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January 22, 12:31 PM ET
Chat with Marc Stein

Marc Stein
  (5:30 PM)

Hello, all.

Marc Stein
  (5:31 PM)

Chat time again. Here we go.

Erik (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

What are the problems as you see them in Detroit? And what should Dumars o to fix them?

Marc Stein
  (5:34 PM)

The main problem is that this team was already on the downside before the Iverson deal. Dumars made the sort of trade most GMs don't make to create all sorts of flexibility for the next two summers, but you still have to play out this season before you get to next summer. Which is proving painful for everyone.

Marc Stein
  (5:35 PM)

I think the uncertain future so many Pistons face is the real reason they're struggling more than resistance to AI. It's easy to blame Iverson, but they all have to know changes are coming and it has unsettled this crew. That's how it looks from here.

Mervkos (Chicago)

Steiny think DWade would ever have the Heat at 10 at the midway point?

Marc Stein
  (5:37 PM)

Absolutely not. Don't know how he's pulling this off. The Heat are really no deeper than they looked in October, when we all said they had zero depth. There's little doubt that the Heat have been helped in the rankings by what's happened to teams like Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix and the injuries that have shredded Utah, but there's no diminishing how good Wade has been. I do hope he gets Miami to 50 wins just to give the MVP race some suspense.

Aaron (Beverly Hills)

Have people gone overboard in trying to keep players off the All-Star team who play for losing teams? If a player is putting up numbers just because he can put a lot of shots up on a bad team, then of course he shouldn't be an All-Star. But guys like Chris Bosh who are great players deserve to be All-Stars no matter what their team's record is. Right?

Marc Stein
  (5:41 PM)

Overboard? Wouldn't go that far. But I can't lie: Watching C-Webb and GP passionately argue this topic on TNT last week had me asking myself some of the same questions. I understand the argument: All-Star Weekend is supposed to recognize individual brilliance, so why do know-it-alls like me have to be so stuck on the team-success thing at All-Star time when that's what the playoffs are for? Webber made a provocative point about how he never had the opportunity to coach or make draft picks when he was on bad teams and when he said that we're all too quick to "throw away" players from teams with losing records. However . . . Even after hearing all that, I still can't get winning out of my system. Nothing is more impressive than winning. So I'm sure I'll always favor factoring team success into All-Star selections. The key word is <i>factoring</i>. Don't make it the only consideration, but don't blindly separate stats from the standings, either. Jameer Nelson? Mo Williams? Those guys have been major difference-makers on elite teams, which to me is like a statistical category unto itself. They're not just putting up nice numbers because they get to live off Dwight Howard and LeBron James. Terry Pluto wrote a great column in the Cleveland paper detailing all the ways MoWill has changed the Cavs as the only significant newcomer to a team that has made a big-time jump since last season. On this scorecard? That makes him an All-Star.

Marc Stein
  (5:43 PM)

I should also add that a lot of us know-it-alls are taking our cues from the coaches. They're increasingly making winning a priority when they cast the real votes. I would join the protests with more conviction if they were making this policy some sort of absolute. You can't rule out every player from a losing team and you can't say that every starter on a top team is an All-Star candidate. But I don't think the coaches are doing that. You already know where I stand on Bosh and Danny Granger: They've been too good individually not to be All-Stars, especially in a conference with so many sub-.500 teams and when their teams have been hit with major injuries. But I feel just as strongly about Jameer and Mo. They might not be stars with the global stature of, say, Vince Carter, but the impact they've had on their respective teams is starry in its own way.

Blakeley (Edina, MN)

Taking into account what Big Al did last weekend, have you changed your mind on his All-Star status?

Marc Stein
  (5:44 PM)

Big Al vs. Shaq might be the toughest call out there. Minnesota's recent surge has thrust him into the spotlight. I think he has a chance. But there are a lot of Shaq romantics out there and not just in the media.

Steiny (NYC)

Reggie Miller admitted earlier today on the Dan Patrick show that he received calls from both the Celtics and Cavaliers earlier this season asking if he would be interested in playing. Did it surprise you that he said no?

Marc Stein
  (5:47 PM)

Interesting. Thanks for passing it on . . . didn't hear the show. But it doesn't surprise me at all that he said or that teams are still calling. He's not going to forget how to shoot and isn't exactly known for piling on weight. I'm sure Reggie could play if he wanted to. But I also applaud him for coming in and leaving the game as a Pacer.

Tim (Colorado)

Does Del Negro coach another year in Chicago? It seems like things are disintegrating very quickly. Hard to think that 2 years ago this franchise was a serious playoff contender.

Marc Stein
  (5:50 PM)

Paxson is facing as much or more heat as the first-year coach, I'd say.

Raz (LA, CA)

What's up Marc...will my Warriors have any representation during the All-Star Weekend?..A-Morrow is the leading 3pt. shooter in the league..we got couple of guys that ave. 20pt/game. we a got a guy that can put up double-doubles in a heart beat.. will we get some love...tell me what you think?

Marc Stein
  (5:52 PM)

The Warriors are pushing Morrow hard for the 3-point contest, but no word yet if he gets in. It would be a nice little story to see him there.

Nick (Toronto)

Any chance Etore Messina is the Raptors coach next year?

Marc Stein
  (5:54 PM)

I personally struggle to believe it, but a lot of people who know the Raps well insist that it could really happen. It would be a bold gamble for the Raps to make, when the whole operation is geared to convincing Bosh to stay, but perhaps Toronto is just going to decide to go for the coach it wants -- before HE signs somewhere else -- and let the chips fall where they may.

Cesar (Tempe)

True or false? Thunder Dan ends the season as the Suns head coach.

Marc Stein
  (5:56 PM)

False. If there was a change -- and I DON'T think there's going to be a change in Year 1 -- Alvin Gentry is the obvious in-house successor.

