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December 12, 9:46 AM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:03 PM)

Aloha everyone. Sorry about the confusion on the Tuesday chat. I was traveling. We'll start with your NBA questions and then take a bunch of NBA Draft questions at the end. Let's roll.

Chad (Tampa)

Alright, a lot of the ESPN guys love to say why the Magic are not a good team. Tell us something good about them. Please.

Chad Ford
  (1:03 PM)

Dwight Howard is awesome. Rashard Lewis is good. After that, things start to get shakier.

Ryan (Jacksonville, FL)

Is it just me or does Derrick Rose play a lot like Marbury did at the beginning of his career?

Chad Ford
  (1:05 PM)

Yikes. That's scary. Marbury was a better playmaker early on ... but I think Rose is a much better athlete and has much better leadership and court vision skills.

Bryce, SLC, UT

Chad, after Boozer's announcement last night, do you think the Jazz make it a priority to move him before the deadline? And if so, what do you think of Boozer and the Knicks 2010 unprotected first round pick to Toronto for Chris BosH?

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

It's not that easy. A team that is trading for him would have to be convinced that Boozer would re-sign. Otherwise, the wouldn't give Utah anything for him. That's tricky because we know that Boozer is opting out and will be an unrestricted free agent. An extension won't do the trick. It's a gamble. If you're a team like Miami or New York, a big market team that Boozer would like to play for, maybe you take that chance. However, what would they offer? The only guy I could see Utah being interested in is David Lee.

Ted, The SLC

Boozer to Orlando for Hedu and Brian Cook. Yeah or ney?

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

No way. Utah would want a lot more. Remember Hedo's a free agent next summer too.

Kevin O' Conner (Deep in thought)

Why should I resign Boozer to a fat deal when I have Paul Millsap who can step in and give us 80% of what Boozer does offensively and is a much better defender? Where should I spend my Boozer money to make our team better as a whole?

Chad Ford
  (1:10 PM)

Boozer is better than Millsap. However, the Jazz do have some good options if he leaves. Millsap is a beast on the boards and remember that's Andrei Kirilenko's real position. The Jazz, by the way, could also lose Mehmet Okur this summer. Will be interesting to see what they do. One school of thought is that they should let both guys go, get some cap room and continue to build a new, young nucleus that can compete for a while. Somewhere Jerry Sloan is screaming.

Zac (Oakland)

Aloha Chad, howzit? Tell me what the Warriors are thinking considering giving up Wright or Randolph for Felton? Didn't they just get a pg in Crawford? To give (up on) BW or AR for a backup pg is stretching it...even for Warriors standards.

Chad Ford
  (1:12 PM)

Warriors really need a true point guard. Crawford isn't one. Neither is Monta Ellis. But you're right, with so much money invested in those two, it doesn't seem smart to bring in Felton. Remember, he's a restricted free agent this summer. For the Bobcats, it's a brilliant idea. D.J. Augustin (are you listening Bill Simmons) is the future.

James (east L.)

Chad, lost in the Pistons slow start is the play of Rodney Stuckey lately. I thought the kid could be an all star, but with the growth he's shown lately do you think he might be even better then that? His per 36 minute numbers for the last 10 games: 17 ppg, 10 apg, 4.5 rpb, 2.2 spg, 54% fg, 49% 3pt, and a 3.7:1 assist/to ratio.

Chad Ford
  (1:13 PM)

Yeah, he's going to be really good. No question. I think the debate is this: did the Pistons have a realistic shot at the title this year with Chauncey Billups. I was of the mind that they did. Obviously Joe D thought they didn't. If he was right, it will ultimately be a good move by Detroit if they can turn all of that cap space next summer into a great front court player.

John Paxson (Crook County, Ill State)

Is it time to give up on Tyrus or Noah? What, if anything, would they bring back in trade? Please help me, I'm clueless...

