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September 29, 2:30 PM ET
Chat with Marc Stein

Marc Stein
  (11:00 AM)

Good morning, all.

Marc Stein
  (11:01 AM)

Good to be back with you in Chatland. After yesterday's Power Rankings and Friday's look at the first six seasons of rankings for the committee (of one), I figured you guys would have some thoughts to share. So let's go.

Bobby (Toronto)

Worst six years of my life. Happy Anniversary!

Marc Stein
  (11:02 AM)

Wow. Friendly start. Thanks. But at least you realized that Friday's piece was a historical review of the last six seasons, since Monday marked my seventh season in charge of the rankings.

Mike T

The respect I have for your opinion has just left the building like Elvis would have. The Celtics 16th in your pre-season rankings? Absurd. Ridiculous. The journalistic eqiuvalent of a first-grader's essay on his summer.

Marc Stein
  (11:02 AM)

You wouldn't BELIEVE how many notes I got like this. If I had a dime for every one I think I'd have a nice chunk of change to contribute to the bailout.

Chris, Detroit

What happened to the Pistons making some moves this offseason?

Marc Stein
  (11:04 AM)

I think Joe D looked at all his options and decided that folks were trying to steal his best vets for little in return. So if you're Detroit, why not keep a 59-win team together and take a longer look at the kids. If the likes of Stuckey, Maxiell and Amir Johnson progress as the Pistons believe, they'll be in a better position to make moves.

Craig (PA)

Jackson wants Odom as 6th man and Odom says Phil must have bumped his head. Is this the begining of the end for Odom and LA? Who can/should the Lakers get for him?

Marc Stein
  (11:05 AM)

Can't see the Lakers moving Lamar until they know Bynum is all the way back.

Adam (Phoenix)

CLEVLAND?!?!?!!? I typically enjoy your work, but Cleveland is far too high at No. 6. As an admittedly biased Suns fan, I think they should be ranked higher than the Raps, Cavs and Sixers. Mavs should be higher than all of those teams as well.

Marc Stein
  (11:08 AM)

The Cavs (I mean LeBron) almost beat the Celtics with the team they had last May. Mo Williams is an ideal fit for that. I could have put them higher than six, honestly.

Greg, Salt Lake City

Philly ahead of the Jazz? Philly? Philly? Really?

Marc Stein
  (11:10 AM)

The team that made the most significant offseason acquisition and which plays in a conference with fewer playoff powerhouses? Yes. REMEMBER: Our Training Camp Edition of the rankings, as we say every year, factors in offseason moves.

Chris, Detroit

I was unhappy with the Timberwolves being so low for the start of the year. I know they only won 22 games last year, but with a core of Al Jefferson, Randy Foye, Rashad McCants, Kevin Love and Mike Miller, you would have to think they are going to be a lot better. Right?

Marc Stein
  (11:11 AM)

Problem No. 1: Lots of teams got better, including several at the bottom of the East that can make a playoff push this season if things go right. Problem No. 2: Jefferson is starting the season with an injury, which I didn't even have room to mention.

Aaron (Phoenix)

While there are a few rankings I disagree with, putting the 76ers and the Raptors well above my Suns has to be the most shocking.

Marc Stein
  (11:12 AM)

Noted. But we repeat the part about factoring in offseason moves. I liked the acquisitions of Brand and JO that much.

Mike (New York)

I'm a huge Pacers fan. After the JO trade it seemed everyone here thought it was a good deal for both teams. Why so down on the deal all of a sudden?

Marc Stein
  (11:14 AM)

I honestly don't remember any Good Deal For Both Teams chatter. I didn't like it for Indy from Minute 1. Although you need speed in today's game -- and TJ certainly provides that -- I have questions about putting a non-shooter (with an injury history to rival JO's) in charge of Jim O'Brien's offense. That said, if the Pacers prove me wrong, that's two years in a row.

Chris, Detroit

You didnt really answer my question.... will the Wolves be better or not?

Marc Stein
  (11:15 AM)

Of course they'll be better. But that might not move them up the rankings that much.

Dwight Howard (

The Magic ranked that low? Ranked #14? You basketball people need to wake up. Orlando will win the division and land another 3 seed this year. Put down the Portland and Philly kool aid. Your rankings are so wrong, Mr. Stein.

Marc Stein
  (11:17 AM)

Orlando's summer was too quiet for my liking. But thanks for checking in Dwight. My oldest son Alexander The Greatest -- who proudly has a D-Howard in his McFarlane collection -- will be thrilled to hear you checked in.

Joey (Kent, OH)

I know that LBJ is going to be the biggest free agent in 2 years, but isn't the whole Lebron Leaving Cleveland thing being overhyped? Where do you think he will end up?

Marc Stein
  (11:20 AM)

How could it be overhyped? We're talking about one of the three to five best players in the game. He's the one who signed a shorter deal to give himself the option to leave in the summer of 2010. Our editors recently asked us to predict LeBron's team for the 2010-11 season and at this point I'm still saying Cleveland, because LeBron clearly loves his home state as he stated so expansively yesterday. That said, until the Cavs have his signature on a new contract, I can assure you that they will be privately thinking about this every day for the next two years. That's just the way it is.

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Do you think Elton Brand will be the same after his Achilles injury?

Marc Stein
  (11:22 AM)

I do. Based purely on the fact that Dominique made it all the way and played his game at rim level. Elton's game wasn't as reliant on explosion before as Nique's.

