Welcome, welcome. As always, please don't submit questions more than twice, because it clogs the queue. Time to get to as many as I can..
Am I wrong for thinking the Celtics will be more dangerous even without homecourt if they have everbody back healthy. I say that because after Garnett got hurt they gained valuable experience for people like Glen Davis, Leon Powe, House, and Marbury. The bench seemed weak after Posey left town, but now seems just as strong as last year. So that combined with a healthy Garnett I think will get them another ring. What do u think?
Their thought was they could go into Cleveland and get a game if they had to, so they weren't that pressed. But if they have to go to Orlando, AND Cleveland AND L.A., don't you think that will catch up with them? In addition to the actual travel, it takes a lot of physical and mental energy t win playoff games on the road. Having to do too much of that is taxing (yeah, yeah, 95 Rockets, I know. But that gantlet wasn't as tough as what the Celts could face)
I had a notion lastnight watching the cavs n wiz game. Is it the best idea for washington to put agent 0 in so late in the season when they could leave this season with the worst record and a possible first round pick, and first overall? Putting in Arenas is great but winning more games could take away from the poss first pick plus what are they playing for, the season for them in my eyes is already over, am I looking at this wrong?
Been lots of debate over whether Arenas should play. I'm going to follow Stein's lead and say he needs to get some NBA reps in to take with him into the offseason. If there were a a Tim Duncan in this draft I'd say go ahead and tank. But it's not worth racking up L's, adding to a culture of losing, when you're not even guaranteed a Griffin (who's no guarantee himself).
Either way you cut it, it was good to see Gilbert playing last night. Picking on the Wiz has been all too easy this year, but Agent Zero is good for the league as a whole.
There's that too. How fun was it to see him playing to the crowd, pumping up the fans in the final couple of minutes?
Hi J.A!! My vote for MVP goes to Lebron, but why is Dwight not even mention on the MVP talks? He should at least get some recognition from the media.
He should. Don't forget about CP3 either. And hasn't Chauncey Billups' presence in Denver and absence in Detroit defined "value"? I think if LeBron hadn't distinguished himself so much it would be much more fun to really open up the field. But it's hard to work up a passion for a "should be in the discussion" argument. Even in Mike Bianchi's well-done piece advocating Howard he still had to concede LeBron should get it
Bianchi's take: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/orl-sportsbianchi03040309apr03,0,6966459.column
The Wolves need to do something to spark interest up here. Would the team be making a blunder of epic proportions if it traded Al Jefferson to whichever team drafted Ricky Rubio? Rubio, Love and top-6 pick vs. two PF in Jefferson, Love, and pick.
Would Ricky Rubio really sell tickets? You have to remember, for whatever reason, NBA fans haven't really taken to European players. How many land big endorsement deals? How popular is Dirk outside of Dallas, and he was a league MVP who's played in the Finals. The only high Q rating foreigner has been Yao, and he was so unique -- a giant with a good sense of humor. So I don't think Rubio would make the Wolves that much better on the court or at the box office
Hey J.A. Who is the team to beat right now? I still have the Lakers cause they swept the Cavs and C's plus beat pretty much every great team away, unlike the cavs. Not to mention they are the only team that beat cleveland away. Cavs or L.A?
Right now it's the Cavs, even after last night's loss
Portland's strength and conditioning coach Bobby Medina recently said that Nicolas Batum a young Scottie Pippen. Your thoughts?
I keep going back to the wisdom of Donnie Walsh, who years ago said "there's no 'another'" There's never been another Charles Barkley, won't be another Kareem, Magic, Bird, etc. Batum is long and lanky and can hit threes, so yeah I see the similarity. But can he initiate the offense like Pippen? Can he be a lockdown defender like Pippen against a variety of positions like Pippen? Let's not get carried away.
What's up J.A.? How much do you think Iverson has hurt his negotiating position for this summer? Has there ever been a better player who has lost more and does he really think that's a coincidence?
