Chat with Chad Ford
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chad Ford (1:00 PM)
Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today and being patient the past few weeks as I traveled around the world. We'll start with a few playoff questions and then spend the bulk of our time on the NBA Draft. We have a new Mock Draft up today. I'm sure you all agree with everything :) Let's roll ...
Mandy (Redondo Beach)
Chad, Provided Suns and Lakers advance can you see my Suns advancing?
Chad Ford (1:02 PM)
Yes. The Suns are playing really great basketball right now. I was hard on Steve Kerr when he made the changes he made and frankly, I still think it cost them a couple of successful years. But the Suns are back and I think they're a serious threat to the Lakers. The Lakers have more talent, but the Suns are more in synch at the moment.
Phil (Akron, OH)
Chad, after the Celtics win the ring again, what changes will we see over the summer? Do they make a deal to break it up to some extent to build around Rondo? And what are your thoughts on the kid from Nevada that the new mock projects them taking? Thanks
Chad Ford (1:06 PM)
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Celtics are giving the Cavs a huge scare right now. But even if they knock of Cleveland, I don't see them taking down both the Magic and either the Lakers or Suns. And yes, I think this is the old Celtics' last gasp. Ainge will have to start remaking this team this summer. They have the No. 19 pick, (I have them taking Luke Babbit of Nevada in the Mock) and they'll have to decide on Ray Allen. But there's not a lot of flexibility to do more unless they decide to trade Kevin Garnett.
Paul (San Francisco)
Chad my man! Over the last 3 games the Lakers have finally looked like a team that can win it. They showed championship moments. Kobe looks good "enough" to go all the way. Yes they allowed OKC and Utah runs in quarter 4 but they gutted out a win in both. That's championship heart, resilience and toughness. Agree?
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
They are still the most talented team in the West ... in the NBA. I just haven't liked the chemistry this year. Phil Jackson has his hands full integrating so many great players into the same system. At some point, Kobe is going to have to do a better job as a facilitator. I still think he wants to score 50 every night (and frankly on many nights he still can).
do you still like the chances of the cavs advancing?
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
Yes as long as everything is OK with LeBron. I think the age of the Celtics catch up with them sooner or later. However, if 'Bron's elbow is in really bad shape, then the Celtics roll. He didn't look good at all in Game 2. However, even if the Cavs advance, I'm still going with my pre-season pick of the Magic to represent the East and to win it all.
Hey Chad - If the Cavs get knocked out early, does Mike Brown get fired? Would LeBron want him to stay?
Chad Ford (1:12 PM)
I think the first question will be ... does LeBron stay. Lately he sure sounds like a guy who is planning on sticking around. If he stays, then they deal with the coach. Frankly, I don't think Mike Brown is the problem. I think the problem is that LeBron does not have a stellar supporting cast that can pick things up when he's struggling.
Can we just petition David Stern to have the Suns/Spurs meet in the playoffs every year? Just great, entertaining basketball.
Chad Ford (1:13 PM)
Timmy Duncan (San Antonio)
Is the Spurs dynasty dead?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
It's getting there. Duncan is starting to look his age. Ginobili isn't quite the same. They're young building blocks: Parker, Hill and Blair are a good start however. A good move this summer and the foundation is set. But there might be a few down years, given the strength of the West, in the process.
even though the hawks eked out a first round win, can we qualify this season as a disappointment?
Chad Ford (1:16 PM)
Maybe. I thought they'd be more competitive against the Magic. If they're going to get toasted in Round 2 ... I'd say big disappointment. They have a lot of talent but they can't seem to take it to the next level.
Are the Orlando Magic primed for dominant success for many years to come? I see this team and believe that with Dwight Howard they will win a championship in the future if it's not this year they win it all.
Chad Ford (1:18 PM)
Yes! They have to be the favorites in the East for the next 3 to 4 years. Celtics will be in decline. Cavs future is hazy at the moment. Hawks can't seem to get over the hump. No great upstarts coming in the East unless Chicago lands D Wade or Bosh this summer. Magic are on a long ride as long as Howard stays healthy.
Chances of Bosh in OKC?
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
I've been writing about this for a while. I think the media are finally picking up on this. I think he's the perfect fit there, he's close to home and paired with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, he'd have a great chance of winning a title. Some people tell me he won't do it because he doesn't want to play second fiddle to KD. But if that's the case, he isn't joining LeBron or Wade either.
RJ Currey (Clarksburg,WV)
Ok Chad, I have a question... I know people say John Wall is the best player in the draft but Evan Turner is just as good and I think if the Nets get number one they should take him they have a point guard in Devin Harris.. What do you think?
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
I think you're crazy RJ. Wall is a MUCH better prospect than Harris. He goes No. 1 in virtually every scenario with the possible exceptions of the Jazz and Hornets. I love Turner. I thought he was the best player in college basketball. But he's an average athlete and doesn't have a great perimeter game. That puts him a step behind Wall.
