Chat with Tom Haberstroh
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh stops by to chat some hoops.
Haberstroh started at ESPN in 2008 following his graduation from Wake Forest. He's contributed to ESPN.com's NBA coverage since 2010, as a writer, Insider and contributor to the TrueHoop Network.
Send your questions now and join Haberstroh Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Tom Haberstroh (2:00 PM)
Greetings y'all. Cloudy day here in Miami. Wrapped up the Heat's shootaround this morning and getting ready for Oden vs. Blazers tonight. Let's get to it... Ball's in.
Morris (Pgh, PA)
I understand why the Knicks' home loss to Irving-less Cleveland was bad, but was it really that big a blow to their playoff hopes? Seems to me like their chances merely went from "very unlikely" to "extremely unlikely."
Tom Haberstroh (2:04 PM)
The high of a 7-game win streak probably skewed the reality of their dim odds and the fact that they collapsed against Cleveland makes it so much worse on an emotional level. They're at 8 percent odds right now to get the final spot so you're right, it's extremely likely now. Wasn't likely before.
The Miami Heat have been sluggish recently, and I remember hearing (and agreeing) that they would coast through the season and pick up steam towards the playoffs. With just a dozen games to go, is there a bigger reason for concern now?
Tom Haberstroh (2:05 PM)
How you play down the stretch has little to effect on postseason play even while players and coaches like to tell themselves they want to play their "best ball" going into the playoffs. If you remember, the 2012 Heat had a brutal post-ASG and they won a title. That's not the exception either. Plenty of teams have reset after the regular season.
Deven (New York, NY)
What's wrong with the Heat?
Tom Haberstroh (2:07 PM)
No personnel continuity on either end of the floor. Wade and Oden being out of the starting lineup every other game isn't helping things, but that should change come playoff time.
When trying to determine a player's scoring ability, why are most people looking at ppg instead of a pace adjusted parameter? Do you see that switching in the future (like the defensive efficiency has mostly taken over for points allowed per game)?
Tom Haberstroh (2:08 PM)
Tradition. Habits are hard to break. And yes, I think it is already switching as per 36 minute numbers and efficiency metrics become more widely available.
Any remote chance Lebron could take the MVP from Durant? As a follow up, is it possible that Durant is a better player than Lebron now?
Tom Haberstroh (2:11 PM)
1) Remote, yes. 2) It's possible, but LeBron, I think, will prove he's a notch above in the playoffs. Right now, he has little incentive to go all-out with the Heat's place in the standings and Wade out of the lineup 19 times. With four Finals runs in a row, LeBron knows he has to conserve his energy for the second season. Not sure Durant has that perspective or that luxury yet.
Chris (Schuylerville, NY)
Do you think that LeBron will leave Miami during free agency, if so where will he land?
Tom Haberstroh (2:12 PM)
Nope. I think he stays. But a lot can change in three months.
Tom, these are the only teams with top 10 offense and defense:Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto RaptorsSpot the intruder?
Tom Haberstroh (2:12 PM)
Hop on! I'm driving the Raptors bandwagon. http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10627264/nba-which-teams-cinderella-stories-eastern-conference
Top 3 Teams That Have Shocked You This Year?
Tom Haberstroh (2:13 PM)
Suns. Suns. Suns.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is Wrong with Philadelphia 76ers that they can not won a Game in 24 straight games?
Tom Haberstroh (2:15 PM)
Tom Haberstroh (2:17 PM)
Agree 100 percent. Defense would be bottom five in the league. Both guys need rim protectors at the 5.
Thoughts on a Melo-Love duo? Seems unlikely to work. Love is a PF -- an undersized C. Melo works best as a PF, not a SF.
Taj Gibson or Markieff?
Tom Haberstroh (2:18 PM)
Right now: Taj. Long-term: Gimme Markieff.
Bobby Light (CA)
How long until Anthony Davis is the unprecedented best player in the league? OK, maybe not unprecedented but the general consensus.
Tom Haberstroh (2:18 PM)
I don't think "unprecendented" means what you think it means.
As vulnerable as the Pacers look, they're still 32 - 4 at home. Shouldn't Miami try and push harder for the 1 seed?
Tom Haberstroh (2:22 PM)
They're making sure Dwyane Wade is healthy. If we've learned anything the last 4 years with Miami, it's that they can win big games on thee road. Keeping Wade out is the smart move that should pay dividends down the road. Game 7 is unlikely to even happen.
Dan (Potsdam, NY)
I heard you say on Friday that you favor an extra foul when the game goes to overtime. Would you allow a player that fouled out in regulation back on the floor in OT?
Tom Haberstroh (2:23 PM)
Good question, but hmmm, I'm going to say no on that.
Tom Haberstroh (2:24 PM)
That is, if we should have foul outs in the first place.
Paul George's struggles: prolonged slump or is this just who he is? It felt like he made a leap last year to being better than he used to be, but that he's more of an all star rather than a superstar.
Tom Haberstroh (2:25 PM)
Now he has to play against the 2014 scouting report, not 2013. Easier said than done.
