Aloha everyone. It's been a few months since the last chat. I'm happy to be back to break down the NBA and the NBA Draft for another season. Feel free to send in questions on both topics, but we'll largely focus today on the NBA.
Chad, will the front court of Bynum, Gasol, and Odom work in LA or will Odom be gone by the trade deadline?
I actually think it will work fine because 1. Odom doesn't need the ball to be effective on the floor and 2. Gasol is comfortable facing the basket. I also think Odom could be very effective as a sixth man. I know the Lakers have looked at trading Odom, but personally I'd keep him. Not everyone can play with Kobe Bryant, but Odom's co-existed with him quite well.
Do the Rockets Make it this year and land in the finals?
They have the talent to get there ... but none of their players have the track record to make it that far. T-Mac and Yao have had injury and stamina issues. Artest seems to crater when the expectation and pressure rises. On paper yes. Realistically, I just don't see it. I think the Lakers, Jazz or Hornets are much better bets.
Are the Pistons going to be able to win the East again until they make some changes (Rasheed Wallace for example).
Yes. They're good and they're deeper than ever. Their problem, at least for the last few years, is that the run out of steam or focus in the East Finals. Hopefully some of their younger players like Rodney Stuckey and Amir Johnson can help give them some of that fire they've seemed to lack. As for trades, I think Detroit would move anyone but Stuckey if the right deal came along, but Joe Dumars couldn't find equal value in return for his guys and wisely, in my opinion, didn't do a fire sale.
If you had to guess where do the Bulls finish and what is their big in-season move? There has to be one right? Thanks
Wild guess is that they're somewhere between an 8 to 10 seed. They have a lot of talent, but the team doesn't seem to have any chemistry. They duplicate too many positions and are weak in too many others. I think Ben Gordon or Kirk Hinrich get moved sometime during the season, especially with how solid Derrick Rose has looked in the preseason. If he continues to play well in November, they can move Hinrich or wait until January and see if they can work out something with Gordon. Gordon has the right to veto any trade, but if he can land on a team that has cap room next year, it could be in his best interest to get traded now.
Do my eyes deceive me or are the Knicks FINALLY getting better???
I'm not sure about better, but they are A LOT more entertaining to watch. I think Mike D'Antoni will help turn around Zach Randolph's career, he's also making a lot of money for David Lee and Wilson Chandler at the moment. But what's up with Jamal Crawford? I thought he'd be perfect in the Knicks system, but he's been awful ... stubbornly insisting on playing the old 90s isolation game while the rest of his team is flying up and down the floor. Maybe he's the guy who gets moved at the end of the day. He'll have some trade value.
What's the ceiling for the Raps if, and it's a big if, JO and Bosh stay healty (i.e. both play more than 70 games). Can they make a run at the Celts for the Atlantic division?
They can make a run, but I still think they probably come up a little short. A healthy JO, Bosh and Calderon, combined with good years from Parker, Bargnani and Kapono and they could win 50 games.
What are your thoughts on the Blazers new roster (Oden, Bayless, Rudy, Batum)?
All four of them have showed some ability. At times it looks like the Blazers have too much talent. Obviously Odom is going to be a force defensively. Offensively, I think we've already seen that he has a ways to go. That's OK though because the Blazers are loaded with good offensive players. Brandon Roy, Lamarcus Aldridge, Rudy Fernandez and Jerryd Bayless can all light it up. Batum has provided them with a much needed lock down perimeter defender. In short, I love this team. I think they'll be a sixth seed in the West this year and next year ... I would be shocked if they moved into a fourth seed.
Do you see a Western Conference team signing Miles to throw a wrench into the Blazers' plans?
Yes ... because it wouldn't cost them that much and Miles looked like he could do something on the court. Once he plays 10 games, a team can cut him and the damage is done. If a team doesn't sign Miles, Kevin Pritchard is going to be an extra $10 million under the cap next summer and that's going to give him a lot of flexibility to make the Blazers even stronger next year ... like dynasty stronger.
chad how good is mo williams and is he a good fit with lbj
I think it was a great move by the Cavs. He's a very talented (and still young) player who can be a more traditional point guard next to LeBron. However, I think the Cavs will still ask him to score. They've needed another player who can really get his own shot besides LeBron and Mo Williams can do that. I think the Cavs will be fighting the Sixers for the third best record in the East.
