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April 12, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with David Thorpe

David Thorpe
  (12:01 PM)

What's up Sportsnation!! The last chat of the regular season is upon us. I'm sad. I expect to do some chats going forward, but maybe not every week. We'll see. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all my editors at ESPN for all they do for me each week, and specifically Matt Wong. He's the genius that makes our rookie reports work. Thanks Matt!! And for just this chat, if you want to get a question answered, be sure to start with thanking Matt first. I know he'll appreciate it."Just games, Jake. Silly, tortuous games".

Sasha (Michigan)

Mr. Thorpe, what would you say has been the biggest surprise so far out of the rookies this season? Thanks for your time!

David Thorpe
  (12:02 PM)

For me, it's been Monroe. I thought he might end up being a dog, and not the good kind. I was wrong.

Taylor (St. Pete)

Of what value is PER, if it does not account for stats like "tipped passes", "contested shots", "successful defensive rotation", or account for "forced shots at the end of shot clocks" or "passes the lead to free throws"? Basically, the PER crowd seem to say that normal statistics are inadequate, but their sabermetrics are based on those statistics, albeit adjusted for certain variables. If they are truly interested in capturing movement on the court with statistics in a systemic way, it seems that they are going to have to improve their metrics. Otherwise, they are simply creating cursory measurements under the guise of comprehensive statistical analysis.

David Thorpe
  (12:04 PM)

It's a very good tool, but just a tool. A shovel is great for digging holes, not so much for gathering leaves. PER gives us a lot, but not everything.

David Thorpe
  (12:04 PM)

I think Hollinger would say the same. He's the most modest smart guy you'll meet.

Jack (Stamford, CT)

I read Jerry Krause was a baseball scout along with bb. What other sport could you scout or cross over to?

David Thorpe
  (12:06 PM)

I played and watched football most of my life, and was offered a Head JV Coach at a great football power back in the day (1989 I think). And I think the best coaching job I've ever done has been with my son's baseball career. But hoops is in my blood, and there it shall stay.

CHAD (NEW YORK)

THANKS MATT. ME AND MY FIANCE GET MARRIRED ON MAY 21ST IM A DIE HARD BULLS FAN SHES A DIE HARD SPURS FAN ANY CHANCE THEY MEET IN THE FINALS. AND WHAT DO YOU THINK THE OUTCOME WILL BE

David Thorpe
  (12:07 PM)

Congrats. And sure there is a chance. I'd lean Spurs in that matchup, today.

Swan (France)

Hello David, I am currently reading "the art of a beautiful Game" where your Pro Training center is mentionned. Which current NBA player would you'd love to have on your camp?

David Thorpe
  (12:08 PM)

That's a great read, except for his description of my foul language. Though he wasn't wrong. I rarely think about "who would I like best" to coach. I'm happy when anyone walks thru the doors.

Charlie (Bored at work)

Sixteen Candles. What would be the bigger shock: D. Rose not winning the MVP, Jason Terry not winning 6th Man, or Blake Griffin not winning ROTY?

David Thorpe
  (12:10 PM)

You bet. All-time great flick. Biggest shock would be Blake not winning ROY. Clearly a unanimous choice.

Damon (Santa Cruz, CA)

Coach Thorpe, how good can Derrick Favors be for the Jazz? Starting PF?

David Thorpe
  (12:10 PM)

Yes, he can become an All-Star.

Chuck (Chicago, IL)

Great Job Matt! Coach, the Bulls seem to thrive on 3 things: suffocating team defense, a superstar closer, and the thing I think is the most underrated of all, a coach who makes not only game to game adjustments, but in game adjustments as well. How much will coaching be a factor in the Bulls' success this postseason?

David Thorpe
  (12:12 PM)

The closer argument is silly. In the playoffs, if a team does not want Rose to get a shot off, or force a poor one, they can get that done. He'll make the right read. Coaching is huge in the playoffs. TT will be terrific.

Andrew (Cleveland)

Everything this city has gone through, we have the best fans, don't we?

David Thorpe
  (12:13 PM)

I'm not sure what the best way is to measure that. But if by great fans you mean show up a lot, then yes.

Draft Question (Ryan)

Thanks Matt, Is the pending lockout really the reason so many guys are going back? Risky move, how likely Barnes, Sullinger, and Jones could drop below Anthony Davis, Rivers, etc even if they have good years. Thanks

David Thorpe
  (12:13 PM)

I think coaches are using the lockout to convince guys to stay. Makes no sense to me. Could be big mistake for a few guys.

Sam (Houston)

What's your take on Perry Jones staying here?

