Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming out today. Playoffs are great if you're a Celtics-Bulls fan. Not so much if you're a Hornets fan right now. We'll do playoffs, NBA off season in the first half and then pivot to the draft in the second half. Let's roll.
Feet to the fire Chad: give me a Bulls/Celtics score tonight.
113-112 OT Celtics. This has been the most entertaining playoff series since the Warriors-Mavs series a couple of years ago. Celtics are fighting for one last chance for the playoffs while the Bulls look like they are finally emerging from that 2 year coma they were in. Great stuff.
I think Portland forces a Game 6... The real question is can they force a game 7..
I'm not so sure. I picked the Blazers to win the series, but after watching the first four games it looks pretty clear to me that the Rockets are just tougher. Toughness probably trumps youthful exuberance and chemistry when you're up 3-1 in a series. I think Houston will advance. If not tonight, then during Game 6.
Did Hedo turn out the lights in this series for Philly with his big three the other night or do you think Philly can still bounce back?
I've been surprised by how competitive the Sixers have been. The Magic look terrible right now. I think they find a way to win this series ... but I don't like them against the Bulls or the Celtics in the next round ... even if KG doesn't return.
Chad, use your chrystal ball for Denver - Dallas in the 2nd round. What do you see?
I really like the way Denver has been playing lately. Next to LeBron, Chauncey Billups has been the best player in the playoffs. Melo is finally living up to his promise and their front line is getting it done. Dallas has had a pretty easy time against an aching Spurs team. I see Denver in 5.
Was Denver that good or New Orleans that bad last night?
A little of both. Denver's been great, but that was truely a pathetic defensive effort by the Hornets last night. Read John Hollinger's breakdown in the Daily Dime if you missed the game. Terrible. The only thing I've seen worse is the Pistons play through all 4 games.
Did the Pistons quit on their own or did the Cavs force them to quit by dominating them?
I think the Pistons were toast before the series began. Yes, the Cavs are a superior team, but I don't recongnize this Pistons team. Now comes word that Sheed asked for a buyout so he could bolt for the Cavs. He didn't get it and he played like someone who wanted to get the series over with as soon as possible. The Pistons have lost their mojo. I expect a huge shake-up there this summer.
Everyone says there will be major changes in Detroit, what will happen?
I think it's safe to say Iverson and Sheed are gone. I think either Rip Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince will join him. The fact that the Pistons needlessly gave Hamilton a big extension means that he'll be tougher to trade in this economic climate. Just about everyone else, with the exception of Rodney Stuckey, will also get shopped. Everyone keeps pointing at Carlos Boozer as their free agent target. I'm more skeptical. Boozer's a great player, but I don't think he's right for the Pistons. Paul Millsap or David Lee will be a better fit. They need some toughness and hustle in the paint.
What's the next step for the Jazz? It's clear that they're not good enough to win a championship, but are too good to get any high lottery draft picks.
If Boozer opts out ... they let him walk and re-sign Paul Millsap. That's for starters. I also think they try to see if they can get anything for Andrei Kirilenko. The backcourt of Deron Williams and Ronnie Brewer is the future of the team along with Millsap. After that, I think anyone else is expendable. And ... I kind of get the feeling Jerry Sloan might actually retire for good this time.
I had my money and the Lakers before the playoffs, but they close out with a lead so poorly (including the 20 point comeback last year from Boston), and the Cavs close out a game so fully, that I feel like the Cavs might have the edge. Is this the truth or a product of the skill level of the teams each team was playing?
Cavs are playing better than the Lakers now, that's true. But I still think that when you look at the depth and experience on the Lakers, they'll have an advantage over the Cavs. The Jazz series was too easy. The Lakers could sleep walk through it. They'll have to pick it up versus the Rockets or Blazers.
How impressed are you with the hawks win?
I guess I'm impressed that they won their first playoff road game in a decade. Hooray. For them to do it ... D Wade had to be shooting air balls because of serious back spasms. If D Wade's back starts feeling better, I think the Heat take the series.
