Greetings everyone. Plenty to talk about after all but two teams played their openers in the past 48 hours, so let's get right to it. Also, today's PER Diem should up soon on the Cavs' 0-2 start.
Hi John, what's your impression on Al Horford, is he an All Star candidate for the East?
Sure, if they play the Pacers every night. Al was impressive last night -- 24 and 16 -- but those buckets will be a lot harder to come by against good defensive teams.
Give me odds on Danilo winning the 3-point shootout this season.
Gallinari had some impressive shooting numbers in his limited minutes a year ago, and seeing him open the year with seven treys is another strong sign. That said, I suspect he'll have to play more frequently just to get invited to the shootout, let alone win it.
Hey John, what were your impressions from Celtics/Cavs? How did you feel Boston's newcomers affected the matchup?
Boston played exactly how they did a year ago -- they shot very well from outside and made a bunch of turnovers. That's their M.O. The triple from Daniels was gravy -- he can't make 3s -- and they won't shoot quite that well from distance every night, but it was a strong debut for Daniels, Sheed and the whole crew.
Bargnani's first half play yesterday was amazing. I am thinking they have a legit shot at the 6th seed this year. Go Raps Go
One of the interesting stories of the opening weeks is determining how much of last night was Toronto and how much was Cleveland. I was shocked Cleveland had such a hard time scoring on them.
Is Yi Jianlian for real?
That double-double last night certainly was a positive sign, but Yi had a few good early-season games last year too and then faded into total irrelevance. Let's see him do it consistently before we start proclaiming him the answer at power forward, but this was definitely a positive sign.
John, do you think anything can/should be done about the lack of parity in the league? I mean, when 20 or so ESPN experts are virtually unanimous about every division's winner, why don't I just check back in in May?
Right now all we can say is that there's a *perceived* lack of parity. If those same five teams are at the top of the standings in April, well ahead of the pack, then we can start discussing this as a potential problem.
Given how big a mismatch the Spurs-Hornets game appeared to be, will the Spurs have the division clinched by the all-star break? As a Hornets fan, I worry the answer is yes.
Blanket answer for everyone who is either on Cloud 9 or on a ledge: It's one game. Relax. Spurs were at home and indeed looked very good, but even when the Hornets won 56 two years ago they got blown out three straight times in S.A. in the playoffs. Hornets have a lot of trouble there for some reason.
Melo for MVP? Thoughts is it possible? 30/8/5 with an awesome dunk is a great start.
I think that's a serious long shot, but what that dunk showed to me is how Melo's improved conditioning is paying off -- I hadn't seen his elevator go that high before.
How much longer does Mike Brown have his job?
Please, people. Go back and look at how some teams started in recent years. I keep bringing up Orlando a year ago, but three years ago Dallas started something like 2-4 or 2-5 and ended up winning 67 games, and Phoenix was about the same and won 60. We've still got 80 of these things left.
Boozer looked just aweful last night. He shot the ball every time he touched it. He just doesn't seem to fit anymore. What should they do with him?
Had those shots gone in I think you'd be singing a different tune. Utah's problem to me was more at the defensive end anyway; some of that is due to Boozer (and Okur) but it goes deeper.
Did Dallas, Phoenix, or Orland win the title in those years?
No, but Miami did in '06 after a rather underwhelming first quarter of the season.
John, two questions on who will win tonight: Blazers vs. Nuggets and Deschutes Jubilale vs. Widmer Brrr?
I like the Blazers at home with the Nuggies on a back to back, but it will be a good test for Portland after an uneven preseason. Incidentally, Denver had a serious blizzard yesterday so I don't know when the Nuggets are arriving. As for the beers, I'll take Widmer Brrr ... Jubilale is one of the rare Deschutes offerings that left me a bit disappointed.
Will Ramon Sessions ever play for a team that realizes how good he is??...seems like his situation in Minny is worse (inexplicably) than the one in Milwaukee...how does this play itself out??
I am aghast that he only played 19 minutes last night, and that the Wolves never though to play Sessions and Flynn together in the backcourt. I guess they just felt like they had to find more minutes for Damien Wilkins ... ugh.
Do you think Lawson will have a shot a ROY?
It's highly unlikely he will play enough minutes to get into contention -- Griffin still has the upper hand, and Tyreke Evans is likely the main competition. Both those guys will play more than 30 minutes a game; Lawson is likely to stay in the teens.
Andrew Bynum an all-star?
I think so, yes, though it would require the coaches to put three Lakers on the squad. Given their success I think that's a reasonable proposition this year.
