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. I hope all of you had a great Christmas yesterday. NBA had an awesome set of games on Tuesday. We'll talk NBA in first half of chat and then NBA Draft in the second half. Let's roll ...
What are your thoughts on the way forward with Demarcus Cousins?
Chad Ford (1:05 PM)
Tough call for the Kings. Cousins new agent will be pushing hard for a trade. They, along with the rest of the NBA, think the Kings ownership/management is dysfunctional and they want him out of there. The problem for the Kings is that Cousins is their best player, but given his frequent issues with coaches/teammates, teams aren't willing to give equal value back in return. In addition, I'm hearing that there's a split between the GM and ownership on what they want in return. Do they get back established players and try to win now or do they want more young prospects/draft picks? In other words, it's a giant mess ...
Kevin (Miserable at work)
Hey Chad, big fan....obviously the Celtics need some front court help to be true contenders in the East....any chance D. Cousins would be available from the Kings after his recent behavioral issues? And do the Celts have enough to get a front court player of that caliber if not Cousins? (thinking a package of Sullinger/Lee/future draft picks)
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
I do think the Celtics are one of the teams that would be willing to pull the trigger on a Cousins deal. Danny Ainge has never been afraid of players like Cousins. They do have assets too: Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Avery Bradley are all players the Kings would have interest in. However, if the Kings do that deal, they take another step backward. Not sure if there's room anymore for the Kings to keep going backward. Pistons, Mavs and Heat are other teams with a lot of interest.
Jon ((Miserable Wizards Fan))
I know the Wiz don't have much to offer, but I think Washington is the perfect place for Demarcus Cousins to land because he could (theoretically) play with his best friend John Wall. Do you think playing with Wall would be enough to get his behavior in line?
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
Yes, the Wizards could use him. Yes, John Wall and Cousins are friends. However, the Wizards just spent all summer purging their roster of malcontents. Not sure they turn around in December and replace all of that with Cousins. It's also pretty miraculous that a team like the Wizards, that's been hanging out in the lottery for years, has nothing really to offer assuming they would trade Wall or Beal for him. What a huge, huge mess in Washington. Not as bad as Sacramento -- but close.
Jeremy H (Not enough basketballs in Sacto)
Most inept franchises in the A this year, Kings, Wiz, Suns....Who am I missing?
Chad Ford (1:18 PM)
Not sure I'd call them inept (I really like Dell Demps) but the Hornets situation with Eric Gordon is a pretty big mess. They are changing their name from Hornets to Pelicans. And I still believe (and I think so far most of the evidence supports me) that they blew a top 10 pick on Austin Rivers. Bobcats, after a pretty awesome start in November, fell back to Earth to the point that you wonder when they are winning again.
Bryan (Madison, WI)
January 16, 2013. Bucks trade Ersan Ilyasova, Beno Udrih and Sameul Dalembert for Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill. See that happening?
Chad Ford (1:19 PM)
Actually, I do think that's a real possibility. I think the only real fear in Milwaukee is that ability to re-sign Gasol. Other than that, it's a deal that works for both teams.
Wybo (San Francisco)
Which non-contending playoff team (a la Warriors, Bucks, Pacers etc) is set to make the jump to the next level?
Chad Ford (1:21 PM)
I've been wowed by the Warriors. So fun to watch them play and the team is so well balanced. Really love what they've put together and excited to see what happens when a healthy Andrew Bogut returns. They are about a year or two ahead of where I thought they were at the end of the season. Hats off to ownership and the front office there. They've turned around things in very short order.
If you could have one rookie for the next five years , who would it be? Davis, Lillard, MKG?
Chad Ford (1:24 PM)
I love Lillard. Was his biggest fan before the draft and right now I think he deserves to be the Rookie of the Year. Portland is in the same list with those other dysfunctional teams without him. I can go one step further and say that I think he's, right now, the best player on the Blazers (sorry LaMarcus). However in five years, I still fully expect Anthony Davis to be a superstar if he can stay healthy. And as for MKG, I think he's been really, really good and obviously, as the youngest player in the draft, has lots of room to grow. Andre Drummond also looks like he has the potential to be a beast. But I'm wavering just a bit on Bradley Beal. For a guy that looks like he can shoot, he sure doesn't make many shots.
Houston is on something of a tear right now with convincing wins over NYK, Memphis, Boston, and last night on the road in Chicago. How high is the Rockets ceiling this year?
Chad Ford (1:26 PM)
About where they are right now -- 6th seed in the West. I'm assuming the Lakers start making up some ground and get into the picture ... but if the Rockets keep playing like this 5/6/7 seed looks about right.
illastrate (The OC)
The Clippers are title contenders. Agree?
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
Totally agree. And I think we may want to start mentioning Chris Paul as a serious MVP candidate this year along with the rest of the usual suspects (LeBron, Melo, KD, Kobe). He's the heart and soul of a team that's just rattled off 14 straight wins and plays some of the most exciting basketball since Nash & Amare were running together with the Suns.
Hey Chad, I always love reading your stuff! Im just wondering if some of the rumors about Danny Granger being shipped over to Toronto for Bargnani and some other pieces. Do you think it will happen and if so, would that mean that the raptors can hopefully seriously contend for a playoff spot?
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
Would make sense for the Raptors for sure. I think the Pacers will want more than just Bargnani. Maybe if they threw in Terrence Ross ...
Jesse (Nelson, BC)
Do you see LA as serious title contenders with Nash back in the lineup?