Chad Ford
  (1:15 PM)

Paxson's not clueless, though sometimes I think his owner is. They need a guy like Carlos Boozer in the paint. But given Noah and Thomas' rep, I doubt Utah is the place to send them. They still have value because both players have a lot of talent, but so far, both have been MAJOR disappointments.

Elton Brand

Who's been the bigger bust acquisition: Me or JO?

Chad Ford
  (1:16 PM)

You ... by a long shot.

Chris (LA)

It seems that every big man has a career night playing against the Bulls. Just this past week, Okafor and Camby made their presence be known. Please tell me Paxson see this trend and is on a mission to do something about this?

Chad Ford
  (1:18 PM)

He's got to if the Bulls are ever going to be contenders. They, the Bobcats, and the Pacers are so lopsided in their depth. All three really need help in the paint.

Eli (T-dot)

Time to blow up the Raps? Was at the game last night and they just look soft and defeated by the end of the 2nd quarter.

Chad Ford
  (1:19 PM)

I don't think they have a ton of options right now unless the team is willing to move Andrea Bargnani. The problem is, even Bargnani doesn't have a huge market. Bosh and Calderon are the core. They don't have a lot of other attractive pieces right now. I think they're kind of stuck.

Dave (Boston)

How do you see the Suns faring with Jason Richardson at the 2-guard?

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

Really well actually. Richardson is a good three point shooter and gives them another dynamic scorer. Now Nash, Stoudemire, Shaq, Richardson and Barbosa can all go for 20 on a given night. I don't think the move puts the Suns in the elite company of the Lakers, for example. But it puts them in the mix with the rest of the best in the West. Great move by Steve Kerr and David Griffin of the Suns.

Kelly (Lexington, NC)

Can Diaw be the long term answer for the Bobcats at pf?

Chad Ford
  (1:23 PM)

Uh ... no. The Diaw-Richardson trade was mind boggling from the Charlotte perspective. Terrible. I blame Larry Brown totally for this. He hates everyone he coaches and loves everyone he doesn't. I'm sure he's already pushing MJ and Rod Higgins to move Diaw. The sad truth is what they really need is a center. Okafor is a more natural fit at the four.

Steve (Detroit, MI)

True or False: Rondo is a product of the Big 3. Put him on the Bobcats and there's no way he's getting all-star consideration.

Chad Ford
  (1:24 PM)

False. Being on the Celtics helps for sure. But he's so talented that I think he'd shine anywhere. Coaches love guards who can play defense and limit mistakes. Rondo does both. I never could understand why he slipped like he did on draft night. He was in our Top 5 to Top 7 all year on our Draft Big Board. Shows you that even the best GMs can really sleep on talent. To me, Rondo is an All-Star.

ZB (rip city)

A lot is being made of Oden being "underwhelming" early. Isn't it too premature to rate Greg at this point in his young, young career? On the flip side, wouldn't having a 10-15 guy be huge for them in the long run?

Chad Ford
  (1:26 PM)

Yes and Yes. Oden hasn't played much basketball the last two years. Of course he's going to have a long adjustment period. Most NBA big men do. But if you look at what he brings defensively, he's already an important player for Portland. The offense will come. I'm not saying he'll be Shaq. But he'll score enough to make him a worthy No. 1 pick.

Dan (MN)

Please help fix the wolves. Anyone has to be able to do better than what we have.

Chad Ford
  (1:28 PM)

No one is fixing the Wolves until Glen Taylor makes a wholesale change in the front office there. They need new ideas and new blood and guys who aren't overly attached to the players they scouted and drafted. Everything needs to change and I actually think you'd see some interest from some young, more dynamic GMs in the job like the Pacers' David Morway or the Spurs' Dennis Lindsey. They are way more innovative, have great work ethics, understand the cap, and understand chemistry. Something needs to change in Minnesota and it needs to change at the top.

Jay (Memphis, TN)

What are the Grizzlies chances of landing Boozer? Let's assume that Heisley will spend some money this offseason...