At what point can we give the "biggest lottery bust still getting major minutes in his 4th season" award to Hilton Armstrong?
I'm soooo disappointed that Diogu sat last night while they played Armstrong so much. Makes no sense to me at all. Was also a bit puzzled by all the run for Bobby Brown, since he was dreadful a year ago and Collison can really shoot it.
Jeff Green is a guy who PER has never loved, but I see him being a Rashard Lewis type mismatch for teams. What do you think?
He's not nearly in Lewis's league as a shooter, and he's also an inch shorter, so that seems a stretch to me.
Do you think I will ever gain the focus and vitality that I had when I played with golden state?
We need to discuss this, because all anybody read about the Clippers in preseason was how Baron was in much better shape and was determined to make up for last year ... but in the first two games he's done nothing but shoot bricks just like he did a year ago.
Do you think that Chase Buddinger will be the surprise out of his class?
He's had a nice start, especially for a second-round pick, but the second-round steal of this draft is definitely going to be DeJuan Blair.
What do you think about Speights and his performance last night?
The one bright spot for Philly. For those who missed it, Marreese Speights shot 10-of-11 with 26 points in 26 minutes. Unfortunately, Elton Brand played poorly and so did most of the Sixers' starting lineup. I was very optimistic about Philly based on Brand rebounding somewhat from last year's disaster, so his line from last night gives me pause.
Wasn't it you who had Ty Lawson ranked 1st in your draft rankings? Just want to say nice call and glad nobody listened to you. Talk about the steal of the draft!
Thanks, but the "it's one game" mantra cuts both ways -- if Lawson shoots 3-for-17 tonight my Draft Rater is going to look silly in a hurry.
I have to say that the Celtics defensive effort last night almost overshadows the opening night defeat of Cleveland. I know that its early and the Bobcats have some injuries, but if the Cs play D like that, it doesn't matter whether they're hot or cold from outside.
Boston's D was impressive. I expect Charlotte to finish last in Offensive Efficiency, but even so -- holding a team, any team, to 59 points in an NBA game is an impressive accomplishment.
I know Philly isn't Boston or Clev but last night people outside Orlando finally saw what our second unit can do. Tell you me agree, the Magic have the deepest team in the league?
I think they are the leading contender for the honor, yes. Williams looked like the year off did him some good and the others played well too. Ryan Anderson should really help during the Lewis suspension since he can mimic many of the same things.
What does your PER Rater say about Jim Zorn
It tries to think about something else. Redskins next five games -- three on the road against winning teams, two at home against undefeated teams. 2-10 is looking fairly likely.
Any chance the Cavs fire Mike Brown after they start the season 8-10 or something?
**IF** The Cavs got off to that kind of start I believe it would place Brown on the hot seat, yes. But we're a looooong way from that discussion.
Why does Jared Jeffries play? See his numbers last night? 36 minutes, 2 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers. Talk about production.
I'm as mystified as you are. I know they aren't happy with Larry Hughes, but it's hard for me to imagine they could get worse production than they're getting from Jeffries.
I'm not sure why Mike Brown is taking so much heat but I am concerned about the amount of the words "adjusting to each other" and "gelling". Other teams added free-agents...did the Cavs just waste their training camp and pre-season?
No, I just think they have a bigger adjustment to make than most of the other contending teams because of how Shaq changes things for them at both ends, and (less discussed) because Z is visibly slowing down.
Orlando, Boston, Cleveland than who in the East, the Wizards? Do you think they can play defense?
Not sure, but we'll get a great answer tomorrow when Washington visits Atlanta. I'd say those are two of the prime suspects for No. 4 in the East, especially the way Gilbert looked in the opener.
A couple of questions on the Suns after last night. Nash looked MVP caliber in the 4th quarter - any chance he has a better year than the last couple? And I know its only one game - but Amar'e looked disinterested. Is that going to be a season-long issue? Thanks!
Nash's numbers went up markedly after the coaching change last year, so it's reasonable to suggest he might put up better numbers this year than he did a year ago. As for Amare, our J.A. Adande touched on this last night, but recovering from that eye surgery isn't going to be a cakewalk. Not only are there potential peripheral vision and depth perception issues, but he couldn't do any training while he was recovering.
What do you think of Beasley last night at the SF/PF positions?
After all that consternation, he split his minutes exactly 50-50 between the two spots. I think the issue for Miami is this -- with their roster, it's better to have Beasley at the 3, because Q-Rich isn't any good and neither are the other guys they have to play there. But for Beasley himself, he has much more of an advantage lining up as a 4 and blowing past power forwards.