I would've loved to see Sheed on the Cavs. That wouldn't have done anything to the chemistry. That is dripping with sarcasm. Do you see the Cavs losing more than two games before the finals?
You gotta believe Danny Ferry knows better ... and 2 games sounds about right as far as losses go for the Cavs. Maybe one loss in Round 2 and one loss in the Conference Finals. They are playing terrific basketball right now.
Most under the radar Free Agent to be this offseason?
Trevor Ariza? He's looked great for the Lakers. He's 23 years old and is starting to really hit that jumper. Put him on a team where he isn't the fifth option every night and I think his numbers go way up. I think you'll see a number of teams make a run at him this summer.
I think the blazers would be up 3-1 if it weren't for the horrible officiating. The Rockets matchup great against us, but the Blazers are still the better team! Thoughts on the officiating?
From the department of self deception ...
Hey chad, it just came to my mind. Maybe I should lobby that we sign Rasheed Wallace on the cheaper side and with a healthy manu next season surprise everyone and win a championship
Sure, then he can destroy both of the storied franchises of the decade.
Are you hearing anything about the Knicks' plans for the offseason? Do you think they'll end up retaining Lee and Nate or letting them walk?
Too early to tell. David Lee's going to want A LOT of money. But he may be too valuable to let go. I think Robinson is wearing another uniform next year. Right now the Knicks' plan is to be well under the cap in 2010. Look for them to shop Eddy Curry hard this summer. I think Donnie Walsh made his first big mistake at the trade deadline when he passed on a deal with the Kings that would've shipped Jeffries there for Kenny Thomas.
Chad, give us a quick list of the biggest free agents this summer so we know what we're working with here.
Top Player Option guys are Carlos Boozer, Hedo Turkoglu, Anderson Varejao and obviously Kobe Bryant if he opts out. Top unrestricted free agents are Ben Gordon, Lamar Odom, Andre Miller, Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby, Ron Artest and Trevor Ariza. Top restricted guys are Paul Millsap, David Lee, Marvin Williams, Charlie Villanueva, Raymond Felton
If you're Steve Kerr what do you do this summer? The word coming out of the desert is they want to keep the core together more or less and make another run. What's the point? Best case scenario is making the playoffs only to lose in the first round surely?
Yeah, I'm a little skeptical too. Sounds like they'll make a concerted effort to move Shaq ... but then they have nothing in the middle. The good news is they have a lottery pick. The bad news is, in the past, they always trade it. A guy like Earl Clark would be a great fit in Phoenix.
Chad, thanks for that piece on Mutombo. As someone that loves sports, but a long time ago has moved away from always supporting the popular. I find myself rooting for the sportsstars that stay down to earth or even better the ones that realize that "giving back" is not supposed to be used as another marketing phrase, but something to be put into action long after the camaras stopped rolling.So thank you
Mutombo is the best. A great human being who would be helping whether he was a NBA star or just you're average Joe. We tend to focus on all the bad things that pro athletes do. But there are a lot of GOOD things they do too. And much of it happens away from the cameras. For as messed up as the world is right now, I'm always amazed at how many selfless people there are working for good ... despite the odds. What the world needs is more Mutombos.
Chad, Is there really a difference between teams drafting 8th vs teams drafting 22nd in this year's draft?
Not really. There's an elite first tier with Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio. A second tier that has Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden and Jordan Hill. After that ... the difference between 6 and 22 is negligible right now.
Chad - is there a logical explanation as to why so many lottery bound players are not declaring for the draft? You'd think that with such a weak draft it'd be more incentive for these players to return. Don't get me wrong, I give them credit for staying in school, it just seems bizzare!
Not really. It's probably a fluke. I know some are attributing it to what Blake Griffin did last year, but I just think you have a group of mature college players who understand that they have a lot to work on. They're better off getting 30 minutes a night in college to the 5 minutes a night they'd get in the pros. The first contract you get in the NBA is great. But it's the second one that really matters. The kids that stayed like Ed Davis and Greg Monroe are focused on that. However there were plenty of kids who foolishly declared despite not being ready. So ... it balances itself out.
