Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

August 27, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (3:03 PM)

Greetings everyone. Not much going on these past couple of weeks, but I'm here for the next hour to discuss whatever's on your mind.

Jeff (Sacramento)

Are the Kings really going to be the worst team in the league, next year?

John Hollinger
  (3:05 PM)

Well, in a 30-team league the probability of any one being the absolute worst is pretty small ... so in that sense it probably won't be the Kings. On the other hand, they're one of the handful of teams on the short list to end up at No. 30, and while they'll probably be better than they were a year ago they still won't be very good.

Chris (Nevada)

Best in East in order1) Magic2) Celts3) ClevelandTell me im correct

John Hollinger
  (3:07 PM)

I think it's basically a dead heat between Orlando and Cleveland at the top; I have to pick one of them eventually but will take my sweet time. Boston to me is clearly third in the pecking order based on their age issues and the uncertainty with how Garnett can come back. The other oddity about the East is the rock-paper-scissors nature of the match-ups last season -- Orlando beats Cleveland, Cleveland beats Boston, Boston beats Orlando. If that holds up this season, playoff seedings could matter even more than usual.

Rob (Battle Creek, Mich)

Do you think Chris Bosh will come to the Pistons in 2010? They need an interior presence like his. Or will the much improved Raptors convince him to stay?

John Hollinger
  (3:08 PM)

The Pistons won't have cap room because of the ridiculous three-year $34 million extension they gave Richard Hamilton, so they would have to trade for Bosh somehow and I don't see what assets they have to pull it off.

Christopher (San Antonio)

John, I'm concerned about shot distribution on the Lakers next season. Are there numbers available that say what Artest did with the ball each time he touched it last season vs. Ariza. I know there are a lot more variables, but I'm sure it would be interesting information.

John Hollinger
  (3:10 PM)

Artest was a very inefficient player when he created his own shot (among league's worst on 2s), and a very efficient one when somebody else did it for him (40% on 3s) -- which is a good omen for him as a fourth option in L.A. Also, keep in mind that Ariza is a 29% career 3-point shooter -- what you saw in last year's playoffs was not a representative sample of his abilities.

Chris Cohan (Oakland)

So my Warriors look good for playoffs with the other teams dropping off a bit, right?

John Hollinger
  (3:12 PM)

Only if they're all dropping to 30-52. Warriors have no all-stars and are very likely to finish in the bottom five in Defensive Efficiency, so they'd have to get very productive and healthy seasons from their minor stars or a huge breakout from Ellis/Randolph/Wright to be playoff caliber.

Steve (Bend, OR)

Do the Blazers still need another piece to get to the finals? Or, is Miller and maturity enough?

John Hollinger
  (3:13 PM)

The Blazers have enough to get to the conference finals, but there's a little problem called the Lakers. Portland matches up better against them than most, but L.A. is clearly the most talented roster in the West.

Derrick (Toronto)

The moves made by Colangelo have to be enough to convince to stay right? I don't know what else he could have done.

John Hollinger
  (3:15 PM)

That all depends how it works out on the court. Raps are looking pretty soft defensively and fairly middling overall, and it's hard to see how Bosh will be overly impressed by a .500ish season and a first-round playoff exit.

William (NY)

pound for pound though, Spurs are clearly 2nd in the west preseason, not the blazers right?

John Hollinger
  (3:16 PM)

Only if they weight a lot less. Spurs have to be respected, but we have to see how well Duncan and Manu come back from their injury years before we proclaim them the West's No. 2.

Matthuvius (Rome, GA)

Why doesn't anyone ever talk about the Hawks cracking into the Eastern Conference elite? They finished fourth last year and didn't get any worse. They kept their free agents, added Jamal Crawford and Joe Smith, yet all I hear about is Orlando, Boston and Cleveland? What gives?

John Hollinger
  (3:17 PM)

they didn't get any worse, you're correct. They just didn't get any better. They're the same team, with Jamal Crawford in the gunner off the bench role instead of Flip Murray, so it's only reasonable to expect the same result.