Are the Jazz even mentioned in the "contenders" conversation?
Not at this point, no. The list goes seven deep at the absolute most, but for most folks I think there are only four or five names on it.
Can the Spurs beat LA starting Matt Bonner?
I was a little surprised he got the nod over McDyess last night, and I don't expect that to continue all year. Incidentally, McDyess has had a *very* strong first-half second-half differential the past few years, playing much, much better in the second half of the season, so maybe the Spurs will unveil him for Game 42.
The Cavs went without Shaq for almost the entire fourth quarter, and started Lebron at the four in the second half. It seemed to work for the most part- even though they lost and faded at the end, they came back from down 21 to tie. Is that a harbinger? It's weird because Shaq looked good on offense, but stunk on D.
I think smaller and faster is generally the answer for what's ailing Cleveland right now, and that's why the prospect of a Z-for-Jacko trade can't be dismissed.
Where are your Daily power rankings.
Wait about two weeks. There's not enough info yet to have coherent rankings, but once we do they'll be posted and updated every day, along with the playoff odds.
Talk about my Pistons! Most predict 3rd in Central and 9ish in East? That's crazy right? Bulls, Wizards, 76ers, and even the Raps I would say don't have the collective talent and experience that the 2009 re-tooled version Pistons have. I would say Chad Ford's prediction of 2nd in the Central and 6th in the East is the closest.
Keep in mind that they won't be playing Memphis every night. Last night was indeed a positive for Detroit, but I want to see them play a real team before I get too keyed up about their chances.
Corey Brewer was an absolute train wreck on offense last night... but his defense was clearly valuable and helped the Wolves get 15 steals. Do they continue to start him at 2 or 3? Who else do they have?
He'll start at the wing by default, especially since they don't have another stopper, but man is he brutal on offense. I also want to see the Wolves play Sessions and Flynn together, as noted above, and that would cut into Brewer's minutes a bit.
I was shocked at Toronto's D last night too. Was that a fluke, with Cleveland played the 2nd of a back-to-back?
That's one of the big unanswered questions, and we just won't know until the teams get more games under their belts. Got a lot of Bargnani questions in here -- he played very well in the second half of last season and again last night, but again, I need to see him in a less obvious mismatch before I start effusing.
I know it's just 1 game, but can my team go 82-0 and does our star player have the inside track on MVP?
Does anybody in the US find it weird that Rashard Lewis gets suspended for 10 games for something that nets you a 2-year-ban in every olympic sport?
Not really ... the olympic sports had to set up draconian rules because the drugging was so rampant. NBA hasn't had much of a problem with it.
What do you think: is JO back?
Impressive debut, but Knicks are among league's worst defensive teams and struggle to guard the paint in particular. Let's see an encore before we get too excited.
John,What do you think of Nellie's inexplicable decision to give 25 minutes to Turiaf at PF and only 10 to Randolph?
Got a lot of emails and tweets from GS fans about the lack of burn for the two Anthonys. Morrow was in at the end at least, but I was shocked Randolph played so little. Don't worry -- everybody on the team except Ellis will swing from 10 minutes to 40 at completely random intervals.
i like okafor, but do you think this is an improvement from chandler?
Well, he had 18 points more than Chandler did last night, so I'd say that's a nice start. Hornets won't be playing Spurs on the road every night, so it should get better from here.
Do the blazers need Oden to score or can they contend with him just playing great defense and rebounding?
Let me put it this way -- the latter is by far the more important of the two considerations. Portland was a lights out offensive team last year, so they can score without going through Oden. But they were only average defensively, and Oden is the guy who can improve that several notches.
Do you think Toronto will look to move Bosh by the end of the season, and if so who would be looking to deal for him?
The entire Bosh discussion will be framed by how well the Raptors are playing. If they keep up the success of last night then this is a moot point, as they'd want to keep Bosh for a playoff run and would be more likely to persuade him to stay after the season. If they struggle, however, then a trade is a very real possibility, and probably 20 teams will try to get in on the bidding.
Everybody knows the 5 favorite teams to win the championship this season. If there was a possible 6th team out there, who do you think it is?
Blazers. And the Nuggets would be No. 7. And nobody feels really comfortable with either of those, which is why most lists stop at five. But seven is the absolute maximum number you could mention right now.
Folks, that's all the time I have, but we'll do this again next week at the same time -- I'm moving to a regular noon gig on Thursday's this year. Thanks for all the great questions.