I don't think Iverson was ever going to be in position to negotiate with the Pistons this summer anyway, who must be counting down the days they can renounce him and free up $21 million + in cap space. And I doubt anybody would be looking to bring him in as a backup next season, so his reluctance to come off the bench shouldn't be an issue. He won't be the second-highest paid player in the league again, and he knows that. But his scoring ability and appeal (they'll always be those who root for the counter-hero) should get him a gig somewhere
J.A. Can you please explain to me why there is absolutely no coverage of the Denver Nuggets. They are going to be the 2 seed in the west, they have beat every good team in the west and they have won 10 of 11.
it's because they're the DENVER Nuggets. Not a lot of national media folks nearby, besides Rick Reilly, and apparently they don't do much for double-R. The Nuggets are not even getting as much coverage in Denver anymore, with the demise of the Rocky Mountain News. (shaq voice) however.....
do you think that the nuggets will get to the semifinals?
yes. (I'm assuming you mean conference semifinals). Hosting Utah in the first round would bode well for them, based on last night's game. They'd take out Portland or Dallas, too. And then they'd get some more attention.
It's always been said that you want to be playing your best basketball going into the playoffs, do you think the Cavs peaked just a tad bit early?
I still think they can maintain the level they reached recently, and the little slip-up last night might actually help them because it will keep them from clinching homecourt sooner, forcing them to play with an edge for a few more games. Among the top 3 teams They're definitely the most motivated to get that No. 1 overall seed
Can I be excited about thoughts of attending out a bobcats playoff game
Not when the bobcats have to play 5 of their last 6 games on the road, where they're 12-24.
hey JA, if i were a betting man i would put money on Utah finishing behind Dallas and seein LA in the first round. they have 4 roadies left against NO, SA, Dallas and LA and are horrible on the road. as a Laker fan Utah always scares me because of how physical they are.
If I were you I'd be a little less scared after watching the Nuggets get whatever they wanted, inside and outside, against the Jazz last night. LA has too much firepower for Utah.
A lot of people are tagging the blazers as the Team no one wants to see in the first round. How far do you think they can realistically go? Oden has improved a lot recently, will his play determine how far they go? Thanks
Actually, Portland would be the No. 2 team (after Dallas) I'd want to face in the first round. Having a bunch of key players making their playoff debuts..that should be worth a game right there. I wouldn't want to see Portland NEXT year, when these guys will know what they're doing.
J.A. I can see iverson fitting in with the new orleans hornets. because chris paul is a ball controller and iverson would have to run of screens. It would be tough for teams to stop them in transition. Tell me why he could fit, or not fit?
No way. Even though Paul loves to distribute, he still needs the ball in his hands the majority of the time. Iverson needs the ball majority of the time. You tell me how that would compute.
Not basketball related, but what's your view on the Jay Cutler trade for the Chicago Bears?
Some of my Bears fan friends are worried that they don't have good receivers, but I'd rather have a good quarterback than good receivers. Tom Brady won more Super Bowls without Randy Moss than with him. The Bears probably would have won a Super Bowl if they'd had a quarterback of Cutler's caliber when their defense was at its peak. I'm not sure the D is still ferocious enough.
JA!!!! What's up at the lounge? Do you agree with Ric Bucher's assesment of the Thunder having a brighter future than the Blazers? He goes on to saying that he doesn't feel the Blazers have their superstar either hinting at Brandon Roy not being a SUPERstar. I'm sure there are many angles to this debate, what's yours?
I think Roy is a superstar (pending playoff validation) and the Blazers roster has more good young players. I like Durant, but he hasn't exactly turned the franchise around, has he?
What team do u think fits Iverson the best? I was going through all the playoff teams and none seem like they would really want Iverson, maybe Dallas because they dont really have a solid 2 on that team. Where do you think he should play?
Dallas has always been so Dirk-oriented, I don't think you can just plug Iverson in alongside him. I think Charlotte is the most intriguing destination for AI, He did have his best season under Larry Brown.
I believe that Melo is an elite talent in the league with lebron, wade, and kobe. What do you think about melo?