Chad Ford (1:33 PM)
Not ready to make that call. They've obviously been playing better ... and the talent is there. But I don't love the chemistry and I think the Lakers need more athleticism badly to play the way Nash and D'Antoni really want to play. So ... while the signs are a bit more encouraging than they were two weeks ago, I don't think the Lakers could win a 7 game series versus the Clippers, Thunder or Spurs right now.
Am I crazy to still think Shabazz is the top player in the draft?
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
Not crazy. He's been playing much better. There was a great story in the LA Times this weekend on him. He's been putting in extra sessions training, lost 13 pounds and it's really shown on the court. What I like the most about it is that it shows he's willing to work hard to get better. That means a lot. The No. 1 pick is wide open at the moment and if he keeps improving at this rate, he could very well be the No. 1 pick.
Does wearing a UK jersey make you a prospect? I see no big difference between the guys on Calipari's payroll and the young guns at Arizona for example, except that the AZ guys are actually winning.
Chad Ford (1:40 PM)
I spent the weekend down in Honolulu watching the Arizona players at the Diamond Head classic. Nick Johnson, Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski all have NBA potential. But none of those guys are lottery picks this year. Johnson is the most NBA ready right now. Terrific athlete, fearless scorer and may have made the block of the year to beat San Diego State yesterday. But he doesn't have a natural position in the NBA -- he's a 6-2 shooting guard. Tarczewski has the most long-term NBA potential in that he's an athletic 7 footer, but he's still very raw. Ashley is a NBA athlete all the way, but he also lacks a defined position and can disappear for long stretches. Jerrett is a stretch four who can really shoot it, but he's got to contribute in other ways as well. So while I really like these young Arizona prospects, hard to compare them to the UK kids right now.
Chad, what do scouts think of Jamaal Franklin from San Diego State? I think he has some big time potential in the NBA
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
I think he's a warrior. So tough. Crazy athlete. Does a little bit of everything. Had a 19 point, 15 rebound game on Sunday in which he led his team in scoring, rebounding and assists. His jump shot is broken, but he contributes in so many other ways. Reminds me a lot of a young Gerald Wallace. He's a Top 20 pick in my opinion and the best prospect I saw this weekend.
Will the Myck Kabongo fiasco hurt his draft rank?
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
Sure it has. I think that was the punishment the NCAA was trying to deliver. At least he can start playing in mid February, but I think the suspension was ridiculous. The NCAA, in all of it's hypocrisy, never ceases to amaze me. As for Kabongo, I still think he's a first round pick if he comes back in February and can play great. But he could've been a lottery pick had he played the whole season.
How far has the overall draft stock of UK players fallen since the start of the season?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
Not at all. Noel still No. 1 on my big board. Poythress and Goodwin still projected as lottery picks. Willie Cauley-Stein projected as a first rounder. Ryan Harrow the only one who has taken a beating and even he's started playing well the last few weeks.
Moses (Boise, ID)
If thew draft were tomorrow, who would you take at #1?
Chad Ford (1:48 PM)
I don't think there's a clear No. 1 pick this year so it probably would depend on what I needed. Nerlens Noel is still No. 1 on our Big Board and has been since July 1st. But if I didn't need a big athletic defensive presence, I might opt for Shabazz or McLemore. And if I needed a big who could really generate offense, I might lean toward Alex Len. I know that's a wishy-washy answer, but right now, that's what the talent justifies.
how high do you think Ben Mclemore can rise on draft boards?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
He's at No. 4 on our Big Board and he could easily pass Shabazz Muhammad at No. 3. For him to get higher, a team drafting at 1 or 2 would need a wing more than a big. But that's a real possibility with several of the team vying for the No. 1 pick. So I guess his ceiling right now is the No. 1 pick. That seems a little high, but in this draft? Why not.
You said last week that Joel James has the best pro prospects on the Heels. You must think pretty poorly of the current roster to pick a guy who can't catch, shoot, rebound, or defend to make that claim.
Chad Ford (1:51 PM)
You would be correct sir.
is the carter-Williams shaun Livingston comparison accurate
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
I think so. It's who he reminds me of -- pre the Shaun Livingston devastating knee injury.
Cody Zeller looks to a pick-and-roll PF with no jumpshot or defense...Those guys have no value in today's NBA. It has to be scary for NBA teams to think about how far Cody Zeller has go to actually help a team win.
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
That's a little harsh, but yes, NBA scouts are worried about how his game translates. He's obviously been awesome in college and very efficient, but it's a bit unclear how he does some of the things he does now at the next level. Still think he's a Top 10, probably Top 5, pick.
Will the 2012 draft class be remembered as the worst in history?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
No. Lots of talent. Just no clear franchise No. 1 picks at the top. If you have the 5th pick or the 10th pick -- this isn't a bad draft. I just wouldn't want to be picking in the Top 3.
Paul (Las Vegas, NV)
If Anthony Bennett continues to impress at UNLV, where do you see him going in the draft?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
1 to 8. Bennett is another guy that is getting a pretty large bandwagon at the moment. He's No. 6 on our Big Board, but I could see him rising all the way to No. 1. He, along with McLemore, have been the best freshmen in the country.
Who should bobcat select in this draft why?
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
I think McLemore would be the perfect pick for them. Gives them an elite scorer at the two to pair with MKG. I'd love that combo.
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Have a great New Year and will see you again on Jan 2, 2013!