Hi everyone. Rainy day in LA so I'm back inside this week. Let's go...
Hey JA. I went to my first Lakers game last night (I'm a huge fan from Canada visiting LA) I saw you chatting up the TNT guys before the tip. Anyways, are Bynum's last few games an indication of things to come or just him beating up on the Clip's & Wiz's nonexistent front line? Thanks.
I'm going to wait to anoint Bynum until we see how fares against the likes of a Tim Duncan. Dominating bad teams with their second- and third-string lineups isn't the sign of arrival. (And I always talk with the TV guys at halftime...if you can chat with a Doug Collins, Hubie Brown, Mark Jackson or a Reggie Miller, you always want to pick their brains)
Hey Adande, What do you make of this Matrix for O'Neal business. Matrix sure would fit into the Raps system, but I dont see the Heat taking a chance on O'Neals wonky knee. Given the medical swaps, do you see anything actually coming to fruition?
The more I think about it, the worse putting O'Neal's balky knee and shaky medical history with the Heat's hard-practicing reputation forged by Reilly doesn't make sense. But I can see why they'd take a chance on it...there aren't a lot of contracts out there like O'Neal's that make trading Marion this easy...and if O'Neal doesn't work out, the Heat has plenty of cap space in 2010
My coach always said "If you live by the 3, you die by the 3. No team that relies more on the 3 than defense can win championships, on any level." Using this philosophy, does Orlando stand no chance?
They're a hybrid, because they also have the best big man in the game right now, so they more of a chance than most 3-happy teams. But I still say 3-pointers can win you games, but not big series.
Do you think there was any tampering involved in the All-Star selection process? Considering Chris Paul's miraculous million vote surge in the last 2 weeks?
Collusion theories in the NBA? Him, where have we heard that before?
But seriously, I've never bought into the collusion theories too much because I always believed the fallout from anything getting exposed would be much worse than any positive from the "fix". Wouldn't be worth it.
At least they released vote totals. When the Bullets had a fan vote for their new team name and picked the Wizards, they never released the voting totals. Hmmm
J.A. do you think the pistons made the right choice by trading for ai
Even if it isn't working out, I would do this trade again if I'm Detroit. They weren't going to get past Boston, Cleveland or Orlando with Billups, so why not try something different? And if it doesn't work out (as it hasn't so far) then they're not stuck with Iverson and his contract beyond the end of the season
It's like a better version of the Jason Kidd trade last year, which I still defend, (and talked about with Simmons on his podcast)
How many seasons do I have left if I keep throwing my body down the lane?
It's not about the number of seasons, it's about the number of seasons at a high level. Maybe Ginobili has just played too much basketball, all of those playoff games, all of those international games. He's so dependent on his legs, on being active, anticipating and getting places, that I don't think he can adjust his game (the way, say, Jordan and Barkley did later in their careers) as he slows down. These playoffs will be a big test to see if he still has it. Last year he didn't and the Spurs were cooked because of it.
How come so many jerseys are V-necks these days? I like the bulls and celtics simple and classic styles and wish the knicks would kick it back to the Clyde Frazier Era look.
I hate the v-necks. And I like loopier arm holes, not the tight ones.
Gary Payton was arguing that Chris Bosh and Al Jefferson should start over Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan in the all star game. He used points and rebounds to defend his argument, but i would have though that the glove heard about the concept of defense.
Not only defense, but winning. The all-star selections are the subject of my Lounge video going up on espn.com today, but I didn't address these selections. Winning would definitely factor into my criteria. And I think it indirectly affects the fans, because you're more likely to see players on winning teams on TV
When LeBron slows down due to (age/injury) I believe he won't be as effective as he is now. Why do most sportscasters give the man so much praise for averaging big numbers when he hasn't really achieved much (winning championships/clutch shooting to win ballgames).
I believe he's good enough and has enough court sense to modify his game when he gets older. His FT% is better this season. So is his FG%. I culd see him getting up there and playing like Barkley did in his later years, getting the ball on the block, pounding it and waiting for the double-team.
Isn't about time we started expanding All Star festivities? I have a dozen different ideas: A point guard dunk contest on a 9 1/2 foot rim, a game of PIG among all star centers, something like that. One-on-one games would be awesome but I don't ever see that happening. And let Dwight Howard raise the rim in the dunk contest if he wants, cod sarnit!
I think we need to contract all-star weekend. We don't need events on Friday night in addition to Saturday and Sunday. But I wouldn't mind a p-i-g game between 2 players. Should be quick enough.
What are your thoughts on the recent retirement of Alonzo Mourning? What will you miss most about Mourning?
Glad you asked. I'll miss his determination. Few people had that look Zo had, that he wanted the next rebound or blocked shot more than anything. And I'll miss his insight. He was a hard guy to crack. We had a mutual friend in DC when I lived there and she introduced us on a couple of occasions, but he would still just look at me coldly. Then one year it just kind of clicked, he always gave me a warm reception when I saw him in the locker rooms, and he shared a lot of his great perspective on the game with me.
All-Star Weekend should involve a drawing where someone from the audience gets into a free throw shooting contest against Shaq.
No one wants to watch Shaq shoot free throws under any circumstances
Barbosa and Stoudemire for Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas, and Hinrich?
I don't see how incorporating the core of a team that's setting a 2-year standard for disappointment makes you better.
You didn't answer John's question about why Lebron is coddled and given unprecedented praise media before winning a championship.