I believe Patty Mills has the exact same game Tony Parker had at the same age. Will GMs draft Mills late or learn from their mistake with Parker and draft him in the lottery?
There are some similarites ... sure. But Parker was a much better playmaker at this stage. I think Mills is a little more focused on scoring. He'll go somewhere in the first round if he stays in the draft. His problem is that there are a ton of point guards in this draft. I have 11 in the first round. Workouts will determine how the order shakes out.
So what you're saying is, based on rookie pay scale and economy, its better to have the 22nd pick over the 6th?
Sort of. Obviously you'd like to get to pick your favorite player first. Wait until 22 and the guys you like the best may be gone. But from a financial perspective ... sure.
If Swine Flu isnt in control, could it affect the summer leage in Las Vegas?
I correctly predicted before the chat that someone would find a way to work the swine flu into the chat. And wow ... an obscure Vegas summer league reference when there are playoff games in Texas at the moment? Nice Chris.
What on earth is Austin Daye doing? It seems quite clear that almost everyone believes he needs to go back to school, put on some weight, and show that he can be assertive at the college level. Going back to GU, with all those seniors leaving, would give him that chance. However, there is much speculation that he is leaving especially since the Zags have signed another player to a scholarship that doesn't appear to be open. Can you talk some sense into the kid?
He should go back to school. No question. The problem is that NBA GMs are greedy. They are looking for upside. Someone will draft him in the first round and then bury him in the D-League or on the bench for a few years. Daye gets paid, but doesn't get the experience he needs. So for every Ed Davis, there's a kid like Daye who's getting really bad advice from someone.
Chances I get drafted?
I think for sure ... Price will get drafted. Somewhere in the first 10 to 15 picks in the second round. Too much talent there not to take a look.
Will DeRozan be an option for Toronto at #9 or will they have to move up?
Probably have to move up. He's one of the few players with superstar upside. He hasn't shown it on the court yet, but the physical tools are there. I think he goes Top 6.
Any chance any team takes me in the top 12 hoping i can become the poor man's elton brand?
Maybe ... Nets president Rod Thorn said he needed a moose. I think Blair qualifies.
What is your take on Gerald Henderson?
In a good draft he's a late first round pick. In this draft, he probably lands in the back end of the lottery. Great athlete, but a pretty inefficient player who lacks a killer instinct.
Of the lottery teams, is there anyone of them that would NOT take Blake Griffin with the first pick? If so, why and are they out of their minds?
I think all 14 would take Griffin. I've spoken with reps from every team and that's what they are all saying. There's been some speculation in the media that the Kings might prefer Ricky Rubio ... but from what I'm told, they'll take Griffin if they get the No. 1 pick unless there are medical issues with Griffin's knees. Lots of team like Rubio ... but Griffin's the one sure thing in this draft.
Chad - why doesn't the "good athlete" argument work for Hederson, a guy w/skills and a good basketball IQ - but when teams see a PF who is a good athlete but has no clue how to play the game they drool all over him?
Because good athletic big men are much harder to find. The taller you are, the rarer commodity. That's all.
How about Temple Sr. Dionte Christmas. Did he hurt himself by not going to Portsmouth? Whats his realistic ceiling in this draft, late first round maybe?
No one hurts themselves by skipping Portsmouth. Christmas is a potential second rounder. I don't see him cracking the first round.
I am a scoring machine, Should I stay in the draft this year since it is weaker than next year's?
Meeks is a little under rated. I went back and watched some video of his this week. He's a more efficient scorer than I thought. I think he may need a year under Calipari to really boost his NBA credentials. I think he's a legit prospect, but may struggle to crack the Top 30 this year.
Lawson at 17 to the Sixers to replace Andre Miller?
He probably goes a little higher than that ... but for sure that's going to be an area of focus for the Sixers. If Lawson's off the board, someone like Jonny Flynn will be there.
Gotta run everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll do it again next week. Aloha.