Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat. Lots of excitement for opening night. Let's roll. ....
How well do you think Mo Williams will fit into the Cavs offense, and will he step up his game defensively?
I think he's going to fit really well. They needed another guy who can create his own shot and Mo can do that. As far as defense goes, Coach Brown demands it so yes ... I think he'll step it up. That's one culture they really have down in Cleveland. I think the Cavs are one dominant big away from being the best team in the East for a very long time ... but that's a tall order. Big men don't come easy.
Are the lakers and heat going to pull the trigger on a lamar for marion trade?
I think the Heat would go for that ... not sure about the Lakers. As much as they've struggled with Lamar, he's accepting his role coming off the bench and he's a better fit in the way the Lakers play than Marion is.
Is there any hope for the Mavericks? I feel that people are just writing them off. Can Kidd make a difference with a training camp under his belt? If they falter, who will be on there way out?
Marc Stein has hope and he knows the team better than just about anyone in the MSM. Me ... not so much. I think Kidd can't guard anyone anymore. I think Dirk has peaked. Maybe Gerald Green will save them .... (that's a joke).
Will the Warriors be able to stay in Western Conference playoff race long enough to last until Monta Ellis returns?
I don't see it. Plenty of scoring options, but I'm not a big fan of this team without a legit point guard. That's crucial in Nellie ball.
As a Knicks fan, am I looking at two more 30-35 win seasons? Or, can the Knicks be relevant again before 2010?
I think a 30-35 win season would start making the Knicks relevant again. Look, they aren't a playoff team. But they will be entertaining. The drama will be behind them. Donnie Walsh won't pull an Isiah special and trade for an overpriced, overhyped dud at midseason and in roughly 20 months, this team will be poised to make a big splash and big move in the standings. To me ... that makes them relevant.
Why do so many "experts" predict the Hawks to finish out of the Playoffs? Why do "experts" say that Atlanta is not deep even with the additions of Flip Murray and Mo Evans?
Why do you keep put " " around the word experts?
Will the lakers be able to come out with a win tonight against the incredible talent of the blazers...on a limp...i think the blazers are a year from being contenders
I'm not sure the Blazers pull out a win tonight against LA. That's a tall order for anyone. But Portland is going to be good. I know there's this reverse backlash going on right now after we all picked the Blazers to make the playoffs. I know they're young. I know Greg Oden is untested. But they've got a lot of talent. A great coach. A great GM. And most of their young talent is getting better, not worse this year. If Oden has a pulse and the work out the point guard situation, I think this is a 45 win team. If everything goes right and Oden makes a run at Rookie of the Year... maybe a 48 win team
Are the Bulls going to make a move to address the glut of guards? Gordon needs to go.
It's tough. Gordon can't be traded until January and then only with his permission. Plus, he's a base year player which means the Bulls only move him as part of a big deal. I think the only way it happens is if a team with lots of cap space next year trades for him. Derrick Rose is going to be so good, I might be more interested in finding a home for Kirk Hinrich.
It gets discouraging when everyone writes off the Hawks. I'm just curious as to why? Especially since they took the eventual world champs to 7 games.
I think we all feel like Josh Childress played an important role as a glue guy on this team. Can't say the same thing about Mo Evans or Flip Murray. Their starting five is really good, but that ugly bench will haunt them unless someone like Evans or maybe Acie Law really steps it up this year.
What do the Hornets' title chances look like this year?
They'll be competitive. I like the addition of Posey. He adds some veteran toughness and experience to a young team. I think Chris Paul is just going to keep getting better. Tyson Chandler also hasn't hit his ceiling. And if Julian Wright continues to play they way he did in the second half, they won't be a sexy pick, but they'll give the Lakers and Jazz all they can handle.
What do the Jazz need to do to make the jump to top contender in the West? Should they make some moves before the trade deadline?
They could use a better small forward now that they have Kirilenko coming off the bench. I think they're set everywhere else. Utah is better than people are giving them credit for. Great coach. Great point guard. Good interior players. And Ronnie Brewer is underrated.