Elite talent, but not at their level as an elite player. In part he needs to keep himself on the court. That means cutting down the league- or team-imposed suspensions. Fewer technicals (he's 2 away from an automatic suspension this year). And he's got to get out of the first round of the playoffs before you can mention him with guys who have taken their teams to the finals and/or won championships
Do yuo believe the Pistons will have more player turnover than any other team this summer? Seems to me that Dumars is going to set a grenade to that roster, and it will look vastly different come training camp.
He threatened it last year, then didn't do anything until the next season started. even the billups/iverson trade, as dramatic as it was, didn't amount to a roster makeover. I'm not so sure it happens this summer, either, because I think they want to preserve flexibility for 2010 when there will be more FA's in the market. Anyone doing deals this summer is going to want to send back long-term contracts
carmelo needs to learn how to be a leader to be elite. thats why they brought in chauncey.
His best season?? Iverson deserves more respect, he had a lot of great seasons!
Only a Philly fan could take offense at a compliment. I don't care how many great seasons a player has, he can only have one best. There's only one thing that can top a year in which a player wins the MVP and drags his team to the Finals...so that has to stand as Iverson's best.
Love your work JA! What type of impact will Bynum's return have on the Lakers?what will the Lakers need from him to win the title? Thanks!
We don't know what Bynum they'll be getting. I doubt it will be the one we saw in January before he went down. With that Bynum, the way they were playing, they looked like championship material. Will he be 50%? 75% How many minutes can he give them? I dont think his return alone makes the Lakers No. 1 again.
What about AI coming overseas? He'd be a star and a draw and a pioneer...be fascinating to see what Europe made of him.
I'm fascinated too..by the prospect of AI sitting at a Parisian cafe, wearing a beret and nibbling on a baguette.
Too soon to declare the Marbury experiment in Boston a failure? He hasn't blown up yet, but he's not contributing anything they weren't already getting from House, right?
But what did it cost them? They didn't have to give up anything, there's no indication he's destroyed their locker room, so it was worth a shot.
Why now news on David Robinson, John Stockton, and Michael Jordan entering the HoF? The news broke yesterday, but I haven't seen anything nationally... You all waiting till Monday's "official" release?
Uh, the news pretty much "broke" when they were announced as finalists at the all-star game in February. Seriously, Jordan going into the hall of fame is "news"?
Not only that, could you imagine my reaction to a team trying to stiff me on my paycheck as some of the International teams have been known to do? Would not be pretty...
Is it too late in the year for Phil to alter his substitution pattern? I known his m.o. has always been playing four with one starter, but they've been terribly unproductive going back several weeks.
When Bynum comes back he's going to have to make some change...either Odom back to the bench or Bynum off the bench. I'd go with Bynum off the bench. Odom flourished when he was back in the starting lineup, playing with Pau
JA!!!!!!!!!! NFL related: Plaxico Burress got released by the Giants. What do you think about that?
Smart move. Even if he avoids jail time for the gun charge, he's still been known to avoid practice (practice?!?) and meetings. So if the law didn't keep him from playing, the Giants might have had to do so themselves. The giants now have the draft and the whole offseason to find a replacement
Who is going to be a better point guard, Ramon Sessions, Mike Conley, Aaron Brooks?
I'd go Sessions, 2. Brooks, 3. Conley
Judging by Kobe's recent play, do you think this is the first year of Kobe's eventual decline?
Physically, yes. But that doesn't mean he has to be less effective. Jordan still won three championships when he was no longer one of the most athletic players in the league.
JA: For what it's worth (on the Rubio tip), I think creative, exciting PGs ALWAYS sell tickets, wherever they're from. They simply makes a team more watchable.
You'd think so. And it would be great for the league and the country if fans were more open-minded to embrace foreigners -- not that there's hostility toward most foreign players, you just don't see people rocking their jerseys in large numbers. I don't know how Rubio's English is. that makes a big difference.
