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June 23, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with John Hollinger

John Hollinger
  (12:06 PM)

Greetings everyone. Back from recharging my batteries after an exhilarating but exhausting playoffs. Plenty to talk about between draft day, lockout and Dallas's title run, so let's get started.

Cool-Hand-Luke (Toronto)

Raptors drafting Biyombo. Are we crazy? Help Raptor nation before we panac!

John Hollinger
  (12:07 PM)

I don't think it's crazy. I got a good, long look at Biyombo during the Hoop Summit and he gives Toronto exactly what they need -- a tough, defensive big who can protect the rim. He and Bargnani would offset each other's weaknesses perfectly. Ideally they'd trade down a couple spots and THEN pick Biyombo, but I can understand the motivation to just grab him at 5.

Josh (Cle)

Hey John, Is there any scenario you can picture the cavs trading with Philly for Iggy?

John Hollinger
  (12:08 PM)

Yes, but I think it's more likely now that Cleveland hangs on to No. 4 and takes Valuncianas.

Joe (Seattle)

For us non math geeks how does Draft rater work? The Morris twins had high PER yet so low on the rater. T. Thompson the opposite what gives?

John Hollinger
  (12:10 PM)

It's a regression analysis that looks at a series of variables, determines which are statistically significant predictors of pro success, and weights them accordingly. A couple of the biggest for frontcourt players are age (younger=better), years of college experience (fewer=better), blocked shot rate (more=better) and free-throw rate (more=better). There are others (16 in all) but those are the ones that favor Thompson.

Ben (Milwaukee)

What do you think the Bucks do at 10? It sounds like they're looking to move it. What would they be targeting?

John Hollinger
  (12:11 PM)

I think they are, and I think they're looking for a dynamic shot-creator. That's why they may go with Alec Burks if they keep it.

Ian (tampa)

Dirk's poor performance in Game 6 hasn't drawn nearly the amount of heat (pun intended) that Kobe's performance did after Game 7 (though Kobe arguably had a better game with 15 rebounds) -- a result of Kobe's "clutch" reputation or an indicator of the love/hate, no grey area feelings that people/media have for Kobe?

John Hollinger
  (12:13 PM)

Fair question. I think it boils down to two things -- 1) people were starting to push the ridiculous Kobe-Jordan comparisons heading into Game 7, which made the backlash sharper; 2) For Dirk, the fact he was getting a ring was a far greater story. Kobe already had four, so it was more a question of historical context.

Henry (Chapel Hill)

What's the Bobcats biggest need...a big or a scorer? And who will best fulfill those needs?

John Hollinger
  (12:15 PM)

Talent. They don't got any. Bobcats should go best player available at both 9 and 19. I'm glad they hired Rich Cho, by the way, because he helps them in the exact areas where they've been awful in the past. Last year they traded Tyson Chandler for a bag of donuts and saved NO MONEY ... a cap expert like Cho would have never approved such a ridiculous deal.

Ricardo (Orlando)

Is it my impression or we started to hear Tristan Thompson's a lot more since you posted your Draft Rater, J.H.?

John Hollinger
  (12:15 PM)

We did, but it may be coincidence. Everyone I talk to raves about Thompson on the character/intangibles stuff, and I think that makes him a much safer pick in the eyes of many GMs once it gets time to actually pull the lever.

Rafiq (Austin, TX)

Just saw your tweet about the A. Miller-J. Nelson rumor. Can you explain how this benefits Orlando? I'm not sure how grabbing Miller is an upgrade over Jameer and who the Magic can pick up at #21 that can benefit them

John Hollinger
  (12:17 PM)

The objective of any Miller deal may not be to keep him. They could either flip him or even outright cut him (his contract for next year isn't guaranteed yet). Orlando's cap situation is a complete mess so I'm not sure if they're looking at it that way or not. At 21, I'm sure they'd be looking at an energy type to bring off the bench, probably somebody like Kenneth Faried.

Ben (Phoenix)

Do you see the Suns trying to move up or gain another first round pick? Not really crazy about Shumpert.

John Hollinger
  (12:18 PM)

I think it's more likely that Tristan Thompson is the pick at 13, which would be a great one for the Suns and cement their status as Canada's favo(u)rite team. I like Shumpert but he's more likely to go in the late teens.

Junior J. (Los Angeles, CA )

Hey John, I was just wondering what you do during the off season (work-wise)? There really isn't much to write about.

John Hollinger
  (12:19 PM)

Au contraire my friend. In addition to trades/free agency, that's when I do all those player comments and preseason write-ups. Doesn't really slow down for me til September, and then camp starts in October.

