Aloha everyone, thanks for coming. I'm chatting live from Chicago as we get set for the 2009 Chicago pre-draft combine. I've been on the road the last few weeks looking at prospects. We'll take a few playoff questions to start and then we'll talk draft
My team has won 10/14 against Clevland, swept L.A. 2-0, and beat Denver on the road on a back-2-back with L.A. Lakers. You finally starting to Believe in Magic?
Yeah ... I'm starting to believe. The play of their forwards -- Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu -- has been tremendous and so far no one but LeBron has really shown up for the Cavs. I thought the Cavs looked unstoppable in the first two rounds and the Magic looked very mortal. But three games into this series, I don't think there's any question that the Magic have looked like the better team.
Doesn't it seem as though the Lakers and Cavs are similar teams right now? Both have to rely on 1-2 major contributors, and both of their benches are not showing up. Neither are playing team basketball; the Nuggets and Magic are. Any thoughts?
I think that's a pretty good analysis. I do think the Lakers have a good bench, they're just not playing well. The bench has always been a weakeness of Cleveland, though I'm not sure it's a strength of Orlando's either. I think the key has been how the Magic's forwards have just dominated Cleveland. They don't really have an answer for that right now.
Other than Kobe, who has to step up on a consisten basis for the lakers to beat the nuggets
Lamar Odom. He's disappeared again ... the same thing he did last year. Where is this guy when you need him. Andrew Bynum played better last night, but they need him more consistent as well.
Should Dahntay Jones be suspended/fined/anything for his "trip" of Kobe?
Yes, I think that's a one game suspension. That's just as bad as a push to the back or a swing at the head. Kobe could've been injured.
Is LeBron going to get the same "not making your teammates better" crap that Kobe got a few years ago? It seems like the ball is in his hands too much and the rest of the team is getting cold. Agree?
No. The problem is that LeBron's teammates aren't stepping up. He always is looking to get his guys going, but at some point, if they don't have it, he's got to take over.
Do you think that there is anyway that Ricky Rubio goes with the first pick?
I don't think so. I think Griffin is set in stone. However, I wouldn't be shocked if the Grizzlies and Clippers work out a deal that swaps No. 1 for No. 2 and then the Clippers select Rubio.
Chad- OK... here's the million dollar question.. what do you think the grizzlies should do with the #2 pick. 1. Draft Rubio 2. Move up and get Griffen 3. Package Rubio for a name? 4 Any other options you can think of
I have a story on all of this that will be posted shortly. But here's the rub ... If they draft Rubio, they run a very real risk of him deciding to stay in Europe for the next year or two. He doesn't really want to play there and the cost of his buyout is so high in Spain ... why would he pay roughly $7 million out of his own pocket to play for a team he doesn't want to play for. So I really think the options for Memphis are to either draft Thabeet and let some other team worry about the complications with Rubio or make a trade to a team he's more motivated to play for ... The Kings and the Knicks are probably the two top options right now.
How in the world can I convince Chris Wallace to send us the number 2 pick? Will Lee and the #8 for #2 and Darko work? Or do I have to blackmail him?
The problem is that Lee is a restricted free agent. They can't trade him until after July 1st and then only via a sign-and-trade that Lee would have to agree to. I know the Knicks have interest in Darko and certainly in Rubio, but if it goes that down that way, it will take a few weeks to sort out.
Is there any idication that perhaps Blake Griffin might not want to go to the Clippers?
Publicly he's saying he's fine with the Clippers, privately I think everyone knows it's not the best fit on the court or off it. The Clippers culture is a mess and it's not ideal to park Griffin there. But then again, he's a good kid, a hard worker and maybe the Clippers will find a way to turn the franchise around with him, Eric Gordon and Al Thornton as the center pieces.
If the Thunder don't trade their pick, don't you think they should take Harden? He fills their need at shooting guard and seems like a much better fit.
