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February 20, 1:35 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (3:05 PM)

Greetings everyone -- between Starbury, buyouts and playoff chases we've got tons to discuss. And once I pour my coffee that's exactly what we'll do ....

Brittle Fingers (Stow, OH)

I'm surprised that Boston is still ahead of the Cavs in your rankings, considering that the Cavs have a higher victory margin and a better record. What am I missing?

John Hollinger
  (3:09 PM)

Last 25% of the schedule is a major component, and the Cs outrank Cleveland on that metric right now. That may change now that West is back and Garnett is out.

Dylan (Alaska)

If Indiana can get Danny Granger back soon can they make a push for the playoffs? I dont expect them to advance or anything but getting that experience would be better in my mind, then say the last pick in the lottery.

John Hollinger
  (3:10 PM)

i think losing Dunleavy was probably the death knell, but the one good thing for Indy is that nobody has run away from them. Still, there's a lot of traffic above them and not a lot of time to move up.

Dave (Madison)

I can't stand to watch Vinnie Del Negro coach the Bulls any longer. He has a penchant for always sitting guys just when they seem to get their games going. Please tell me that he is on his way out in Chicago at the end of the season.

John Hollinger
  (3:11 PM)

I have a feeling you're not the only Bulls fan thinking that; in Vinnie's defense, Chicago has played better lately. But one still gets the sense they're underachieving given the talent.

Sandy (Charlottesville, VA)

The Pistons are done right? Any chance they can right the ship and make the playoffs.

John Hollinger
  (3:12 PM)

Done is going a bit too far -- they nearly won in New Orleans last night without Iverson -- but they're definitely taking on water. Playoff Odds only give them a 42% shot of making it.

Tony Parker

John, I thought you would show me some love after I single-handedly annihilated both the Mavs and the Blazers on back-to-back nights!

John Hollinger
  (3:13 PM)

Scuze moi? Check out the Per Diem from the past two days. Parker, when he was on the court, produced more points than the opponent's entire team in two consecutive games. I can't remember the last time that happened once, let alone on a back-to-back.

Craig (PA)

How are people most surprised about cleveland being behind the C's and not comment how low you have the lakers? Isn't it odd that you feel (due to your playoff odds) that kobe and co. have less than a 1/5 shot at winning it all?

John Hollinger
  (3:15 PM)

The 1/5 shot feels low to me, sure, but that's also because the Odds don't necessarily see L.A. having home court when the season ends.

Dave, Tustin Ca.

John, Do you think that this is the season Wade is finally first team All-NBA, and first team All-defense?

John Hollinger
  (3:17 PM)

I'd be shocked if Wade made first-team all-defense -- he's been a lot more disciplined but he still takes himself out of too many plays. First-team All-NBA is a no-brainer though, as long as folks don't get hung up on positions -- four perimeter players (Kobe, Paul, LeBron, Wade) need to be on the first team.

Chris (Hacienda Heights, CA)

Since this seems to be the only the locked playoff matchup so far. Take your pick, the Heat or the Hawks, and in how many games?

John Hollinger
  (3:18 PM)

Ha, I was thinking the same thing this week -- they play Friday and again on the second to last day of the season, and that probably determines home court. I would pick Miami either way, just because of Wade.

Tike (Detroit)

So is the NBA trying to keep the Pistons in the playoffs? Why was Rasheeds suspension rescinded?

John Hollinger
  (3:19 PM)

If the NBA was trying to keep the Pistons in the playoffs they would have suspended Stuckey instead. As for Sheed, there's a simple explanation -- two of his techs had been rescinded by the league, so even though 16 have been called in games, his official total stands at 14.

mendel (fl)

how can you say youd be shocked if wade made the first all-defense team. hes third in steals and at 6'4 to be top 25 in blocks is insane. seems like wade is always going to be overshadowed by lebron even though hes got the bling to back him up.

John Hollinger
  (3:21 PM)

You're right that Wade's shot-blocking is completely insane. But any Heat fan will back me up on this -- he takes gambles that end with him near halfcourt while his team is 4-on-5.

Rob Cleveland

Do the additions of Marbury and Mikki Moore really help the Celtics? Moore has never been any good, why all the love all of a sudden?

