Chat with Chad Ford
Ford covers the NBA and NBA Draft for ESPN Insider and also makes appearances on ESPN Radio and ESPNEWS.
Send your questions now and stop by to talk with Ford at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday!
Chad Ford (1:02 PM)
Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming. We'll do a little NBA Finals talk and then hit the NBA Draft. Let's roll ...
Dan - Ocala, FL
I don't know if my Magic will win the Finals, but its awfully impressive that they got here!!!
Chad Ford (1:04 PM)
I think that's the right attitude. I'm not blown away with either of the first two series, but the way they handled Cleveland and LeBron was super impressive. The Cavs proved to be a great match-up for them. The Cavs bigs couldn't guard all the perimeter shooters. Once their defense fell, their loss was a forgone conclusion. They just don't have the offensive players to keep up.
D Miz (Breakin Down The Game)
How much do you think the Lakers are paying attention to the Jameer talks...0?
Chad Ford (1:05 PM)
He had some big games against the Lakers ... but I wouldn't worry. 1. We don't know how rusty Nelson is. 2. We don't know how he'd mess up the chemistry they have right now. If I were the Magic, I think I'd keep Jameer on the bench.
Albert - LA
Almost a week layoff for the lakers. Benefit for the weary soldiers or will be they be rusty come thursday night?
Chad Ford (1:07 PM)
Magic only have one day off less ... so I'm not sure there's an advantage either way.
Do the Lakers even dare put Gasol on Howard for fear of foul trouble? They're not the same team when he's not on the floor.
Chad Ford (1:09 PM)
Gasol's actually fared better playing against Howard than he has against Rashard Lewis ... but I think they'll start with Bynum and see how it goes. Bynum isn't a great defender, but at least he has great size.
John (Santa Monica, CA)
If Kobe left the arena without shaking hands or speaking to reporters you guys would still be talking about it. Why does LeBron get a pass???
Chad Ford (1:10 PM)
It's a good point. I don't think he should. You learn in little league what it means to be a good sport and I think LeBron's explanation is a joke. It's immaturity. I know he wanted to win, but everyone does. So do guys that shake hands NOT want to win badly? Please.
What do the Cavs do? Do they just keep going with the core they have? or do they restart around LBJ? It seems the curse of the COY lives on.
Chad Ford (1:13 PM)
Yeah, I think the Cavs have a problem. This was their year and I think that's why LeBron is stinging. Varejao is a free agent. Ben Wallace is on the verge of retirement. Big Z is slowing down. If they sign Varejao to a big deal, they don't have a lot of cap flexibility going forward to make big changes. That's why NOT trading Wally Szczerbiak at the trade deadline was so devastating. I think the consensus for much of the year was LeBron was staying in Cleveland. I'm not as sure now. If he wants to win a title, he may need to go somewhere else to do it.
Josh (Los Angeles, CA)
The Cavs didn?t match up well with Orlando, now all of a sudden Big Z (PER 18.03), Mo (17.25) and Delonte (14.16) aren?t a good supporting cast and Rashard (16.83), Hedo (14.82), and Pietrus (11.69) are studs?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
It's the style of play. The way the Magic spread the floor was a challenge for guys like Ben Wallace and Z to guard. When Varejao got in foul trouble, they struggled to keep up.
Mike (Irvine, CA)
Hollinger argued that its more likely the Nuggets regress rather than continue improving because of the cap and free agency and the owner wanting to stay under the tax, agree or disagree?
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
I agree. This was the Nuggets year. They too get older and lack great flexibility. They'll likely lose Kleiza this summer and a number of younger up and coming teams in the West will start to challenge them. The good news is that Carmelo keeps getting better, Nene looks like he could finally be a force if they stay healthy and J.R. Smith is still young.
Boozer to Detroit? Please tell me that's a rumor started by Boozer's agent.
Chad Ford (1:18 PM)
If Boozer opts out, you can take it to the bank that he thinks he has a deal somewhere. The Pistons are the only team with the room to sign him who are interested. Other teams like the Nets would have to do something via sign-and-trade.
David - Montreal, QC
Does Tracy Mcgrady get the curse of never getting out of the first round off him even though he was out long before the playoffs started and didn't even travel with the team like Yao and Dikembe did?
Chad Ford (1:19 PM)
No ... but an interesting side note. I saw T Mac in Chicago at Tim Grover's gym getting in some serious summer work. Haven't seen him there before. Must be a contract year. I'd expect him to be in great shape and playing much better next year.
Please tell me Ben Gordon is staying in Chicago.
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
If he can find a team willing to give him the money he wants ... he 's gone. I've heard OKC has interest. And the Pistons do too if they can find a way to pay him and a big man like Boozer.
Verajao has a player option for around 6mil. No way he doesnt exercise that. Same for Big Z. Cleveland is stuck with those 2
Chad Ford (1:21 PM)
Varejao has already stated he's opting out. You're right about Big Z though. He won't exercise his player option.
Jack (New York, NY)
Hey Chad, it sounds like Stephen Curry caught a lot of GMs' attention at the combine. What's the likelihood of a team drafting him or trading up for him before the Knicks at #8. Should we be worried about losing him to someone else, or will he still be there for us?
