Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll talk NBA in the first half today and in the second half we'll take a deeper dive into the NBA Draft. Let's roll ...
Congratulations USA! You are finally seeing what Raptor fans have known for too long. Bosh is a 6'9 Small Forward...
Bitter is the key word here. Every team with money in Free Agency tried to land him and no one harder than the Raptors. But Bosh had to know that playing with Wade and James would regulate him to third wheel status. That's what's happened and Bosh has struggled to adjust. The good news is that he still has a ton a value in the league. If the Heat wanted, they could turn around and move him this summer and get several pieces back to fill out their team.
How many losses or what playoff seed would the Heat have to slip to for there to be serious concerns about the team's dynamic?
The serious concern won't come until the playoffs. They're going to make the playoffs and be a top 4 seed. If they drop out in the first two rounds, there will be serious hand wringing this summer. But I don't think they have to win it all or even win the Eastern Conference Finals to be considered a success this season. They're a work in progress. However, if they weren't winning it all next year ... then there's a big problem.
Any chance The Heat would trade Bosh to Orlando? I remember Bosh and Howard earlier saying they wanted to play together. Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson would fit cap wise. Just saying.
Never would happen for a bunch of reasons -- starting with the fact that there's no love between Pat Riley and Stan Van Gundy these days.
Is D Rose the MVP
Been going back and forth all year between Rose, LeBron and Dwight Howard. LeBron is the best player in the NBA ... but his unpopularity and failures in the clutch the past month probably have killed any chances he has to win it. Howard may be having the best season of anyone and his defense is truly game changing. But I still lean toward Rose. He kept the team together through two big injuries and has the Bulls poised to be a serious contender in the East right now. He's my slight favorite over Howard right now.
What's gotten into Baron Davis?
One league exec who knows Davis very well predicted this. He told me that Davis would come out and play the best basketball he's played in a while in Cleveland? Why? Especially when conventional wisdom has Davis shutting things down whenever he feels the team doesn't have a shot to win? Because Davis knows he'd be stuck in Cleveland for the rest of his career. He was fine being passive in LA because he loved living there. But Davis doesn't want to be on a rebuilding project anywhere else. The Cavs will want to use him as a trading chip this summer and Davis is working hard to prove to teams he's still relevant as a point guard.
Reinsdorf says the Bulls can win 4 Championships?
Tough given the competition in both the East and the West. But not out of the question either. They're young, have a superstar, two quality big men, a great coach, a great market that lures free agents and more room to grow. To me they are the sleeper team in the NBA and if they won it all this year, I wouldn't be shocked.
Who gets the last 4 spots (5-8) of the playoffs?
In the East I have the Hawks (5), Knicks (6), Sixers (7) and Pacers (8). The only team that isn't a lock is the Pacers at this point. I think the Sixers could end up as high as sixth. Charlotte and Milwaukee could catch the Pacers ... but neither team inspires much confidence.
In the West I have the Blazers (5), Grizzlies (6), Hornets (7) and Nuggets (8). Suns could catch Denver or New Orleans. So could Houston or Utah ... but I doubt it.
Does anyone in the east have a chance against L.A. in the finals?
For starters, it's not a given it will be LA in the Finals. I think the Spurs and the Mavs especially will give them a serious run in the West. In fact, I'm not sure it's even fair to give the Lakers front runner status given how well the Spurs have played. But then you figure in Boston, Miami, Orlando and Chicago are all capable of hanging with those teams and yes ... lots of people have a chance.
Which team is most likely to be a dynasty over the next 5 years, the Heat, the Thunder or the Bulls?
The Heat obviously have the most star power, but the Thunder and Bulls are young, have more depth and more flexibility to improve their team. John Hollinger and I are working on our next batch of Future Power Rankings, but my list will have both OKC and Chicago ahead of the Heat.
How can Doug Collins not win Coach of the Year? Who has done more to improve his team?
Give Doug his due. Very few people thought the Sixers were a playoff team (me included). They started the season terribly. They've been great over the last two months. He's got to be one of the top 3 candidates for the award. I don't think you can ignore Tom Thibodeau in Chicago however. He's helped make the Bulls a serious title contender. Gregg Popovich in San Antonio deserves a lot of love. And so does Nate McMillan in Portland. Despite all the injuries in Portland, he's helped the Blazers stay relevant. No one has done more with less.
Which of the non-playoff teams has the best chance of quickly rebuilding(or bouncing back) and why? Draft picks, Cap space, young talent, etc all play a roll.
The Nets should be much better next year. A full year with Deron Williams plus some additions this summer via free agency with their cap space should give them a big boost. Utah has a very solid team and two lottery picks to add to the roster this summer. Indiana has a very promising group of young players and a ton of cap space to spend (and they'll also make a run at a more established coach like Mike Brown). I'm also feeling a bit bullish on the Clippers. If they can get an upgrade at small forward and everyone stays healthy, could be a terrific year for them next season.
Do you still think the Cavs would take Kyrie Irving with the top pick, or do you think a Sullinger or Barnes could sneak into the top pick?
If Irving checks out OK medically ... I'm told he's atop Cleveland's board right now. Things change obviously. There are still workouts, physicals, psych evaluations etc ... but if that all turns out OK, he's most likely the guy. They really like Barnes as well, but I think they're eyeing him with their other first round pick they got from the Clippers.