Junior J. (Los Angeles, CA )

Why would the T'Wolves even consider trading for Nash when RR is coming?

John Hollinger
  (12:20 PM)

Idea would be to have Nash as a mentor. Not a terrible idea except for the fact that Nash would be miserable there.

Chris (Los Angeles)

How good is Valuncianas? Seems like there is some mixed sentiment on how good his post scoring actually is. How do you see him translating in this league?

John Hollinger
  (12:21 PM)

I think he's quite good actually. To me he translates as a better version of Andris Biedrins (the one in his prime, not the one who moped up an down the floor this year) -- he'll score around the basket and rebound a ton, block enough shots to offset a thinnish frame, and unlike Biedrins he'll make foul shots.

Kevin (Philly)

Could you see the sixers going with Nikola Vucevic at 16? They need a big.

John Hollinger
  (12:22 PM)

Very much so. Just pray that Rod Thorn doesn't draft anybody named "Williams"

some guy (out back)

Spurs actually trading TP?

John Hollinger
  (12:23 PM)

I think they're trolling for suckers basically -- if you can get somebody to take Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson off your hands AND give you a lottery pick, that's pretty much one-stop shopping for an on-the-fly rebuilding job because of how much it cleans out their cap obligations.

Michael (Milwaukee)

Why don't the Bucks have any interest in Jimmer?

John Hollinger
  (12:24 PM)

You can't play Jimmer and Jennings together in the backcourt, and besides I think No. 10 is pretty high for Jimmer.

Ben (FL)

Is there anything behind Iguodala to the Lakers? And how much difference could he actually make there?

John Hollinger
  (12:25 PM)

I'm sure it at least has been brought up, but the scary thing for L.A. is the money situation -- if the league goes to a hard cap, I don't know how they bail out all those huge contracts even with their current roster, let alone with Iguodala. They'd be banking on a phase-in period of three years or so to allow all these deals to expire first.

Kevin (albany, ny)

Any truth to the rumors Rockets trying to move up to number 2? If so you think they get there?

John Hollinger
  (12:26 PM)

Lots of questions involving the Rockets. I'll answer with a blanket "yes" to all. Houston, unlike a lot of teams, is completely unafraid of making trade proposals -- sometimes several to the same team -- in the hopes of finding a deal.

Wayne (Athens)

The hawks have to get rid of Josh Smith this year, right?

John Hollinger
  (12:27 PM)

I think there's a danger of changing for the sake of change, but the idea is to get either a true 5 or a real 3 for Smith, and then move Horford down to the 4. But this is being pushed by Smith's camp too.

JY (T Dot)

John my man - I'm assuming you will give thumbs up to the Casey hiring for the raps? Was he the best option in your opinion?

John Hollinger
  (12:29 PM)

Loooove the idea of Casey to the Raps, he's long been one of my favorite assistants and I think he'll immediately get them playing halfway decent defense. Not sure who will be on his staff but would like to see him get an offensively creative assistant.

Jeff [via mobile]

Why do you think Brandon knight is rated higher then walker on a consistent basis

John Hollinger
  (12:30 PM)

I think people see more upside in Knight. I see Walker as a Jameer Nelson clone and I'm still a little skittish on Knight as far as where he fits in an NBA offense. I'd take him if he's sitting there at 12, don't get me wrong, but for Toronto or Utah I think he's a really risky pick.

Matt (LA)

Do you see the Heat buying or trading up tonight to FINALLY secure some development projects?

John Hollinger
  (12:31 PM)

Word on the street is they shut down Reggie Jackson's workouts by promising they'd take him at 31 and give him a first-rounder type of contract.

Mark (Washington DC)

Help. My Wizards are in love with the Euro big guys. Is that a bad thing? What about some bangers like the guy from Kansas or Tristan from Texas? What will they do with the #6 and #18 picks? I don't trust Grunfield not to mess it up.

John Hollinger
  (12:35 PM)

Very interesting work by the Washington Post's Michael Lee pointing that No. 18 picks have been about as valuable as No. 6, because for some reason No. 6 picks have storied history of face-planting. I'm not big on Jan Vesely -- he wasn't that productive in Europe and I think he's more of an energy guy you take in the teens than a potential star -- and I think Kawhi Leonard is a much more solid bet for NBA success. Or Tristan Thompson, as you note.

Jeff (NYC)

After reading your draft rater article, praying NY stays away from Marshon Brooks and Josh Selby. Seems like Shumpert wouldn't be a bad fit for the Knicks. Thoughts?

