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April 4, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Chris Sheridan

Chris Sheridan
  (2:01 PM)

Good afternoon from New York, where the Knicks clinched a playoff spot yesterday. As I wrote last night (sort of), whoop-dee-damn-doo. Heck, Stephon Marbury did that seven years ago. Let's see if they can make some noise against whoever they play. All NBA topics are in play today, including award winners (I will be voting again this year). Questions?

Robby (Tulsa)

Should the Thunder be worried? Two losses in a row and a couple of game coming up against Denver...

Chris Sheridan
  (2:03 PM)

I think they should be worried about the juggernaut of a Nuggets team they are likely going to face in the playoffs, but they shouldn't sweat those two recent losses. When a team has nothing to play for, it shows on the court. Stan Van Gundy was lamenting this last week, saying he wished he had a carrot to dangle in front of his team, but sometimes there just aren't any carrots.

john (chicago)

is there any european players that could help out the bulls at the 2 spot in the next nba draft?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:06 PM)

If I were to pick two European players who could have an immediate impact for the Bulls or anyone else, I would not look to the draft. Instead, I would say Greek guards Vasilis Spanoulis and Dimitrios Diamantidis would be immediate impact players. But Spanoulis is in the first year of a three-year deal, and Diamantidis is somewhat of a homebody and has always said he does not want to leave Greece.

rick (long island)

who's the better matchup for the knicks, heat or celtics? As flawed as heat may be, I think knicks have better chance against celtics. that team looks somewhat vulnerable right now

Chris Sheridan
  (2:09 PM)

As vulnerable as the Celtics appear, they still play better defense and have more experience together than Miami. So I think the Knicks would have a more legit shot of advancing if they played the Heat. (If that matchup happens, it will be interesting to see if Udonis Haslem is available. He has always done a nice job defending Amare Stoudemire.)

Drew (Chicago)

Hey Chris, regardless of who you support in the MVP debate, how do you feel about the conflict going on between the multiple camps? Is it fair to say, as Hollinger seems to say, that if you support Rose you're unable to analyse the debate? Or, conversely, if you don't support Rose are you somehow overlooking some nuance not reflected in stats?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:12 PM)

It has certainly been a lively debate, and props to SVG for sparking it with his "It's over" remarks. I am 99 percent certain I am voting for Rose. He has been a stud throughout the season for the one team in the East that has never suffered slippage. And his ability to take over fourth quarters has been unmatched by any of the other MVP contenders.

Eric (Orlando )

What do you think of the Magic going forward. What changes can be made to make them a stronger contender?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:15 PM)

In the immediate future, they MUST find a way to turn Glbert Arenas into a productive offensive player off the bench. I think they will roll through the first round and go seven games against the Bulls. Will be interesting to see how Thibodeau schemes to stop Dwight Howard now that he doesn't have a Kendrick Perkins to muscle Dwight away from the basket.

Wesley (Memphis)

Are the Grizzlies legit contenders to force a first round upset?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:19 PM)

Against the Lakers, no. Against the Spurs, yes indeed. Tony Allen is one of the few players in the West who can neutralize Manu Ginobili, and the Spurs are more prone to turning the ball over than the Lakers are (and Memphis leads the NBA in steals).

Jay Ringe (SF)

Hey Chris! First of all, let me say that you are BY FAR the best NBA writer on espn.com, and your chats are THE BEST. Here's my question: in your honest opinion, will my Knicks find a way to obtain a 3rd stud for the 2012 season? I know it's hard to project that far out, but do you think there's an under-the-table, handshake deal in place a la LBJ/Wade/Bosh in MIA?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:21 PM)

Thanks for the love. I think they will hold their '12 cap space in the belief that Dwight Howard will become available as an UFA. If he goes off the market, I am not convinced they believe C.Paul/D.Williams is the third max player they need. They have a bigger need at center.

Doug (NYC)

Are the Nuggets proof that you don't need stars to win (at least in the regular season)?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:24 PM)

I believe the Pistons proved that for six straight years until the Billups/Iverson trade. As for the Nuggets, Kobe Bryant mae a very salient point yesterday. They are so deep, it is like they have two NBA starting fives on their roster.

mendel (fl)

So Lebron shoots 58% from the field in March, and practically has better stats ACROSS the field than rose, but Rose is the player of the month. No wonder the MVP system is so shoddy. How could i forget, Rose CARES more than Lebron.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:25 PM)

How many games did LeBron take over in the fourth quarter? Rose did it several times.

Jon (Philadelphia)

Given the major turnaround in Philadelphia, shouldn't Doug Collins be one of the top candidates for coach of the year?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:26 PM)

I have him third on my tentative ballot behind Thibodeau and Popovich. If Spurs slide to No. 2, I may move Doug up a spot.

neil (manhattan)

What's going on with Fields, is it just a lack of confidence, lack of direction since the trade, an injury? He looks completely different now versus before the trade.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:28 PM)

I wrote about this yesterday in the Knicks blog, which you can access through the ESPNNewYork page. Coach D'Antoni acknowledged that Landry is going through a crisis of confidence, and it would not surprise me to see Shawne Williams leapfrog him in the rotation if the rook doesn't have a decent game in the next three (Knicks have six games left).

