Aloha everyone, thanks for coming. We'll talk NBA first half, NBA Draft in the second half today. Let's roll ....
If you are Stan Van Gundy right now, are you freaking out that Detroit is your first round opponent?
A little. The Pistons seem much better without Iverson on the floor. Their depth concerns me ... but the depth of the Magic concerns me as well ... I know the Pistons have swept them this season, and I think they have an advantage in a seven game series because of their experience. But I don't see the Pistons making it any further than the first round. I don't think they could stop Cleveland or Boston.
Miami isn't going to reach 50 wins, so Wade won't really be in contention for the MVP, but can we get the guy an Also Ran award? He is capping off a great season with a mind-blowing March.
He's carrying this entire team on his back. The next best player on the Heat is ...???? I think LeBron is the best player in the game, but I agree that Wade is a very close second. He's just flat out amazing. Just ask the Bulls ...
Are the Jazz a threat for the two seed in the West? Or will the clock strike midnight during these next four road-games.
They are within striking distance. However, I'm not sure it totally matters. In my mind they are the second best team in the West when healthy and the one team that can knock off the Lakers in a seven game series. They are really, really good.
Chad, I watched the Portland LA game live and replayed the Ariza foul over and over, I think it was a hard foul but I don't think it was dirty or that he was tying to hurt him. Other then when they both hooked arms he didn't hit him, it was all ball before that.
I agree. I don't think it was deliberate. When these things are happening in real time, I think the ref focuses more on the result than the actual foul. Ariza's mistake was some of his body language after ... that's what got the Blazers upset. He may pay for that when the league reviews it. But as for the foul, it wasn't dirty.
Who would be the Rookie of the Year right now if voting ended today?
Derrick Rose. He's been great all season. You can make a case for O.J. Mayo and a case for Brook Lopez and Kevin Love ... but I think my vote would be for Rose.
There is an argument going on up here in Boston about who is more irreplacable to the Celtics, Garnett or Rondo? What're your thoughts?? Eddie House and Marbury aren't the replacements that Powe and Big Baby are but is Rondo really more irreplacable??
I think KG is the heart of the team. But you're right to point out that when Rondo isn't on the floor, the Celtics don't have a lot of options. His defensive tenacity is especially tough to replace. We keep referring to the Celtics as the Big 3 ... but really it should be the Big 4. After KG and Pierce, Rondo's the most valuable guy on the team ... not Ray Allen.
So the Spurs can't knock out the Lakers in a 7 game series?
They can ... but I don't think they will.
Can Ron Artest please get some love ....
He's been really good lately. Frankly, the team is better off without Tracy McGrady in the line-up. The combo of Artest and Battier gives them an added toughness dimension. To me Houston is the darkhorse in this whole thing. I wish they had more going for them at the point, but the rest of their starting five looks good.
If the Knicks had the opportunity to do last year's draft over, would they have made the same pick?
I think so. I talked with Donnie Walsh about that a few weeks ago. Gallinari has played well when he's played. Eric Gordon looks like a player and they may have been better off with Gordon (who Walsh really liked) but I think in the larger scheme of things, Gallinari is going to work out. D'Antoni loves bigs who can shoot the basketball.
i'll be the first to admit it... d-wade has been off the charts, as of late, and right now is playing by far, the best basketball of anybody in the league. and if wins don't matter, then he deserves the mvp. but remember, in 2007, lbj was the best in the league, and his season, statistically, was one of the greatest ever. but, his team "only" won 50 games and he was beaten out for the mvp by steve nash and his teams' 60-some wins... i hope the voters take that into count.
OK ... I think I freaked out everyone in the state of Ohio with the DWade comment. Let me be clear, I think LeBron is going to run away with the MVP vote. Rest easy.
Would things be different in Phoenix if D'Antoni was still around?
Maybe. D'Antoni is a great coach. But he had lost his team a bit. They needed to lose him to recognize how much they needed him. The bigger mistake was bringing Shaq in. That set the dominos in motion. Remember the Suns were atop the Western Conference standings before that trade. They've fallen apart since. Shaq's actually played really well. But the chemistry just never worked. Now Shaq wants a trade ... hilarious.