John Hollinger
  (12:35 PM)

I like Shumpert a lot in New York's spot. They really need some quality on the wings to help space things for Melo.

Greg (ma) [via mobile]

What do you think the celtics will do considering the lack of big men, especially that late in the draft?

John Hollinger
  (12:36 PM)

Best player available, probably. I could see Boston going for JaJuan Johnson if he's there because he's the type of rangy defender who can fit in their system, but I don't have great intel about the C's intentions.

Paul Allen (Portland)

Why won't I pay Richard Jefferson's salary to turn my team into a legit western conference top tier team? Small price to pay with my deep pockets, don't you think John?

John Hollinger
  (12:37 PM)

a) because you can't, since it doesn't work under the cap, and b) because I'm not sure changing Miller for Parker changes things that much for the Blazers, especially if it costs them Batum in the process.

Benjamin (Florida)

Of course Orlando is interested in Josh Smith, but can it actually happen?

John Hollinger
  (12:38 PM)

You mean because Orlando has no trade assets? Um, yes, that's a problem. Only realistic scenario (and I'm using that term loosely) is sending Howard back to his hometown for a Smith-Horford combo.

keeya (atl) [via mobile]

why isn't Andrew goudelock getting more attention. Is there a better shooter in the draft?

John Hollinger
  (12:39 PM)

He can stroke it and I've heard he's getting looks in the late first/early second, although he probably ends up getting picked later. Problem is nobody's sure if he can do much of anything else.

Matt (Philly)

Biggest reason Iguodala doesn't get traded: Sixers overvalue him, others undervalue him, his contract, or other?

John Hollinger
  (12:40 PM)

Biggest reason is uncertainty. Nobody knows how to value his contract in the context of a new CBA. That makes it tough to work a trade unless the counterparty is comfortable with a ton of risk.

Rodney (Baltimore)

Would the Spurs ever consider trading Parker to their hated rival in Phoenix?

John Hollinger
  (12:41 PM)

Yes, in fact I was very intrigued by SportsGuy's proposal of a Parker-Nash swap (along with some other pieces).

Mike (Madison)

John, I know the Draft Rater has Jon Leuer significantly ahead of Justin Harper, but why don't the draft experts too? Both are soft rebounders (which could be attributed to the offenses), stretch 4's, but Leuer produced more against stiffer competition, and most importantly for the NBA tested as a better athlete.

John Hollinger
  (12:42 PM)

Good question. Harper is a better shooter and some people think his pick-and-pop game will translate very well. As you point out, Harper is probably a late-first/early-second guy, while Leuer is more likely going mid-second.

Spencer (Indianapolis)

Is it possible for Kemba Walker to slip all the way down to the Pacers at #15?

John Hollinger
  (12:43 PM)

Yes, although it's hard for me to see him getting past Utah at 12. As much as the Jazz may be pushed to draft the Jimmer, there's *no way* they should take him ahead of Walker.

Kyle (Cleveland)

So with the new CBA causing uncertainty, will the Cavs let their trade exception expire?

John Hollinger
  (12:44 PM)

Very interesting issue as to trade exceptions. In past lockouts the NBA has extended their validity so as not to hose the teams that were holding them. But in a hard-cap system, the entire concept of an exception ceases to exist. Not sure what happens then.

Petrie (Sactown)

I've got the money to work with... Jefferson is an upgrade at small forward... Tony Parker is an upgrade at point guard... why shouldn't I make this deal???

John Hollinger
  (12:45 PM)

Because the idea is to try to win 50 or 60 games a few years from now, not to go 38-44 this year and then stay at that level for the next three.

Scott (Sacramento)

Could Knight really drop to the kings at 7?

John Hollinger
  (12:48 PM)

Yes, if Biyombo goes fifth to Toronto I believe that will happen. Seems to me the most likely order of top 15 is Irving-Williams-Kanter-Valuncianas-Biyombo-Vesely-Knight-T. Thompson-Singleton-Leonard-K. Thompson-Walker-Ma.Morris-Vucevic-Jimmer.

Raymond (Taguig)

Who would you pick, Kanter or Valuncianas?

John Hollinger
  (12:51 PM)

I like Valuncianas a little better. Kanter had a huge Hoop Summit game last year, but in the practices he looked pretty average. Supposedly he was playing through a back problem then so that may contribute to my impression. It's interesting for Utah though because Kanter plugs almost exactly into the Mehmet Okur role.

Marc (Toronto)

You think Biyombo is a better fit in Toronto than Leonard?

