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. NBA Draft Lottery rocked us again last night. So much to talk about. Let's roll ...
Based on last night's surprising outcome of the lottery and Cleveland getting the first pick in the draft, which prospect is the best "fit" for the Cavs? Is there a player that is clearly much better than the rest? Thanks...
Chad Ford (1:06 PM)
I think Jabari Parker has been a top their board most of the year. It makes sense. He's the most NBA ready and with Luol Deng's future hazy, it's easy to see Parker (who has some statistical comps to Deng) as a replacement who can help them right away. However, there are concerns about his defense on an already poor defensive team. There are also concerns that he doesn't have the long-term star potential that the Cavs crave. They also have a need at the five. Varejao is 32 years old and they need a long term replacement. Joel Embiid has as much upside as anyone in the draft and would be perfect. However, the back concerns are real. The Cavs don't even know yet whether they'll get him in for medicals. And he's the least NBA ready of the prospects. That leaves Wiggins. Wiggins is a balance between the now and the future. Addresses defensive needs right away. Takes care of some of the issues they have with a Dion Waiters/Kyrie Irving backcourt. Can play the 2 and the 3. And he has star potential. Will be interesting to see how it plays out. Different people in the Cavs have different opinions. But in totality, I think Wiggins is the favorite.
Kevin (at, work)
Hey Chad. Early reports are that the Cavs have been getting calls on the no.1 pick. Any chance they trade it and if so what is the most likely destination/what is coming back to them?
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
I think they trade it only if they get an established, still young, NBA All-Star caliber player in return. If it's someone like Kevin Love, and they are sure he will re-sign there -- then something like that. This draft has too much star potential to trade the pick away on just a good player. They'll need a GREAT one. With that said, the pressure is on David Griffin to get this team competing in the playoffs next year. If they can find that piece, it's probably preferable to having another rookie on the roster. But it's going to have to be one hell of a piece or pieces.
Eric (Manhattan, KS)
Who would the Bucks Top 3 be right now?
Chad Ford (1:10 PM)
I don't think they have one yet. All of the top four could really help them. I know they were intrigued by Joel Embiid before he hurt his back and I still think he could be the guy if they get a look at his back. I think he and Larry Sanders could actually play together and pair those two with Giannis and you have the longest front court in the NBA. I think they love the idea of pairing Wiggins with Giannis as well. And don't count out Dante Exum. Brandon Knight can move to the two and Exum could end up being their point guard of the future. He's in the mix at No. 2.
John (Santa Barbara, CA)
At 3 & 10 what do you think is the sixers 'best' outcome?
Chad Ford (1:13 PM)
They'd love it if Wiggins was at 3. If he's not, toss up between Embiid, Parker and Exum. Of the three, I actually think Jabari is a really good fit there. They need an alpha dog scorer and Jabari would be perfect. They have plenty of length and athleticism to surround him defensively. And then they could add a shooter to play the two -- someone like Nik Stauskas or Gary Harris and be in very good shape. I also think Dario Saric is in the mix at 10. He has top 5 talent and would be very intriguing next to Nerlens Noel on the front line.
Kenneth (Marietta, GA)
Anyway the Magic try to put some package together to get into the top 2 to land Parker or Wiggins? Maybe package the 12 with Afflalo to move up to say 8 and then package 4 and 8? The front office would probably rather stay put and get Exum/Smart at 4 and then BPA at 12, but wanted to ask the hypothetical to you.
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
I think they're OK at 4. They want a point guard and I think there's a good chance Dante Exum is there. I think the Bucks are the team most likely to snag him. But if they do that, then Jabari, Wiggins or Embiid is on the board and the Magic like all three. I also think Marcus Smart is still in the equation at No. 4. Not every team loves him, but the Magic do. At 12, I assume they add shooting -- especially if they take Exum or Smart. Again Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris, James Young are all possibilities. I also think Saric is in the mix here as well.
Dexter (Despair, UT)
If the Jazz cannot come away with Wiggins, Parker, or Exum, this entire season has been a waste. Any teams willing to trade in the top 3?