David Thorpe
  (12:14 PM)

Potentially a disaster.

your friend (Anytown, USA)

David, thanks for friending me on Facebook. I love some of your insights I see there. I saw that you lost some weight recently-any secrets you can share? I'm 50 and in need of help.

David Thorpe
  (12:16 PM)

My pleasure. The only thing that might be of interest is that some bodies react too much to weight lifting. Mine is one of them. When I stopped lifting and went to a 15 pullups, 15 chinups, 15 dips 6 days a week, an additional 7 pounds melted off.I'm at David B. Thorpe on Facebook.

Jeremy H (Minneapolis)

Tanks Matt! Do you think rondo's shooting woes are linked to that fact his hands are ginormous?

David Thorpe
  (12:16 PM)

I do, though I think that can be rectified. But it's hard.

Noah (Lafayette, CA)

David u rock! Who is the most underachieving and or overachieving person in the NBA?

David Thorpe
  (12:18 PM)

Blatche gets my underachieving award. He should be an MVP candidate. I don't believe in overachievers, except for men like me who marry so well.

Henry (Vegas)

Thorpe's motto, take the money and run!!!!!!!

David Thorpe
  (12:20 PM)

Here's my simple question:I give you a briefcase with $4 million in it, with a note that says if you behave and work hard there will be an additional $4 million coming in 2 years. OR you can give it back to me in a year and get a new briefcase. This briefcase may have $6 million, with the same promise after 2 years. Or it could be empty. What's your decision?

Don (Edmond, OK)

Do you agree with Hollinger that Westbrook is shooting too much. I think he and Durant complement each other very well. It's wonderful to have two closers.

David Thorpe
  (12:21 PM)

Yes, shot selection is his problem.

Tucker (Orlando, FL)

Most likely first round upset?

David Thorpe
  (12:21 PM)

Take your pick out west.

Marcos (Puerto Rico)

Thanks for answering my questions in Facebook. Will Nash be in a Suns uniforms next season? Where do you think he will end up? Thanks David

David Thorpe
  (12:22 PM)

I do not think he will be there, but I don't know where he's headed. Dallas?

Mark (Iowa)

Joel Anthony is my new favorite player!!!

David Thorpe
  (12:23 PM)

Every fan club starts with fan #1.

Pierre (Sacramento)

How good would Tyreke be if he had Thortons motor, and Shooting touch?

David Thorpe
  (12:23 PM)

I never doubt Reke's motor, except for his woeful transition d. If he could shoot like Marcus, then he'd be a lot closer to being an all-star.

Jeremy H (Minneapolis)

I know your a big fan of K.Love, but I feel his numbers are inflated because of the style the wolves play (fastest pace = more missed shots = more rebound opportunities). Don't get me wrong I like his game but I feel he is a second or third option on a really good team. Thoughts?

David Thorpe
  (12:24 PM)

That's why we have something called a Rebound Rate. Can someone tell us where Love ranks in that?

Jim (Philly)

What's more important for defense: good lateral movement or quick hands?

David Thorpe
  (12:25 PM)

Lateral movement by a little. Quick hands does not help if you are not in position to make a play.

Scrapple (Oakland)

Where do you see Udoh's career heading? He looked lost for a while at the beginning of the year, but he can really block shots, his D is solid, and his offense is progressing towards "tolerable."

David Thorpe
  (12:26 PM)

I'm a fan. I think he'll end up being pretty good. Better than he was this yr for sure.

Eli (Toronto)

Thanks Matt!Coach Thorpe, In your infinite wisdom do you believe that Bargnani can be a starter on a championship team? After watching almost every games hes played in the NBA I have to say no but you are the expert here so help me out.

David Thorpe
  (12:27 PM)

Sure, if he had much better pieces around him.

Scott (DC)

Love leads the league in Total Rebound Rate and Defensive Rebound Rate, and is 2nd in Offensive Reb Rate

David Thorpe
  (12:27 PM)

Mmmm hmmm.

Dave (NJ)

Thanks Matt!! I'm extremely tired of the term "closer" being used in basketball. Your are going to go to your best player at the end of the game regardless. There aren't any "closers" on the bench you can bring in. Thanks for letting me vent

David Thorpe
  (12:28 PM)

Yes but the better point is, what's the other team going to do about it?

Jackson (Tulsa, OK)

Kevin Love's Reb Rate = 23.6. As a follow-up to Jeremy's question: I never bought that "large hands" argument re: Rondo. Plenty of guys have had huge hands and shot very, very well.

David Thorpe
  (12:28 PM)

More haven't.

Shareef Mo (NYC)

Is Kemba Walker the next Earl Boykins/Nate Robinson?

