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December 26, 11:13 AM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:01 PM)

Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year. We'll do NBA stuff in the first half, NBA Draft in the second half of the chat. Let's roll

Zack (Akron, Oh)

Chad, I don't buy into any of the B.S. that the Cavs are standing pat at the deadline. Wally is gone. Who should we target for him?

Chad Ford
  (1:03 PM)

I don't buy it either. Yes the Cavs have a great shot of bringing home a NBA title with their current group this season. However, Ferry has to take a longer view. He needs to make a compelling case for keeping LeBron in 2010. That won't happen just because the Cavs win a title. They need to show LeBron that they have enough young talent around him to compete for a title for the next decade. They don't have that right now and they don't want to compete on the open market with teams like the Nets and Knicks in 2010. That means I believe they'll be VERY active with their expiring contracts trying to cement the long term health of the franchise.

Rob (Stow, OH)

C-Ford: Now that the Thunder have inked Krstic, will they finally buy out Joe Smith so he can go to Cleveland where he belongs?

Chad Ford
  (1:05 PM)

Why buy him out when so many teams are interested in him? If I know Sam Presti he's going to try to turn Smith, or another one of his big men, into an asset like a draft pick or another young player. Smith can help a lot of teams and the Thunder know it.

Jeremy (Eugene, OR)

Chad, have you had a chance to read Bill's mag article about Steve Nash? Do you agree that his "greatness" was more a result of system rather than talent?

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

Sort of. Nash struggles a little more in a confined system. He was very good in Dallas, but not great like he was in Phoenix under D'Antoni. I think watching Nash struggle a bit and watching D'Antoni get 110 percent out of the mediocre talent on the Knicks really validates D'Antoni in the end. Too many gave all the credit to Nash and Stoudemire. But I really do believe D'Antoni was a huge part of it.

Dan (Brooklyn, NY)

Aloha Chad. The Knicks seem to be coming down to earth a bit. Their depth and injuries are catching up to them. How do you see their season shaping up?

Chad Ford
  (1:09 PM)

They're a lottery team. They just lack talent. I think they'll be a 30 win team, which is huge when you consider who is on that team.

Kevin (Seattle)

OJ and Rose are neck and neck for ROY who wins in the end?

Chad Ford
  (1:10 PM)

Right now I say Rose, because I still believe the Bulls have a shot at the playoffs. But to this point, Mayo's been the best.

Ben (Charlotte)

Chad, the Pistons are finally starting to put things together with this mini-run & a streak snapping win vs a hot Orlando team, to me, it's pretty obvious that Stuckey running the point and playing heavy minutes is the difference. What rotation do you think will serve the Pistons the best going forward, Stuckey at PG w/ Rip or AI?

Chad Ford
  (1:13 PM)

I'd bring AI off the bench. Gives the Pistons a bigger starting unit and Iverson obviously can really light it up. AI might not be happy with it, but it would be better for Detroit. And how about Stuckey? He's quickly emerging as an elite guard in the East. He's right up there with Devin Harris, Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose. Lots of good young point guards in the league right now. That's really nice to see.

Matt (ATL)

Aloha Chad, as a Hawks fan, I can not begin to describe how joyful the first 30 games of the season has been. It looks like a 50 win season, 4 seed, and a second-round re-match with the Celtics is in sight. Can they keep this level of play up throughout the season? If so, does Woody get a look at coach of the year honors?

Chad Ford
  (1:16 PM)

They can. Detroit's the only team that could catch them for the fourth seed I think. They've really come together. My only concern in their lack of depth. A critical injury to Bibby, Johnson or Horford would hurt them big time. And ... I still can't help but wonder. How much better would they be if Childress was on this team? Maybe the can do what the OKC did and bring him back early.

Pritchard (Portland, OR)

Chad, I am really getting sick of the local media calling Oden a bust with 30 games into the season. Has he really been that horrible? He is coming off a major surgery so I don't know people won't give him some time.

Chad Ford
  (1:16 PM)

Give him time. It takes big men longer, especially ones who haven't played a lot of basketball the last two years. If Oden can stay healthy, he's going to be really good.

Scott (Santa Barbara, CA)

Should the Clippers just scrap everything and trade their veterans for picks and young players? Baron could care less to be there and they will never win with him. This would also include a new GM and coach. Get rid of everyone that was with the old regime.