Chad Ford (1:19 PM)
I wouldn't go that far, though I understand the despair. The top tier of this draft is widely believed to go 4 deep and the Jazz are sitting at 5. A couple of things. I think there's a chance Dante Exum could be there at 5. If he is, I think they snag him. Two, the Jazz do have assets if they are really sold on Parker or Wiggins. They could package 5, 23 and perhaps a player like Alec Burks or Enes Kanter to move up a few spots. But you have to really, really love those guys to do that. If they stay at 5, I have them with Vonleh, just because he has the ability to stretch the floor and can play both the four and the five -- versatility the Jazz I think could capitalize on. Plus, I think Vonleh is a real sleeper. Would Jazz fans really be bummed if I told them they were getting the next Chris Bosh?
Rich (Provo, Ut)
Why not Marcus Smart to the Jazz?
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
I actually think he'd be a good fit. A big guard who can play both positions and provide toughness, leadership and can play right out of the gate. I just get the feeling for the last year that the Jazz have never been as high on him as other teams were. I think the wildcard for them is actually Aaron Gordon
Alex (Needham, MA)
Obviously the worst case scenario for the Celtics. Assuming they want to move the pick to Minnesota for Love... who would the Wolves be looking for at 6?
Chad Ford (1:23 PM)
I don't know that the 6th pick will get it done. The Celtics will have to offer more and I'm not sure what that is exactly. But yes, I see the Celtics looking for offers at this point. I thought they'd only keep the pick if it was Top 3 or 4. I have them taking Aaron Gordon in the mock. Just seems like a Danny Ainge pick to me. Athleticism, plus motor and toughness.
Brian (San Diego)
With the Lakers falling another spot to 7 and with no likely stars available do you seen them trading this pick?
Chad Ford (1:25 PM)
Yeah, I think they are in the same boat as the Celtics. So much for a conspiracy theory to give the Lakers or Celtics the No. 1 pick. If Julius Randle or Marcus Smart are there, they are two players who I think could help them right now and could be intriguing. Dario Saric, if he was willing to come right now, would also be a guy they'd give a long look to.
Mike (Philly, PA)
Do we expect the Kings to trade their pick for a player? If so, what are some realistic targets you think they would want for that 8 pick?
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
Yep. Kings are also trying to trade. Have a ton of young players. Really want to make the playoffs next year. It's so funny, we've been talking about how great this draft is, but so many teams in the lottery this year have no patience. They want to win now. Makes for an awkward fit with the draft and means we could see a lot of trades in the coming weeks. If the Kings keep the pick I think Marcus Smart is just a no-brainer here. Defense, toughness, leadership, size for position. If Smart is off the board, I wonder if they'd try to convert Gary Harris to the point. I think he could make some sense there.
Earl (Durham, NC)
First Hornets question please tell me they keep both picks and get 2 shooters
Chad Ford (1:30 PM)
Sounds like they are shopping this pick as well. They shouldn't. This is a nice way for them to add some young talent and I agree -- shooters would be great. Doug McDermott is an obvious fit. Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris, James Young, Rodney Hood, PJ Hairston. This is an area the team really needs help with and there are some really good options in this draft.
Being a Detroit Pistons fan last night was rough. How exactly did the Cavs end up with the first pick, put the Pistons at 9 and out of the first round?
Chad Ford (1:32 PM)
The Pistons would have kept their pick if it had fallen in the Top 8. However, they had agreed to send it to Charlotte if it fell between 9-30 as part of the Ben Gordon trade. When Cleveland moved up from the 9th spot, it pushed every other team down one spot - moving the Pistons from 8 to 9. Horrible day for Detroit fans. Even if the Pistons plan was to trade the pick, they lost a terrific asset based on a 1.7 percent chance the Cavs moved up. I think they'll be all in on lottery reform.
Nick (San Diego)
When is the NBA going to do something about the lottery format. Same team wins No. 1 pick, 3 of the last 4 years? That's just ridiculous.
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
Oh it's coming. Everything from more age restrictions (from 19 to 20) to reform of the Draft Combine to what I think will be a concerted effort to find a way to prevent tanking by re-doing the lottery. There's the modified wheel idea that Zach Lowe has been talking about. There's simpler methods like just tying draft odds to the last 3 seasons instead of one (to discourage tanking) and then only having a lottery for the worst 5 teams. Lots to do and I think Adam Silver will get it done. All of this can be better.
