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May 12, 11:44 AM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (11:06 AM)

Aloha everyone. Great to be here. I'm in LA watching draft prospects including Blake Griffin and Hasheem Thabeet. We'll start with playoffs and then hit the NBA Draft.

Tyler (Derry, NH)

What's your altered prediction between the Celtics and Magic?

Chad Ford
  (11:09 AM)

No alteration. I picked Celtics in 7 and am sticking with it. It's obviously a really close series, but I like the experience the Celtics bring and the fact that they still hold home court advantage.

MWK (New York, NY)

How embarrassed are the Lakers of Sunday's performance? Is this the fire they needed lit underneath them to demonstrate their championship flare... or simply more signs of their futile attempt to win Kobe's his 4th ring?

Chad Ford
  (11:11 AM)

Lakers haven't been great in the playoffs, but with Yao out, they're going to win this series. They let their guard down just a bit and it shows. But I still think, at the end of the day, the depth of LA wins the them the title. Though obviously the play of the Cavs is giving me second thoughts on that prediction.

Damon (Socorro, NM)

At this point, are the Lakers worrying about Denver?

Chad Ford
  (11:13 AM)

They should be. Denver has been great. Chauncey is showing that he was really the heart of the Pistons all of those years and they have a physical front line. They don't have the depth that the Lakers have, but I think the Nuggets will really, really push them. I've been really, really impressed.

Marcus (San Antonio, Tx)

With the dominating performance by LeBron and the Cavs... What would you say are the chances of any team really leaving a dent in their run for their first ring?

Chad Ford
  (11:14 AM)

I doubt it will be the Celtics or Magic. That could very well be a sweep as well. However, I still believe the Lakers can take them in a 7 game series. I also think Denver could push them in ways no one from the East can.

Sal (Dallas)

Scariest thing for the rest of the league I've seen all season: without hesitation, LBJ taking and burying several pull-up 3s at critical points in last night's game. It wasn't just that he hit them, but the confidence you could see he had in those shots when he rose up to take them spoke volumes. Despite winning the MVP hands-down this year, the dude is still getting better!

Chad Ford
  (11:16 AM)

Yup. LeBron just turned 24 folks. We have guys in the NBA Draft this year that are 24. He's still fine tuning his game. If he can hit that jumper with consistency ... I think he, not Michael Jordan, will ultimately be remembered as the greatest player to ever play the game.

Matt (ATL)

Now that the Hawks have limped into the off-season, what do you think they do to the roster to allow them to compete with the Cavs of the world? Keep Bibby? Bring in David Anderson? Re-sign Marvin? Trade Smoove? Also, any chance Childress comes back to Atlanta?

Chad Ford
  (11:18 AM)

Lots of questions in Atlanta. I think they keep Bibby if he's willing to take a massive pay cut. I think Childress will be back. The money in Europe is drying up with the recession and this would be better for him. Marvin Williams is the big question mark. He's been solid, but not great ... but I could see a team like the Grizzlies or Pistons make a run at him at free agency.

Ricky (Indianapolis, IN)

What do you think of Danny Granger reportedly earning the NBA's Most Improved Player award? I feel he is very deserving, most people ignored the play of the Pacers this past year. Some could argue Murphy and not Granger was the most improved on the team. Any thoughts?

Chad Ford
  (11:22 AM)

He had my vote. There were good arguments for other guys, but Granger went from being a good player to a potential superstar this year. Watching him toward the end of the season, I saw him still improving. If he becomes a lock down defender, he could be the key to the Pacers becoming a contender again.

Steve (CO)

Hey Chad, what do you make of the whole Cuban-Kenyon's mother-Dallas fans scenerio? It seems all the makings were there for a bad situation. P.S. I live in Denver and attended the Mavs games here.I sat near Cuban and never saw anyone spitting or throw anything at him (as was reported in his lawyer written, so called apology). Not to say it didn't happen, but I didn't see it. Thanks.

Chad Ford
  (11:25 AM)

I'm sure Mark was talking about having that happen to him in past games. Every basketball fan knows his face and I'm sure he's targeted. I thought the apology was a start, but I think we all know that Cuban is like an out-of-control kid at times. That's why some people love him (the passion) and why lots hate him. Cuban crossed the line, but at least he was man enough to back away from it and apology. Though ... if Kenyon Martin was going to "deal" with me in private, I'd probably back away too.