Thomas (Pikeville, KY)
We all know that the five players from the University of Kentucky will go in the first round of the draft, but do you think it is possible (or even likely) that they will all go in the top 15?
Chad Ford (1:23 PM)
We have four going in the lottery in our latest Mock Draft. Wall is #1. Cousins is
Anthony (GULC Library)
Hey @chadfordinsider you say the Pacers are screwed. If the Nets land the top pick and go for Wall, would it make sense for the Nets to trade their tenth overall pick for Devin Harris? Pacers get a very good PG in trade and the Nets get a pick to add a young piece to their crew. Could this help the Nets land Lebron? Nets could start Wall, Lee, Lebron, (PF veteran or pick like Monroe/Ed Davis/Ekpe) and Lopez. Thats a pretty attractice young lineup for Lebron and he gets to pair with JayZ and Mikhael in NYC. Seems like win win for Pacers/Nets.
Chad Ford (1:26 PM)
I think the Pacers, who are in desperate need of a PG, would be very interested in Harris. And yes, if the Nets got the #1 pick, they'd shop him. But I'm not sure the
where is hayward going to land at in the draft
Chad Ford (1:27 PM)
Somewhere between 10 and 20. That's the word from the NBA's official advisement committee to him and where we've had him pegged for the past month. We have him going No. 16 to Minnesota in our Mock.
Freddy (Los Angeles)
Why is Luke Babbit considered a first round lock now?
Chad Ford (1:30 PM)
I don't think he's a lock for the first round. However, a couple of teams, the Jazz, Grizzlies Celtics, appear to like him a lot. It only takes one team. The Jazz are picking at No. 9 which is too high. Grizzlies have picks at 12 and 25. Celtics pick 19. I would say the range is 19-25 then.
Watched my Cats play all year, and loved Orton. Think he has real potential. But, a lottery pick right now... really?
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
I understand. Every year GMs swing for the fences with one or two guys who are drafted purely on upside, not on performance. This year Orton is that guy. Last year it was Brandon Jennings. In 2008 it was Russell Westbrook. Before that there were guys like Andrew Bynum and busts like Mohammed Saer Sene. Those guys didn't wow you either with their numbers. But remember, scouts follow these kids for years. They've watched Orton in high school. They go to practices. They evaluate his skills, size, long term potential. And Orton is grading out well. I agree with all of you that it's a stretch, but at No. 11 ... why not swing for the fences? It's not like there are other guys there that are sure fire All-Stars.
Daniel Orton is raw... too raw, Right??? Just say that he could benefit from another season in college getting starters minutes. Please, and then call him and tell him that too.
Chad Ford (1:37 PM)
I'm not saying he wouldn't benefit from another year of school. Clearly, he would. Chances are he's sitting on the bench much of next season in the NBA. But, if he's projected as a lottery pick, can you argue with him. He will get development in the NBA. He can work on his game all day, everyday. He practices with men. He has the D League available to him. Plenty of unproven players have figured it out. He can too if he works hard.
Orton Vs. Whiteside. Is offense the reason that you would have Orton go first of the two? because Whiteside has seemingly greater potential to become possibly one of the best defenders in the league and already has excellent defensive mentality.
Chad Ford (1:38 PM)
It's a great point. I think teams are a bit split on the two. Whiteside has even more upside I think, but teams aren't quite as comfortable with Whiteside the person yet. They're doing a lot of background checks. He kind of came out of nowhere for many scouts. If he checks out OK, he probably goes higher than Orton. But right now teams are still trying to get a handle on him as a kid.
Johnny Hazeltine (Las Vegas)
In your opinion, what's best for the kids: 19-year-old age limit, 20-year-old age limit, or no age limit?
Chad Ford (1:42 PM)
No age limit. If a NBA team wants you, a kid should have the right to go pursue his profession. If they don't and you skipped college and a guaranteed scholarship to try to land in the NBA anyway, then college probably wasn't for you in the first place. I think we need to strip this aura that exists around college basketball. It is a business. They make decisions based on what's best for college basketball, not what's best for their "student athletes". It's no different than the NBA and we need to quit pretending it is. The decision to limit a players opportunity to test their draft stock is the latest in a long line of examples. That was done purely to help coaches with recruiting. It was not in the best interest of the players and I think everyone admits that.
Seymour (Ottawa, Ontario)
Chad, can you see any scenario in which my raps can turn bosh into something even better with a sign and trade? As a raps fan, I'm happy to see Bosh leave. With the nucleus they have now, they can't even make the playoffs...something has to give...