What are the chances that Boozer will be in a Heat uniform by next summer?
Too early to tell. Boozer has convinced the Jazz he isn't bolting, but he's not exactly the most trustworthy guy in the NBA. We'll have to see what the Heat do with Shawn Marion. If they move him for talent, then their cap room is gone. If they let this year play out, then, with another small move or two, they'll have the money to pay him and I personally think that Boozer would bolt.
What do you think of the Jazz bringing Kirilenko off the bench? A smart Manu-type move, or a time bomb waiting to go off?
I think it's a role that suits Kirilenko and also allows him to get more minutes at his natural position at the four. My concern is who the Jazz are replacing him with in the starting line-up. I'm not sold on C.J. Miles. Too bad Matt Harpring's on his last leg. Still, the Jazz are going to be good. I think they and the Hornets are the only teams with enough proven firepower to take down the Lakers.
Got any love for the Hawks this year? Can they make the playoffs again? And is this the year that Josh Smith becomes a superstar?
Really? I have to love them? I don't actually. I think the loss of Josh Childress really hurt and I think that Mike Bibby's on the downside of his career. They have no bench. One major injury and they're toast. Let's all hope Acie Law shows some signs of life this year ... because Rodney Stuckey (the guy they passed on to draft Law) is looking like a good candidate for sixth man of the year.
How do you see the Suns shaping up this season? Will their collective experience aid them in changing philosophies or hinder them?
I think they still have too much talent to completely fall out of the playoffs. Nash is still a wizard and Amare Stoudemire is still one of the most dominant big men in the game. That counts for a lot. But they other, less talented players on the team will miss Mike D'Antoni (just look at what he's doing with less talented players in New York) and I think that Shaq will be a millstone around the Suns neck if they aren't in serious contention. I think the Suns fall somewhere between a sixth and eighth seed this year. Their window to win a title closed when they traded Shawn Marion and let D'Antoni walk.
I love the Celtics starting group, but besides Leon Powe, we have no one who's prooven themselves as a capable reserve during the playoffs. Will this be our downfall this year?
It's a good point. Losing James Posey as the glue on the bench (P.J. Brown also played a role late in the season) hurts. But the Celtics do have a lot of young talent. If Powe, or Tony Allen or Glen Davis or Patrick O'Bryant step up, I think they'll be fine. But the lack of depth scares me. Not only does KG, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rondo need to stay healthy the entire year ... but guys like Allen can't start slipping (and there were signs that was starting to happen last year). I think the chances of the Celtics not winning the title this year are higher ... but to me they're still the best team in the East until someone else proves otherwise.
So is the Spurs' plan pretty much hope the Lakers implode and the Hornets and Rockets get injured?
I wouldn't go that far. They have Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and eventually Manu. But I'm a little surprised they weren't more proactive this summer in finding some young talent to help this team transition over the next few years. They'll still be good to very good this year. But they're likely a fourth to sixth seed and no ... I don't think they have the juice to knock of the Lakers, Hornets or Jazz this year.
your an idiot
It's great to be back everyone!
Who are you siding with Chad? Hollinger picks the Pacers to surprise and make the playoffs, but David Thorpe says they are headed for the worst or 2nd worst record in the league.
Hollinger. I think the Pacers will be a 7th or 8th seed in the East. They don't have star power, but I think T.J. Ford and Danny Granger are very under rated. So is Mike Dunleavy, who's coming off a really stellar season last year. I think Brandon Rush is showing he's going to be able to contribute right away. If they can get something out of their bigs -- Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster, Roy Hibbert and Rasho Nesterovic -- they'll be solid. They remind me a little of Joe Dumars Pistons' team in 2001. No stars, but great chemistry and depth. I think Larry Bird and David Morway have done a great job of rebuilding this team quickly. Next year they'll have some cap room going into the summer if they don't get an extension done with Granger this fall.