Rondo is a good player but on any other team no one would be talking about him.
I totally disagree. On any other team, they'd probably be talking about him more. He's overshadowed by the other Big 3. He's really, really good.
Hollinger called me a crack addict a few weeks ago when I told him that he was going to look pretty smart when Charlotte nabbed the 8th seed. Now tell me, do you think Im stupid for thinking Charlotte is going to make the playoffs?
I think the Bulls are going to take that last seed ... but you're not a crack addict for saying the Bobcats. I think the race between them, the Bulls and the Nets. I think the Bucks will eventually fall behind.
In terms of the Oden/Durant debate-- people mention how the Thunder did way better. But no one mentions the fact that Oden's numbers would be higher with the Thunder and Durant's lower with the Blazers. Couldn't this change things a little?
I agree with what you are saying Nathan ... but the truth is, right now, Durant is a MUCH better player. Maybe Oden will be with time, but he's got to show he can stay on the floor. The injury thing is starting to get ridiculous.
How good will the OKC Thunder be next year.
Better ... but in the West, it's going to be a couple of years until the crack the playoffs ... unless they land a major free agent this summer.
What's the best case scenario for the Wizards next season? Is Arenas, Butler, Jamison, and whoever they get in the draft next year (please Rubio or Griffin!!) enough to put them over the top?
Nope ... which is why I thought they should've made a trade or two at the deadline. I would've moved Jamison for Wally Szczerbiak.
Why isn't discussed as a candidate for most improved player?
Why isn't Bragnani discussed as a candidate for most improved player?
Bragnani???? You're 0-for-2 Martin
Chad, will Amare be back on the block this summer? Are the Suns going to blow things up?
I think they're going to have to do something. They don't want to be luxury tax payers. Ideally they find a home for Shaq
Does Boozer leave Utah at the end of the season? What would that mean for the Jazz?
Tough call ... Boozer probably wants a year of being healthy before he goes and asks teams to dump a huge amount of money on him. However, if he waits a year, he risks two things. First, 2010 is stacked with great free agents. Second, given the market, there may not be much money available. I think the Jazz are hoping he opts out. It would free up room for them to re-sign Paul Millsap.
With the NCAA tournament on the horizon and seeing a lack of special talent on that level. How serious is the talk of Stern getting the 2 years or 20 year old rule institued? I think it would be best for both sides in the long run.
I think it will happen. Probably not until the new CBA is negotiated, but Stern has all the leverage right now. I think it's inevitable.
How much does a college player's play in the tournament play into his draft stock? Do the combines + summer league weigh more, or tourney play?
It plays a lot because NBA GMs (and even some head coaches) are paying close attention during the tournament. At the start of the season, it's mostly scouts. So ... if you make a big impression in the tournament it can really help. Every year a couple of people really rise based on their play there. The combines won't do much anymore.
Assuming the contract issues are solved - how ready is Rubio right now? Can he really help a team right out of the box?
Yes. His basketball IQ is off the charts. He starts on a very high level team in Europe. He does need to get stronger and he'll have to adjust to the quickness of the game over here ... but he's ready to play from Day 1.
If Davidson misses out on the Tourney does Stephen Curry drop out of the lottery or is he inevitably going to be taken by NY?
I think the Knicks and Bobcats both love him. I don't see him slipping much further than that. He's perfect for D'Antoni's system and Knicks fans would love him.
Is Austin Daye a lottery pick next year?
Maybe. He has the talent to be a high lottery pick. But he's going to have to get much more consistent. Let's hope he stays in school.
What do you think about Damion James as a pro player, his game looks mature to me. I think he's a guy like Finley or Marion that is a better pro than collegiate. Thoughts?
Maybe. I love his toughness. But he doesn't really have the game of a wing. He's an intriguing late first round pick, but I doubt I'd take him higher than that.
Likely T-Wolves strategy for the draft with potential picks?