David Thorpe
  (12:29 PM)

Projects to be better than both.

Marc (Charlotte)

Isn't is possible some of these kids genuinely like the college life?

David Thorpe
  (12:30 PM)

Sure, and I have no problems with that at all. But I suspect their "college life" is a lot different than yours.

Mike (Chicago)

Thanks Matt. Any baseball coaching tips? I'm a hoops player coaching my 8 year old in baseball. Way too competitive of a league and I have no idea what I'm doing.

David Thorpe
  (12:32 PM)

Get as many assistants as you can and hit as many ground balls as possible. Make them play a lot of catch, and lots and lots of hitting off a tee.

Shane (Louisville)

I put in a question before you guys woke up, so I didn't get a chance to thank Matt. Thank you Matt.Now to serious business. Any news on Haslem?

David Thorpe
  (12:32 PM)

Not that I'm aware of.

Marc (Charlotte)

Noah vs. Hansbrough in the first round. Anyway ESPN can keep a camera on each guy every time they are on the floor to see who takes a play off first?

David Thorpe
  (12:33 PM)

What a great idea!!

bob (los angeles)

matt, thanks for everything, thorpe- what is your take on the clippers future

David Thorpe
  (12:33 PM)

Still a little cloudy for me. Blake is a given, not sure what else is happening.

Rob (Yonkers)

Can you make Thabeet a competent NBA player?

David Thorpe
  (12:34 PM)

The only guy who can do that is the guy he see's in the mirror.

Marques (Utica, NY )

Can we give up on Wesley Johnson and Evan Turner or is there still hope for either?

David Thorpe
  (12:34 PM)

There is hope for both.

edizz1e (Queens, NY)

What age is best for starting to play the game of basketball?

David Thorpe
  (12:34 PM)

There is none.

Tim (Katy, TX)

When did you start playing the game of basketball?

David Thorpe
  (12:35 PM)

First league game was in 1974. I was 9.

Mark (Virginia)

Thank Matt. I'm looking to possibly try and take over a head coaching job at my high school alma mater. Their team has only won 2 games since my graduating class in 2008. As a hopeful 20-year-old coach, any tips on how to get them to start believing in themselves again and get the most out of what I would have?

David Thorpe
  (12:36 PM)

Sure. I did similar things with my great friend Randall Leath when he took over my local high school. He had them in such phenomenal shape that they became very tough-minded, and then their skill level picked up.

Daniel R. (Knoxville, TN)

Much appreciation Matt! Think Yao will make a successful return in a year or so? And does your PTC have internships?

David Thorpe
  (12:36 PM)

No and yes. Contact me through Facebook.

Vinnie (ATL)

Do you believe in sports curses? My hometown of CLE is in a 40 year curse.

David Thorpe
  (12:37 PM)

I thought they existed, then the Bucs won a super bowl and the Lightning won the Stanley Cup.

Jeremy (Sacramento)

With the lockout looming, isn't the draft vs college argument more complicated this year? There may not be a $4million briefcase waiting...

David Thorpe
  (12:38 PM)

Ever?

Shane (Louisville)

Gracias Matt.. I think people coming in this chat, asking you for advice on how to coach teams/get started, speaks wonders about your great rep.With that said, is there any NBA player who contacted you that suprised you when they reached out?If you can't answer, a funny Scalabrini joke would suffice.

David Thorpe
  (12:42 PM)

Thanks. You know, players are almost always the same, away from the NBA glare. They are still the kid they were as teenagers, dying to get better. One of my faves is Daniel Santiago, who came to me thinking he had one season left in Spain and them might be forced to retire. He challenged me a lot the first hour, until I just said to him "just do like I ask and you will see that it works". By the end of day one he was locked in and he never missed a day for 8 weeks. And he was 31+ already. 3 years later he was paid $800k just for his Euroleague games in Turkey. We're great friends to this day. They just want help and it's our job to give it to them.

Freddy (Los Angeles)

Throughout a given summer, how much running is involved for an average NBA player?

David Thorpe
  (12:43 PM)

Hard to say. Different for everybody. But I wll say that the average good athlete would struggle to get through 45 mins of our standard 90 minute ordeal.

Jeremy H (Minneapolis)

Do you think that playoff format should consist of the 16 best teams in the league regardless of conference or do you like the current format? The rockets deserve to be there and the pacers do not.....

David Thorpe
  (12:43 PM)

"Deserve" is the not the right word. It would make things more interesting, but those are not the rules.

John (CO)

Thank you Mr. Wong!!!! Any thoughts on the Nuggets Free Throw Shooting problems? It seems everyone has fallen off from before. How do you correct something like that quickly? Just confidence?