Can Chris Paul win the MVP this year, and can the Hornets win it all?
Yes. and Yes. Paul is fantastic. David West is highly under rated. Tyson Chandler is one of the best defensive big men in the league (think Marcus Camby) and the addition of James Posey gives them the toughness and experience and depth they need to win it all.
Do the sixers have a realistic shot to win the East, how many wins?
Sure. They have one of the best veteran fours in the East with Brand and one of the best veteran point guards in the East with Andre Miller. And then they're surround with a lot of exciting young talent like Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young. Their lack of shooting scares me a bit, but I think this team is somewhere between a third and fifth seed in the East.
Truth to power, Chad: My man Dirk and his Mavs are about to get their old behinds handed to them, and Dirk will finish his career as that smooth-shooting big man ex-MVP whose legacy was shortened by Dwayne Wade's free throws? Or not?
I think you're right. They may have one more push left in them, but it won't be enough to get them into the Western Conference elite. I think they're somewhere between a 7th and 9th seed in the West. I just don't think they have enough horses anymore. Kidd seems to be running out of steam. That Devin Harris trade they made is going to haunt Mark Cuban for a long time. Cuban is a great owner, but trading Harris for Kidd was the second stupid move he's made with point guards in the last five years (letting Nash walk was the first).
Why is it that the Magic don't get any attention even though they were the 3rd best team in the east and have the most dominant big man in the game? They are a better "team" than the Cavs for sure.
I don't see it. Dwight Howard is awesome. Rashard Lewis is good. Hedo Turkoglu was excellent last year, but I'm not sure he can repeat that performance. The rest of the team, to me got worse this off-season. They're in a terrible division so the chances that they win the 4th seed are high, but they'll get taken out in the first round.
Chad, what do you think happens with the Nuggets. Seems to me they could either surprise a lot of people, win 50+ games and be pretty good and fun to watch or they could lose 50 games, trade AI and totally implode? Can you offer some insight?
I don't see that either. Losing Marcus Camby hurts. They have plenty of offensive fire power, but no one to play defense and I'm just not sure there are enough basketballs to go around. I think they're a 40 to 42 win team ... but that won't be enough to get them into the playoffs this year unless Dallas or Phoenix completely implode.
Tell Mike in the Atl, it is "you're" not your. He's the idiot.
You just did ... If YOU'RE going to insult me, at least do a grammar check.
Chad, please help us, start some fake trade rumors or something, anything PLEASE.
Just seeing the names of those two together makes me smile. I might not get everything about the NBA Draft right, but it's hard to understand how everyone didn't see this coming ... Redick and Morrison both look like they'll be out of the league in the next three years.
Chad, John Hollinger thinks the East is better at the top and the bottom, do you agree and do you think we'll end up with another Eastern NBA champ?
The East is better. There is more parity and depth. The West is starting to drop a little. David Stern is right, it really is only a matter of time.
Who are your top prospects for the 2009 draft at this time? The list has to start with Blake Griffin I would imagine
It's tough to pick an order this early on but here are the five guys with the best chance of going No. 1: Blake Griffin of Oklahoma, B.J. Mullens of Ohio State, Ricky Rubio of Spain, Demar DeRozan of USC and Brandon Jennings who skipped college and went to play professionally in Italy this year.
This draft, I must warn you, looks weaker than in the past few years. I'm not sure any of the guys I just mentioned have the superstar potential that Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose has.
Which of these players do you seeing having the biggest impact this season: Greg Oden, Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, or Michael Beasley?
Beasley will have the best numbers. Oden probably has the biggest impact on a good team. Mayo will also put up numbers. Rose is the wildcard though I've been impressed in the early going. If I had to put an odds on favorite of Rookie of the Year, I'd go with Oden. Voters just like him more and if the Blazers are winning, he'll get more love than Beasley.
I've got to run everyone. Great to see you all back in the chat room. We'll be doing this each Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET so mark it down on your calenders. Can't wait for the real NBA season to start. See you next week!