Chad Ford
  (1:19 PM)

Probably. The team is a mess. I think most of us saw the Baron Davis thing coming. The second Brand bolted, this was one of the easiest predictions of the year. There's still a market for Baron on a good team. Ditto for Marcus Camby. I'd probably try to build around Thornton, Eric Gordon, Zach Randolph (who would be very tough to trade) and Chris Kaman. If they can get a young point guard in the draft (either Ricky Rubio or Brandon Jennings or Jrue Holiday) they'd have a nice core going forward. As it stands right now, Donald Sterling is spending a lot of money with little return.

mayo Fan

Have you noticed that Mayo's assist totals have been rising lately? I think you are right that Mayo will become a PG

Chad Ford
  (1:20 PM)

I think that's the plan in Memphis. Eventually they'll move Mike Conley and then try to bring in a big guard who can get to the basket at the two. I like the young nucleus in Memphis, you just have to be patient.

Uve Blab (San Antonio, TX)

Earlier you stated that Stuckey is "right up there" with Devin Harris, Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose. Why isn't Mo Williams ever listed in this class? Look at the difference he's made in Cleveland.

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

Williams is good, but he's not a franchise guard the way those four are. He's been a great fit in Cleveland and a very good sidekick to LeBron. No disrespect intended.

Sharad (Plainsboro, NJ)

Why don't the Warriors and Clippers do a straight up swap for Ellis and Baron? I think it would be perfect for both teams

Chad Ford
  (1:24 PM)

Sure ... except Ellis is a base year player which makes him very difficult to trade. But gotta love a swap between the two most dysfunctional franchises in the NBA.

Chad Ford
  (1:25 PM)

... though if you have to rank them, the Warriors are about 10 times more dysfunctional then the Clippers. They are a reality TV show waiting to happen. It's a joke. Gotta thank Robert Rowell. He's given writers that gift that keeps on giving all year long.

James (Boston, MA)

Shaq an all-star? He has been the most consistent player on the Suns, & his free throw % best since 02/03.

Chad Ford
  (1:27 PM)

Actually ... yes. He should be. As hard as I've been on the Suns for the Shaq trade, I have to admit I was wrong about one thing. Shaq isn't nearly as washed up as I thought he was. Those trainers in Phoenix must use some serious voodoo.

Dan (MN)

Obviously you forgot about the Timberwolves as disfunctional. They had one star player and then drafted (by way of trade) his back up with the #3 overall pick.

Chad Ford
  (1:28 PM)

I didn't forget. Didn't you know the award is called the "Kevin McHale Award for Most Dysfunctional Franchise?"

Chad Ford
  (1:28 PM)

But seriously, even as bad as the Wolves are ... they don't have all the drama that Golden State has. No one does.

James (Dallas, TX)

Why can't the Pacers finish games? Is it all the new players still figuring each other out, The loss of Dunleavy, or just a talent issue? They seem close to being good but I'm losing faith quickly with loses to bad teams.

Chad Ford
  (1:31 PM)

Can't understand it. They play everyone tough for the first 44 minutes of a game and then implode at the end ... virtually every game. They are better than their record suggests. They've played the toughest schedule to date, have been without Dunleavy the entire season, have had other injuries and illnesses, and have lost multiple games on a last second shot. But ... at some point they have to stop saying they are better than their record and figure out how to fix what's wrong. It looks bad when your team loses the same way over and over again.

Derek Roswell GA

So it looks like Billy Knight was not that bad in ATL. Sure he missed Chris Paul but so did a lot of other teams! He did get Josh Smith...people called that a bad pick. Traded for an All Star in Joe Johnson. Marvin is a rising stock with his defense and overall offensive game. What say you ESPN people now? Sure there were some bad picks (sheldon williams)

Chad Ford
  (1:33 PM)

My favorite post of year. Even as Derek tries to defend Billy Knight he can't help but kill his own argument. A lot of teams did not pass on Chris Paul. Josh Smith fell 10 places lower than he was projected on draft night. Sheldon Williams is more than a bad pick. He took Acie Law over Rodney Stuckey. He passed on Rajon Rondo. Marvin's rising stock isn't enough to save his legacy.

Nyssa OR

Chad, with the Magic's loss last night against the Pistons, are they still for real? or overrated trash like you have always staked them as.

Chad Ford
  (1:35 PM)

Over rated trash might be a little harsh. But ... the Magic have played the easiest schedule in the NBA up to this point. They need to consistently beat the good teams to prove they're an elite team. I will say this ... they are better than I thought they were coming into the season, thanks in large part to the stellar year Jameer Nelson is having. He should be a MIP candidate.

