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 (1:02 PM)
Aloha everyone thanks for coming to the chat today. We will talk NBA first half hour and NBA Draft in the second half hour. Let's roll ...
What do you think of all the Celtics moves lately?
Chad Ford (1:07 PM)
The last year and a half or so we knew Danny Ainge was going to try to turn his young players into a couple of elite vets to pair with Rondo or he was going to blow things up. Clearly he's chosen the demolition route. He couldn't get the right type of players for his young assets, so now he's quickly trading off his vets for for assets. Unfortunately, he's not getting much in return. But I don't think that's the point anymore. For Boston this gives a chance to see what the young guys can do. They like Marcus Smart, James Young and Kelly Olynyk a lot. And now they can focus the rest of the season on developing them, getting a high draft pick in June and having loads of cap space to be a player in the free agent market. I think it was the only choice for Boston. It could be a long slog ahead, but there's nothing worse than just sitting on the fence and becoming mediocre. Ainge wants another championship and this turned out to be the only way he thought he could produce it.
Angela(Virginia) [via mobile]
Should the Cavs trade Kevin Love ? If so, who would they go after to replace him?
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
No. Not after they traded Andrew Wiggins to get him. They'd get pennies on the dollar for him. Love isn't the problem. The problem is that he's being used in a way that doesn't really play to his strengths. This is a coaching/personnel issue for Cleveland. They've made a couple of trades to hopeful fix the personnel issues. If JR Smith is going to hit shots, if Mosgov will protect the rim and if Shumpert, when he's healthy, can be an elite perimeter defender, things will get better for Love and everyone else. However, I'm with David Thorpe. I don't know in what world JR Smith, Timofey Mosgov and Iman Shumpert are the guys that turn a .500 team into a championship one. I think it's just a matter of time until David Blatt is sent packing. It's not his fault. He was a rookie coach in an impossible situation. But what's going on in Cleveland right now isn't working.
Wiggins looks promising, and Muhammad is no longer a bust. What's your opinion on the upside for them, Rubio, Dieng, Lavine (and Bennett?) plus a couple more high lottery picks? Who would help them the most from the 2015 class? And can the Wolves get anything for Young, Martin, Pekovic or Budinger besides shedding salary? Thanks.
Chad Ford (1:14 PM)
I think this team is going to be really good in a couple of years. I think everyone gets better once Rubio is back on the floor. Now that we see Kevin Love floundering a bit without an elite point guard who knows how to get him the ball in the right spots, I think there's a new found appreciation for what Rubio brought to the table. I think he'll improve everyone's game when he returns. Wiggins is now averaging 20 ppg over his last 10 and is starting to look like the superstar we all thought he could be. Muhammed looks like the guy that was ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the country coming out of high school. Deing and LaVine also have bright futures. And the Wolves will add a very high draft pick to this squad. IF that's Jahlil Okafor or Karl Towns or Kristaps Porzingis (I'm guessing they'll go big) they'll have another stud in the line-up. It's a bright, bright future in Minnesota.
Ben (ny) [via mobile]
True or false, wiggins will be a better player than love by the end of his second year
Chad Ford (1:14 PM)
False. But by his third year? I'm taking Wiggins.
MCW. Some say it wouldn't be fair to judge considering his supporting cast, but he doesn't look good. In fact he looks awful. MCW doesn't seem like the type of player an analytic driven FO would consider long term. Will Hinkie try again to deal MCW?
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
I've heard a lot of rumblings from GMs that Carter-Williams is available. There are some in ownership and in the front office, though not all, that don't see him as a long-term piece of the puzzle. There was a lot of chatter that direction before the draft and in the past few weeks I know several teams have had exploratory discussions with the Sixers. I think the challenge right now is that the Sixers will want a lot in return and MCW's play, to date this season, hasn't warranted multiple first round picks for him. That makes him tough to deal.
Ben (ny) [via mobile]
Am I alone in thinking the 76ers long term don't want either noel or mcw? In two years I doubt a single current 76er is on the team.
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
I think the jury is still out on Noel. He's struggled offensively, but he has all the makings of an elite NBA defender. Noel is tied for No. 1 in blocks AND steals for rookies. Those steals numbers are very unique for a big man. I think the biggest question about Noel is with Joel Embiid and a very high pick in the draft that could be Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns, is he as good as those guys. But that's a huge question mark right now. Until Embiid is healthy and back on the court and until draft night, everything is a hypothetical. In other words, I don't think Noel is going anywhere for a while.
