Greetings all. We got Olympic quarterfinals tipping off in 11 hours or so and we've got crickets in the NBA offseason. Let's hear what's on everyone's minds ....
Do the line up of Sammy, Brand, Young, myself and Miller make us a realistic contender for the title?
Whoa, whoa, WHOA there. Let's get to 50 wins and a top-four seed before we start planning parade routes, shall we? I like Philly's future quite a bit, but they still have one glaring weakness (outside shooting) and they lack an uberstar on par with Kobe or LeBron.
So can the Aussies pull it off? I think our boys will Smash them, but i also thaught that about Greece in 06.
I think playing the U.S. close in Shanghai was about the worst thing Australia could have done, because now they have the Americans' attention. Aussies have been playing outstanding offense in this tournament but virtually no defense; I think the U.S. will break 100 in this one.
Who is your starting 5 for 2012 ?
Was thinking about that the other day. It always depends on who's available -- I presume LeBron, Wade and Kobe will sit the next one out, and probably Howard and Bosh too. So you're talking about Chris Paul at the point, maybe Greg Oden at center, Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley at the forwards and Andre Iguodala at the 2? That's a guess of the top of my head.
How close do you think the entire city of Portland was to jumping off the Fremont Bridge when we found out about Roy? This is why we can't have nice things.
Gotta love the line from Raymond's mom at the end.... I too, was waiting for the dreaded "surprise, it's microfracture!" announcement that thankfully didn't come. But the Blazers gotta be worried about Roy's health -- he's had something nearly every year since he entered college.
Is Pierce done for Olympic play? The "greatest player" comments go against the team concept USA has preached plus he'll be old, in Olympic terms, in 2012. Too bad, I think he could be a Carmelo-type int'l player; so well-rounded.
Pierce was on the 2002 World Championships team and, along with Baron Davis, probably burned the most bridges of anyone with USA Basketball. He's grown up a lot since then, but I don't think he'll be invited back.
Where does Ben Gordon end up when everything is said and done?
Somehow, some way, I think there's a sign and trade in his future. But he'd be a base-year compensation player, and that creates issues -- somebody like Memphis would probably need to get involved to facilitate a deal.
Wouldn't the Clippers signing me be the best thing, as I can get in shape playing under NBA rigors and the Clippers get their young low post scorer to rebuild with?
I'm dubious. The guy (Sofoklis Schortsanitis is the name, by the way) is way out of shape and played terrible in the game against the U.S. Also, the Clippers aren't exactly renowned for their player development capabilities.
Pargo to Russia? Was that good move for him over signing with the Spurs?
Only he knows, but the money was certainly better, and for a guy who has never made the big bucks that's probably quite important. By the way, New Orleans now enters the year with Mike James as the backup point ... eccch.
I think it's great that everyone is doubting us right now, as it was essentially a Tim Duncan 3 that ended our run for a title. With a new coach, a hungry Amare and Shaq in a training camp, watch out!!!
I agree that the Spurs-Suns series was closer than commonly believed, but certainly you remember that Phoenix only won one of the five games, correct? And while Amare is a beast, I'm becoming increasingly worried about the front office over there -- the Dragic signing makes no sense to me at all.
Mike James won a title as a backup pg!
He's five years older now, and the years have not been kind.
What does "eccch" mean?
It means "why did they spend their midlevel on Posey when both the backcourt and frontcourt depth remain such glaring weaknesses?"
Igoudala, Deng, Okafor, Bogut -- they're all getting $12 million+ a year under their new extensions. None of them are all stars, and in all liklihood none of them will ever be. Yet they will all be paid something like 25% of the team's salary cap figure. All of these were either extensions or restricted FA deals, with no other team on the marketplace offering competion. John, my question is this --- why are all GMs crazy?
They're not crazy, they're managing risk. The risk of having a player of their skill taking the QO and flying the coop isn't worth it. And from the player's end, the difference between the QO and the first-year salary in a lot of these cases isn't THAT large, so if the offer came in much lower they might as well play for the QO. That's what we're seeing in Gordon's case actually, which is why they're at an impasse.
Best GM so far this offseason?
We won't know until the balls go up. Subjectively, I like what Stefanski did in Philly by drafting Speights, signing Brand, and locking up Iggy and Williams. I like how smart Ainge was about not overspending out of sentimentality, and actually I like what Mullin did in GST quite a bit, except for the part about drafting Anthony Randolph.
How badly has Steve Kerr managed the Suns into the ground. Technically, they should still be in the West elite...even if they had left their team in tact
Let's give him a full season with this group before we back up the bus for another rollover, but I haven't been impressed so far, and if Nash shows any dropoff at all they're at risk of missing the playoffs.