John Hollinger
  (3:22 PM)

Moore only helps in a "he might be less bad than Big Baby" kind of way. He has some of the same pros and cons as PJ Brown -- takes charges, hustles, hits mid-range Js -- but not nearly as good a post defender.

German (San Juan, PR)

Isn't the 5th ALL-NBA selection (Howard) just as obvious as the first 4 you mention?

John Hollinger
  (3:22 PM)

Pretty much, yep. But if the voters opt for two bigs, then Tim Duncan will make it and one of the perimeter guys won't.

Pat (Chicago)

Juest read your PER Diem. The overall best total 1-2 punch of all time has to be Jordan-Pippen, right?

John Hollinger
  (3:24 PM)

Probably, but you could argue for Magic and Kareem too -- Pippen kind of pales next to both those guys. Kareem and Oscar would be an automatic No. 1 if they'd had more time together.

Scott (Newport Beach)

Coffee? its 3 o'clock in the afternoon! Get a job ya bum!!!

John Hollinger
  (3:24 PM)

It's a relic of my Pacific Northwest days ... coffee isn't just a morning thing.

Adam (Seattle)

You think the Jazz could beat the Spurs in a seven game series when both teams are fully healthy?

John Hollinger
  (3:26 PM)

Yes, I do, although I'm not sure that's how I'd bet. That's what makes these final 25 or so games so interesting -- Jazz are one of the few teams in the pack with a real chance of scaring the elite teams.

Joe (Dayton)

Any chance a team relocates after the season? Bill Simmons seems to think the Hornets could be gone.

John Hollinger
  (3:27 PM)

Sacramento is the one team that's likely. The deadline to file is Sunday so we'll know really soon; there's a presentation tomorrow that's supposed to reveal the city's big plan to get an arena; if that falls through they're good as gone to either Anaheim or San Jose.

John Hollinger
  (3:29 PM)

As for the Hornets, I'd say it's unlikely. The state has to cough up some money that was promised when they moved, so there's some question whether they might opt not to, in which case the Hornets contractually could leave the next day. (The state has to do this for the Saints too, but if they failed to do it and the Saints relocated there would be armed rebellion in the streets).

Scott (LA)

If the Kings move, they should go back to Kansas City

John Hollinger
  (3:30 PM)

KC is definitely a threat to get a team -- they have a shiny new arena with no tenant -- but the NHL might get there first. San Jose and Anaheim already have NHL clubs but are pushing really hard to get the NBA in their arenas too.

Jeremy (Los Angeles)

Any way to convince Bosh to come to San Antonio in 2010 and be to Duncan what Duncan was to Robinson?

John Hollinger
  (3:32 PM)

Bosh is from Texas, so that would have to work in their favor -- but seemingly moreso for the Mavs since he's a Dallas guy. Personally, I'd want to see Bosh get through a season in one piece before I offered him a max deal for half a decade.

Mike (Akron)

About a year ago the rage was that Vegas was going to get a team? What happened to that notion?

John Hollinger
  (3:33 PM)

you can't get a team without an arena. You can't get an arena built without financing. You can't get financing ... at least not anymore. So we're left with the cities that already have viable arenas and just need a tenant.

John Hollinger
  (3:37 PM)

sorry, just had a weird tech hiccup over here ....

Guy Enfield NH

How ironic is it that Gabe Pruitt gets a dui right when Starbury is about to arrive...I find it funny and I am a C's fan...

John Hollinger
  (3:37 PM)

See .. he's killing the chemistry already and he's not even on the team yet!

Tom (Cleveland)

If Kobe Bryant won the MVP over LeBron this year, would it be the biggest MVP joke of all time?

John Hollinger
  (3:38 PM)

It would be up there, but it wouldn't be the worst. To cite two recent examples, Nash's second one and Iverson's were more egregious errors.

Chad (Utah)

You got to switch to a Mac John. This isn't the first time your PC has died on you.

John Hollinger
  (3:39 PM)

Guess again -- I'm 100% Mac. It was that dang PC server in Bristol I tell ya.

Nick(SLC,UT)

Do you think the Jazz are a safe bet to stay in SLC now with the passing of LHM?

John Hollinger
  (3:39 PM)

From what I'm told the building is paid off and will be profitable for the forseeable future, so I seen no risk of the team leaving for some time.