Chad Ford
  (1:29 PM)

Zero

Steiny (NYC)

If you had to side with somebody in the Marbury mess, who would it be? The Knicks or Marbury?

Chad Ford
  (1:30 PM)

The Knicks. Marbury has been a problem for the Knicks for a long time. I do feel for Marbury. I understand how frustrating it would be not to play. But unless he's willing to give up his huge pay day to do it, he can't complain. He gets his paycheck every month.

Chuck (San Jose)

Chad, let's make you the owner of the Warriors. What do you do? Sell the team to someone competent, fire Rowell, fire Mullin, fire Nellie, or any combo of the above?

Chad Ford
  (1:32 PM)

If I owned the team? I'd keep it. Fire Rowell. Keep Mully and Nellie and try to find a home for Stephen Jackson (which is virtually impossible given the huge extension he got) and Maggette.

Freddy (Fullerton, CA)

why is it that the good organizations (SA, Detriot, etc) always seem to find that great player were no one else can ala R. Stuckey, G. Hill, M. Ginobili. Is it a superior scouting team or is it that players can develop much better in this organizations as opposed to the Memphis, and Oklahoma's?

Chad Ford
  (1:36 PM)

I think the organization, GM and scouting staff are huge parts of it. You do notice that the best teams outdraft and outmaneuver the worst teams in trades, the draft and free agency. I know virtually every GM in the league and I'll be the first to say that there is a huge difference between the best and the worst in the league. The biggest difference? The best understand how to run an organization. They have long-term strategic vision. They have great people skills and can work with both coaches and players. The ignore conventional wisdom and find their own unique rhythm. They know how to deal with agents. They understand that chemistry is key. They hire people who are team oriented throughout the organization. They work incredibly hard. And, they aren't afraid to take risks. I wish I could say that about every GM in the league, but the truth is, I can only really say it about a small handful.

Mark (Indy)

Chad, what's your take on Danny Granger. He's putting up big scoring numbers, but is he just putting up big numbers on a bad team or does he have legite star potential?

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

I think he can be a star. Not a Kobe or LeBron star. But in that second tier. The Pacers aren't as bad as their record suggests. If Danny had more help, he'd still put up impressive numbers, but his efficiency would go up. If the Pacers ever remember how to play defense again, they'll be a playoff team.

Dan (lincoln, NE)

Keeping in mind what you said about GM's, how does one rate Danny Ainge. One year he is on the block, now he is king. Did one summer change what he is?

Chad Ford
  (1:40 PM)

Danny's a VERY good GM. He had a long range plan and he executed it. Fans got impatient and granted, it took a little longer than even he anticipated, but look at the result now. As any Celtics fan if the last few years of lottery basketball is worth what they're seeing now ... every one of them will say yes. To me, Ainge is a top 5 or 6 GM in the league.

Travis, SLC

Who are the top 5 GM's in the league in your opinion?

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

Can I have 6? In no particular order, Danny Ainge, Donnie Walsh, Joe Dumars, Kevin Pritchard, R.C. Buford/Gregg Popovich, Kevin O'Connor. All of those guys have the qualities I described in my previous post.

Mike (Milwaukee)

Love the draft lottery machine and the hope it represents. Noticed Psycho T not in the top 14 oversight or do you think he's more of a late first rounder. Love to have him on the Bucks right now.

Chad Ford
  (1:46 PM)

I think he goes somewhere between 15 and 25. He's tough, has a great motor and is more skilled than you think. But his lack of size and explosive athleticism really limit his upside in the league.

Jake (Lexington, KY)

I keep seeing Hasheem Thabeet going high in mock drafts, even top 3, but I've never seen anything in his play to warrant this. Are NBA execs too enamored with potential and not production?