Mark (NY)

John, what do you take from Stan Van Gundy's quote of "being disrespected by playing the Celtics and not the Lakers on X-mas"

John Hollinger
  (3:19 PM)

I expected Kobe-LeBron on Christmas, but I was shocked when the schedule came out that the Magic weren't on any of the opening week national telecasts. Orlando has a lot of national TV games overall, but I agree that they aren't being featured much on the biggest viewing days.

Elvis (Memphis)

Looking at Memphis Roster (Mayo, Gay, Z-Bo, and if rumours are true, Iverson), it looks like as if opposing teams won't have to play any defense. Is there any chance that Marc Gasol, their lone efficient scorer, will see the ball this season? Could something magical happen, and this high-volume scorers will take only the good shots from their usually bad selection, and pass the rest? Has the NBA seen any similar team?

John Hollinger
  (3:20 PM)

If they sign Iverson this will be the most selfish offensive team ever assembled. Griz were already a one-on-one outfit even before getting Z-Bo; add him and Iverson and they may set a record for fewest assists in a season.

Brian (NJ)

Just curious, is the "ger" in Hollilnger like the ger in "germ" or like "grrrrr"

John Hollinger
  (3:21 PM)

Easy mnemonic device: It's like the "ger" in "German" -- the mother tongue of my ancestors in the Alps.

Mike (Illinois)

Any chance the Bucks are better than last year? Or are they going to fight for the ping pong balls?

John Hollinger
  (3:22 PM)

I think they could contend for a playoff spot if they keep Sessions, but that doesn't seem likely. Without him it's ping-pong city.

Ricky Rubio (Barcelona, Spain)

If I play in Spain for 2 years, do the T-Wolves lose my rights?

John Hollinger
  (3:24 PM)

No, the T'wolves keep his rights as long as he's playing in Europe. Under the current CBA, if he stays over there for at least three years he wouldn't have to sign a rookie scale contract, which may be part of his agent's thinking. However, that could change in the 2011 CBA so it's a risky strategy.

Marc (Charlotte)

Can the Bobcats sneak into the 8th seed in the playoffs? They may have made it last year had Bynum not hip checked Wallace and collapsed his lung.

John Hollinger
  (3:25 PM)

You can't start any sentence about the Bobcats with "if Gerland Wallace hadn't been injured." He gets hurt every year. Plan for it. As for this year's Cats, I expect them to have one of the league's most anemic offenses, with or without Felton, and that's likely to keep them out of the postseason.

Andy (DC-Metro)

Who is the player or team that no one is talking about that is on your radar screen? Please dont say Durant or THunder- I'm already driving that bandwagon with Simmons riding shotgun

John Hollinger
  (3:27 PM)

Player -- Ramon Sessions. Most underrated player in the league. Will be a big-time pick up for the team that lands him. As for teams, I think the consensus is largely accurate right now, but there's one quasi-surprise team I'm keeping my eye on pending future moves this summer.

Ryan Schwan (Richmond)

Do you feel Julian Wright can be a capable 2 man? Or is he a 3, plain and simple.

John Hollinger
  (3:29 PM)

He's a 3, but so is everybody on the Hornets. They have five 3s -- Posey, Peja, Wright, Brown and Peterson -- and no true 2s except their second-round draft pick. I like Wright better than the others because I think he's a better player (esp if Posey starts at the 3 while Peja goes to the pine, which probably should happen if he doesn't regain his mojo), but it's not a great fit.

Dan (Allentown, Pa)

ALERT: Sixers questionJohn,Are we going nowhere fast? Two huge contracts for pretty good, but not great players. No PG. Lousy GM, mediocre coach, horrible attendance, an afterthought in the city behind the other major sports teams, etc, etc---am I forgetting anything?

John Hollinger
  (3:31 PM)

Sixers should have a decent team and have a lot of quality young talent in the pipeline -- Iguodala, Williams, Young, Speights and now Holiday. The tax considerations have really tied their hands this year and next, but a lot of teams are in worse situations.

Andy (Denver)

Would you rather have Dahntay Jones and Linas Kleiza OR Ty Lawson and Aaron Affalo on your roster?

John Hollinger
  (3:33 PM)

I'll take the latter -- I think Lawson is a fantastic point guard prospect who can replace Anthony Carter and Afflalo is on par with Jones as a defender. Kleiza was a productive scorer, but he couldn't defend and his minutes were going to be limited behind Melo.