Ricky Rubio's at the top of the list. They could use an upgrade over Telfair. Thabeet is also an option. They could use a big, athletic shot blocker.
Sam Young was extremely impressive in Pitt's win over UCONN. He's improved considerably, and his jumper has gotten much better, especially outside the arch. Where would you project him in the draft, and do you have any possible comparisons of who he resemble in the NBA?
I like him a lot, but he's 23 and turns 24 before the draft. He's a man playing against boys. That makes a big difference in college basketball and lowers his ceiling. I think he's a late first round to early second round pick.
Is Hasheem Thabeet really a lottery pick? He seems like the classic big man with loads of potential, but little NBA talent. Bust of the 2009 draft?
Personally, I lean toward bust. But most NBA guys disagree. He's 7-foot-3 and can block shots at a very high level. Someone will draft him just for that.
Thoughts on the potential lottery Wake Forest players?
They could have three lottery picks. Jeff Teague -- 5-10 Af-Farouq Aminu -- 5-10 James Johnson -- 10-20
What about Blair on Pitt? Will his game transfer to the NBA? The next Chuck Barkles?
That's a tough comparison. I don't think Blair is as skilled offensively. But the rest of his game compares pretty favorably. To me he's the biggest wildcard in the draft. Teams usually shy away from taking undersized fours high in the draft. But Blair has been so special, I think he could go in the lottery if he blows up in the tournament. I think his range right now is 10 to 20 ... but he could go higher if he plays well and gets into great shape for workouts.
Do you see Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks going in the first round this year?
Patterson has a great shot of going somewhere between 15 - 25. Meeks is likely a second rounder.
Is Maynor from VCU on anyones draft radar, or is he coing to end up in Europe?
He's a sleeper. I prefer him to several of the other top point guard prospects like Ty Lawson, Darren Collison and Jonny Flynn. He's right in the mix with those guys.
It seems like the Suns will have the 14 pick, is there a better fit that Earl Clark? Thanks Chad
I think Clark is a very good fit if the Suns get back to playing the way they used to play. He reminds me a lot of Boris Diaw.
What about Harengody from Notre Dame?
what do you think of jack mcclinton? where do you think he will get drafted
Big time scorer, way undersized for a two guard. Second round to undrafted.
Jerel McNeal.... Most underrated player in this years draft???
No ... but underrated. Excellent defender, improving shooter, playing huge this year. He could sneak into the late first round. More likely he's a high second round pick.
Which NBA rookies should have stayed an extra year and entered this years draft?
DeAndre Jordan, Kosta Koufos, Darrell Arthur and Donte Greene all would've had a shot at being lottery picks this year had they stayed.
Is comparing Hansbrough to Paul Millsap ok? They seem similar to me.
Ummmm ... no. Millsap was the leading rebounder in the NCAA for three years. Hansbrough averages around 7 a game ... that's a huge difference. Rebounding is the one statistic that really seems to translate from one level to the next.
Do you think Gerald Henderson is gone? Where do you think he will go, depending I guess on how he plays in the tournament?
Yes .. he's a mid first rounder.
has georgetown's struggles this year adversely affected dajuan summers draft stock? gtown needs to stop playing the stupid princeton offense when they have athletes like summers, monroe, sapp, freeman and wright!
It's hurt Summers and Monroe's stock a bit. I'm not sure you can blame Monroe for their problems. Summers a little more. They started off so promising ... it's tough to know what went so wrong so quickly.
Can Tyrese Rice make an NBA team? Or is he bound for Europe.
Yes ... as a second rounder. But Europe is more likely.
Is DeRozan smart enough to stay in school?
Hopefully, though in his defense, Tim Floyd's offense is a poor fit for his game. He'll be much better as a pro than he is in college right now. He may want to take advantage of the "upside" factor while he still has it.
Who's your final four this year?
North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma and Wake Forest ... Obviously they may not all be in separate brackets, but if they are .. those are the four teams I like.
Gotta run everyone ... I have to skip next week, but I'll be back again in 2 weeks. Looking forward to it.