Greetings everyone and welcome to my new day on Thursday -- this will be regular thing from here on out.
What do you think Orlando needs to become a legitimate Title Contender?
I think it's pretty obvious -- they need backcourt help and/or another body up front. Not sure if they have any asset that could be used in a trade for those pieces, though.
Jon - have you gotten a chance to watch Love play yet? Do you think there's any way the Wolves can become seriously competitive with a front court that revolves around Big Al and Love?
Yes, they absolutely can, because the two complement each other offensively. But the wolves would have to do it as an offensive team -- you're not going to be a shut down defensive team with those two paired in the frontcourt. Right now Minny's biggest issue is inconsistent guard play.
with the blazers off to such a great start, shouldn't B Roy be getting more hype as an MVP candidate? #'s 21-6-5, leading 2nd youngest team to wests 2nd best record...pretty impressive.
Can't go there yet, sorry. Or have you not watched what LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade have been doing in the early going? It's gonna take way more than 21-6-5 to get into that discussion.
Were you surprised at Sam Mitchell's firing? The 2 and 3 positions are still huge issues on this roster. See anything happening there?
I had speculated that he might whack Mitchell in my Insider Gems the morning after the Denver game (shameless plug), so no, it didn't surprise me. Raps have serious roster issues, as you mentioned; changing coaches now gives Colangelo a chance to see what a different coach can do before he starts trying for grander things in February.
Now that is looks like the Nuggets are serious contenders in the West, do you think ownership will spend some $$ to get some PF/C bench help? Kenyon or Nene are bound to go down with an injury sooner or later...
They have an exception worth nearly $10 million that they can use, plus they have some interesting assets (such as Kleiza and Atkins's quasi-expiring contract) they can put into a deal. It will cost them tax $$, but if the Nuggies are still in the top four in the West in February I think there's a good chance you'll see them make a move.
Where do you rank the Nuggets among the west's elite?
I think they're a low 50-win team; the question we're still trying to answer is where that puts them in the hierarchy. We haven't seen the best of Utah and San Antonio yet, and we're not totally certain how seriously to take this amazing 20-game start from the Blazers. I'd say somewhere between 3rd and 5th, basically, but that can change a lot by April.
The Lakers, Celtics and Cavs have all gotten off to great starts. However, some experts have called the Lakers and Celtics "head and shoulders above the rest". Shouldn't the Cavs be included with the Lakers and Celtics as the elite teams in the league?
Given that the Cavs are No. 1 in my power rankings .... yes. We were all blown away by how L.A. played in the opening weeks, but Cleveland has been even better over the past fortnight.
The Blazers have been near the top of your power rankings all year. Think they'll stay there, or will they fall closer to your 41-41 prediction? Given the toughness of their schedule, you'd assume they'd actually IMPROVE as the season goes on.
The Blazers are probably going to blow away my prediction. I don't know if they're quite as good as their Power Ranking, because a few guys are playing well above their historic #s (Blake, Przybilla, Batum), but they're almost certainly going to be a top-five seed.
Is there a good answer as to why the Magic made the trade last year for Brian Cook and Mo Evans? Ariza has been awesome with the Lakers and I dont see why any team would give up a talent like that for the scrubs they received.
Short answer: They needed a 2 and Ariza wasn't playing. Obviously, Ariza should have been playing, and in retrospect this was a terrible trade, but I doubt the Magic would have won 50 last year without Evans.
Biggest reason for the Cavs offensive success with LBJ playing less minutes? How about Big Zs PER?
Shooters, shooters, shooters. Instead of LeBron setting up wide open Js for Sasha Pavlovic, Larry Hughes and Eric Snow, he's setting up 40% 3-point shooters all game. But yes, Z has been huge too. Big fella might have another All-Star trip in him.
I don't get why you've written so harshly about me, when by your very own metrics, I've made huge strides this season. And my defense has improved quite a bit (as the stats would also indicate). Why is it so odd the the 4th best PER on the team is getting starters minutes?
Bargnani is playing better than last year, certainly, but he still can't guard 3s. And Humphries has out-PERed Bargnani every year in Toronto and is the same age, so I don't get why he's behind him in line for minutes. Actually the best thing to do might be to trade Bargnani, but I'm not sure Colangelo could stomach that.
Why is Glen Davis playing more than Leon Powe? Powe's PER is more than twice Glen's.
Basically, because Doc trusts Davis to guard 5s a lot more than he trusts Powe. So Powe will rarely play alongside Garnett .. which means Powe's minutes are limited to when Garnett is off the court.
Do you think that the Sixers are trying too hard to integrate Elton Brand and should rather better leverage their high flying wingmen and run more?
I think they need to consider benching Dalembert and playing Brand at the 5, which would open up more space inside for their penetrators and make their lack of shooting less glaring. Right now teams just pack it in, and there aren't any lanes for Iggy and Miller because the two bigs are both in the block area.
Is health the only thing thats holding Utah back or is there anything else that we need to worry about?
I believe health to be the only thing holding them back, but we won't really know until we see how the Jazz perform with all their players ... sounds like that day is just around the corner, thankfully.
