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May 11, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:03 PM)

Aloha everyone. Thanks so much for coming to the chat today. I'm in Las Vegas checking out NBA draft prospects during the workout process. Will be in Chicago later this week and then on to NY. We'll spend a few minutes talking playoffs and then we'll do the NBA draft in preparation for the lottery next week. Let's roll.

Chad Ford
  (1:03 PM)

Aloha everyone. Thanks so much for coming to the chat today. I'm in Las Vegas checking out NBA draft prospects during the workout process. Let's roll

Vinnie (ATL)

As a gloom and doom Clevelander living in the ATL, should I be more concerned with the Celts beating the Cavs or LeBron leaving?

Chad Ford
  (1:05 PM)

They may go hand and hand though the information that keeps trickling in keeps pointing at LeBron staying in Cleveland regardless. But if there's a catastrophic loss by Cleveland, it could change the equation.

Kevin (Orlando)

I'm thinking LeBron is faking that injury. Media loves to play the whole "he had a bad game, he must be injured". Then he comes out and has an amazing game and the media has nothing to say about an injury. It's one or the other guys... no?

Chad Ford
  (1:06 PM)

No way. I think it's the opposite. I think he's downplaying it. When is the last time you've seen LeBron coast? He's not faking it.

Mike Brown (Cleveland)

Everyone's been telling me I should stick LeBron on Rondo tonight, but I'm afraid that Paul Pierce will go off if I do that. I'm confused. What should I do?

Chad Ford
  (1:07 PM)

At this point, let Pierce, who's been horrible in this series beat you. Rondo was killing the Cavs. I'd take the chance.

Danny (Boston)

How did the rest of the league miss on Rondo during the draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:10 PM)

Good question. Not everyone missed on him. He was ranked No. 6 on our Big Board on draft night. I think three issues hurt him. One, he played in the wrong system in Kentucky. Tubby Smith had Rondo walking the ball up the floor. Second, Smith didn't have kind things to say about Rondo's coachability when teams called. Finally, Rondo's lack of a jump shot really concerned guys. However, they were missing his extraordinary athleticism, aggressiveness and quickness. When I saw him in a 5-on-5 run at Tim Grover's place in Chicago before the draft, I was sold. But yes, Rondo is an example of teams focusing on what a player can't do instead of what he can do.

Alex (Cleveland)

Are the Magic at a much higher level then the Cavs and Celtics right now? Or did they just happen to run into an Atlanta team that was playing thereworst basketball of the year?

Chad Ford
  (1:13 PM)

I think they are playing great basketball. But part of it is the composition of the team. The have a dominant inside presence and shooter who stretch the floor. They are very hard to guard when they're making shots. I picked them to win a NBA title at the start of the season and I'm feeling better and better about it.

alex (f)

Is it time for the Hawks to get a new headcoach?

Chad Ford
  (1:14 PM)

I think so. But I'm not sure it will matter. If Joe Johnson bolts this summer (and it's looking more and more like he will) the Hawks will be hurt even more.

Tim (Columbia, MO)

Chad, why aren't any media guys (or girls) from ESPN giving the Suns a chance to beat the Lakers?

Chad Ford
  (1:15 PM)

I think they have a chance. I have Lakers winning in 7. But I think the Suns are playing better basketball right now. However, the Lakers have more talent, more experience and ... home court advantage. That, to me, gives the Lakers a slight edge. It's not a slight on the Suns.

Dan (LA)

Does Goran Dragic's 4th quarter in Game 3 impact the Suns future rankings in anyway? Come on, man. They're at least one spot higher now.

Chad Ford
  (1:16 PM)

Sure. Robin Lopez's development too. And if Amare decides to stay, that will be a big boost as well.

MC Welk (SLC)

How much did Boozer's non-performance vs. the Lakers cost him?

Chad Ford
  (1:18 PM)

Not nearly as much as the impending new collective bargaining agreement will. With the league's owners threatening to radically reduce the number of years a contract is guaranteed and lowering the pay scale, I doubt teams will break the bank for the Boozer's or Joe Johnson's of the world. It will put them at a disadvantage in the future. I expect LeBron, Wade, Bosh and maybe Rudy Gay to get huge deals. I think the rest will be more tempered than in the past.