Do you think Beasley is the real deal and will he have an immediate impact on the Heat?
Yes. He's the real deal. Amazing talent who will come in and make an impact right away. I'm just not sure how much it will help the Heat. If he and Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion all get on a roll ... maybe they're a playoff team. That lack of point guard and big man hurt. I think they should try to swing a deal with Memphis that brings back Kyle Lowry and Darko Milicic for Marion. Give Memphis more cap space, gives the Heat a very feisty point guard and big man who, if nothing else, can block shots.
With the Celtics losing Posey and no truly backup point guard, do you think the combo of Walker/Giddeon be enough to offset the lost of Posey? Is Pruitt finally ready to handle the backup pg spot? I think we are going to miss what Posey did for our team and I still feel nerves about our backup center position. Come on man, Patrick O'Bryant.
No, two rookies aren't going to replace Posey. I think Walker, especially, has a future in the NBA, but that's asking a lot from a rookie with just one full year of college experience under his belt. I think that either Tony Allen or Leon Powe will have to be the guy who steps up. I think Boston will be good, but I am worried about their depth. It's a little scary.
Steve Kerr keeps telling the locals to stay patient with this team, I'm really not trying to over think his comment, but what does it really mean in the Vally of the Sun?
Patient doesn't seem like the right word when you're point guard turns 35 in January and your center is already 36 years old and your small forward is 35. Patience wouldn't make me feel too good right now. I think the Suns are still a playoff team mostly because of Amare and Nash ... but next year I wouldn't bet on it.
What is your impression of Russell Westbrook and do you think he can be an elite player in the league?
I gave the Thunder an A on draft night for drafting Westbrook. I know a lot of folks were critical and thought they over reached, but I saw a guy with Rondo like defensive abilities and more offensive game. I watched the Thunder's last pre-season game versus the Lakers and Westbrook, not Kevin Durant, was the guy who lit them up. He needs to cut down on his turnovers, but he's so quick and strong he's going to be really good ... maybe even elite.
Mr FORD, I am a huge raptor fan but I just dont buy the hype surrounding JO, Is it him or Bargnani improvement that will pull this team to a new level of play?? Am I wrong or is JO that good??
If O'Neal is healthy and playing defense, he'll be a huge help for Toronto. You don't need 20 points a night from O'Neal. What you need is 10 plus rebounds, a couple of blocks and some 10 to 15 points a game. As for Bargnani, he was very good in the preseason, but the jury's still out until we see him playing that way in the regular season. I've have the Raptors pegged as a sixth seed.
Chad - any pistons trades on the horizon? if so, who would you expect them to target and who would they give up? I have faith in Joe D to do well.
Nothing on the horizon yet. Rasheed Wallace has an expiring contract so he will be the guy with the most interest. But if I'm Joe D, I like my teams depth and that, for the first time in a while, I have players who can push my starters a little bit if they start coasting. I still believe the Pistons have one more run to the Finals in them.
what do you think of San Antonio's young talent in george hill and ian mahinmi? will they make any impact this season?
I doubt it, which is why I think people are getting off the Spurs band wagon. They are getting older and we haven't seen enough from their young players, save Tony Parker, to be encouraged about their future. At some point they have to start slowing down ... right?
Hey Ford I was wondering what you thought about the Pacers this year? I am hoping for a good year, but you know about this slump they have been in for awhile. What do you thing!?!
Define good. I think they can be a .500 team, maybe a few more wins than that. If T.J. Ford is healthy, Danny Granger continues to improve, they get something out of their bigs Troy Murphy, Rasho Nesterovic, Jeff Foster and Roy Hibbert ... they will be a playoff team. I think they have great chemistry and a good coach who has them playing a style that fits their talent.
I gambled a little bit on OJ Mayo in my fantasy draft. What kind of numbers is he going to give me?