Why does a pass that leads to a foul and (at least) 1 FT made not count as an assist?
Tom Haberstroh (2:27 PM)
Good news! SportVU tracks "would-be" assists as a result of free throws (regardless if they make the FTs or not). http://stats.nba.com/playerTrackingPassing.html?pageNo=1&rowsPerPage=25
Have you ever witnessed a weirder cosmic intertwining of the top 2 seeds in a conference? Haven't the Pacers and Heat lost in sequence 8 straight times now?
Tom Haberstroh (2:28 PM)
Is that true? The basketball gods work in mysterious ways.
Tom Haberstroh (2:31 PM)
I don't suspect, I *know* that Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio lead the league in hockey assists. Again, check out SportVU on NBA.com. Not sure if hockey assist "skill" matters more than just having good passing big men. Notice that Paul (Blake), Rubio (Love) and Conley (Gasol) all have great passing big men on their rosters. Hinrich/Augustin (Noah) also rates highly in this category.
How about Hockey assists? and who do you suspect leads that catagory?
Fouls 6+ is a technical rather than a foul out?
Tom Haberstroh (2:32 PM)
I'm cool with that. Any rule that doesn't keep its stars off the floor.
Mark (St. Paul)
And the Pistons, with the 4th pick in the draft select __________? Seriously, they're making a nice job of tanking this season, aren't they?
Tom Haberstroh (2:34 PM)
One, they have the 8th pick right now, not fourth (yet). Two, you don't spend $78 million on Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to tank. Or at least I hope you don't.
Do you think that rondo is a threat to win MVP is he has truely develop a jumper ?
Tom Haberstroh (2:36 PM)
He's shooting 29 percent from 3.
What do you think is a reasonable amount of years in college to be able to declare for the NBA draft?
Tom Haberstroh (2:37 PM)
Hey Tom, are you okay with Thibs playing some of his players a lot of minutes even when games are no longer in question?
Tom Haberstroh (2:39 PM)
Thibodeau wants to win every game at all costs, but as odd as it sounds, that's not the job of the coach. With the medical data wave in the NBA, I think in 10 years we'll look back at his strategies in a whole new light. And it won't be good, I don't think.
how do you feel about the 76ers tanking this year and who should the 76ers draft in the summer if they get the 1st overall pick
Tom Haberstroh (2:42 PM)
I have no problem with them tanking. They're just responding to the NBA's wacky incentive structure. As I've always said: don't hate the player, hate the game. If they get the top pick, they should draft the best player available, regardless of who they have on the roster currently. They need talent, more talent and then some more.
Stephen (San Antonio) [via mobile]
Based on current team status,, who do you believe will win Championship, as the season is winding down?.... Keep cool my babies!!!
Tom Haberstroh (2:44 PM)
If I have to pick one team, I'm still going with the one that employs LeBron James. But I'd pick the field over the Heat. By no means are they the overwhelming favorites.
So here's an interesting question (I hope). If you get the data this summer proving you are correct about the minutes of players, and Thibs still won't budge on the issue, would you fire him?
Tom Haberstroh (2:46 PM)
I think Thibs is a smart guy. If he sees convincing data that helps him win a championship, I think he listens.
I'm hearing that Adam Silver is going to meet with LeBron to discuss the sleeved jerseys and that the league will drop them if players think they are a problem. I feel like the only reason the league wanted to push them in the first place is because a sleeve is potential advertizing space. (If or when ads on jerseys is approved.) Agree?
Tom Haberstroh (2:48 PM)
Disagree. I think it's pretty simple: Most people like to wear sleeved shirts in public, not tank tops.
Vonnie(Detroit,MI) [via mobile]
If Randle falls to the Pistons does it make sense to get him? I think it does and makes it easier to trade Monroe. Also maybe package Monroe and Jennings for Rondo and Green.
Tom Haberstroh (2:50 PM)
Why would it make it easier to trade Monroe? You need two to tango and you just kissed your trade negotiation leverage goodbye.
Tom, if you were the coach of the Thunder how would you handle Westbrook's (potential) knee issue?
Tom Haberstroh (2:52 PM)
I'd talk to my team doctors. A lot.
James howard (Boston ma)
Is it just me or are people making this MVP race out to be closer than it really is measuring Durant against lebron as a player instead of focusing on this season where kd is clear MVP
Tom Haberstroh (2:59 PM)
Distinguishing between the player and his performance is the tough part. It's still pretty close. For example, KD has a 30.6 PER and LeBron is at 29.1. I don't think KD has run away with it, but with the way LeBron is playing on defense (not well), KD has the edge right now. Things can change as we saw with LeBron's 61-point performance.
Hey Tom, I think OKC would be in trouble if they get Memphis in the 1st round. Do you agree ?
Tom Haberstroh (3:00 PM)
Yep. Ditto for every West team.
Tom Haberstroh (3:02 PM)
That's it for me. Thanks for all the great questions. Back again next week. Keep cool, my babies.