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
I know we're talking draft now, but I want to come back to this. It's VERY unlikely that a team that can land Bosh outright would agree to a sign-and-trade that would give the Raptors anything more than a trade exception and a second round pick. Why would they give up a major asset for a guy they can already land. Now, if we're talking about a team over the cap, then yes, they might be willing to do a sign-and-trade as it's the only way they could land Bosh. But if it's New York, NJ, Miami, OKC or Chicago ... there isn't a sign and trade that gives the Raptors back a significant player or pick.
Take Wall and Turner off the table; What lottery player represents the best fit for the Jazz?
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
Would love to see them get Wesley Johnson, but he won't be around at No. 9. I think Greg Monroe is a great fit for them. He's not the most athletic guy in the world, but he's very skilled and perfect for their half court offense.
From the, admittedly, little I've seen of Pondexter he looks really skilled and NBA ready. What's the main knock on him?
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
If the Pistons get the #2 pick do they take BPA in Turner or go with the most glaring need and take a big man like Cousins or Favors?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
Good question. I think they would take Cousins or Favors. They desperately need a big and both of those guys are in the same ballpark talent wise, with Turner.
Gabe (New york)
Could Derrick Favors be the best player in this draft in 5 years?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
I can't put him ahead of Wall. But he could be No. 2.
If the Kings some how get the first pick, is there anyway that they go Turner over Wall?
Chad Ford (1:48 PM)
No. That's when the charade about Tyreke Evans being a point guard ends. A Wall-Evans backcourt would be devastating.
Big T (Philly)
If the sixers stay at 6, is there any way one of the top 5 players falls to them or are they gonna be stuck with aldrich or aminu?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
Not a Cole Aldrich fan? I've gotten lots of upset e-mails from Sixers fans over putting Aldrich at No. 6. He's solid. He rebounds, he blocks shots, he's more mobile than he looks at first glance and he can even shoot the ball a bit. He's not a star, but he's not crap either. Watch some more game film on him on Synergy. He's not a stiff. And if this helps, Bill Simmons loves him.
John Paxson (Chicago)
It's a good thing I didn't go with the glaring need and draft Beasley over Rose 2 years ago.
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
Agreed. There is a downside in drafting need over best available talent.
who does MN pick if they fall to #3 or worse?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
Johnny Hazeltine (Las Vegas)
It seems to me the biggest downfall of a team's draft is the notion they should always draft a "need" as opposed to best player available. However, if you do the latter, you look like a Kahn! What's the best strategy?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
It is a problem. NBA teams will always tell you they draft the best available player. But it's more nuanced than that. I've written a column about this every year for the past for years. Here's the one from last year. It's called Draft Tiers and explains the strategy. Hope it helps: http://bit.ly/d1AO4g
Antwuan (LA, CA)
Alot of people are high on Donatas Montiejunas. Do you see him making a major impact in the NBA or being a foreign bust like Nikoloz Tskitishvili? Also, which current player would you compare his game to?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
He's been much more productive that Skita ever was. Ironically, he now plays for the same team, Benetton, that Skita played for when he was drafted by the Nuggets. The issue with Montiejunas is that he's painfully thin for a four man. He really needs to bulk up. But he's very skilled and has been pretty productive the past 2 seasons.
Eric Bledsoe - who does he remind you the most of? I've heard Baron Davis like potential from some, and then others who aren't as sold.
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
I wouldn't go that far. I think a better version of Kyle Lowry comes to mind. He shoots it better than Lowry but has his body, motor, athleticism and toughness.
Drew (West Va)
Devin Ebanks? What the word from scouts regarding his potential in the draft?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
They love his talent. But have serious questions about his head and shooting. Still, someone will take a chance on him in the first. He was a guy I thought should've gone back to school. Could've been a lottery pick in 2011
Jimmer Fredette, he has had workouts with the Thunder and the Celtics, with two more in two days. If he stays in the draft, where will he go?
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
He's been impressive. It's helped him that the teams that employ stat geeks are getting word back that Fredette ranks as the No. 2 point guard in the draft based on their modeling. I've also heard he's worked out really well. I thought he was a lock to return to school, but am not so sure now. If a team promises him a pick in the first round, he'll stay. We'll know for sure on Saturday. If he stays in the draft, some team enticed him to stay in.
Charlie (North Pole, AK)
Where do you see Ed Davis going in the NBA Draft?
Chad Ford (2:01 PM)
He still has a cast on his wrist, so that's not good. But he's another guy who's benefitted from some statistical modeling that teams are doing. I think he's a lock for the Top 10. He could go as high as 5.
Chad Ford (2:03 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Thanks for chatting today. Next week I start my workout tour with stops in LA, Las Vegas, Chicago and NY to see some of the top prospects as they prepare for the NBA Draft. Be sure to follow along on our NBA Draft Blog. And be sure to check out our first full Mock Draft and a new Stock Watch on our Draft Blog today.