Alex (Ottawa)

Can Bellineli start, or is DeRozan's job to lose?

John Hollinger
  (3:34 PM)

I expect either Belinelli or Jack to start at the 2 for Toronto, with the other playing major minutes off the bench. DeRozan is likely to be a bit player at first and then work his way into more minutes as the year goes on.

Devaneric (The D)

Should I really be excited that Joe Dumars gave me Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva with all of that beloved cap space? To me, it looks like we gave up Chauncey, and another title run, for a chance to really average for years to come.

John Hollinger
  (3:35 PM)

That's how it looks to me too. The good news is you'll get to see LeBron in your arena four times a year. The bad news is the last two of those will be in blowout losses in Games 3 and 4 of the first round of the playoffs.

Dave (SLC)

Assuming the Jazz are intent on trading Boozer, are they better off doing it this summer or waiting until the deadline?

John Hollinger
  (3:38 PM)

It seems to me they're better off waiting until the deadline when a contender might be more willing to take on added salary and work a deal. The only problem for Utah is that they HAVE to trade him to get that tax hit down -- I can't imagine them writing a $12 million check to the league -- and only a few teams work as trade partners to swallow that deal.

Frank (IL)

Have you spoken with J.A. this offseason? Say hi for us, we miss him.

John Hollinger
  (3:39 PM)

I can assure you Mr. Adande is alive and well, in fact he just wrote a column two days ago.

manfrom (manila)

who should the celts sign as back up PG?

John Hollinger
  (3:41 PM)

They already have a deal with their guy, Marquis Daniels, they just haven't inked yet because they're desperately trying to make it a sign and trade. Daniels will play with House in the backcourt with the second unit and they'll trade assignments on D.

Chris (Indianapolis, IN)

I just moved from Brooklyn to Indianapolis ... should I spend money on a Pacers 10-pack? Do they have any chances this year to be halfway decent?

John Hollinger
  (3:43 PM)

I don't like their offseason moves at all, but let me throw out this nugget -- if you want to see competitive games, it's better to get tickets for a bad team's home games. Good teams win nearly all their home games, often by blowout; bad teams play them tooth and nail and win half of them.

Andy (DC-Metro)

Is Kobe likely the third best sg in the league at this point (Wade and Roy)?

John Hollinger
  (3:44 PM)

No, no, no. Roy is really good and nearly matched Kobe in PER a year ago, but Kobe remains a clear second in the shooting guard hierarchy.

Darren (Los Angeles)

Are the Nets headed in the right direction? It looks to me like they can be a playoff team in 2010-11 with all that cap space and that Lopez has 20-10 potential. Am I crazy?

John Hollinger
  (3:46 PM)

What are they getting with that cap space? Who's coming to New Jersey? And for that matter, will the Nets even spend that cap space considering their ongoing financial implosion? I like Lopez but 20-10 is a major stretch. Sorry, but I think it's gonna be a long winter along Paterson Plank Road.

Geoff (DC)

Cast some realism on the Wizards' prospects. What was cautious optimism the day of the Foye/Miller trade has somehow ascended into outright jubilation... is Flip that good? Is there a real chance of beating one of the big 3 in the playoffs?

John Hollinger
  (3:47 PM)

OK, here goes -- the Arenas-Butler-Jamison nucleus has played almost exactly .500 ball every year they've been together. Why would this year be any different?

Jesus Shuttlesworth (Boston)

If daniels plays back-up point for the Celts, who backs up Pierce at the 3? And please don't say Tony "I have never seen a shot fake I didn't jump out of my shoes for" Allen.

John Hollinger
  (3:48 PM)

I like Allen better than you do, but I think he'll have a lot of competition from Bill Walker for those minutes ... if the Celtics don't trade him first.

John Hollinger
  (3:48 PM)

Side note -- I'm ignoring the Michael Beasley questions. I don't have any inside info and anything I wrote about it would be idle speculation, so at this point I think it's best to leave it alone.

Eddie (Hoboken, NJ)

LOL, glad you know Paterson Plank Road. That is actually pretty close to the Meadowlands. KNICKS! Please answer a very loyal chatters question for once? What is going to happen with David Lee? What is going to happen with the Knicks?

