelstra.
When do you see Kevin Durant overtaking Lebron as the consensus best player? Or do you think Anthony Davis passes him before Lebron drops off?
Michael Wallace (3:57 PM)
I think the days of there being a consensus between those two are long gone.
Honest question, Michael (and I ask this as an unabashed Pacers fan): do you think most players in the NBA respect the Big 3's decision to team up in Miami? I know guys like Bird and MJ have ripped it, am curious as to what current players are saying in-house.
Michael Wallace (4:00 PM)
Most players want to form teams with the best players possible. Miami is far from the first to put together a team like that. Orlando tried several years ago with Grant Hill, McGrady and Duncan. And they almost had Duncan until David Robinson cut short his vacation and made a last-minute plea to convince Duncan to stay in San Antonio. The Celtics did it with Ray, Garnett and Pierce. We've seen the Heat do it.
Morrie (Fontana, CA)
Michael, As a Laker fan, how much worse can it get?
Michael Wallace (4:01 PM)
Well, it wouldn't be half as bad if the Lakers didn't somehow find so many of their games broadcast on national television. The networks have shown them no mercy this season. None.
Michael Wallace (4:01 PM)
That's my time for this week. And it flew by fast, too. Thanks for all of those who joined me. Let's do it again next week, as we gear up for the first weekend of the playoffs. Until then, take care and peace - MW