Robert (Dallas)

Chad - great chats! Quick question now that the spurs have been booted from the playoffs, what do you think that strategy is this offseason? Splitter coming over? thoughts on the 20th pick - any help there? Thanks

Chad Ford
  (1:20 PM)

I think they try to get Tiago Splitter. I think they use the 20th pick on a guy who can replace what Bruce Bowen did for them (think Texas' Damion James) and then I think they use Richard Jefferson's expiring contract as a way to get some more depth. I don't see them trading Tony Parker unless they get another All-Star type point guard in return.

Mitch (SLC)

Now that our season is over, do we do anything in the off-season? The Jazz have had the same lineup for the past 4 years now and will likely lose Boozer. Do you see any moves with AK's expiring contract, the knick's pick, Memphis' 2011 protected pick or anybody else?

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

I don't think Boozer will be back. If he does come back, either Okur or Millsap will likely be moved. They have the 9th pick, which should net them another very solid young player. I think they'll be fine. Andrei Kirilenko will finally be an expiring contract if they need to make a bigger move. But overall, the Jazz have a good foundation.

Don (Philly)

Which candidate is the favorite to get the Sixers coaching job

Chad Ford
  (1:23 PM)

I think we've all been expecting Larry Brown to take the job at some point. He made a classic Brown statement at the end of Charlotte's season. The essence, I'm the coach here until I'm not. He's said that in year's past. If he does stay in Charlotte, I think the pool is a bit weak.

Uzma (Houston, TX)

Exactly one week till the lottery. What team gets the ping pong balls bouncing their way?

Chad Ford
  (1:26 PM)

Odds say New Jersey. I also think it's the team that's the best fit for John Wall. So, in this case, you kind of hope they do get it. But I'll play our Lottery Mock Draft Machine and ... the answer is ... the Sacramento Kings.

ronan (NJ)

What is the best deal for Devin Harris you have heard and who would be most interested in him?

Chad Ford
  (1:28 PM)

Bit to early to talk deals. NJ won't move him if they don't land Wall. If they do land Wall, watch the Pacers. They like him and need a point guard.

mike (indiana)

considering he wont be an elite athlete on the next level (and really wasn't on the college level), considering he shot 28% from college 3 and has a slow release, considering you can't grab/clutch/swipe/hold defensively in the nba like he did at butler, considering SF'S like 'Melo/Durant/Beasleys rebounding HASN'T carried to over to the nba.......what exactly is it about gordon hayward that has people so enamored?

Chad Ford
  (1:30 PM)

He's a much better athlete and shooter than you're giving him credit him. He has a super high basketball IQ. He's tough. He's got great size for his position. He needs to get stronger and he's never going to be an elite defender, but I think he's a very good prospect and one of the few guys in the draft who could rise much higher than he's currently projected in workouts.

Kevin (Miami, FL)

Which lottery teams would consider someone other than Wall with the #1 pick?

Chad Ford
  (1:32 PM)

Only 2 I believe -- Utah and New Orleans. And even those two teams may still take Wall and either find a way to play him together with their elite point guards or, perhaps, use him as a trade chip. I don't really see Evan Turner going No. 1.

Marcel (Montreal)

Hi Chad, Toronto has the 13th pick heading into the lottery. Anyone in that range who you think might be a nice fit in Toronto?

Chad Ford
  (1:33 PM)

They better be looking at PFs or Cs because as I've been writing all year, the chances of Chris Bosh heading back to Toronto are very slim. I have Hassan Whiteside going there in the latest Mock Draft. Daniel Orton is another possibility. So is Patrick Patterson.

KE (MPLS)

Assuming the Wovlies land the #2 pick....what should we do?!

Chad Ford
  (1:35 PM)

Evan Turner is an obvious fit, though he doesn't shoot the ball well ... a need for Minn. I could see Derrick Favors there too.

Pat (Minneapolis)

Chad: Why does everyone (yourself included I believe) doubt that Rubio will ever play for the Timberwolves? I've heard that said by dozens of writers, but nobody ever gives a reason. Would he really refuse to come over unless he is traded? He nor his agent have indicated that.

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

I think the Wolves addition of Tony Ronzone helps. He has some sway with Rubio and could convince him to come. But here's the deal. He's not coming next year. A lockout is looming the year after that. Rubio won't come if he can't play which now puts him in the Wolves future for the start of the 2013 season. Will the Wolves be that patient, when, it's also clear Rubio would prefer to play in a bigger market with a bigger Spanish population. He holds all of the cards right now, not Minn.

Daryl (CT)

Is there anyway Donnie Walsh can make a play for Rubio?