Noah (champaign)

Of the teams that have been knocked out already, (SA, Utah, portland, NO, Chicago, atlanta, miami, detroit, philly), Which one has the toughest offseason? which one has the best chance to make the leap to elite?

Chad Ford
  (11:26 AM)

Utah, Atlanta and Detroit have the biggest question marks. They all have major free agents to deal with and could be in for big changes. In a lot of ways, Detroit has the most pressure. There are high expectations there and Joe D is going to have to make that cap space and draft pick really count. I think Chicago and Portland are the two teams with the best shot of moving into elite status next year. Both are young and improving and will only get better with time.

Justin (Minneapolis)

Chad, what is going with with the T-Wolves front office situation? Does anyone really want this job with Glen Taylor looking over their shoulder?

Chad Ford
  (11:30 AM)

Actually I think most people feel like Glen Taylor is a good owner. GMs want owners who are loyal and no GM has been loyal to such a lousy GM longer than Taylor. What I don't understand is what Taylor is doing with this search? David Kahn? Really??? He might be worse than McHale. He's been out of the league for years. Randy Pfund? Jim Stack? I don't get it. Tom Penn of Portland is a nice young up and coming talent, but there are guys with Penn's skills with much more experience like David Morway of the Pacers and Rich Cho of the Thunder. Too bad Dennis Lindsey of the Spurs backed out. He would've been a nice choice.

Thomas (Memphis, TN)

How legit is Blake Griffin as a #1 pick in the NBA??

Chad Ford
  (11:33 AM)

I just spent the day with him in San Francisco on Monday. All I can say is wow. The physical tools are amazing and the workout he goes through everyday is the most grueling I've ever seen. Griffin looks like he's training to be a Navy SEAL. However, what was really impressive was the basketball part with former Spurs head coach Bob Hill. He's much more skilled offensively than you think. Excellent ball handler and nice stroke with some three point range. And he's a nice, grounded kid with a very cool family. I was super impressed.

Matt (MN):

Has there been any progress on Ricky Rubio's negotiations of his buyout? Is it going to end up being too big of an obstable to overcome this year?

Chad Ford
  (11:35 AM)

He's working on it. The plan is to try to get a big endorsement for Rubio that can offset the costs of the buyout. That and a No. 2 pick should pay the money to get him here. I think it will happen and I think he'll be the 2nd player picked in the draft. Right now the next few guys on the board aren't that close to Griffin or Thabeet.

Ed (MD)

Thabeet, to me, looks uncoordinated. He won't amount to much, right? Will someone draft him based on size, or is there something I am missing?

Chad Ford
  (11:37 AM)

I'm watching Thabeet work out today in Manhattan Beach so I should have a better feel for some of this. I have some of the same concerns after watching him play at UConn for the past three years. But you'd be surprised how much a pro trainer can help with things like balance and coordination. Sometimes it's just teaching kids proper posture and how to run the right way. I think that stuff can be fixed. I'm more worried about his offensive skills. Look for me to post a story on what I found in the next few days and that story on Blake Griffin tomorrow.

Steph Curry (MSG?)

Am I really goin to the Knicks? Me, Eddy Curry, and Gallinari on the floor at the same time = worst defense in the league. Evans or Holiday are better picks.

Chad Ford
  (11:39 AM)

I've been saying for months that the Knicks really like Curry and I've had them taking him all year on our Lottery Mock Draft. I think he's a great fit for Mike D'Antoni's offense. The defensive thing is true, but remember, Curry isn't going to be on the floor and Gallinari actually had a rep out of Italy as a decent defender. I don't think you can judge him on one year with a bad back. Dont' forget, LeBron is close with Steph Curry. Maybe that's another incentive for LeBron to bolt Cleveland for New York.

Curious (Somewhere)

When are you going to post an updated mock draft?

Chad Ford
  (11:40 AM)

We've had a weekly updated Lottery Mock Draft up all year. We'll debut our full first round mock draft once the lottery order is set next Tuesday.

Rocko (NY)

How legit is Dejuan Blair out of Pittsburgh? Some compare him as a shorter Kendrick Perkins with a longer wingspan.