Will Josh Powell be as good as Turiaf? He played in the ACC, so I figure he has the resume.
Not even close. He's a nice fifth big man but he shouldn't be a regular rotation player. The hope in LA is that returns to health by Bynum and Mihm more than offset losing Turiaf.
Is Derrick Rose on that 2012 team?
Let's see how he does in the pros first. Remember how Adam Morrison and J.J. Redick were seen as key cogs in the program in 2006?
Should I be very very very worried about Yi?
Nah, he's turned it around a little these past few games. As far as his NBA prospects, dude has some skills but he's gotta learn how to finish strong and get his nose dirty inside.
Help me out please, I dont follow Bucks bball close enough - I understand the aquisition of RJ, but why did they follow it up with the trade of Mo? What could they have possibly accomplished??
Trading Mo to unload the contract made some sense, in terms of luxury tax management and in terms of chemistry, especially if you feel that RJ was better than Mo, which most people probably do.
The part I didn't get was that they essentially traded Joe Smith and Damon Jones for Luke Ridnour. Two expirings for a player the Sonics didn't even want? Seriously? That piece of the deal still has me baffled.
Why aren't the Jazz doing anything?! Tell me Knight for Hart is not the highlight of our offseason. We gotta unload AK don't we?
Jazz don't have to unload AK until they know Boozer and Okur will be sticking around beyond this season. In fact, it's possible he could be rejuvenated by a move back to the 4 if one of them leaves.
Is Yi going to have to really get his nose dirty inside? If Lopez can develop enough this year wouldn't that let Yi move into more of a Dirk-PF role?
He doesn't need to lead the league in rebounding, but he has to offer more resistance in post D. Yi also had the worst percentage on basket-area shots of any frontcourt player last year.
So, is Detroit "stuck" with their lineup? Or will Dumars really be able to make a big trade?
Patience, we still have two and a half months until opening day. The Kwame Brown signing, to me, is a telltale sign that Joe D is looking to move a frontcourt player (likely Sheed).
When do your individual reviews of the players for the upcoming season come out?
Been working on it like crazy for the past couple weeks. It usually drops around the start of training camp.
Anthony Randolph is not a mistake. How can you say that after he dominated in summer league. I can't think of anyone else we should have taken.
Players with his college production (massive TOs, horrible 2-pt FG%) have an extremely poor track record of pro success. As do players who were drafted in the first round by the Warriors.
Do you think Andre Miller will continue to play well after he defied your projections this year?
Point guards who can't shoot tend to decline rapidly in their early 30s. Miller isn't even in good shape, so you'd think he'd be especially susceptible. Bravo to him if he can keep defying that trend, but history says it ain't the way to bet.
The Cavs traded big for small - do you see another move in Ferry's future to acquire a big?
I'd like to see him do that, yes. I don't think Hickson will be ready and I think Ben Wallace is a 10-minute guy at this point in his career. The only alternative, and it's an interesting one, would be to play LeBron at the 4.
Fred Hoiberg said that he thought Corey Brewer was going to be a big surprise next year. Do you think he has has a chance at being decent?
Well, let's hope it isn't in the way that he "surprised" as a rookie. I think Brewer has a shot at being a defense and energy guy, but he can't handle the ball or shoot, so I doubt he'll ever score much, and that's why I was so baffled that he was a high lottery pick.
What's your assessment on Ricky Rubio? Will he make it on the '09 draft?
Outstanding potential, but right now the thing everyone is glossing over is that he can't score at all. One would think that will come given his other skills, but I don't understand why nobody else is concerned by this. By the way, is Spain's coach shaving points or what? This guy's rotations make Larry Brown's stewardship of the Knicks seem sane by comparison.
That was a cheap shot Hollinger. Biedrins begs to differ...Patrick O'Bryant and Uwe Blab do not.
Biedrins is a stud, yes. But Mully's last three #1s were Diogu, Patty O' and Belinelli. Not a good haul, and two of those were top-10 picks.
How would you rank the top 5 players on the USA team? I would probably go LeBron, Wade, Howard, Melo, Kobe...What say you?
Wade has been the best player in the tournament, hands down. For those of you who haven't seen the games, he's been scary good and looks completely recovered from the injuries. After that I'd go LeBron, Bosh (best defensive player by a mile), Kobe and CP3.
Hey at least I was in the second round. Unlike Bobby Brown, who will shine for Sacramento and went undrafted because mid-major schools don't get respect.