Mayo (Washington DC)

The league is going to start over, fantasy draft style. Your team has the very first pick. Who do you take first if you want to win it all THIS YEAR? Would your answer change if you were picking to build for the long run?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:30 PM)

Kobe Bean Bryant.

Joe (NY)

About 3-4 weeks ago in this chat you said the Spurs were your pick to win it all. Do you still feel that way??

Chris Sheridan
  (2:31 PM)

No. I am back on the Lakers bandwagon, which is where I was for 90 percent of this season.

jamal (queens new york )

why would the heat start bibby over chalmers ? i think that will be a mistake with all the match ups of good point guards in the east

Chris Sheridan
  (2:32 PM)

Bibby hits 3s. Chalmers doesn't.

Dan (Philadelphia)

Will Lou Williams absence help or hurt the Sixers? Do you think Evan Turner could step up and play big minutes?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:35 PM)

I think the signing of Antonio Daniels tells you all you need to know about how much (little) the Sixers are going to turn to the rook in the postseason.

JJ (NY)

We will probably see D'Antoni go with a 10 man rotation leading up to the playoffs to rest Billups, Melo and Stat. Do you see him sticking with that rotation in the first round?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:38 PM)

I don't think you will see him cut more than 1-2 minutes off of Stoudemire and Anthony's playing time. They are using the final six games to continue trying to mesh. He will rest them by letting them sit out practices. Again, I think the biggest qustion mark right now for D'Antoni is whether to stick with Fields as a starter or go with a better 3-point shooter (Shawne Williams) or a better defender (Toney Douglas).

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will be the 2010-2011 NBA Champions?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:38 PM)

The Los Angeles Lakers.

Aaron (Texas)

Pop has been resting the big 3 for the majority of the season. The Lakers are playing great right now, but they have not played this caliber all season, and many of the ESPN analysts were writing them off earlier this season. They can't guard Parker and are vulnerable to shots behind the arc. Pop is also a much better in-game coach than Phil Jackson. So explain to me why the Lakers are better?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:42 PM)

Because size matters, and momentum matters. Usually at this point in the season, the Spurs are hitting on all cylinders. This year, the dip that Pop had been dreading finally happened. If the teams played, I would pick Lakers in 6 or 7.

Mike (Stockton)

Is the blazers defensive versatility the key to a possible first round upset. Regardless of who you play aldridge, wallace, camby and batum form a ridiculous defensive front line. Durant and Dirk don't want to see those guys for 48 mins

Chris Sheridan
  (2:45 PM)

Agreed. And if they play Dallas, the Miller-Kidd matchup is either a wash or favors the Blazers. Methinks Portland will be a popular upset pick if we have a Mavs-Blazers postseason matchup. (Stein has Blazers at No. 8 and Dallas at No. 10 in this week's power rankings).

Troy (Minny)

What are your thoughts on Ricky Rubio? Will he be successful in the nba?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:49 PM)

I do not believe he will ever go to Minnesota. And as I have written before, it behooves him to stay in Barcelona for one more year because then he will not be subject to the rookie salary scale. If and when he does come, his passing skills will be accentuated in the NBA because he'll have real athletes converting his lobs. The biggest thing he needs to do over the next two years is develop an outside shot.

Mark (Guernsey)

Do you think the Hawks could beat the Magic in the playoffs, they beat them in the season 3-1

Chris Sheridan
  (2:50 PM)

No. I will take Magic in 4.

jamal (queens new york )

if the nuggets win 1 or 2 rounds did they win in the knicks trade ? i think they win either way . they have the draft picks and a lot of good players to make trades with .

Chris Sheridan
  (2:51 PM)

Ask me in 3 years.

Sean (New York)

Do you think Chauncey Billups is over his thigh injury?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:53 PM)

Yes. He said so himself, and in his last two games he has been playing as well as he was in the 3 weeks leading up to the trade from Denver.

Jay (Tacoma, WA)

Why do you think Rubio will never play in Minnesota? I am not challenging you, just wondering if you know something we don't!

Chris Sheridan
  (2:55 PM)

In all honesty, it is because of the weather. He can wait the Wolves out in balmy Barcelona until they trade him to a destination he would prefer.

Stall (Phx)

What would be the best story of an afterthought team winning it all? Nugs, Grizz, or Portland take it all, instant 30 for 30 doc.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:56 PM)

Definitely the Nuggets because of the MeloDrama they endured.

JD (VA)

Thoughts on Kyle Lowry's recent resurgence. How good can he really be?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:57 PM)

He is on my Most Improved Player ballot behind Kevin Love, as is Kris Humphries (who says I never give the Nets any love?)

Noah (Champaign)

Big bulls fan, and a big Rose fan as well. I agree with you that Rose is MVP, and also see points for Howard (most irreplaceable) and Lebron (best player in league). I do not, however, see any reason why Kobe should be in the MVP race. Do you?

Chris Sheridan
  (3:00 PM)

You are kidding, right? Kobe is ahead of LeBron on my ballot.

Chris Sheridan
  (3:00 PM)

That's a wrap. See you back here next Monday.