Chad Ford
  (11:41 AM)

He's probably going to be a better offensive rebounder and a better scorer than Perkins. He's been working out at IMG in Florida and I'm told he's already lost a lot of weight. If he comes into draft camp in great shape, that will really boost his stock.

Marvin: (Indy)

What do you think about Jarvis Varnando? How would he look in a Pacers uniform?

Chad Ford
  (11:42 AM)

Great shot blocker and the Pacers desperately need shot blocking. But he needs to get stronger and is pretty limited on the offensive end right now. A really good late first round pick, but 13 is probably too high.

Josh (DC)

What are your thoughts on the officiating in the playoffs this year? Particularly the call last night that nobody has mentioned, where Kenyon Martin fouled out of the game on a play that decided the game. Dirk throws up an off-balance shot, air balls it, the ball hits the ground, and then Javie blows his whistle? Unreal.

Chad Ford
  (11:44 AM)

The league had to make up for not calling the foul on Antoine Wright. Officiating is a joke and the NBA knows it. At this point, I'd take a WWE ref. At least no one pretends that they are legit.

Jake (UK)

Your thoughts on Jrue Holiday?

Chad Ford
  (11:46 AM)

I'm a fan. He wasn't good at UCLA this year, but I think he was playing out of position and in the wrong system for him. He's got great size (6-4, 205 pounds) a great basketball IQ and I think he's a better athlete than people gave him credit for. He may take a little longer to produce than Russell Westbrook does, but I think he'll be a lottery pick at the end of the day.

Melvin (Chicago)

Do you like Austin Daye? He was a top-10 pick on your preseason draft board and slipped down, so what's the deal?

Chad Ford
  (11:47 AM)

He's not aggressive and he's way too weak to play in the NBA and be effective right now. I will watch him workout in LA tomorrow and give you more info. But he probably needs another year to get stronger and to take over a more dominant role on the team. I'm hoping he withdraws ... for his sake.

Jeremy (Rochester, NY)

I've seen Jonny Flynn moving up the boards of a lot of mock drafts. How high do you potentially see him going?

Chad Ford
  (11:48 AM)

His range is probably 10-18. Love his quickness and the intensity with which he plays the game. However his lack of size and so-so shooting ability hamper his stock a bit.

Jimmy: (Kentucky)

Where do you see Terrence Williams being drafted?

Chad Ford
  (11:49 AM)

Hardest guy in the draft to predict. A top 5 talent with NBDL decision making skills. I wouldn't be shocked if he went in the lottery and wouldn't be shocked if he slipped into the early second. It's tough to explain how someone with so many tools averaged 12 ppg for Rick Pitino in 4 years of college ball and never really got better.

Cory (Indy)

Chad what position do you see Earl Clark playing in the NBA, 3 or 4 or a hybrid?

Chad Ford
  (11:50 AM)

He's a hybrid ... like Lamar Odom. He'll be able to play both. That's some of the appeal.

Travis (DC)

Kings fan here. The guys at Sactown Royalty are starting to gush about Tyreke Evans. Saying he might be a poor man's Dwayne Wade, could even end up being the best in the draft class if everything goes right. Other pundits say he's a Larry Hughes in the making. What's your take?

Chad Ford
  (11:51 AM)

I think he's Jerry Stackhouse. He's got a great NBA body and can really score as a slasher. But his jump shot is trouble and he's not the athlete or decision maker that Wade was. Still, in this draft, he's a Top 7 pick.

Jeff (Saint Paul, MN)

There is so much question around the Wolves right now, but draft wise, what position do you think the next GM should target as their lottery pick?

Chad Ford
  (11:52 AM)

I don't know why ... but it just seems like destiny that Thabeet will end up here.

Craig (LA)

Which lottery team is the best situation for Blake Griffin?

Chad Ford
  (11:54 AM)

If I'm Griffin I'm praying that the Knicks or Thunder win the lottery. Worst case scenario for him is the Clippers or Timberwolves.

Chad Ford
  (11:55 AM)

I've got to run a few minutes early folks ... have to run to a Hasheem Thabeet workout. Check out my draft updates all this week on the site as I travel from city to city to see the top prospects work out.