Allan (Pasadena, CA)
The Lakers were rumored to be going after Brandon Jennings and Greg Monroe. Do you see the Lakers making any big moves this season?
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
Oh. Please no. Lakers fans have been through enough.
Can Hassan Whiteside be Deandre Jordan lite? If I remember, he slipped a bit in the draft from your projections.
Chad Ford (1:25 PM)
Lots of scouts loved Whiteside coming into the draft. Some saw him as a lottery pick ... until, that is, they interviewed him. He bombed the interview process. From what scouts and GMs relayed to me he was immature and overconfident. I had a chance to interview him at the Draft Combine and saw the same thing. He didn't leave a good impression. I think that played out early in his NBA career. But something has changed. That's the great thing about people. They can grow up and mature and the talent has always been there. Good on the Heat for giving him a workout and a second chance. I think too many NBA teams give up on young guys too quick.
I understand the "integrity of the game" arguments that have been lobbed against the Sixers, but when other glamour teams (Knicks, Celtics) make very similar "tanking" moves their front offices are lauded for being "strategic" and "bold". Seems hypocritical to me...
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
They're tanking. All of them. (Their front offices at least. No one is accusing coaches or players of tanking. I don't think that happens as we've clearly seen in Philly) I think it is strategic and bold. I think the same for the Sixers. They aren't breaking in rules. They aren't compromising the integrity of the game. They are trying to get better and using the current rules to their advantage. I worry that Philly may be taking it too far. And the Knicks have a huge hill to climb now too. The Celtics, on the other hand, have more pieces to work with from the beginning. They're probably in a little better shape.
BigCitySid (Harlem, NY)
Based on the information available now, please rank which of the following teams have the best chance of "turning it around" by 2016-17: Knicks, Celtics, Lakers, Sixers, or Nets.
Chad Ford (1:30 PM)
Gotta answer a question from a user named "BigCitySid" -- especially if you are from Harlem. Here's my answer of the current bad teams in rebuilding mode right now. I've added a few:1. Wolves2. Jazz3. Celtics4. Sixers5. Lakers6. Knicks7. Nets
What do you think of the Magic's progression so far? Obviously hit a rough patch but had a nice win against the Bulls the other night. Do you think Vaughn makes it past this season?
Chad Ford (1:34 PM)
Oh, I forgot about the Magic. My bad. I like Oladipo a lot. Elfrid Payton is getting better. He's gone his last five games with no more than one turnover in the game. That's so impressive for a rookie point guard getting major minutes. I think Aaron Gordon will be a stud when he gets healthy. Vucevic is a solid piece too. Not as sold on Tobias Harris. My only concern for them is that they don't have a franchise player to build around. As much as I like Oladipo, Gordon and Payton I don't see any of them as franchise players and they're just good enough to keep them out of a top 5 pick. I'm afraid they might end up being one of those 45 win teams that gets stuck as a sixth to eigth seed every year down the road. I'm much more bullish about the future of the Bucks (who are already turning the corner), the Wolves and Jazz.
Ant Cleveland [via mobile]
Is the Jahlil Okafor stock sinking a bit?
Chad Ford (1:36 PM)
No. Not at all. He's putting up some historic numbers as a freshman. Kevin Pelton and I will break it all down tomorrow. But he's more than lived up to the hype and if the draft were being held today, I think he'd be a lock for the No. 1 pick. However it's January, and there's still a lot of time for others to step up. The biggest worry for Okafor is his defense. It's mediocre at best. But offensively? He's very, very special.
stonecutter (Texas) [via mobile]
Which bigs (if any) in the 15 draft can protect the rim AND stretch the floor at the NBA level?
Chad Ford (1:38 PM)
Karl-Anthony Towns. Kristaps Porzingis. Myles Turner. Those three for sure. I'd also put Frank Kaminsky in that group. He can clearly stretch the floor, but he's also averaging 2 blocks per game. There are some very good options for that in this draft.