Prof Ford - Love the work first off - With Barnes starting to show some of what people expected do you think he's moved back up the big board a bit and could land in CLE? I have visions of Barnes and Perry Jones playing together for a long time.
Barnes fell off his perch as the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft but he's not fallen as far as some have suggested. He's still a likely Top 4-7 pick. If he blows up in the ACC and NCAA tournaments, he could still sneak his way all the way up to the top. Jones also looks like a Top 4 pick right now. If Cleveland could land both, they'd be raw, but have a lot of young athletes.
With Utah (and Cleveland) likely having 2 lottery picks, do you see teams above them trading down in a 2 for 1?
No. They want those lottery picks.
Any chance Kenneth Faried is a lottery pick if he performs well in the tourney?
Yes. Even if he doesn't. He leads the NCAA in PER. He's the best rebounder in the draft. He's got a tireless work ethic. Most of the veteran scouts I talk to love him. He's not going to be a star because his offensive game is somewhat limited. But he could be a real force on the boards in the NBA. We have him No. 18 on our Big Board right now, but his range is probably 12-20.
Chad, is this the weakest draft class since the turn of the century?
That may be going a little far. But the consensus is that the draft class is weaker than in years past. But it may be a little early to judge. We don't know who's in or out, and sometimes things change after the tournament, workouts, NBA combine, etc. But as of right now, teams are pretty down on it. There is no sure fire superstar in the draft and a lot of skepticism about most of the prospects. Seems like we have super productive players with little upside and big upside players with spotty production.
A lot of the projected lottery picks in this year's draft are underclassmen. Who do you see coming out and who do you see staying in school?
That's a tough one. Still very early. There's been talk that Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger all might stay in school. Lately that talk has quieted however, as it usually does. Most players in the Top 10 end up declaring. There are exceptions (Blake Griffin in 2008 stayed in school despite being projected as a Top 3 pick. Ditto for Ed Davis in 2009). But it's rare. Of the group, I think Sullinger's the most likely to stay. The rest ... Perry Jones, Enes Kanter, Terrence Jones, Derrick Williams, etc are all strong candidates to declare.
Any chance Norris Cole cracks the 1st round? And is there any draft love for Washington's Brit Matthew Bryan-Amaning?
Possible for Cole. Lots of impressed scouts. They just want to see him matched up against players from stronger conferences. That will happen in the workouts. But he's a strong candidate to rise in the workout process. Bryan-Amaning also has gotten a lot of love lately from scouts. A possible second round pick.
In what ways does the prospect of a lockout affect the 2011 draft?
It won't affect the draft itself. The draft is scheduled to happen before the current CBA expires. However, it could scare some prospects from declaring. Rookies won't be paid until the new CBA is pounded out. If the lockout goes on for a long time, players won't be getting paychecks they same way they would if they had just stayed at Kentucky (calm down Wildcat fans ... it's a joke). If you look at the NFL, it didn't affect them much. A huge number of underclassmen declared despite concerns about a lockout. Some GMs are worried ... but GMs worry about everything. It's their job.
What is Kentucky's point guard Brandon Knight's value in the upcoming draft?
He's a talent. Just a bit of an unorthodox one. He's not a pure point guard. He doesn't have great size at the two. But he can score, shoot the ball and defend. He's a mid first rounder, maybe sneaks into the lottery. But he's no Derrick Rose or John Wall.
I've seen Marshon Brooks play and he has a crazy offensive arsenal. What kind of NBA future does have?
Still trying to figure that out. Yes he can score. But he puts up a ton of points on a bad team. He doesn't really help them win and you wonder to what extent his scoring takes precedence over helping his team win. In the NBA, he's more of a role player. Can he adjust? Right now he's a second round pick
Is anyone else worried that Derrick Williams' production comes from being the main option and getting superstar calls? Neither of those things will happen in the NBA ever for him.
Sure. But he's also been the most efficient college player in a major conference this season. So he's getting lots of touches, but he's effective with those touches. That's the appeal. People are more concerned that he's a tweener without a true position in the league.
Burks appears to be the top SG in the draft. Why is he not in your lottery?
Need to improve his jumper, especially from beyond the arc. Typically, NBA scouts aren't as high on shooting guards who can't shoot.
Did Kyle Singler make a catastrophic NBA decision by returning to Durham?
Maybe a little. Every senior who's been in the spotlight suffers from over exposure. The more scouts see you, the more they pick apart your game. The fact that Singler didn't break out this year is a bit of a problem. But scouts also understand he's playing on a stacked team and isn't going to have plays run for him every possession. Some teams think he's a solid mid to late first round pick. Others have him in the second. Last year he probably was a lock for the late first.
John Henson single handlily changed games this season with his defense is his stock on the rise?
He's a top 10 pick. Size, length, quickness and defense are all great. Offensively he's a serious work in progress, but teams are willing to gamble that he gets it down the road.
what's the ceiling for Tristan Thompson? How high would he go if he came out this year?
He's been on the rise the past month. He's a bit undersized which hurts him a bit. But lately he's been Texas' best player. Teams love the motor and the ability to work the offensive glass. As David Thorpe says, he's a beast. We have him No. 12 on our Big Board right now. More teams I talk to, more I'm convinced he might go in the Top 10. He may not be a star in the NBA, but scouts feel that what he's doing right now in college he could do in the NBA and that's a big plus.
Gotta run everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll do it again next week. Enjoy Lakers-Heat on Thursday and the Conference Tournaments this week. Great week to be a basketball fan.