Ryan (Wilmington, De)

In your power rankings today you wrote " you're starting to hear some All-Star support for Iguodala." I haven't heard any. Why does Granger seem to be a favorite but Iguodala is on the back burner? Iguodala started the season slow, but his team is actually playing .500 ball, and he is a better defensive player. Granger does score more but he takes 6 more shots a game, every category other than PPG and 3PT% Iguodala is statistically better. If Granger gets picked over IGG, it pretty much says to me, if you jack up a bunch of shots, score, and your team's record is weak, you can get picked over a more deserving complete player. Am I right?

Marc Stein
  (6:02 PM)

Granger has been doing it all season on a banged-up team where defenses were totally keyed on him until Dunleavy came back. Iguodala didn't start the season playing like he is now. But I do hear and read some folks picking him as a reserve. I've seen it on TV -- just can't remember exactly who because I'm getting old -- and I know I've some of my fellow scribes nominate him. But Granger is scoring 26 a game. And devotees of efficiency stats would be quick to point out that LeBron is the only SF doing it better. You're also glossing over Granger's D, which is far better than you suggest.

Jack (London)

With a lot of people saying the Spurs are one big man away from truly contending, do you think they are regretting letting Scola go?

Marc Stein
  (6:05 PM)

Yes and no. There will always be some measure of regret because Scola has panned out nicely for the Rockets, but it probably bugs the Spurs more that they the buyout figure to bring in the young big man they love and still hold the rights to -- Tiago Splitter -- is astronomical.

Arash (anaheim Hills)

Can marbury talk to other teams while technically still under contract? isnt that tampering?

Marc Stein
  (6:06 PM)

Knicks gave him permission to talk to other teams. So no tampering in this case.

Justin (Ohio)

Steiny Mo, watching the Mavs yesterday was sad. Just a bad road trip or seriously time to think about blowing that thing up?

Marc Stein
  (6:10 PM)

I think what Cuban said over the weekend makes good sense. If they can stomach these tough times, holding onto Dirk as long as they can in the hope that they can get him some help in a trade in the near future (like Boston and L.A. did) is the best-case scenario. It would appear that Dallas has limited assets, but the Lakers weren't offering anyone of Josh Howard's caliber and wound up with Pau Gasol. You never know. It only takes one. Too soon to think about trading Dirk in my view.

Matt (Califnia)

But isn't it stupid for a team that has no real shot at a title to sit and hope for a steal of a trade to acquire a superstar (or two)?

Marc Stein
  (6:14 PM)

When there are two recent examples of patience working? No.

Stevie (Brooklyn, NY)

Hey Marc, if you ask Netsnation, we'd tell you that we went Vincanity in the all-star game! Who do you think is more deserving and who do you think will actually get the spot?

Marc Stein
  (6:16 PM)

Is that true? You asked everyone? I'd give it to Devin if I had to pick one. He wouldn't have the stats he does if the Nets didn't change their system and make him the No. 1 option, but it's still stunning what he was doing before his recent health issues.

eric, cleveland

hey marc. I love your work, but sometimes, i have to say, you just don't make sense. for the cavs this week you wrote "As clutch as they've looked on the road since MLK Day -- with wins at Portland, Golden State and Utah -- those who believe these Cavs have the depth to survive the Delonte and Big Z injuries appear to have a case." that all sounds pretty good to me. so why the drop of a spot? yeah they lost to the lakers, but they've followed it with three straight wins against the west on the road. i don't follow your logic...

Marc Stein
  (6:22 PM)

Thanks for the kind words, Eric. But I have to ask: Did we look at what the two teams above the Cavs have done lately? There are four teams right now that can all make a claim to No. 1 depending on what metrics you look at. The way Boston has been mowing through people was this week's clincher for me. I've naturally received a few complaints from Laker fans who are convinced my longstanding hate for their team is why L.A. isn't No. 1 this week, either. I can assure you that the Celts sweeping a back-to-back in Miami and Orlando -- a trip that inflicted two Ls on the Lakers -- was the difference-maker in the latest batch. In short: Cleveland was leapfrogged this week by two teams more than the Cavs dropped.

Mike (California)

Besides the Lakers, what was the other recent example of patience working? The Celtics? The Celtics traded a young, blossoming future all-star, (and change) for KG and a high draft pick for Ray. Dallas has neither. Who's the Maverick with the highest upside under 30? Gerald Green? Barea? Bass? That's why the Mavs can't wait for a deal to fall into their laps.

Marc Stein
  (6:25 PM)

Josh Howard on a very tradeable contract packaged with Stackhouse's virtual expiring contract . . . it's not as good as being able to offer Al Jefferson but it's a far better base for a trade package than you suggest.

David, Fullerton

Chat wrap is almost up and we haven't had your token Cal State Fullerton mention ... what is the draft status of our boy Josh Akognon?

Marc Stein
  (6:26 PM)

He is one of my all-time favorites . . . and he will be drafted . . . and he will be the next Eddie House . . . or maybe better.

James (London)

So Robinho takes an unauthorized trip to Brazil and you've failed to sign Kaka, but at least you have contrived to spent 14 million pounds on Craig Bellamy. Good week or so, no?

Marc Stein
  (6:28 PM)

Enjoy it while you can, James. I don't think we're going to stop chasing the big names. And I don't think City will run out of money, either.

Rob Ft. Lauderdale

Mark, what's you favorite movie?

Marc Stein
  (6:30 PM)

Rocky III, Slap Shot and Victory. And, no, I don't plan to ever grow up. (It absolutely tortured me that Simmons had Apollo on his Podcast and didn't let me join in with questions.)

Marc Stein
  (6:31 PM)

That's it for this week. We will do it again soon.