Chad Ford (1:25 PM)
I think his window starts at OKC at No. 3, the Wizards take a look at him at No. 5, Wolves at 6 and Warriors at 7. The most likely scenario is that he goes 8 to the Knicks. But yes, he was impressive and I just got the combine results and he looked good. He had an impressive 35.5 inch vertical and surprisingly benched the 185 pound bar 10 times. He's stronger and more explosive than you think.
How serious are the Bulls about drafting Hansbrough, especially at 16? Why not try to trade up for Blair? Or take a player of a higher ceiling in Clark or Mullens?
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
He's their type of player and I think teams were impressed with his size (6-10 in shoes) at the combine. He was also decent in the athletic testing. He had a max 34 inch vertical. Benched 185 pounds 18 times. And his lane agility and sprint drills were a little above average for a big man. In other words, he's bigger and more athletic than we gave him credit for at UNC. Combine that with the obvious production and he looks like a better prospect. As for Blair and Clark, they probably won't be there at 16. Mullens is a BIG project. He's a few years away from helping anyone.
Jrue Holiday (Calli)
Why do you think I'm so good? I'm pretty unproven.
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
Upside. But in high school Holiday was one of the best players in his class. So ... did he suddenly get exposed at UCLA or did he just get put in a tough situation. I think the more tape teams watch and in workouts, they think it's the latter. He's got great size for his position, can be a lock down defender, and he's got better floor vision than you saw at UCLA.
Mick (Los Angeles)
Is there any chance that Brandon Jennings changes his mind and plays in Treviso? Even for a day?
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
We all wish. We're all heading to Treviso Thursday and ... him not being there has a lot of GMs (and draft writers) in a bad mood. But from what I hear he's already back in the US and won't play. I think it will hurt him because teams aren't going to be able to get a feel for certain things in a workout that they would in five-on-five play. If he's going to be a lottery pick, he better be great against the other top point guards in the draft.
Chad Ive always thought Blake Griffin looked alot closer to 6 foot 8 then the 6 foot 11 he was listed in college at. How tall did he measure at combine?
Chad Ford (1:33 PM)
He measured 6' 8.5" in socks and 6' 10" in shoes. That's plenty big for a four. However, he's not very long and his standing reach was a disappointment. He looked good in the athletic testing. He had a 35.5 inch vertical and was above average in the speed and lane agility drills for a big man. Considering that his lower back was hurting him a bit in the workout, those are good numbers.
Who are the Pistons targeting at 15?
Chad Ford (1:33 PM)
They really need size. I think they'd love it if Earl Clark or James Johnson fell to them. Austin Daye is another possibility.
Can you tell me a scenario that lands Blake Griffin in a Homeklahoma city thunder uniform?
Chad Ford (1:34 PM)
Sorry ... the more I talked to the Clippers last week the more convinced I was that they're keeping him. I think the NBA should ban the Clippers from the the top three picks. It's like buying a new Bentley and then parking it at a Motel 6.
Kyle (New York, NY)
All else considered, where do you think is the best fit for Johnny Flynn. I still don't understand why the Knicks wouldn't target him instead of Stephen Curry!
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
They like Flynn and he's a real possibility. It's his lack of shooting and size that scare teams away. But he's still a Top 10 pick.
Brendan (Pittsfield, MA)
Chad - can you explain how the Calathes situation works? I thought once he signed in Greece he was out of the draft? And if a team does draft him, how soon does he have to come over before the lose the rights to him?
Chad Ford (1:36 PM)
No. He doesn't have to withdraw from the draft and I think he's leaning toward staying in. If he goes in the second round, it's better for Calathes because he can make more money when he comes to the NBA. First round picks are restricted by the Rookie Salary Scale. Second round picks are not.
Keith, Beaverton OR
I know they play in shoes, but what is the significance of measuring players in shoes? Isn't that more a function of the soles of the shoes?
Chad Ford (1:37 PM)
Players play in shoes. More people complain about the socks measurement. He's my rule of thumb. Take a player's measurement in socks, add 1 1/4 inch for the shoes (that's the average height a shoe adds) and you have their playing height. Some guys wear shoes to the combine that are the equivalent of platform shoes and a few foolishly get measured in flip flops.
Chad: Do you think Thabeet might really go at #2, and if so, does OKC have any good deals for Rubio?
Chad Ford (1:40 PM)
Yes. I think that's the most obvious scenario if the Grizzlies keep the pick .. a big if at this point. One note on Thabeet, he was the only player to skip all of the athletic testing. He didn't do vertical jump, lane agility, nothing. That's disappointing.
Hi Chad, What do you think will be the best case scenario for Omri Casspi - being picked in the first round and receiving the guaranteed contract that goes with it OR going to a team like the Spurs in the second round where he can evolve into a good player in the league?
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
He'd be better off in the second round just because teams can give him a salary more competitive with what he's being offered in Europe. However, he told me in Chicago that he's going to the NBA, even if he has to take a pay cut.