Marc, Charlotte

Does marrying Adriana Lima improve Marko Jaric's PER? It needs to be included.

John Hollinger
  (3:40 PM)

An underachiever on the court and an overachiever off it. Congrats, Marko.

Dan (Canton)

Cleveland fans are worried about the addition of Starbury and Moore. Should they be or do you think the Cavs can beat Boston in a playoff series even with these two new reserves?

John Hollinger
  (3:42 PM)

i don't think they do much to alter the fundamental equation. Where it may change things is if it allows the Celtics to get homecourt, which they absolutely must have to beat Cleveland in my estimation.

Chris (Hacienda Heights, CA)

You see ex-NFLers and wrestlers turn into MMA fighters. If there was ever an NBA pro to fight in the UFC (and not get owned), who do you think it would be?

John Hollinger
  (3:42 PM)

Ron Ron. Easiest question of the night.

Aaron,Seattle

Would any of these teams maybe make there way up to Seattle if they relocate?

John Hollinger
  (3:43 PM)

If you build it, they will come. I'm not as well read on this one but I think they have some deadline coming up soon to get things started if they're going to get the $30 million of Clay Bennett's blood money to go toward the arena ...

Coop (Orlando)

Gimmie some Orlando Magic love! They have beaten the Cavaliers quite nicely over the last 2 years...I think they can win in a 7 game 2nd round series, what about you?

John Hollinger
  (3:45 PM)

If they had Jameer Nelson I think they could give Boston a really good series. Cleveland? That's pushing it. I know they handled the Cavs a few weeks ago (I was there, actually), but the playoff equation is very different for Cleveland because LeBron can go all 48 in any important game.

JJ (Chi)

What about Malone's MVP in '97? How can MJ (of all people) lead a team to 69 wins and NOT get the award??

John Hollinger
  (3:47 PM)

Giving it to the second-best player or the third-best instead of the best is a mistake (Barkley over Jordan, 93) , but that level of error is relatively common. Giving it to a guy who isn't even in the top ten ... now that's a mistake.

Matt

That 48 min. didn't seem to matter in Game 7 last year.

John Hollinger
  (3:48 PM)

Really? A 45-win team that gave up more points than it scored normally takes a 66-win team down to the final seconds of Game 7? The only reason that series was close was exactly the thing I mentioned.

Ben (California)

Will you change you power rankings now that the Celtics lost to the resident D-league team aka the Clippers

John Hollinger
  (3:49 PM)

Check out their record when Baron, Camby and Randolph all play. they won at Portland, beat Houston, etc. ... Clips have been very respectable when healthy, but they've rarely been healhty.

Nima (Menlo Park, CA)

Pick your first round playoff upset if the playoffs started TODAY.

John Hollinger
  (3:50 PM)

(5) Miami over (4) Atlanta in the East, (6) Utah over (3) Denver in the West.

Dave, SLC

What do you think Paul Millsap's potential is? And how do you think he'll compare to Boozer longterm?

John Hollinger
  (3:53 PM)

He's potentially an All-Star, if you go by his first half of this season. I think there's some question as to whether his conditioning can support a 3,000 minute season, but he's skilled, active and has an NBA body. He's kind of a poor man's Booz, really, but he's been healthier. Incidentally, Jazz's Booze-or-Millsap dilemma may ease if Boozer ends up not opting out.

Jonathan (NC)

why Utah over Denver? Worried about Nene and K-mart's injuries? Isn't Melo the best player on the floor in that series?

John Hollinger
  (3:54 PM)

Has Melo been the best player on his own team this year? The second best? I mean, yes, potentially he's the best player, but we haven't seen it in quite a while now. That's good and bad if you're a Denver fan -- good that they've played so well despite his having an off year, so perhaps if he gets healthy they can really take off, but bad in the sense that their supposed go-to guy just isn't playing anywhere near his usual level.

Kevin (Charlotte)

I love your rankings because they are unbiased, the formula was set before the season started, so there is no way to show any favoritism or be a hater. That being said, have you looked at adding a standard deviation of margin of victory to your rankings? It seems like the Celtics will a lot of games by 30 or 40, but don't have as good a record as the Cavs and Lakers. It seems like the Cavs and Lakers are more consistent in their margin of victory, shouldn't they get some credit for that? How much do extreme blowouts skew the margin of victory?