Yes Rakeem Christmas is going to be 23, but hes gotte be getting looks in the 2nd Round right? Dude has shown a lot
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
He's coming off a 35 point, 9 rebound performance last night against Wake and for the season he's averaging 18 ppg, 9 rpg and 2.5 bpg. Those are terrific numbers. But his age and his lack of production his first three years at Syracuse will hurt his draft stock. Scouts tend to be very skeptical of break out seniors and the analytics tend to back them up. However, he's big, mobile and can protect the rim. Someone will give him a shot -- but right now he's more likely to be a second round pick.
Cody (Sioux Falls, SD)
I'd like to get your opinion on James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams from Indiana. Blackmon is a very good scorer, but I think he lacks other aspects to his game for him to succeed in the NBA. And I can't remember last time I've seen a player as athletic and active on the court as Williams, what do you see their potential as?
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
Blackmon has proven to be a very good volume shooter from three. That will always catch the eyes of NBA scouts. But he doesn't really have any other NBA skills. He lacks size and athleticism for his position. That probably limits him to the second round. Williams is more intriguing as a prospect because of his elite physical tools. He's been very good of late for Indiana. But he's going to need some semblance of a three point shot to be a guaranteed first round pick.
Big Blue Basher (Louisville)
Thoughts on UK's recent close calls?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
Part of me is stunned after seeing what they did in their non-conference schedule. I thought this team was hungrier than they looked against Mississippi and Texas A&M. But then there's another part of me that wondered if this was coming. Calipari is boxed in a bit with the Harrison twins. He needs them on board to keep the chemistry flowing, but both of them think they are much better shooters and players than they actually are. And while defensively they've been helpful, they can shoot Kentucky right out of the game. I'm curious to see how he'll solve it. There are so many weapons at Kentucky, he has to get through to the twins that they need to do a better job getting everyone else involved offensively. There is no way that the twins should be taking more threes than Devin Booker or Tyler Ulis.
How do GM types view Kevon Looney? Watching this kid he seems to have a ton of potential. With a more developed perimeter game he could be a star. Without that perimeter game he looks to be a more skill slightly less energetic Faried. Thoughts?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
He'll go high. He's been in our Top 10 since August and Top 5 since the start of the season. He's had his ups and downs, but when scouts head to practice at UCLA, they all come back raving that he has more small forward skills offensively than he's allowed to show at UCLA. I thought the Stanford game was a great window of what he's capable of. 27 points, hit a couple of threes, 19 boards, 3 assists. He has a certain star quality about him. He's not ready yet and he's going to continue to be up and down. But in time, I think he's one of the best five prospects in the draft.
Who is the first non-international/non-freshman taken in the draft, and what pick?
Chad Ford (1:51 PM)
Willie Cauley-Stein. Probably in the 6 to 10 range. It's very possible he might be the only one in the lottery if all the top freshmen and international players declare.
C'mon Chad, I'll be in Oahu soon and need to decide between Papa Ole's and Giovanni's shrimp.
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
Both are good. But try Kahuku Grill's Paniolo burger and then go to Haleiwa and eat at Opal Thai. Two best spots on the North Shore.
I don't know a single player that plays for Virginia, yet they are undefeated. Any player from Virginia get drafted?
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
Justin Anderson for sure. Having a remarkable season. He's got NBA athleticism and size for his position and he's shooting an incredible 56 percent from three on the season. We keep waiting for him to revert back to the mean and he just keeps shooting the lights out. He'll likely be a Top 20 pick if he keeps it up all year. Maybe even late lottery.
Rudy (George Mason)
If Okafor, Towns, Embiid, and Noel were all healthy and in the same draft, how would you rank them based on their freshman seasons and potential?
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
1. Embiid 2. Okafor 3. Towns 4. Noel
Why no love for Kyle Wiltjer from anyone?
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
Great college player. Zero ability to defend a position in the NBA.
What is your thoughts on Maryland players Melo Trimble and Jake Layman NBA prospective?
Chad Ford (1:57 PM)
Like them both. Layman, especially, is intriguing though his stock has cooled a little bit in conference play. I think a strong finish for Layman could get him into the first round. Melo is probably a year away from that, but he's a NBA talent too.
"Lakers fans have been through enough"? Uh, what?!? Yes what a tragic history Lakers fans have had to suffer through, they could really use a break.
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Yeah, I deserved that. Touche
Chad Ford (1:59 PM)
Gotta run everyone. We'll do this again next week. Look for our Ford-Pelton on how Jahlil Okafor compares to other players taken No. 1 on Thursday.