Dana, Boca Raton, FL
In your Mock 3.0 you have Memphis picking Thabeet. Gasol played well at the 5, do they move him to the 4 or does he project as a back yup to Thabeet?
Chad Ford (1:42 PM)
I think Thabeet comes off the bench for a few years and maybe gets 15 minutes a night ... I don't see him playing 30 minutes a night as a rookie.
Ed, Chesnut Hill, MA
If Blake Griffin came out last year, do you think he would've snuck up on Beasley and had been taken 2nd?
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
It's possible, especially when you consider the questions the Heat had about Beasley. So yes ... I do think that would've been the most likely scenario.
Mike (Portland, OR)
Any ideas what Portland is up to this off-season? It seems unlikely we stay at 24... I expect us in the Top 10 or not in the 1st round at all.. Your thoughts?
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
From what I've been told, Blazers will trade the pick to the highest bidder. They have plenty of young players and would like a little more cap flexibility.
Brian Livingston, NJ
Chad- I don't understand why Ty Lawson has fallen so much on draft boards. He's a proven commodity, one of the faster players in the draft, and has proved to be a 90 ft defensive force. It makes no sense why players like Jennings, Holiday, Flynn, Maynor, and Teague all come in ahead of him. When will NBA GMs value on court production more than potential? In my estimation, Lawson will be no worse than the 3rd best point guard to come out of this draft and possibly the best. Your thoughts?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
A couple of things. One, he measured as the shortest player in the draft. Second, teams are worried that while he's terrific going North and South, he doesn't have the lateral quickness to excel in the half court game. Third, there are some concerns about injuries and some talk about his practice habits not being great. He didn't seem to be in the best shape at the combine.
Can the Wizards get Ricky Rubio or Blake Griffin?
What would a deal look like?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
I don't think they can get Griffin, but Rubio maybe. it would likely cost them Javale McGee. If the Wizards can't get either guy, I expect them to trade the pick. A few teams like the Knicks, Rockets, and Mavericks have real interest.
Blaine (St. Paul)
Any word on what the Wolves will do with their 3 first rounders? If they package picks to move up or make the picks they have, who do you see them targeting?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
It's a little too early to tell. They have a new GM and I think he's still figuring everything out. I think Tyreke Evans is a pretty safe choice at No. 6. Maybe Jrue Holiday. At No. 18, I think that's a good place for B.J. Mullens.
Pacers, any shot of getting Blair. I think he is a great fit on an otherwise soft team
Chad Ford (1:51 PM)
Maybe. The Bucks and Nets would have to pass on him. If they did, I think the Pacers would grab him. Blair showed to be a pretty decent athlete at the combine. He had a 33 inch vertical and a lane agility score that beat Austin Daye and DerMar DeRozan.
Jess (Spokane, WA)
Chad two questions: One, what are the actualy chances Daye now returns to Gonzaga? You're making it seem like he has to stay after getting looks in the lottery. My other question is do you think Jennings snubbing Arizona for Europe would have any affect on former Wildcat Steve Kerr's possibility of picking him if he falls to the Suns?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
I think Daye has enough buzz in the draft to go somewhere from late lottery to mid first round. When I spoke with him a few weeks ago in LA, that sounded good enough. Daye looked fantastic in the drills, but not as hot in the athletic testing. He couldn't bench the 185 bar one time. He had just a 28 inch vertical jump and poor scores on the speed and agility testing.
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
And no ... if the Suns want Jennings and he's on the board, I doubt Kerr cares that he snubbed the Wildcats for Europe.
I've heard a lot about how James Harden isn't exceptionally quick or athletic. What makes him a potential all-star in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
You know ... that was the take on Harden. It was the same take on Brandon Roy. But then they get into the combine and they look much more athletic than you think. Harden finished with a 37 inch vertical which is really good. He also had good numbers on the sprint. His lateral quickness is just so-so. But he also has great strength, benching the 185 pound bar 18 times. Combine that with good measurements and I think he stays in the Top 5.
Has Brandon Jennings now become the person with the biggest range on draft night? Where is his floor at this point?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
I'd say yes. As high as 4 (though that gets more and more doubtful by the day) as low as 19 ... that's a huge range. The truth is that everyone I speak with doesn't have a great handle on him. Since NBA teams don't scout high school as much and he played sporadically in Italy ... it's a big mystery.
Mitch Kupchak (Los Angeles)
Toney Douglas. Would he be an immediate upgrade over Derek Fisher, even as a rookie at the 29th pick?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Yes. I have the Lakers taking him in the mock draft. Phil Jackson doesn't need a pure point guard and Douglas seems like the perfect fit.
Is DeMar DeRozan the freakish elite athlete he's been hyped to be based on his combine numbers?
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
It's a mixed bag. He had a great vertical jump score of 38.5 inches -- tied for second highest in the camp (Chase Budinger has the same 38.5 and Rodrigue Beaubois had a 39 inch vert) ... but his speed and lateral quickness numbers were disappointing.
Chad Ford (2:01 PM)
Ok, everyone, I have to run. My prediction is Lakers in 6. We'll chat again next week ... Aloha!