Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll start with a little NBA and spend the bulk of our chat today on the NBA Draft. So send in your questions!
Is Chicago's relative resurgence late in the season been more attributable to better coaching by VDN or the additions of Salmons and Miller?
I'd say Salmons, in particular, has lit a fire under them. He's turned out to be the best pick-up off the trade deadline. Miller also has been great. I still think the Bulls are underperforming as a team, but they're getting better and more specifically ... Derrick Rose is becoming more and more of a leader.
Why is so little being said about the naughty naughty things Orlando did to Cleveland on Friday? The previous game in Orlando also wasnt as close as the final score indicated. How many times does dwight have to go 20/20 to get mentioned among the MVP candidates like he deserves?
He's a MVP candidate and a Top 5 player in the league. No one disputes that. I think LeBron will walk away with the hardware, but he's right there with James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe and Chris Paul. As for the team, yeah ... they are looking great. I still favor Cleveland in a seven game series where they have home court advantage. But Orlando will be tough.
Are the lakers clearly the favorites now that they are getting bynum back this week
I'm not sure about that. On one hand, Bynum gives them a lot of depth at the five now. On the other, I actually liked the team a little better when they started Pau there. Odom seemed more involved and the ball movement was spectacular. Bynum will clog things up a bit, but ultimately his pros outweigh his cons.
Where did it all go wrong for the Suns? I'm finding it hard to understand how a team with three All Stars, a fantastic veteran in Grant Hill, and bench players like Barbosa can't make the playoffs. OK, Amare got injured, but Shaq enjoyed a fantastic year, Nash was more or less Nash, and Grant Hill has had a solid, injury free season. Is it a sign of just how strong the West is?
Partly. But Nash hasn't been as good as previous season. There was no chemistry on the team. I think that all of the trade speculation etc took it's toll. I love Steve Kerr ... but this one reeks of how bad front office moves can affect a team. The Shaq trade should've never happened. Mike D'Antoni should still be the coach. They should've kept some of those draft picks they traded away. Sad to see the Suns setting. They'll look very different next year.
Can anyone seriously challenge LA in the west now that SA lost Ginobili?
I'm beginning to doubt it. Jazz have crumbled the past few weeks. Denver's been great, but I don't see them as serious challengers. Houston might have the best shot left of the group if Ginobili is gone for the season.
I think that with A.I. out of the lineup, the Pistons have a better chance of making the first series of the playoffs actually competitive. Am I alone here?
I don't care what the Pistons have to say publicly ... dumping AI for the season was a basketball decision. He was a distraction and one that the Pistons just didn't need right now. I know people have been critical of the Pistons and to be honest, Joe D did say that they thought adding AI wouldn't hurt their chances of being a competitive team this year. However, the truth is that this move was really made for the off-season. Pistons have tons of cap room. They'll have their pick of free agents or use the room to make a few trades. They'll be much better next year and that's been the genius of Joe D. He's always thinking three steps ahead.
Any thoughts on the recently named Hall of Fame class? Pretty good class, I'd say.
Uhhhh .... yeah.
With Portland in secured for a spot in the playoffs, what team would be best for their first match-up? I'm really hoping its not Houston...they seem to continuously dominate the Blazers. What do you think is the likely scenario for Portland in the playoffs?
it's all about home court advantage for the Blazers. They are much more confident at home than on the road. They really need to snag that fourth seed.
Does Charlotte have any realistic shot of making the playoffs now? Or did the loss to the Pistons the other day slam the door? I was hoping for Bulls and Bobcats, not Bulls and Pistons, as the 7 & 8 seeds...
They made a great run ... but I don't see it happening. Next year? They've got a good shot.
What is it going to take for the Raptors to recover from this god-awful season? Completely obliterating the line-up and starting from scratch?
Um ... no. I really think they should be much better. Different coach perhaps. Top 10 pick to round out the team. Pray to God that Chris Bosh isn't leaving. If he leaves, they have to start over.
If I was a GM and was living in a world where Greg Monroe and Ed Davis are lottery picks, I am trading every pick I own in this year's draft.
Welcome to the world of the 13 GMs that won't get a chance to draft Blake Griffin with the No. 1 pick. There just isn't a lot of upside in the draft, so teams will reach for young big guys who might be players in a few years. Davis and Monroe qualify.
What did I do this season besides be in the right place at the right time for tip ins and and catch and finish uncontested dunk after feeds from great playmakers?
You're long, athletic, have a great motor, a good nose for the ball and in a draft as weak as this ... that's going to be enough. Clearly Davis is an upside pick, but if you're drafting in the Top 5 ... you aren't really looking for role players.
After watching this 09 NCAA tourney, two parter 1.) What player impressed you the most? What player could improve the most by staying for another year in school.
