Chad Ford (1:01 PM)
Thanks for coming everyone. What a week. All four playoff series are tied 2-2, the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft has come and gone, and teams are already beginning workouts in preparation for the draft. Let's get rolling
Why is it that star teams like Spurs, Lakers, Pistons etc find it hard to win in away games during the playoffs. Even the loss is by a huge margin. Don't remember the Bulls with Jordan struggle this much on the other team's home court? Are the teams that much more competitive or was Jordan that much mentally strong?
Chad Ford (1:03 PM)
I think it's all about mental toughness. Take the Pistons for example. The team that got destroyed by New Jersey the last few days bears no resemblance at all to the team that destroyed New Jersey in Detroit the first few games. The Pistons have a lot of talent, but I don't think you can call guys like Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace or Tayshaun Prince the toughest guys in the world mentally. The losses to New Jersey have been embarrasing. If they lose at home, they're done for.
curtis: the bronx
Hey Chad, Thus far with all the series tied at 2 apiece, and the so-called experts taking a beating, [the entire ESPN N.B.A. panel picked the Pacers over the Heat at halftime] who's now the favorite in each series; I like the Nets over Larry the Leaver and the Pistons for the supposed upset.
Chad Ford (1:06 PM)
Here's the deal. I think the Pacers will still win this series (the Heat are as bad on the road as they're good at home). I also think the Pistons have enough talent to outlast the Nets. I think the Kings have enough experience to outlast the T-Wolves. To me, the Spurs are the team that's in trouble. After looking unbeatable in the first two games, they've given away the momentum to the Lakers. I think the Lakers are the most mentally tough team of the group and I think they'll steal one from the Spurs either in Game 5 or Game 7.
Have to like the Kings situation. They've outplayed th Wolves 3 of 4 games. They're finding ways to win, without playing their best game yet.
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
Agreed. But I'm still stunned they gave away home court advantage with that loss in Game 3. Great teams just don't let that happen.
Ryan: Indianapolis, IN
It seems to me that the Pacers play at the level of their competition. Give the Heat credit for beating them Monday, but the Pacers played awful. If the Pacers play to their full potential for 48 minutes, do they not have a legitimate shot at the title??
Chad Ford (1:09 PM)
Sure they do. The Pacers should beat the Heat, but it may take them 7 games based on how well Miami plays on the road.
Chad, with many teams still needing big men, what player or players do you see making a splash into the top 10 picks in the upcoming draft?
Chad Ford (1:13 PM)
It's tough. The only "big man" who is ready to play now is Emeka Okafor, and he's a four, not a five. All of the other guys you hear mentioned are projects -- interesting projects -- but projects nonetheless.
How would you rank this draft in potential and depth, as opposed to previous years?
Chad Ford (1:16 PM)
Potential: very high. Impact: maybe the worst ever. Everyone, including the top two guys Emeka Okafor and Dwight Howard have a ways to go before they reach the potential. Several of the international kids in the draft don't play at all. Almost all the guys you are reading about look great in workouts . . . but how does that translate into an NBA game. This will may be the toughest draft ever to forecast. I don't envy the GM that has to decide between the 5-foot-11 senior with limited upside and the 7-foot-5 giant who's played a total of 100 minutes the past three seasons.
Chad, do you see the Magic keeping their pick or packaging it with some players for a vet big or point? I would love to know what you think the Magic are going to do... overall! Thanks!
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
It depends on where they land in the draft. If they get the No. 1 overall pick, they'll keep it and take Okafor. Any thing else? My guess is they try to package it along with an undersirable contract (can anyone say Grant Hill?) and try to get a veteran in return. The hot rumor is Antoine Walker for Hill and the No. 1. But right now, it's just that, a rumor. I can't find anyone associated with either team that will verify it.
Chad, what do you think Danny Ainge has in mind when it comes to his three first round draft picks? He needs to come out of this with at least one star and one solid player, doesn't he?
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
The rumors are everywhere. Last year it was no secret that the Celtics were taking Marcus Banks and Kendrick Perkins. This year they've been attached to four guys: Peja Samardziski, Al Jefferson, Dorell Wright and Robert Swift. Three high school kids and an 18-year-old international bigman.
Roy (Mountain Lakes NJ)
International question for you Chad... I know the Nets bought out 2002 draftee Nenad Krstic and he put up some decent numbers in Euroleague, but I was wondering what type of impact he would have in the NBA? Jason Collins and Aaron Williams are just not cutting it!
Chad Ford (1:37 PM)
He's very good. Scouts compare him to a young Vlade Divac. Everyone I talk to his very high on him. Two extra years in Serbia should allow him to come in contribute right away. He'll end up being a steal for the Nets.
Is Musselman staying or going? If they plan to can him, why haven't they done it already. The team needs stability and knowing what is going on with the head coach is the best place to start...
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
I think Musselman would agree with you. If they're going to fire him, he'll immediately be at the top of several teams' list as their new head coach. As it stands now, he's twisting in the wind. Personally, I think the Warriors should keep him . . . but the word around the league is that they want someone else.
Joito, Puerto Rico
Where do you see Peter John Ramos going in the draft? And do you consider him better than Pavel?
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
He's the hottest name in the draft right now. He's putting up big numbers in Puerto Rico right now. However, there are still issues. He doesn't always play hard and there are off the court issues. I still think Pavel is the better prospect, but Ramos is catching up.
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
Sorry . . . some computer problems have slowed things down today. . .
GK (Toronto, ON, Canada)
Are the Raps in as big a state of disarray as they appear to be? What can be done to fix this not-so-long-ago-promising franchise?
Chad Ford (1:48 PM)
They need a top notch GM. I like the guys they've interviewed, but I think they missed the boat on several guys. If they don't get the right guy in charge, it's tough for them to turn that team around unless they have a great leader running the show.
I think Peja Samardziski will be a big time sleeper in this draft, what do you think he could be in three years?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
I just watched him workout in New York on Wednesday (see my story tomorrow). He's very, very skilled. I measured him at 7-foot-1, 255 with a 9-foot-2 standing reach. He's not a very good athlete, but he's so skilled shooting, passing, ball handling and on the block, he'll be a very good player in a few years. He just turned 18 however, so it's going to take a while.
Adam S: (Ann Arbor, MI):
Hi Chad. You recently covered the Euroleague Final Four games in Tel Aviv, Israel, and characterized the people in the home team's stadium as "the most amazing crowd you've seen anywhere." Is there any way that NBA fans could match the energy level of that crowd? What can stadium-goers do to ensure that their home team comes out with a win--especially during this all-tied up second round of the playoffs?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
Here's what they'd have to do. Arrive three hours early to the arena (all of them), stand for the entire game, signing, cheering and coming up with obnoxius whistles that sound like a hoard of angry locusts. They have to live and breathe the game. Every shot, every defensive stop should energize them. There's some good stuff that happens in the playoffs, but it's still not close to Israel.
Ben Orem, Utah
Chad, What do you see the Jazz doing with their three picks in this year's draft?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
They'll probably use one pick on a young international player (and leave him overseas) use another on a high school player that they can be patient with and the third on a proven college player who can help right now. I think guys like Peja Samardziski, Kris Humphries and maybe the BYU center Rafael Araujo might make some sense there.
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
I've got to run everyone. Look for my story tomorrow on the workouts of UConn's Ben Gordon and Serbia's Peja Samardziski. Both guys were very impressive.