Points and threes. Maybe a steal and half a game and three to four assists a game. He's going to hurt you with rocky shooting percentage I think. He also seems to not be attacking the rim right now which means not a lot of free throw attempts. Hopefully you didn't use a Top 4 or 5 pick for him.
With Brand, are the Sixers a 4 seed or higher?
I think they're 3rd or 5th. Boston and Orlando will have two of the top four seeds. Philly, Detroit and Cleveland will fight for the other two. I think Detroit will be the No. 2. Right now I'm leaning Philly for No. 3, though it could easily be Cleveland.
Ok, so the Bucks picked up Croshere (yawn), we had a horrid preseason and Hammond just looks pissed constantly. Does he make any moves? Soon?
You can't totally judge a team by the preseason, but the Bucks didn't look good. My fear about this team and Scott Skiles has been real so far. Skiles has them playing better defense, but it's come at a huge expense of their offense. Now they're both a mediocre offensive and defensive team.
What are the chances Carter gets traded from NJ? I would really love to see CDR start, and Vince is stopping him.
A really bad contract for VC makes it iffy. If there is a team who feels that VC can put them over the top, maybe NJ swings a deal for expiring contracts at the trade deadline. Maybe ...
What are your thoughts on the Nets - Devin Harris surrounded by a superstar who's mailed it in and a bunch of young guys
Harris will be good. They have some nice young talent. But I think they'll post the worst record in the East. Maybe that's a good thing. Some top tier talent and cap space might be what it takes to get LeBron there in 2010.
How can Denver claim to be focusing on Defense this year, just weeks after trading their best defensive player for a bag of chips and a $50 gas card?
They're focusing on defending Stan Kronke's bank account.
Can defense win the Rockets a championship this year?
Yes. They have the pieces to do it. But for it to happen Yao and TMac have to be totally healthy come playoff time and Ron Artest can't have any meltdowns. What would you put those odds at?
Welcome to our territory, Nuggets fans! Our owner has been defending his bank account for years!
How are the Magic going to handle their lack of PGs? I don't expect Hedo to have another year like the last one and Superman can't do it alone. Do yo see them in the playoffs?
They'll be in the playoffs by default ... who else will really challenge them in their division. Dwight Howard is great. Rashard Lewis is good. Hedo was very good last year, but no one expects him to repeat that. Their guard situation is messy and they're devoid of decent big men coming off the bench. I really feel like this team has been mismanaged for a while. They'll win games because of Howard and Lewis, but I don't see them as a threat to the top four teams in the East.
Is Derrick Rose already an elite point guard? The guy can flat out fly down the court, and he has an extra I have never seen, including those of Chris Paul and Tony Parker. By the first month of the year he will be a top 5 point guard in this league, write it down.
Let's not go overboard. Give him two years and then ... I think he has a great chance to be a Top 5 PG in the league ... maybe Top 2. CP3 is going to own that top spot for a long time.
Nothing like mismanaging your team too 52 wins and the second round of the playoffs.
That's great, but if you're team stalls out there because you didn't have the foresight to build a true contender for a title then ... how good do you feel Magic fans? With Dwight Howard, they should be a contender ... not just a team that wins 45-50 games every year.
What's more likely for the Kings, 35 wins or the most ping pong balls in May?
Most ping pong balls. They'll fight the Thunder for the worst record in the West.
name 5 point guards better than rose by the first month on the year? cp3, d-will, nash, ...?
CP3, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, Baron Davis ... do I need to keep going?
In 5 years, who will we be saying is better, Rose or Beasley?
There's the question ... in 5 years, my money is on Rose. An elite point guard trumps an elite forward in my book.
Chad, I'm sitting in a class right now at KU Law School. What are you talking about on Friday?
I'm coming on Thursday Andrew. Will talk about how to go to Law School and end up with a job at ESPN and doing conflict resolution in Hawaii. Looking forward to coming home.
Thanks everyone for another great chat. Have fun watching the games tonight.