Chad Ford
  (1:40 PM)

I think he and a lot of other GMs will try. While he wasn't great in the Finals of the Euroleague, he was very good in the semifinals and the scouts and GMs that were there came away even more impressed. But from all I can gather, David Kahn really wants him to play in Minn. Jonny Flynn might be the guy they move instead.

John (Iowa City)

Does a player like Daniel Orton put scouts in an uncomfortable place? He appears to be a talented young player with an NBA body, but has very little playing time. What differences are there in scouting a player like this as opposed to a player with extensive film?

Chad Ford
  (1:42 PM)

It's very hard and very dangerous. You have to make a lot of assumptions and understand the player's work ethic. Will he put in the time and effort to get better? Most of the time, guys like this bust. But then again, there's guys like Andrew Bynum who develop. GMs are hoping he's the next Bynum.

Kevin (Chicago)

Do you feel the Paul George out Fresno would be a great fit for the Bulls over say an Xavier Henry or James Anderson who may have less upside?

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

I was really impressed when I saw him workout in LA on Monday. While I think he's closer to Wilson Chandler at the moment, there are shades of TMac there. If he was a little tougher and had a more consistent motor, he'd be a Top 10 pick. But at 17, yeah, he'd be a good pick. I'm seeing James Anderson today and am looking forward to it. He's tougher, but I'm not sure he's got George's upside.

Cameron (Cincinnati, OH)

Hey Chad,Big Xavier fan here. Will Jordan Crawford get drafted in the first round of the NBA draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

Might. He's instant offense. Reminds me of a poor man's Ben Gordon. I was impressed with him in the NCAA Tournament and in his workout on Monday in LA. If he was 2 inches taller, he'd be a lottery pick.

Elmo (OKC)

Any chance Jerome Jordan goes ahead of Solomon Alabi?

Chad Ford
  (1:45 PM)

Yes. Just depends on what you want. Jordan is more skilled offensively. Alabi has a better motor. Both guys are still learning the game. I think they'll both be first rounders at the end of the day.

Doug (Chicago)

Is it just me or is this a very deep draft/

Chad Ford
  (1:48 PM)

Yes and no. I think the Top 5 guys have a lot of potential. After that there is a giant scrum of players ... especially after you get past pick 9. I think the difference between the 10th pick and 35th pick in this draft is pretty slim. So .. a lot of talent, but not a lot of star potential.

Marvin Black (Frankfort)

Are you going to give us a report on the workout in LA? Maybe something in your draft blog?

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

Yes. It's up right now on our NBA Draft Blog and on the front of our Draft Page. Here's the link:http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/blog?name=nba_draft

John (LA)

Which SF is better........Aminu or Wes Johnson?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

I think Wes Johnson. He's a better shooter and an overall better offensive player.

Charles (Phila)

What's your take on Devin Ebanks? As a WVU fan, watching his offensive game was offensive.

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

I'm watching him workout today in Vegas. I heard he's been working on that jump shot. I seem him as a potential elite defender if he's willing to play that role in the NBA. Look for my impressions on Thursday on the Vegas workouts.

alex (manhattan beach)

how come most "experts" miss Arizona's talent every year? seems like they have a shocker every year - the list is long!

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

Nothing to miss this year.

Mike (Detroit)

As someone that has very good insight into the Pistons' draft most years, how do you think they'd rank the following players: Cousins, Favors, Davis, Al-Aminu, Aldrich?

Chad Ford
  (1:55 PM)

Just a guess ... 1. Cousins 2. Favors 3. Al-Aminu 4. Davis 5. Aldrich

BQ (CA)

Not a Pacers fan, but I was lookin at the Mock Drafts and they need a PG so badly but there are only bruisers available at that pick....i know how much they appreciate those kind of players but should they trade down to get Warren or Bledsoe?

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

It's possible. Avery Bradley's another possibility. He's not a true point guard yet, but neither was Russell Westbrook. Every agent is trying to say their guy is the next Westbrook. Of the group, Bradley fits the profile the closest. He's an elite defender (the best perimeter defender int he draft), is super fast and unlike Westbrook, has a decent jump shot. Also, like Westbrook, he wasn't asked to be the lead point guard at Texas and primarily played off the ball. He didn't have a great year, but A LOT of upside there. I'm seeing him as well in Vegas later this afternoon.

Chad Ford
  (1:59 PM)

Gotta run off to workouts folks. We'll do this again next week in a preview for the draft lottery. See you next week.