Nuggets at 11....Stauskas would be a great fit as a floor spacer with Ty Lawson...you agree?
Chad Ford (1:36 PM)
Yeah, floor spacer is probably where they go, though they could use some help backing up Ty Lawson as well. Stauskas, Gary Harris, James Young, Rodney Hood all good options
Is a mock draft for the Suns pointless? I feel like they'll be moving around a lot of picks on the day.
Chad Ford (1:40 PM)
Probably. They are another team with an eye on being a playoff team next year and middling firsts probably don't move the needle much. I think his draft is deep and there are players there I like -- like UCLA's Zach LaVine, and Kentucky's James Young etc. But I could see the Suns trying to pawn these picks off on teams willing to give them stronger contributors in return.
Steve (L.A.) [via mobile]
What are your sleepers in this draft?
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
I'm a big Elfrid Payton fan. Think he's a unique player with length, athleticism, is a real point guard, defends. Just needs to work on his shooting. He's also really young for his class. If he were at Kentucky, he'd be a Top 10 pick in my opinion. I think teams are probably sleeping on Jarnell Stokes. Rebounding translates. Mitch McGary, if his back is OK, is another one who might be too low. I also think UNLV's Khem Birch has a role in the league.
Who are the best shooters in the draft?
Chad Ford (1:48 PM)
There are a lot of them in this draft. I think Doug McDermott and Nik Stauskas will ultimately battle it out for that title. McDermott is money when his feet are set, Stauskas' ability to shoot off the bounce is intriguing. Rodney Hood, PJ Hairston, CJ Wilcox, James Young, Gary Harris, Joe Harris can all shoot it too. And don't forget Adreian Payne who, despite being nearly 6-10 can shoot as well as any of those guys. If shooters are what you are looking for, this is a really good draft.
Dan (Chicago, IL)
You said in you mock draft that multiple top 7 teams are looking to trade out. What would it take for the Bulls to move into the top 7? Would the 16th and 19th picks, along with future second rounder or two do it?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
I don't think so. Aggregating mid first round picks rarely gets you that high. This isn't the NFL draft. There is a significant talent drop off from 7 to 16. I think the Bulls would have to include other assets to get that high.
Any chance the Suns package their draft picks and move into the top 5?
Chad Ford (1:51 PM)
Again, it doesn't quite work that way in the NBA Draft. One late lottery pick, a mid first rounder and a late first rounder don't equal a Top 8 pick. Sorry Suns fans.
We saw Nerlens Noel slide to No. 6 last draft because of injury concerns in what was by far a weaker class. If teams are concerned with Embiid's back do you see the same thing happening to him? I think if I were a gm and I wanted a big guy I might pass on Embiid for either Randle or Vonleh. How far could you see him sliding?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
The back is an issue. But no one knows how much of an issue it is. If he gets a clean bill of health (totally clean) he's in the mix with the Cavs at No. 1. If it's clean, but with minor issues, I still think he goes Top 5. If this will require surgery or require him to miss a portion of his rookie season, he slides to 8-12.
Marko (Backbay, MA )
Do NBA scouts put too much emphasis on a players age? Based on the logic that a 22 year old 4 years senior is "too old" guys like Scottie Pippen & Dennis Rodman would have been ruled out. Are we over thinking this?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Yes and no. The advanced analytics clearly show that age is an indicator of future success. The older you are, the less likely you are to succeed in the NBA. But like every stat, you have to understand why. For the most part, all of the top players have left school early, meaning the oldest ones left in the class are typically the least talented. Second, the older you are, the more your game develops and the more your body develops and it allows you to physically dominate younger players. That advantage goes away immediately in the NBA. So DeAndre Kane can muscle everyone around in college, but not in the pros. However, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Tim Duncan would've been the No. 1 pick regardless of age because he could've been the No. 1 pick every year he played. There are also players who have a younger developmental curve like Adreian Payne. I think Payne is just now tapping into what he's capable of and the age issue will largely be ignored. Ditto for players like Doug McDermott who bring one amazing skill to the table.
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Enjoy Mock Draft 6.0. In the coming weeks we will get more intel and keep updating it, the Big Board and following prospects around. Look for a workout report on Noah Vonleh and Tyler Ennis tomorrow and some big ones over the weekend from LA. See you next week.