He's a better fit, but he's not a better player than Rubio. If he's there, I think they have to take him and figure it out. If he's gone, the choice between Thabeet, Harden and Jordan Hill is a tough one. I think they'd probably choose in that order.
Would Memphis deal with the Kings if Sacramento offered the #4, #23, and a player or cash for the #2?
Probably not enough there for Memphis to do the deal. They already have two first round picks. If Jason Thompson was in the deal? Maybe ...
Who's more likely to be on the board when the Raps pick at 9? DeRozan, Evans or Holliday?
At this point ... DeRozan. I think Holliday is on the rise but in my newest mock draft (which debuts tomorrow) both Evans and DeRozan are on the board.
With 76 million already in committed salary in 2010, is there any way the Wizards actually keep the number 5 pick?
No, I think they probably trade it. They would prefer a veteran if they can't get Griffin or Rubio. I know a lot of teams are calling. Still unclear what they are looking for.
Should the Wolves package all of their picks to move up to draft Thabeet?
No. I like Thabeet, but at this point I don't think the Wolves can afford to package three picks to move up a couple of spots in the draft. They need the talent. I think they are in a tough position. But Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, James Harden and DerMar DeRozan will be the likely group they select from.
I hope the Knicks do not select steph curry. Regardless of the system, hes an undersized 2 who wont be able to defend anyone or create his own shot. hes got a quick release but i dont think hes worthy of the 8 pick in an average draft year. (and this is well below average). What are the chances the Knicks take Jonny Flynn? Some guys just know how to play in the garden and thats half the battle. And this kid can do it.
I like Jonny Flynn and he could be a good player for the Knicks, but I think you're wrong about Curry. I got to see him workout today and I think he's bigger and better than you think he is. He'll figure out how to run the point and when he does, I think he can be special. His jump shot is a thing of beauty and he's so clever with the ball. I still think Steve Nash isn't a crazy comparison.
How can the Wizards take on the salary of another vet player if they are already deep into luxury tax territory? Wouldn't their only choice be to trade the pick to a team with cap space, dump a contract on them in the process and maybe pick up a future pick?
They package the pick with a veteran they want to move off the cap for someone else they like. They aren't giving away the No. 5 pick in the draft.
Chad,we're a month away from the draft. What are you hearing about the Warriors? Jennings? Evans? Flynn? Another position? Or will we see a trade to bring Baron back home?
Obviously point guard is the place they need to focus on. I know Nellie would prefer to get a veteran in there and I still don't think the Baron Davis reacquisition is out of the question. All of those other guys just aren't ready to push the Warriors back into the playoffs. Jennings is raw. Evans could be a clone of Monta Ellis. Flynn is the best point guard of the group, but he would give them a very small backcourt. I think Jrue Holiday would be good, but 1) he may not be there and 2) he also isn't ready.
Hey Chad, why aren't people higher on Ty Lawson? I know he is a tad undersized, but a lot of the time he was the most dominant player on the court.
Good question. I like him better than most scouts seem to. I'm surprised he isn't figuring stronger in lottery talks. I know there is some concerns about his foot and his size, but he was great this year. For all of the NBA guys who say they want guys to stay in college ... how can you hate on Lawson after he what he did this year?
Could Derozan bring back some Vinsanity for the Raptors ?
That's his upside. If he's there, it would be hard for the Raptors to pass. Ditto for Tyreke Eavsn.
What do you see happening with Sessions and Charlie V?
Bucks can't afford to re-sign either guy which is why they are concentrating hard on point guard and power forward in the draft.
Is Rubio really as good a prospect as people act like he is? I understand he's something of a prodigy right now, but he's never looked especially quick or athletic; his success seems to come from the fact that he's really savvy, skilled and composed for his age. Is his upside really that high?
Henry Abbott did a good piece on this today in True Hoop. I think you have it right, but guys can succeed without being an elite athlete in the league. They just have to be athletic enough. In the case of Rubio and Curry I think they're good enough. Neither guy is Derrick Rose but neither is Steve Nash or Deron Williams.