John Hollinger
  (3:50 PM)

I grew up in Bergen County and have spent many a night on Washington St. in Hoboken ... As far as the Knicks, Lee is really in a tight spot as far as getting paid fair value since NY only wants one year deals and nobody else has money. The best thing for him would be the Childress strategy, but Olympiakos already spent their $$ and nobody else in Europe is playing that game anymore.

Steve (Winter Haven, FL)

why do you think Kobe is second to Wade? You don think he is the better player? if not, why not

John Hollinger
  (3:51 PM)

Kobe is the more durable player. But at this point in their respective careers, Wade is better.

Brad (Indianapolis)

Do you think Tyler Hansbrough will replace Troy Murphy as the starting PF by season end?

John Hollinger
  (3:52 PM)

Murphy averaged a double-double, nearly led the league in 3-point shooting and was fourth in the league (if I remember right) in Defensive Rebound Rate. I'd say his job's safe.

Tim (Memphis)

Who is to blame for our debacle - Wallace or Heisley? Incidentally, it's a good thing we got rid of Pau Gasol's contract, huh??

John Hollinger
  (3:54 PM)

Heisley is the one calling the shots on most of these awful moves, Wallace is just the one answering questions at the press conferences. The decision to trade Gasol and then bring in Randolph for the same money a year later is one of the most idiotic things I've ever seen.

Marc (Big D)

Is there any chance Luol Deng can approach the player he was in that playoff series against the Heat ever again?

John Hollinger
  (3:55 PM)

Sure, if an injured Dwyane Wade guards him all 82 games. More realistic is if he can be the player from that regular season, when he also put up solid numbers. I expect him to get a lot more shots with Gordon gone.

Dan (Washington, DC)

Is LeBron the hands-down favorite for MVP or do you think there's a good chance voters go in a different direction?

John Hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

LeBron is the favorite, but in the past we've seen serious voter fatigue as writers came up with increasingly convoluted excuses to avoid voting Jordan, Shaq and Duncan for the award. Could definitely see Dwight Howard getting lots of votes if Orlando finishes with a better record.

Mike (MO)

Why would Donnie Walsh offer 3 years to JKidd and not offering up for Sessions?

John Hollinger
  (3:57 PM)

You find that odd too? I find the Knicks' entire offseason odd, and I'm not really sure what the plan is at this point.

Tim (Cleveland)

The WSJ wrote about the Lebron-Shaq pairing as destined to fail. Do you agree??

John Hollinger
  (4:00 PM)

If "fail" means "not win a championship", then in a 30-team league you have a great chance of writing an article like that and being "right." Obviously Shaq is an attention seeker and that can rub people the wrong way, but go back and watch the tape of what Dwight Howard did to Cleveland last year. You don't think he gives them a better chance?

juan (brooklyn)

come on john we are going overboard there is no way you replace wade with kobe and the lakers win the 2009 finals . he is good but is not even close just because he had one legendary year on a bad team that dosen't mean he is better than bryant.

John Hollinger
  (4:01 PM)

I take it you're younger than 3, as you appear to have no recollection of the 2006 Finals.

Michael (Oklahoma)

Who starts for the Thunder on opening day at SG? Thabo or Harden? And will it stay that way for the rest of the season?

John Hollinger
  (4:01 PM)

I suspect Thabo might open the year as the starter, but I'd be surprised if he was still in that role by year-end. Harden is the long-term solution here, with Thabo as the energy guy off the bench.

Kdub (Toronto)

If Bosh bolts from TO, they will have a huge amount of cash to spend next year. Which F.A. in 2010 best suits their core of Bargs, Jose and Hedo?

John Hollinger
  (4:05 PM)

I'm glad you brought this point up, because the Raps' moves (particularly the Bargnani extension) seem to make more sense if you think Bosh is leaving than if he's staying. If that's the case the Raps should target a frontcourt heavyweight to play alongside Bargnani.

John Hollinger
  (4:06 PM)

Folks, that's all the time I have but thanks again for all the great questions. I'm taking some me time the next few weeks but we'll do this again before training camp starts.