Are you sure you're name isn't Marc Stein? Brown's college #s didn't get my heart racing, that's for sure. I'll have to make him a bet on whether my man from UVA (Sean Singletary) lasts longer on a roster than Brown.
Any idea why Melo hasn't been nearly as effective this year? Is the rest of team USA just simply too fast for him to keep up?
Colangelo threw out some hints that his conditioning hasn't been as good. But I also think the U.S. is running so much that they don't have to do all the set plays for Anthony like a year ago.
Have you been eating good food over there? Do the NBA players get to experience China culture?
That's Sheridan's deal -- he's in Beijing right now, I'm at Hollinger HQ in Atlanta. But I was in Hong Kong and Macau a year ago and ate very well, thanks. HK is loaded with great bakeries -- who knew?
Are you kidding me - you're actually saying that Wade is better than King James. I know you manipulate numbers for a living, but COME ON!
LeBron is the best player in the NBA. But Wade has been the best player in the Olympic tournament, and anybody who has watched this team for more than 10 minutes will back me up on this.
Does team USA see Argentina as the threat that they truly are? Would they have the composure to bounce back from an unexpected deficit?
I think the U.S. has a lot of respect for Argentina, yes -- they played a tough game for the bronze at the worlds two years ago, and of course all those familiar faces (Manu, Nocioni, etc.) will get their attention. Seems to me that if somebody is going to sneak up on the U.S. it would be a team like Croatia that doesn't have NBA guys.
Bosh (best defensive player by a mile)? Are we watching the same games? Kobe has been killing the other team's ballhandlers.
Kobe absolutely ruined Jasikevicius's life in a tune-up game vs. Lithuania, but he hasn't quite had the same impact in the five Olympic contests. Check out Bosh on screen-rolls -- he's been awesome.
John, Any chance the Cavs could land David Lee from the Knicks? I thought there were some trade rumblings after the drafting of Gallinari.
Only if they're willing to take on a horrible contract in return for the expiring deals of Snow and Wally.
How does Josh Smith get some 55 million while Deng and Iggy get in the 70million+ range. What is going on - Josh Smith is FAR better than both Iggy and Deng, isn't he? Did the Hawks actually make a fantastic deal for once?
It's all about leverage. Because Smith was only the 17th pick when he was drafted, his qualifying offer was much less than that of the other guys. As a result, it was harder to sell the idea that he'd play one year for the Q.O. and then bolt. Also, keep in mind that Smith's deal is one year shorter than the others -- on a per-year basis the salaries aren't that different.
Alot of people seem to pretty high on this kid Stuckey from the Pistons, including the USA Basketball program. He shined as a member of the select team, does that make him a huge possibilty for 2012?
He's possible, but he'll have to improve his shooting quite a bit. Slashers tend not to fare as well in int'l ball... .well, unless they're Dwyane Wade.
Ricky or Rudy? Also, that Spain photo? What a joke.
I'm a little surprised Stern didn't fine the four NBA players in that photo just to send the message that this is a global league and you can't be offending potential customers like that. I don't think they walked into the photo shoot thinking "hey, let's insult Asian people", but man, they gotta show better judgment than that.
Ricky or Rudy? I'm a big Rudy fan and think he'll make an impact right away, but Rubio's upside is about a hundred times higher. If we're talking 2008, then of course Rudy is the better player.
LeBron and Melo have expressed their interest in the 2012 games. Let's say they do comeback. Who else might be on the team besides the likes of CP3, Roy, Oden, and Durant? David West a possibility?
Forgot about West -- yes, he has to be on the list. So does Brandon Roy. But right now we could draw up a very long list, because a lot of this depends on projecting players' development over the next few years. As time passes the field will inevitably winnow down to about 15 guys who are both worthy of inclusion and interested in participating.
John I think the Spanish photo has been blown out of proportion in the US. I mean that is the country where everyone has to feel offended by every little thing. People in the rest of the world are not nearly as sensitive even those who were supposed to be insulted by the photo.
Perhaps ... certainly the Spanish players seemed surprised by the uproar. But I still think they went over the line ... there are plenty of other, more tasteful things you can do besides the eye thing to give a wink to the trip to China.
Who comes out victorious between Argentina and Greece?
Should be the best game of the quarterfinals. Greece is deeper and defends better, but they don't have a scorer like Manu. And I'm sorry, but offensively their bigs are just killing them. Saw both the U.S and Spain games and they didn't get jack from the frontcourt in either, and they're not going to score enough to win unless those guys get a few buckets. My other three picks are Lithuania, Spain and the U.S.
Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for all the great questions. I'll be back in two weeks to discuss more offseason stuff and recap the Olympic tournament.