Rodney-O (Fresno, CA)

Wat's crakin'C-Ford? Wat is your opinion on Hollinger seating the Lakers as #3 in his rankings I mean come on I know they fumbled the ball a little so to speak and lost 5 games but They have to be number one right now. My Christmas was a good one thanks to the LAKERS but my MLK Jr. day will be a good one as well when they hand Lebron a loss not because Lebron aint good I mean he's the 2nd greatest player in the NBA behind Kobe but The C's and The Cavs are not deep enough to contest with the LAKERS. Well thats my feelings Wat do u think? Who's your champion come June?

Chad Ford
  (1:37 PM)

Still going with the Lakers. They hit a bit of a rough patch, but then the beat the Cs on Christmas day. I think three teams have a legit shot at a title, Cleveland, Boston and LA. But my money is still on LA.

Jackson (Phoenix)

Could Phoenix get Hinrich and Gordon for Amare, then trade Nash for Battier and Scola?

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

Does Billy Knight work for the Suns now?

Art (U.S. of A)

Jameer, most improved player? Stuckey has that award won.

Chad Ford
  (1:39 PM)

Maybe ... but I'm always skeptical of giving a second year player the award. They are supposed to improve naturally. I usually like to see it go to someone who has done something unusual to improve their game like Hedo last year.

Bob,

Name your All-Star starting five in the East and West

Chad Ford
  (1:42 PM)

East: PG Devin Harris SG Dwyane Wade SF LeBron James PF Kevin Garnett C Dwight Howard

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

West: PG Chris Paul SG Kobe Bryant SF Kevin Durant PF Tim Duncan C Yao Ming

Drew (Chitown)

Hey Chad Greg Monroe looked great last night, any chance he may be as good a prospect as Blake Griffin?

Chad Ford
  (1:45 PM)

I think Griffin is the top prospect in the draft, in part, because he's willing to be physical in the paint. But as far as freshmen go, I think Monroe will likely be the first off the board. I have him as the sixth player on our big board and I believe he could go as high as No. 2 or 3 if he continues to improve as the year progresses. He has a lot of talent in a big frame.

Scott (Minneapolis, MN)

Thoughts on Thabeet's showing last night and on his season overall? I saw last night as a disappointment given he's being talked about as a top-5 pick. The swats are nice, but the guy is soft and still doesn't look comfortable on offense, though last nights game didn't give viewers the chance to see much on that end from him.

Chad Ford
  (1:46 PM)

He continues to crumble against top talent in the middle. He's clearly a very gifted shot blocker, but after that ... ugh. He's a Top 10 pick based on his size, athletic ability and shot blocking, but I've been skeptical for a long time about claims he's a Top 3 pick. However lots of scouts still have him ranked there.

Ben: (Los Angeles, CA)

I have heard a lot of rumors that Ricky Rubio will not declare for the 2009 nba draft. Are the rumors true and if so why do you have Rubio on your mock draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:48 PM)

He has a large buyout which complicates things. But if he continues to bounce back from injury (he's had two consecutive good games in the Spanish league) he's a likely Top 3 pick in the draft. I don't think he'll pass that by. From what I can gather from my sources, agents will find a way to get him here.

Jess (Phoenix, AZ)

What are your thoughts on Arizona's Jordan Hill? I think he plays the game like Amare (obviously not close to as talented) and I think this year he has shown a lot of heart and emotion, clearly the leader of the Wildcat team. How will he transition to the pro game and how high can he go in the draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

He's gotten a lot of buzz. He's still very raw from a fundamentals perspective. But his size, athleticism, length and motor all bode well for him. I think he's a Top 10 pick right now.

Chebie, DC

Is Blake Griffin going to be better or worse than Beasley?

Chad Ford
  (1:50 PM)

Tough call. Very different players. Beasley was much more skilled offensively. Griffin is bigger, more physical, more of a traditional four. And he doesn't have the off the court baggage that Beasley did. Given that Beasley isn't playing in a great system for him in Miami right now ... it's too early to tell.

Mike (Avondale, AZ)

Chad, are you concerned at all with the lack of parody in the league this season?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

Paging Bill Simmons ...

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

I've got to run a few minutes early today. Thanks for coming to the chat. Have a Happy New Year and we'll do it again next week.