Chad Ford
  (1:48 PM)

Yes. And they also continued to be enamored with 7-foot-3. If he was a 6-foot-9 player, he's not in the Top 30. I agree that NBA scouts fall in love with size too often, but then again, it's the one thing almost every team is in need of. Thabeet is an excellent shot blocker and has become a much better rebounder. But yes, I think he's rated by scouts too high. Don't shoot the messenger.

Todd (Lexington, Tn)

In terms of potential higher ceiling Greg Monroe or Blake Griffin?

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

Tough one. Griffin is obviously way ahead of Monroe right now. But Monroe's size and skill probably give him a higher ceiling. But I'd take Griffin first, in part, because he's got a crazy motor and is so physical. That's almost always a winning combination in the pros.

David (Riverside,CA)

There has been very little talk about Jrue Holiday so far this year. He seems to be taking things slow and learning the game without being too aggressive. Do you see him putting it on more later in the year and moving even higher up the draft boards?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

Yes. Scouts LOVE him. He hasn't put up huge numbers at UCLA, but he's been trying to blend and is just that type of player. It's a weak draft so teams are looking for sure rotation players. Holiday looks like he's going to be one.

Vahe (Glendale)

Is it safe to say that it's nearly impossible to ever know how good a draft year is 1 year in advance? I remember you saying the 08 draft is no where near as talanted as the 07.

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

That wasn't me. I do think you can project because the high school class coming into college this year just wasn't that impressive. Freshmen have been driving the draft the last two years and this year's crop was just a cut below the last two years. Look at the Top 30. Do you LOVE any of those guys?

Nate (Madison)

How is Brandon Jennings stock still so high? Last I heard he was playing behind a guard that graduated from Penn?

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

Potential. New environment. Blessed with freakish athletic gifts. He's better than he looks in Italy right now. If he were on a NCAA team, he'd be putting up numbers -- would probably be ranked the best freshman in the country. However, he's going to have to produce at some point in Italy. He's been playing better, so I still hold out some hope.

Charles (San Jose)

How would Jordan Hill be a more valuable use of a lottery pick than Channing Frye was?

Chad Ford
  (1:55 PM)

Much better motor, rebounder, shot blocker. Frye was always a much softer player.

Andy (LA)

Which teams, if any, wouldn't take Griffin with the first pick?

Chad Ford
  (1:55 PM)

Only one I could plausibly think of was the 76ers. But then again, with as bad as Brand has played, maybe they would.

Kevin (charlotte)

Good work on the lottery/draft machine. Just curious, how are you predicting where teams will finish the year? Are you using Holinger's model or are you just using current standings? Thanks.

Chad Ford
  (1:56 PM)

Current standings ... though your idea is interesting. I'll pass that along to my editors.

Justin: (Cincinnati)

I loved seeing you highlight Danny Green and Evan Turner in your column last week. Here is another reason good GMs draft well. They win. They win so often that they pick later in the draft where they don't have to choose between potential and readiness, so they get to choose players that fit in with winning organizations. Players like Danny Green and Evan Turner...

Chad Ford
  (1:57 PM)

Good point.

Jeremy (Memphis)

If the Griz got the number 2 pick and Griffin was off the board, would they take Rubio?

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

I don't think so. Conley has struggled playing next to OJ, in part, because he isn't a great shooter and OJ needs the ball in his hands. Rubio has the same issue. I think they'll eventually move OJ to the one and bring in another two guard. James Harden, would be a good fit.

Eric (Dublin, OH)

Chad - I'm curious to know where J.J. Hickson would have been drafted had he stayed in school and played well....would he be a Top 10 or possibly Top 5 pick in this year's class, which is obviously vastly inferior to last year's draft class?

Chad Ford
  (2:01 PM)

Top 10 pick for sure. Kosta Koufos. Donte Greene, Darrell Arthur, Marreese Speights, Robin Lopez, DeAndre Jordan. They all should've returned for another year. All would've been lottery picks.

Chad Ford
  (2:01 PM)

Gotta run folks, we'll do it again next Tuesday.