Power Rankings are out. Questions are coming in. Here we go.
Why are you always putting the Lakers second in your Power Rankings?
ALWAYS! Except for two weeks ago in the first batch of rankings after the season started.
You are simply nuts. Last week you said that the Celtics deserved the top spot because of their impressive road wins. All of their wins this week were unimpressive and the Lakers just lose for the first time, when the Pistons had the best shooting night of the season. So you really hate the Lakers, don't you?
The Celtics' wins were unimpressive? Atlanta was unbeaten when they came to Boston. The Toronto comeback, when the Celts were clearly flat in the first half, wasn't bad, either. I'm tempted to ask if you're a Celtic Hater.
So what do you think of Oden's performance the last 2 games. As a blazers fan his first two games made me sad, but he seems to do well scoring on easy passes and Boards. This is way better then in his first two games when Portland kept forcing him the ball. With his quick turn from no factor to huge D factor, and with Rudy playing out his mind silky smooth, how high do you see Portland this year? Push for Northwest division or will utah be too good when and if they get healthy, or did billups make the non-factor nuggets much more of a threat to win?
I felt bad for him that two pretty solid games got very little spotlight. For all the scrutiny he gets because of his injuries, Oden deserves something closer to the opposite when he plays well. And just playing goalie, which is basically what you're describing and what I envisioned for Oden in Year 1, is all Portland needs from him right now.
Why do you even post the questions/comments from the whining fans when their team is not No. 1. (This week it's Lakers fans). They are very annoying to read and they never make a good point.
Maybe you're right. But there a lot of times in life, without trying to get too deep on you, that people who complain get ignored. So in the interest of fairness, I've always tried to let the people who disagree loudest have their say here. We're subject to criticism like anyone else.
Why is everyone so afraid to admit Oden doesn't have anything resembling an offensive game yet?
Are we really afraid? If anything aren't we guilty about talking incessantly about all his limitations?
Any update on trade rumors regarding Al Harrington and Gerald Wallace?
I wish I had something hot for you. It's gone a little quiet lately . . . but maybe that means something is going to jump out at us without warning. Interest in Harrington remains high, but Golden State feels like it can be choosy. There's interest in Wallace, too, but that contract, as we've discussed previously, is a lot to absorb.
It seems like I don't have a future in OKC, so why wasn't I included in the offseason deal involving the Bucks or Cavs? Do you see me being traded before the deadline? If so, where would be the best fit for me?
I imagine that the Thunder will try to hold out for a first-round pick in exchange for Wilcox. Not sure that they'll get it.
It seems like there are a lot of teams in need of help at point guard. What movement do you see happening in the next month or so? Marbury? Tinsley? One of the Memphis guys?
The reflex is to say that Marbury won't be out of work long if he indeed completes the buyout he's begun to discuss with the Knicks. As noted in last week's Weekend Dime, Dallas has some legit interest and there will be a few others (Miami is always assumed given its lack of a proven PG) who give it some consideration should Marbury indeed become available at the league-minimum wage. That said . . . no buyout in the near future might tell us that Marbury actually doesn't have an immediate landing spot. The Knicks are allowing Marbury to talk to other teams in hopes that he'll quickly find another job and thus finally show some willingness to give back a fraction of his $20.8 million salary in a buyout. If he can't find that job, Marbury has more incentive to just collect his full salary and wait 'til next year.
Tinsley is perhaps an even more complicated case because the Pacers have steadfastly said they don't want to buy him out. They insist on trading him and there's just no market for Tinsley right now. Given Tinsley's rep -- worse than Marbury's as a teammate, according to some league observers -- teams like him a lot better as a potential low-wage free agent compared to the idea of trading for him.
As for Memphis and all its point guards, it would help if the Grizz could get one or two of them playing well. So far? None of them has. I do keep hearing that Marko Jaric is convinced that he's getting traded soon, but that could well just be wishful thinking on Marko's part ? some would call it greedy thinking for a guy who has already shocked the world by landing a fiancee named Adriana Lima -- given that he has a contract which strays past the summer of 2010 and thus can't be easy for the Grizz to move.
How come Utah is not being considered one of the elite teams in the NBA?
Right now? As in today? They're a little too banged up, no?
I'm not sure, Marc. How many are in your committee?
Good sarcasm. Cue applause.
Why aren't the Magic in the McDyess conversation? They only have one passable (albeit extremely passable) big man
Because no one is in the conversation at the moment except Detroit. And I'd say Cleveland is the only team with any hope of getting in the conversation, because the Cavs -- if they were willing to pay some serious luxury tax for Dice -- have more money than anyone to throw at him and help Dice make up some of that $9 million he gave back to the Nuggets in his buyout.
However . . .
I still haven't talked to one team that believes Dice can be dissuaded from going back to Detroit.
As an original West-Coaster, the sudden rise of the East is a bit annoying.
Sudden? It's taken almost a decade. A few East champions this decade (Detroit, Miami and Boston) have masked how bad the the East has been 1-to-15. I'm ready to see the gap narrowed.