Jim (Salt Lake City)

You say cautious optimism is wisest for the Rockets, then you go ahead and rank them ahead of proven playoff winners in San Antonio, Detroit and Utah. Way to contradict yourself there. Cleveland and Philly over Utah, Phoenix, and Dallas? Ugh. You do realize that the only Eastern teams Western Conference dwellers even remotely pay attention to are Boston and Detroit, right? I know it's ESPN's mission statement to overrate any team with LeBron on it, but nobody out West is worried about the Mo Williams signing. And while I love Elton Brand, Philly is still not better than Boston, Detroit, or Orlando. Celtics, Lakers, Hornets, Spurs, Pistons, Jazz, Rockets, slight gap, Suns, Mavs, Magic, 76ers, Cavs, large gap, everyone else.

Marc Stein
  (11:25 AM)

Rockets are up there largely because they're the only West contender to make a major move, although you could make a case that Posey to New Orleans is major. Don't know about contradictions, but I will concede that No. 4 is looking a little less clever after T-Mac announced on media day that he's got shoulder and knee issues.

Adam (Glendale)

How about Kobe's pinkie injury? Do you think it was dumb not to have the surgery?

Marc Stein
  (11:26 AM)

He's played with the injury for so long that it's hard to second-guess him.

Frank (Fresno)

Using both fingers this morning, Marc?

Marc Stein
  (11:28 AM)

Nope. All four that I usually use.

Scotty C

A lot of flack is coming the Celts' way for losing a primary bench player in Posey, but not hearing much about Ronny Turiaf leaving LA. He played a major role for the Lakers this past year and his absence is going unnoticed.

Marc Stein
  (11:29 AM)

Situations aren't even comparable. With Bynum coming back, how was Turiaf going to get minutes? That said, I have a weird feeling that the D-Miles gamble is going to work for the Celts.

Nick S (San Bernardino)

Why are the Blazers only ranked 13th?! They're one of the youngest teams and have got a lot of talent. With the aacquisition of Jerryd Bayless and the debut of Greg Oden, this young team has scary potential!

Marc Stein
  (11:31 AM)

Because the Blzers NEED somebody to try to temper expectations.


OK. You obviously must have missed the Olympics. Did you even see one game? Because if you did see at least one game you must have noticed DWADE IS BACK. Are you kidding me? Yes they had a horrible season last year, but maybe it's because most of the starting lineup was D-League players. The Heat will climb up that chart and you will see how silly you were for putting them so low in the rankings.

Marc Stein
  (11:33 AM)

Hope you're right. It's been to long since I've been to Miami . . . and, more importantly, to Los Ranchos Steakhouse across the street from the arena. But D-Wade, as good as he looked, is still going to need help from a PG, C and a bench in an East that's better than last year's. If you can guarantee that he'll get all that -- and stay healthy -- you might be right.

Chris (Phoenix,AZ)

Is Bobby Brown really as good as he looked in summer league? Could this guy be a big steal after a couple years of PT?

Marc Stein
  (11:35 AM)

I am too biased to answer this question.

Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )

Hey Marc, is Josh Howard basically running himself out of Dallas?

Marc Stein
  (11:38 AM)

Not at all. He impressed a lot of people in Big D with his from-the-heart apology and I'm sure he'll gradually start to win back some fans if he plays well. Let's face it: There have been far greater NBA crimes than what we've seen from Josh over the past six months. He was supposed to benefit more than any other Mav from J-Kidd's arrival in February. If it plays out that way this season, controversy will fade. Don't forget that he has a pretty favorable contract for a borderline All-Star, so the Mavs aren't just going to dump him.


hey stein. happy new year. you think there will be any trades for the knicks anytime soon? i guess they have to build some value in zbo and steph....they got nothing right now...

Marc Stein
  (11:41 AM)

Thanks for the Rosh HaShanah wishses. Steph is untradeable. Just don't see any way NY finds a taker for him. As for Zach, have to admit that they've generated more interest in him over the past few months than I would have expected. I never understood the Grizzlies' interest with all the kids they're stockpiling, but Zach seems more movable than you would have thought going into the summer.

michael redd (milwaukee)

i see your still sippin our kool aid. ranking us 16th after that disaster of a season last year?

Marc Stein
  (11:44 AM)

Don't like Kool Aid but I guess I'm guilty otherwise. Like Milwaukee's offseason moves and I'm a John Hammond believer.

Mark (Ann Arbor)

Steiny-Mo: are folks sleeping on the Spurs? Mason Jr.'s not bad, Udoka and Thomas are 1 year in, and, in theory, Ginobili will be healthy come the playoffs. They're legit behind NO, LA, and Houston, right?

Marc Stein
  (11:46 AM)

Of course they're sleeping on the Spurs. America always sleeps on the Spurs. I wouldn't put them behind those teams you mention. I'd still put them right there, even accounting for any age concerns you want to raise.

David (Brooklyn)

Do you get the feeling we're all going to be talking an awful lot about Julian Wright's key role (alongside the obvious big guns) in keeping the Hornets atop the Western Conference this year? I sure do.

Marc Stein
  (11:47 AM)

Don't know if this is the year but I do know Byron Scott is a big Wright fan.

Chris (Dayton, OH)

You liked Milwaukee giving away Mo Williams for Luke Ridnour?

Marc Stein
  (11:50 AM)

Focusing more on getting RJ and giving themselves more financial flexibility, which is what the Williams trade was about as much as anything.

Craig (PA)

Care to make a finals/champion prediction or are you waiting until the end of the chat?

Marc Stein
  (11:52 AM)

End of the month. Haven't had that conversation with myself yet.

Jonathan (Dallas)

So seriously. How completely geeked are you over the Man City buyout?

Marc Stein
  (11:53 AM)

You really don't want to get me started on this or it'll take up the next five chats. But thanks for asking. You know I always appreciate the chatters who indulge my City-ness. And Titan-ness.

Marc Stein
  (11:54 AM)

Thanks to all for your questions. Hope to meet you here again soon.