David Thorpe
  (12:44 PM)

Yes, it's a confidence thing. It can change with just one great performance.

Freddy (Los Angeles)

What does this "standard 90 minute ordeal" consist of?

David Thorpe
  (12:45 PM)

Lots of racing. Lots of dunking-sometimes 125+.

Jeremy (Sacramento)

Well if the college guys lose half a season or more of pay (I assume they wouldn't get a full years salary) and development time... it could cost them money over their careers to enter the draft this year than to stay in college. In a normal labor year it'd be a different story. If the league loses a whole season the guys who will miss out the most will be the rookies who didn't play, didn't get paid, and missed a year of college.

David Thorpe
  (12:46 PM)

Ah, but your forgetting one thing. They still are guaranteed their next year, and probably their 3rd year. Going back to school provides the risk that they won't get drafted at all.

Elan (Fond du Lac (WI))

I do not like the kings future if they build around Evans, Cousins, and Thornton. Each focuses on getting their shots and points more than playing efficient offense. They are very talented players though. Do you think they can build a western conference contender around those three?

David Thorpe
  (12:46 PM)

I do not.

Tracy Harris (columbia sc)

WHY EVER TIME AN BLACK QB GOES PRO HE IS NOT WORTH THE PICK BUT WHEN AN WHITE QB GOES PRO HE HAS THE BEST ARM,SMARTS,ETC.. THATS WHY YOU CAN'T TELL ME THAT RACE DON'T PLAY AN PART...

David Thorpe
  (12:47 PM)

Tim Tebow is very pale looking to me, and nobody thought he was a first round pick for any of the 32 teams.

Don (DC)

Great job Matt!...Coach - how tall are you?

David Thorpe
  (12:48 PM)

6 foot even. Why, you tailoring me a suit?

Shane (Louisville)

Thanks Matt Wong! Someone offers you 5 million in a briefcase to coach an NBA team, with another possible 10 Million over the next two years.Do you go, or stay?

David Thorpe
  (12:49 PM)

I've not been offered that much, but no matter what I'm staying.

Bob (Phoenix)

When a player's confidence is shot, what are a couple of your top ways to help him turn things around?

David Thorpe
  (12:49 PM)

Find other ways to contribute. Take easier shots.

josh (slc)

matt is the man--whats your take on the future for the jazz? long rebuild or back to the playoffs soon?

David Thorpe
  (12:50 PM)

Back soon.

Len (PGH)

Great Job Matt! Coach, were you ever able to dunk a ball back in the day?

David Thorpe
  (12:52 PM)

Nope. Best I could do was a somewhat soft volleyball when I was in college. But my coach never inspired us to do such things. He was great though at getting us to run suicides, 3 miles in under 19 mins, and playing man to man.

Cole (North Dakota)

Who has the best chance to make an all-star team in the next 5 years: Marcus Thorton, JR Smith, OJ Mayo?

David Thorpe
  (12:52 PM)

None of the above.

Rhett (Toronto)

Good work Matt Wong! David, just asking for a guesstimate from you, nothing set in stone. But who do you think will ultimately be the 3-5 best players taken in this draft?

David Thorpe
  (12:53 PM)

Ask me that once we know who's in.

Dave (DC)

Thanks Matt! Coach, wanted to believe about Yi Jianlian. But he is still Mr. Long Two and won't play inside. Why hasn't work translated with him?

David Thorpe
  (12:55 PM)

He takes too many long two's, for sure. They asked him to stay outside for pic and pops so McGee could stay inside. He had some great paint dunks and buckers, but not enough. His defense, however, has been terrific for a few months now. Studying KG and Noah helps.

Mike (NYC)

Did Bababooey throw the worst first pitch of all time?

David Thorpe
  (12:55 PM)

I have no clue.

Tristan (South Beach)

MATT WONG IS THE MAN. Which team do you think has the best chemistry heading into the playoffs?

David Thorpe
  (12:56 PM)

Da Bulls.

Jim (KC)

Can you talk about how you would work to improve vertical jumping ability?

David Thorpe
  (12:57 PM)

Lots of jumping and ab work. And some sprints.

Sean (Indy)

Coach, is the stuff you write on the draft blog, along with other NBA draft stuff online, at all similar to what NBA scouts do when evaluating college players?

David Thorpe
  (12:58 PM)

Similar to some, not to others. Everyone has their own style.

David Thorpe
  (12:59 PM)

Time's up for me today. Thanks for a great season everyone. I truly treasure the hour we get together. I expect to be back chatting in one week or two. Thanks Matt Wong, you're the best!!!