Blake Griffin was the best player in the tournament. Ty Lawson was fantastic as far as the guy who led his team all the way to the championship. Ed Davis could be the top pick in the draft next year if he stays at UNC.
Is this years Carolina draft eligable players if they declare better then the 2005 group that left early?
Marginally: Ed Davis = Sean May Ty Lawson = Raymond Felton Tyler Hansbrough = Sean May Wayne Ellington = Rashad McCants Of the group ... I think Ellington is better than McCants and Davis has a chance to be better than Marvin Williams ... but it's a reach. The other two are washes.
Do you think Rubio is the best PG entering the draft this year? Why or why not?
Yes. Best feel for the game. Playing at the highest level of Europe right now and is very effective. There will be a transition to the speed of the game here and he needs to improve his jumper, but he's the clear No. 2 pick in the draft. However, there is still a question mark about whether he'll declare. He's working on a buyout.
Do you think Stephen Curry can be a effective starting pg for D'Antoni? And is there a better pg available in the draft that would fit D'Antoni's offense better that the knicks should look at instead.
I think he's a great fit because he has a high basketball IQ and can really shoot the rock. Those are two essentials in the D'Antoni system. The other guy I like for them is Willie Warren of Oklahoma.
What kind of player do the Pacers need to take the next step next year? A lineup of J. Jack, Rush, Granger, Murph, and Hibbert seems solid. Do they need another athletic big man to come of the bench and run with Hibbert? Or another point?
Ideally they get an athletic big man who can score some in the paint. Those guys are few and far between. They'd love to land Ed Davis or Greg Monroe (if they declare), but I don't think they'll be there on draft night. Maybe Jordan Hill or Cole Aldrich (if Aldrich declares).
Willie Warren or Tyreke Evans? What's the position for Demar DeRozan?
Warren has more point guard skills and is a much better shooter so I'd take him first. I think DeRozan can play the two or three defensively. Doesn't really matter on the offensive end. All three should be lottery picks.
In a draft that is so weak, you would think a PG like Lawson would be a hotter name right now. He isn't going to be a superstar for anyone, but if he turns out to be a Raymond Felton, that is much better then a Mohammed Sear Sene. I would think you would want a future starter with a lottery pick and Lawson seems to be one.
I agree though NBA teams seem to be more mixed on him. I know scouts like to say that they don't factor a lot into the tournament, but Lawson really helped himself. His assist-to-turnover ratio is ridiculous and he's really improved as a shooter and floor general. I think he's a late lottery to mid first round pick.
Aloha Chad! Wayne Ellington seems to becoming a much better offensive player as his carreer has gone, while not being an albatross on defense - does mid - late first rounder sound about right and projecting him as a Rip Hamilton "light" type player, runs around thru screens and kills you in the mid range game?
A little lower than that because he lacks ideal size at the two. But he's really helped himself in the tournament as well. I'd say he would likely be undrafted before. Now he could be a late first rounder. That's a big improvement.
Did Blair sign with an agent? Whats the best case scenerio for Blair in the draft?
I think he's leaning that way. Best case scenario is that he loses some weight the next few months, improves his explosiveness and works his way into the late lottery. Worst case is probably late first round.
Curry isn't really a PG. Isn't that a big problem? He needs to play the SG spot to be his most effective...not run a team. To me, he'd be a GREAT 6th man for some team. I don't see him as a starting PG...to me, his game is much more similar to Ben Gordon's than it is to Chris Paul's or even Derrick Rose's.
I think he can become a PG. Remember Steve Nash wasn't a pure PG either coming into the league. It took some time. To be effective he can't be the primary scoring option, but in the NBA, on most teams, he won't have to be.
What about AJ Price? He never seems to get mentioned, but is probably the most complete PG in college right now.
Really? Did you see him jacking up all those bad shots in the Michigan State game? He almost singlehandedly cost the Huskies the game.
Whats your take on Gerald Henderson....is he staying and stacking a Duke team who would be favorites to win a National Championship, or is he going to take his chances with the NBA?
I think he's coming and will go somewhere between late lottery to early 20s.
Does B.J Mullens have a chance to be a solid player? I feel he was under used at OSU.
Yes, he has great physical skills. But he still needs to learn how to play. Whoever drafts him will have to be patient, a la, Andrew Bynum.
Why won't you answer MY AJ Price question. IT WAS ONE GAME CHAD! He was the MOP of the Western Regional and responsible for getting the Huskies there, or did you just start watching college basketball on Saturday!?
No ... but if you look at his four year career at UConn I think you see more of the AJ Price we saw on Saturday than the AJ Price we saw in other games of the tournament. He's a second round pick at best.
What are the chances of Cole Aldrich turning pro??? Would'nt he be best served playing another year under Self and possibly cracking the top 5???