John Hollinger
  (3:56 PM)

There are things I could to collapse extreme margins of victory, but they don't result in a better mousetrap (i.e. more predictive significance), at least when I've tried it. And that's ultimately what we're going for here.

C.J. [via mobile]

How are the tics #1 after they lose to the clippers? Beating the wolves by three is better than losing to those scrubs that pay rent for the staples center

John Hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

You see a "W' for LA and an "L" for Boston .. the Power Rankings sees the two outcomes as a five-point difference, against opponents of similar quality. So they really don't move the lever much.

anthony allentown, pa

Finish this sentence: Willie Green is good at ________. I have no idea

John Hollinger
  (3:58 PM)

Making back door cuts along the baseline. Look, I've been wondering for years who he had pictures of just like everyone else, but he's at least improved enough to be a respectable rotation player.

Jay (Detroit, MI)

How is Kobe winning it a joke? His stats are on-par with LeBrons and his team has a better record. Not to mention his pension for late-game heroics this season. You are a Kobe-hater...

John Hollinger
  (4:00 PM)

If a vote were held today and Kobe won, with LeBron having one of the single greatest seasons of all time (arguably the greatest, in fact) and his team having a basically identical record with a visibly inferior supporting cast ... yes, that would be an abomination of a vote. And it's not because Kobe has had a bad year -- he should be first-team All-NBA, like I said above.

Eamon (Evanston, IL)

I want to ask you to put aside journalistic integrity for 30 seconds. Which team do you secretly (or not so secretly) support?

John Hollinger
  (4:01 PM)

Washington Redskins. Nice try, though.

James (Los Angeles, CA)

If Kevin Durant keeps playing at the level he's been playing at over the past month, shouldn't he be in line for some type of award? His last couple of weeks have been better than Kobe's statistically.

John Hollinger
  (4:04 PM)

Don't make a statement like that unless you want a thousand emails with the subject line "hater!" in your inbox. Seriously, this isn't little league and we can't give everyone a trophy, but Durant has moved himself into the race to be second to Devin Harris in the Most Improved voting.

Blake (Chicago)

Wait a second. Kobe winning the award is an abomination, yet your employer (ESPN) has him ranked #1 in the MVP award watch?

John Hollinger
  (4:05 PM)

Sorry, but this stuff isn't phoned in by Deep Throat from corporate HQ -- our Mo Brooks does it, and he does a great job with it. But I disagree with his MVP choice.

Terry (Madison)

Greatest season of all time? Didn't Wilt average like 50 and 25 once?

John Hollinger
  (4:05 PM)

I said arguably. Believe me, there's more coming on this. Just hold tight.

Dwight12

What would Dwight have to do to challenge Lebron for MVP this year? Is his scoring average the only reason he won't be getting more votes? If so, that's a weak argument to me.

John Hollinger
  (4:12 PM)

You're right, that's not a good reason. A better reason is that LeBron is the best player in the league and Howard isn't. He might win Defensive Player of the Year though ... if LeBron doesn't beat him out for that one too.

Tim Duncan (SA)

How is it that we beat the Blazers last night (ranked 6 in your rankings) by 15 and Orlando beat NY by 5, yet Orlando jumped ahead of us in your power rankings?????????

John Hollinger
  (4:14 PM)

Occasionally that will happen because an even better (or worse) result is taken off a team's "last 25%" games. It's the one pitfall of weighing recent games more heavily.

Ben (Austin, TX)

Dwight could hop into a phone booth and come out wearing a Lebron jersey...

John Hollinger
  (4:15 PM)

Or better yet, he could leap into a phone booth, make everyone sit on their hands for five minutes, and then come out and still not have the LeBron jersey on.

Clinton Portis (Washington, DC)

Hollinger, will you shut up already? I need to get back to work.

John Hollinger
  (4:16 PM)

Fair enough. Wouldn't want to keep you from choosing your wigs and glasses for week 1 media day in six months.

John Hollinger
  (4:17 PM)

That's all the time I have everyone but thanks again for all the great questions. We'll do this again next week leading into the Cavs-Celtics showdown in Beantown.