J.A., what do you think of all the alternate uniforms NBA teams have now? I understand they need to make money, but after seeing the Cavs wear about 6 different unis so far this year, I'm convinced that enough is enough.
glad you brought this up. Here's what I think: I HATE IT. Teams should have a max of 4 jerseys: home, road, alternate and throwback. No St. Patrick's Day jerseys. No retro jerseys for teams no one remembers. (Zephyrs???) No enviro-jerseys. My brain could not compute the Jazz wearing white on the road and the Nuggets wearing GREEN at home. I couldn't tell who was who. Those cartoonish Cleveland throwbacks are awful. it's a disservice to LeBron that someday they'll be showing a career highlight retrospective and those monstrosities will show up. Here's what we can do to stop it: no one buy a single one of these ugly throwbacks or misleading green jerseys. The only reason the NBA does it is to sell more jerseys. If that doesn't work, we wont' have to see this again.
Assuming the wiz get the number 2 pick in this years draft, do you think they need to draft a center (Thabeet), or a shooting guard (Harden)?
They should go with Thabeet. They have plenty of guys who can shoot jumpers. They need a dominant defender in the middle.
Steve Nash is a foreigner, doesn't seem like he has too much trouble being "embraced".
That's different. People here think of Canada as a suburb of the U.S.
Back to your Randy Moss comment. Tom Brady has only played 1 season with Moss, and he was 30 seconds and one miracle catch away from the superbowl trophy.
Not saying Moss was a hindrance, but Brady was able to win Super Bowls with guys like Patten.
Who's the better actor? sean penn or denzel?
Denzel has a bigger, better screen presence, but Sean Penn has more range. From Jeff Spicoli to Harvey Milk? That's versatility
"I'd rather retire than be a backup." Pretty much sums up Iverson's work ethic, doesn't it?
Don't confuse philosophy with work ethic. I don't think you could ever watch Iverson in a game and think he wasn't trying hard.
Lot of talk about Jason Kidd playing for the Cavs next year. Your take?
Careful what you wish for. Yes, you could relieve LeBron of some ballhandling/distributing duties. But it also would be easy for defenses to leave Kidd and double LeBron.
You can change one thing about the NBA. What is it??
I'd install a uniform cap. No more than 4.
I know i'd have at least one supporter....
You won't post this because it's not a question. But i'm super pissed about uniforms. Not as much the alternative/retro uniforms but when home teams were their road colors and vice versa. I know it's not a big deal but it really friggin bothers me. It bothers me enough when the Lakers wear their sunday whites. Man I need some Yoga.
MJ Called Batum a young Pippen!
Yeah, well MJ once called the Washington Bullets the team of the future, then that group never made it back to the playoffs. When they call MJ the G.O.A.T., they're not referring to his talent evaluations.
I actually like the Lakers' sunday whites...and they have deviated from that this season at all...havent seen them wear "retros" since the short shorts debacle
I like the Sunday whites too. And I wouldn't mind if they wore the Showtime-era jerseys occasionally. that would give them 4.
I really love the old 60s-era Lakers blues. And, of course, the Warriors' "The City" jerseys.
JA.. I wondered if you could touch on the circus that has been the Golden State Warriors this past year. While I think frustration w/the team is absolutely warranted and the dysfunction created by president Robert Rowell's power play vs. Mullin has been a big part of the problem, I also believe that the level of criticism placed on Nelson to be excessive. He is impetuous and he's made mistakes, but this season was lost when Ellis went down early and the team had to rely on Jackson as it's main PG. The Randolph handling, imo, was not unusual, and the Harrington situation, while unfortunate, was a two way street. What say you?
The smart teams cut their losses with Nellie early (like the Mavs did and were rewarded with a trip to the Finals). The foolish ones follow Nellie right over the cliff...
How about the leagues BIGGEST uniform scam, the Los Lakers, Los Suns, Los Mavs, and Los Spurs. Honestly, that is the biggest marketing joke ever.
especially when it's not even linguistically correct. Is should be Los Sols, right amigos?
Wow JA. You've been on the chat for more than an hour... Which NBA team are you rooting for? And which NBA player you you think deserves to win a ring the most?
There might be more likable teams or good stories out there than ever. I could find a reason to be happy for half of the teams in the playoffs if they won it. But if you read my column today I think you'll see why I'm pulling for the Hornets
I'll leave you with that bit of self-promotion and wrap it up here. Read the column if you want to hear more from me today, otherwise I'll see you here next week. Thanks for all of your questions, and remember to boycott those atrocious jerseys.