Sounds like he's leaning strongly to returning to KU. If he declared now he'd be a mid to late lottery pick. Another great year at KU could put him in the top 5, though his lack of elite athleticism put a ceiling on going too high.
Who are the early favorites to go #1 in the 2010 draft?
Ed Davis and Ricky Rubio (if they don't declare) and freshman John Wall (who still hasn't picked a school).
Does Curtis Jerrels of Baylor have any shot of being drafted in the second round?
Yes. He was very good all year for Baylor and teams scouting the NIT were impressed.
What do you think of Brandon Jennings? Is the kid a future superstar? also would he be a better pg for the knicks than Curry?
Too early to tell. He wasn't great in Europe. His shot failed him. He's got a lot of physical tools to be a great NBA PG, but to me, he's the biggest question mark in the draft. Going to Europe hurt him, it didn't help him.
Is Ed Davis honestly thinking about going pro? That might be the worst decision he could ever make
He said last night he was coming back ... but that's what everyone says after their season is over. I'm told by sources close to him that if he's projected as a Top 5 pick (he is) he might declare. I agree that for his development, he'd be wise to return to school. He isn't ready. But if he does declare, teams will gobble him up.
What's you best read on where Johnny Flynn will go (if he stays in the draft)?
13 to 23
Do you have any updates on what Craig Brackins is going to do?
Sounds like he's going to declare. He's a hot name right now. More GMs and scouts have gone back to the tape on him and he's rising on draft boards. I'd say he's somewhere between 12 and 18.
Wouldn't it be better for Blake Griffin to wait one more year? He could imrpove on things, and still be a serious contender for the first overall, and maybe go to a better team
No. He's going pro and he should. He's a man playing a boys game right now. He's announcing his decision at 3:30 ET.
Please tell me Kalin Lucas won't pull a Marcus Taylor and turn pro.
He needs to go back to school
Whose stock fell the most because of the tournament?
James Harden took a hit. So did Jeff Teague.
In 2 or 3 years, do you think Thabeet will be bagging groceries or greeting people at Target?
No. I don't hate him that much. He's tall, mobile and blocks shots. There are always places in the league for guys like that. I just question him as a Top 2 or 3 pick. I don't see the upside there.
Rubio or Griffin if the Clippers get the No. 1 pick???
Griffin, he's No. 1 on all 14 Draft Boards.
The Kings are going to have alot of options this offseason i believe, if we do end up with the #1 pick is Blake the guy to get even thogh we have JT? or do u think a trade down would benefit the team and maybe get a point guard like a rubio and another player to help this rebuild? thanks
Again, Griffin is a completely different league from Jason Thompson. Remember when the Blazers passed on drafting Chris Paul and Deron Williams (they traded down from No. 3 to No. 5 and took Martell Webster) because they had Sebastian Telfair? That's why you don't draft on the basis of need.
Your thoughts on James Johnson...where to you project he will go in the draft?
He's a hot name right now. Lots of talent in a great NBA body. He's a late lottery pick.
What's your take on Chase Budinger, now that he has officially declared? Any thoughts on draft position or who might be interested?
He's a possible late first round pick. Great shooter. Good athlete. Indifferent defender. Lacks a great motor.
Do you think Danny Green has a chance of being drafted? when?
yes ... as a second round pick. But I think he'll be drafted. Very versatile role player.
Chad, I enjoy all the work you do, you are the Kiper of the NBA. What are you hearing on Greg Monroe? Is he a lock top 5 pick?A lot of talk that he's going to stay at Georgetown for another year
He should probably stay. His stock has slipped a bit, though when all is said and done, he'll still be a Top 10 pick. But another year in school would help. he's got a lot of talent, but a questionable motor.
Just curious to see what OKC will do in this draft. Who do you think they will go after?. They seem to be buling a great team for the future.
I'd say Ed Davis if he declares.
I was impressed with Goron Sutons steady improvement over the past couple of years, especially this season. Where do you see him getting drafted and do you think he'll be a good pro?
He's got a chance. He really helped himself in the tournament. He's big, can shoot the basketball and has turned into a good rebounder. A second round pick, but he's got a good shot.
Are you in favor of the two year mandatory college stint before players go to the NBA?
No. If a kid can play, he can play. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard didn't play a game of college basketball. It really screwed them up, didn't it?
What I support is better scouting. NBA teams too often reach for guys who aren't ready. But those four were ready.
This draft is looking like Duncan's '97 winner-take-all draft -- one definite future All Star and then nothing.
Really good comparison actually. Though a few players did come out of that draft. Chauncey Billups and Tracy McGrady turned out to be pretty good.
Gotta run everyone. We'll do it again next week. Enjoy the last week of the NBA season. And we'll be back with more draft stuff from the first NBA Draft camp in Portsmouth and the Nike Hoop Summit next week.