Because he's done a lot to live up to the hype. He got his team to the Finals 4 years in, when it was nowhere before. People forget just how awful the Cavaliers were in the first part of the decade. From his very first year he changed the culture. That's an accomplishment. He just doesn't have THE accomplishment. But if that's the only standard, we can just write off most of the league.
Hey J.A., LA native here who always loved your work at the Times. There's been talk of the "Clippers curse, that is, the noticeable and highly sudden deterioration of players who choose to leave the Clippers. We've seen it with Loy Vaught, Maurice Taylor, and Darius Miles - could it be it's hit Elton Brand?
That's very possible. Another topic that comes up on the podcast. We really hit a lot of things. of course, we were talking for an hour....Would make me think twice about signing a Clipper as an FA
Heard about a possible Nets-Wolves trade involving Mike Miller. Hear anything about it and what would it take to get another pick for the wolves this summer?
It's floating out there...what's interesting to me is that the Nets have turned from sellers to buyers, which is what they were considered before the start of the season
Is Al Jefferson an All-Star this year? Ever?
Once the T-Wolves start winning, yes. He's not visible enough to get voted by the fans, and the coaches really value winning teams when they pick the reserves.
There should be a MVTP (most valuable Team player) and MVP.. Yes or No?
No, because basketball is a team sport and any value should be about value to the team. Most Valuable Team Player would be redundant
Why does Kevin Garnett receive all the credit for the accomplishments of the Celtics, this year alone his averaging the lowest point and rebound total since is sophomore season, I don't think Pierce gets enough credit for showing up in the big moments like Game 7 against the Cavs.
the NBA Finals MVP award doesn't count as credit?
What move do u see the Spurs making to better help them against the Elite teams. I think Duncan needs some help rebounding and blocking shots down in block. What do u think?
That's exactly what they need and what they're looking for, but quality big men are hard to come by, and the Spurs are running out of things to offer besides their Big 3
With D-Will playing more like we know he is capable of, does he get to Phoenix as a backup PG or is his comeback a little too late?
Too late. The reserve picks should be based on this season...and he hasn't played like an all-star for most of the year, when he was in the lineup.
What is your opinion on the Rockets' year so far? They have a winning record while having sustained injuries to Battier, T-mac and Artest, but they are still not getting any respect in the West. Do you consider them darkhorses come playoff time?
I don't. Even if they get their lineup back togetehr for the playoffs, they'll probably be on the road from at least the second round on. A team with a bunch of players without a history of playoff success isn't likely to win on the road in May
JA, when any player slows down due to age or injury I predict they won't be as effective as when they are in their prime. Thanks for the insight John from Santa Monica!
um, apparently you never watched Jordan in the late 90s, or Kareem winning a Finals MVP award in his 15th (or so) year in the league.
JA whats up with Starbury. I love your work and apprearances on around the horn.
I've chatted with him at the Laker games. He said "nothing's changed" as far as the buyout talks. But he feels better than ever because of the time off and his workouts hiking in the Runyon Canyon mountains above LA
And remember, every time you see him sitting at a game, he's getting paid $200,000 to be there.
Hey J.A. What are your thoughts on Curry benching Hamilton and how effective do you think he will be? Do you think Curry should have benched AI and brought him in as the ultimate scoring machine and put Stuckey and Rip together in the starting line up?
I'll give him credit for keeping the focus on this year and not worrying about long-term repercussions. Rip's the guy with more years on his contract, not Allen. So he has reason to worry if this move would affect the coach-player relationship. But Curry's sending a message that he's willing to do what's best for this team right now. That should resonate with the team and especially Rip. that is, if their heads are on right.
Can we get an early finals prediction?
Right now I'm going Cleveland-Lakers.
Response to Bart. People lose athleticism, but the best make up with it with better basketball IQ's. That's why the peak is generally around the age of 30 even though most players have lost the spring in their step by then
You mentioned that if O'neal didn't work out for the Heat they would have cap space in 2010, But wasn't there plan to sign Carlos Boozer this summer? Did they give up on that plan?
They're cooler on it, and Boozer hasn't done much to change their minds with another injury-plagued season
Which of pax's "core" do you see being moved before the trade deadline?
I think Luol Deng. He's got the most value out there.
You guys can't use the word Peak or Prime, then. Those words are used to represent the person's highest point. With some players, their peak requires top athleticism, and with some, it requires top intelligence.
Why can't the the intersection of highest intelligence with a high degree of athleticism be the peak? To me the prime is when the experience and athletic ability work in tandem. Shaq's best highlights were in Orlando. His peak was in L.A., when he understood the game better
You have mentioned repeatedly that Sacramento is not a place that can attract a lot of FAs. As a native, I can attest to that. My question is what are your thoughts on their young core: Martin, Hawes, Jason Thompson, Donte Greene, Francisco Garcia, and 2 #1 picks this year? Does that group, assuming they get a good legit PG in the draft, have a chance of making the playoffs in a couple seasons? Love your stuff JA
I don't see that core surpassing even the Golden State group if it's kept together. You figure Mark Cuban will do something to reconfigure Dallas when this group has its run. The Kings are going to have to swing a big trade, or have some good fortune in the draft lottery
I know we talked about Zo earlier, but do you think he is a future HOF J.A.?
My answer is no. When teams were built around him, they weren't the teams to beat. Never made the Final 4 in college. Didn't reach the NBA Finals until he was playing a secondary role on D-Wade and Shaq's team (not saying he didn't play a vital role -- his defense was big that year, especially when Shaq was practically invisible in Game 6. But he still was secondary)
Okay, time wrap it up. I'm out like Alonzo...