Has the East really gotten any better, or has the West just gotten worse? All the dysfunctional teams seem to be out West.
It's a fair question. It's probably also too soon for us to be making sweeping statements. But we are monitoring it.
Marc, 10 spots separate the Nuggets on your rankings and Hollingers. FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Think we'd get a few clicks to ESPN360 if we did throw down and put in online? Unfortunately for you, I hold The Professor in the highest regard.
Do you think Stern will penalize Cuban if he is found guilty?
Presumably. But we also won't hear a peep from the league while the legal process plays out. Just like with players when they are charged with or accused of various things, The Commish says nada until the legal part plays itself out.
A fight is no way to settle that. Trampoline dunk-off. I'd watch and think it'd make for great TV. Problem solved.
Why are you so sure I need the trampoline?
As the rumors multiply, how likely is it that Marbury will end up in Dallas, and how would they use him?
If Marbury ended up with the Mavs, he'd start off with the second unit because Dallas is getting crushed when it goes to its bench. But would there be situations that Marbury and Kidd played together? Naturally. I do have to stress, though, that the Mavs aren't 100 percent convinced that this would be a good idea. You can throw out lots of chemistry concerns to outweigh potential benefits. It's just that Marbury would be an easy, don't-cost-nothing addition to a team that's searching for help.
That win in Boston was huge, but number 6? Don't you think you are guilty of a little irrational exuberance there, Marc?
Not at all. Super tough place to win and the Nuggets are 5-1 since you got there. I still have serious questions about how much farther the Nuggets can go just by adding Mr. Billups -- since there is a LOT of speed at that position in the West that he hasn't seen yet -- but Denver at No. 6 felt very right on this Monday.
You've used the wrong nomenclature on the Cuban lawsuit. The SEC complaint is a civil complaint and, as such, there will be no finding of guilt -- he'd just be found liable. This is not a criminal matter.
Now you know why I ended up in sports writing, much to the dismay of a long line of lawyers in my family. Thanks for chiming in.
Getting concerned about Kevin Durant. Is he still the prospect many thought he was? His team is still awful and it doesn't look like Durant is the real-deal franchise guy like a Derrick Rose. I think he has done all he can do at SG, he needs to move to PF and play closer to the basket. Any chance Kevin Durant can recapture the hype?
I can echo that . . . to a degree. I don't know that we can judge his full franchise-guy potential because the Thunder is so far away in so many categories. But, yeah, there has to be some concern with some of the bad habits Durant can develop in that situation.
Every team that Iverson leaves seems to get better. Discuss.
Let's see. Philly hasn't been past the first round of the playoffs since he left and the Nuggets are about five months away from showing us that they could do what Iverson couldn't and help Melo get to the second round. Not quite conclusive.
From one Steiny to the other, who do you think has been the most impressive rookie thus far in the season?
Rose and Mayo tied. Too early to pick one because it's too soon to get hung up on wins and losses.
If you were forced to choose between Darko and Kwame who would it be?
There's a lefty from Europe in your either/or. Do you really have to ask?
You're the one with the soft spot for lefties, right? Give us your all-time lefty starting five!
Saving that for a column someday.
I wish my last name was Stein so that it was more likely for you to answer my question. Or that I had less integrity and was willing to lie. Charlie Stein doesn't flow off the tongue well. Still better than Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, though.
Don't diss Mbah a Moute. He's the sort of energy guy Cinderella story that every team dreams of finding in the draft. And you know this rook has to be something for me to be so praisworthy about a UCLA guy.
Will Shaq be suspended?
No word yet. We should get confirmation soon one way or another.
Hollinger said he didnt think Rose would make the Eastern Conference All-Star team as a reserve if he kept up at this pace. If the Bulls are above .500 come the break, isn't he a shoe-in? It'd be a snub of mammoth proportions!
Rookies are rarely shoo-ins and, before you blame me, remember that the coaches do the voting. I'm sure he'll be in the conversation, but shoo-in? Don't think Chicago will be winning enough come February.
Any hope for the Titans after losing to Texas State?
Guess you didn't see that Josh Akognon set an arena record by hanging 41 on Hawaii on the road yesterday. Texas State couldn't have touched us if Akognon doesn't foul out with ALMOST THE WHOLE SECOND HALF to go. The Titans will be a scrappy surprise this season even though we're pretty much looking at an all-new team around our NBA-bound bomber extraordinaire. On a more serious note, I hope they are finally getting these fires under control in your neighborhood and my home state.
Here is your obligatory footy question, my friend. Does Manchester City's new ownership group make a run at Mourinho now or do they wait until the end of the season?
NO! As much as I love Mourinho, we shouldn't even be talking about this. Sparky Hughes has my full support. Check back in January when we have a couple more players on Robinho's wavelength.
Thanks as always for all the questions. And please, please, please say a prayer for the family of Pete Newell after one of the most influential coaches in the history of the game passed away today.