Raps are in need of a 3 that is true but How is it Graham Kapono Moon are not consistent contributers?? Coaching? Also with the raptors roster who is a realistic option that might help?? Azambuke, Belineli McCants??
I think they should go back to starting Moon at the 3 -- he and Humphries are among the best +/- guys on the team and have solid PERs but have had limited roles, especially lately. Graham is a mediocre backup, a good athlete wiith little feel for the game. Kapono is the one Triano might be able to get some results with -- somebody needs to slap him in the head and remind him to take 3s, take 3s, take 3s, and cut all this pump-faking and off-the-dribble nonsense.
Dallas seems to be rebounding the ball very well this year and playing great D per 100 possessions. Are the Mavs really in serious danger of not making the playoffs? They look like a solid 6 in the West to me based on the last 2 weeks.
i think they're a solid playoff team too -- don't be fooled by the record, their early sked has been hard and they've played several games without Howard. It might only be as a No. 6 or No. 7, but they look like a playoff team.
John, what do you think Portland's biggest weakness is (other than youth of course)?
I could point to a couple, but the lack of easy baskets is probably the biggest. they're getting more than than last year, but this is still primarily a jump-shooting team. Not sure how that will fly come spring ...
So if Dallas is a solid playoff team who are you picking as the odd man out in the west?
There's a good chance somebody is going to get blindsided by injuries and taken out that way, but if not I'd say Phoenix is the most likely candidate to finish 9th.
What do you think of the Pacers so far? I don't know how they have 7 wins.
They've played an impossible early schedule and mostly survived it, plus they may be getting Dunleavy back in a couple weeks here. I think they're a playoff team.
Chris Duhon 22 assists huh?
i watched that game, and it was the worst defensive performance I've seen in some time. The Warriors' pick-and-roll D was comically inept; Nash and Amare might have scored 200 on them.
What can you say about Lebron being nearly 2 full points ahead of second place in PER rankings? He finished #1 last year by a full point. Kind of crazy he can have that kind of separation from the rest of the league.
I said it last year and I'll say it again: He's the best player in the league. Every time I get swamped with email from Kobe fans, but the evidence is getting overwhelming -- especially now that his team is just as good.
Does the "addition" of Ariza and Bynum offset the improved play of Rondo in a Lakers v. Celtics matchup? Would Fisher/Farmar be able to contain Rajon? Would Ariza be able to contain Pierce?
You might need to be more concerned with questions like "who covers LeBron?" and "can we exploit Kobe vs. West?"
Why is it that everyone always talks about Boston and Detroit in the east, and even Cleveland, but not Orlando?
Other than the cavs in the Eastern conference, who else do you see emerging as a potential threat to the celtics?
Orlando is clearly the No. 3 team in the East right now, but there is an Okechobee-sized chasm between them and the top two spots. Basically it's a two-team race right now.
Is Conley just going through typical young player struggles, or are you starting to revise down expectations?
Revising down, yes. I've been very unimpressed and very disappointed thus far.
to like ten bobcats fans that are wondering if the will ever be good
Larry's history is that his teams start very slow and then gain traction as the year goes on. Don't be surprised if Bobs make a late run at No. 8 in the East.
What pieces should the Bulls keep from their current roster to maximize Rose's talents? And is Rose the clear favorite for ROY or is Mayo right there with him?
Rose is the clear favorite for ROY right now, yes. As far as what pieces to keep, I think Gordon actually complements him really well and the Bulls need to consider keeping him. They should think about trading Hinrich for a frontcourt body.
I've conceded that LeBron is better. In fact, I'm worried Kobe is slowing down. He either can't get to the hole like he used to or doesn't want to. Which is it?
you've noticed this too? It's a major reason his numbers (pts, PER, etc.) aren't what they were a couple years ago.
Hi John, do you have any information on the lewd pictures of Donald Sterling that are currently in Mike Dunleavy's possession? That's the only reason the dunce still has a job, right? Thanks.
Dunleavy is a prime example of why having coaches make personnel decisions doesn't work; too many of the Clips' moves have been detrimental in the long term, and the few long-term moves (Korolev, for instance), weren't well thought out. Popovich is the only person in the past decade to show he could handle it, and he had the GM job first; everyone else has failed miserably.
Those pictures are very tastefully done, but I would like Mike to give them back.
Give us your prediction Blazers or Celtics on Friday?
Home teams win over 60% of the time in the NBA and the Cs have a slightly better power ranking, plus we have to consider the possibility that the past 20 games are a non-representative sample of Portland's talents. So I'll take Boston, but with the Blazers making a game out of it.
Is the only way for the Wiz to move forward to trade Antawn? Can we reasonably expect to get cap space, a young player and a draft pick in return?
I think they probably could, but the length of his deal is going to worry people given his age. Wizards might not get high quality on the prospects because of that. I'm sure Ernie would like to see how things look with Arenas before he starts reaching for the dynamite, though.
Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for all the great questions. Remember, we'll do this again next Thursday