Who is this year's Brook Lopez, a player considered to be a high pick but drops for whatever reason? I have my money on Jordan Hill. I think the Nets are going to luck out again by getting him at 11.
Maybe. I think he's Dale Davis with a little more upside. In this draft, though, that's a compliment. I think Washingon at No. 5, the Raptors at No. 9 and the Bucks at No. 10 all have to take a serious look. I don't see him slipping by all three teams.
Experts seem to write off concerns about Rubio and Steph Curry's athleticism by saying they could be like Steve Nash. My question: is that good enough? The guy's amazing offensively, but he's such a liability defensively. It's no coincidence that he's never made the Finals, despite playing on great teams.
C'mon. Steve Nash isn't the reason the Suns don't make the Finals. A few unfortunate injuries in the playoffs and the infamous Amare Stoudemire suspension probably have more to do with it. The guy's a two time MVP ... do you really shy away from that?
Are the Suns going to promptly sell their pick for cash?
Ouch. I don't think so, but given the financial situation they are in, combined with their history and I guess you never know.
What do you think about Blair?
He's a beast. He's gotten in better shape. Has measured 6-7 1/4 in shoes with a 7-foot-2 wing span at a couple of NBA workouts. Has a decent 33 inch one step vertical. And he know what an amazing rebounder he is. I think he'll be better than people think and could go as high as Toronto at 9, Milwaukee at 10, the Nets at 11, Pacers at 13. No way he passes the Bulls at 16.
Is Psycho T a lock for Utah?
I wouldn't say a lock, but it's a great fit. He's a Jerry Sloan type of player and the Jazz figure to lose either Boozer or Millsap to free agency this summer.
If Maynor, Lawson and Flynn aren't there at 17 for the Sixers, where will they go? Also, have they shown interest in moving up?
Jeff Teague to me is a real sleeper in the draft. If he stays in, I would take him at No. 17 if those guys are off the board.
The Hawks do go point guard at 19, right?
Ummmm ... that's what we've been saying for years, but the Hawks don't seem to be paying attention. I think they 've got to with Mike Bibby testing the free agent waters.
Every year there's a guy ranked in the teens a month before the draft that ends up going top 8. Is Terrence Williams that guy?
Talent wise ... yes. He's the guy. Background check wise ... I don't think so. I think teams are a little scared off.
How is Blair different than Robert Tractor Traylor? Seriously. They are both big guys who have struggled with their weight. They both have really good footwork. Don't forget, Traylor was VERY highly regarded coming out of Michigan.
It's a great point. If Blair doesn't keep his weight under control, that's who he'll be.
Drafts like these make you hate your job right?
Not really. It's not a great draft. I think we all know it. So the fun is trying to find the guys who will actually stick in the league. Most of the guys in this year's draft are going to struggle, so I think of it more as a fun challenge.
So is Omri Casspi going to be the first Israeli NBA player?
I just saw Casspi workout today in Chicago. He had just gotten off the long flight from Tel Aviv and was tired. But he looked good and I think he's got a chance to go in the first round and play in the NBA. He's going to get offered a lot of money to play in Europe, but he told me his dream was to go to teh NBA ... not only for him, but for his country. Those Israelis love the NBA. Nice kid.
Who is the most impressive athlete in this draft? Is it Griffin? T Will? Derozan? Someone else?
DeRozan. Then Griffin
Chad, When CP3 was in college I had never seen a PG penetrate at will whenever he wanted. This year NO ONE could stop Flynn from getting to the hole and he would finish over guys like Thabeet. I think this guy is a future top 5 PG in this league what do you think?
Maybe. I just wrote a story on his workout. He's got some of the tools and intagibles you love. He's smaller than CP3, but has a huge heart. I think he doesn't slip out of the Top 10.
Gotta run everyone. Don't forget to watch the Chicago pre-draft combine on ESPN Thursday and Friday. And look for my next mock draft on Wednesday!