John Hollinger
  (12:51 PM)

I like Leonard there too, but if the Raps are keeping Bargnani then Biyombo offers an awfully high level of synergy.

Patrick (Nova Scotia)

Why isn't there any talk of the Raptors trying to nab Thompson at 5? Steve Nash was always a dream for Raptor fans, so why not make this Canadian kid a reality?

John Hollinger
  (12:53 PM)

Not sure why they aren't looking harder at him. One thing I'll say -- sometimes you don't want a kid to be in his hometown -- too many distractions/bad influences/etc. Depends on the kid but this may be a consideration.

Bob (Phoenix, AZ)

Biyombo has to go to Toronto. It just fits how Colangelo has put that team together. Its the UN team.

John Hollinger
  (12:53 PM)

It's true. Although Valuncianas and Vesely would also fit the bill. We could have internationals going 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th tonight.

AtlKnicksFan (NY / Atl)

Sir John - Vucevic or Norris Cole for NY at 17 - what say you??

John Hollinger
  (12:54 PM)

I don't think Vucevic will be there -- either Houston or Philly will take him. 17 is too high for Cole probably, but I really like him and think he'll be a steal wherever he's taken.

Christine (Baltimore)

Am I the only one that sees Adam Morrison when looking at Jimmer????!!!!?????

John Hollinger
  (12:56 PM)

They have a lot in common. For instance, they're both white and went to schools in the intermountain West. After that ... um .... big difference. 6-3 vs. 6-9, much quicker, knees still intact, etc. Jimmer is overhyped much like Morrison is, but he won't be a bust. I project him as better than Eddie House, worse than Ben Gordon.

Brian (Oakland)

What would you do if you were the Warriors at 11?

John Hollinger
  (12:57 PM)

Getting a lot of Golden State questions, and the truth is that a ton depends on who is available. If Tristan Thompson is still there I think you pounce, and same goes for Kawhi Leonard. But I also get the impression they like Klay Thompson.

Matt (SLC)

Is Kanter to MN just a smokescreen to get Washington to trade up to 2 instead of 3?

John Hollinger
  (12:58 PM)

Virtually everything coming out of Minnesota for the past week has been a smokescreen. Haven't seen this much smoke coming from the Twin Cities since Isiah Rider left town.

Dan (Madison)

Am I wrong in thinking Klay Thompson to MIL would be an overreaction to what was a team-wide shooting slump last year?

John Hollinger
  (12:59 PM)

Even more, I think it's the wrong prescription. Milwaukee's problem was creating shots, not making open ones.

sk (Arlington, VA)

C's have the #25 and trade exception ... some guys who make sense, Jason Thompson, Tolliver, Amundson, Hollins, Erden ... any of these deals feasible/sensible?

John Hollinger
  (1:01 PM)

I think deals with players are going to be really hard to pull off because nobody knows the new CBA landscape yet. But you have the right idea. Still, I think Danny has enough confidence in his drafting ability that he'll use the pick.

rick (torrance, ca)

who do you think the Pistons should draft with the #8 pick.

John Hollinger
  (1:02 PM)

Sounds like they're really focused on a big and will take either Biyombo or Tristan Thompson, but with Prince being a free agent I think Kawhi Leonard also makes a lot of sense.

Josh (Philly)

John, what do you mean by this "Just pray that Rod Thorn doesn't draft anybody named "Williams"" Who are you referring to??

John Hollinger
  (1:02 PM)

Check out his last few drafts in New Jersey.

Parker Traded (Utah)

Parker to Jazz for #3 pick and Harris? What do you think?

John Hollinger
  (1:03 PM)

Amazingly bad deal for Utah. Mild upgrade at point guard at cost of a potential star.

Ryan (San Mateo)

travel itinerary for the summer and possibly longer b/c of lockout?

John Hollinger
  (1:06 PM)

Ha! We'll see how long my "travel" season goes. Going to Norway; never been to Scandinavia so I'm excited about that trip. And I've got to do a Portland run and get me to a Timbers game; my last two trips I've missed them by a day. Otherwise, hopefully I don't have *too* much time to travel. It's my favorite thing besides basketball, but I'd still prefer having basketball.

Matt (LA)

Hypothetically (if the Heat get their man), do you think Reggie Jackson will be an impact player next season?

John Hollinger
  (1:07 PM)

at pick 31? Would be a heck of a feat to pull off. Realistically you're hoping for a guy who can be a rotation player in two to three years. Anything else is gravy. Really, really good gravy.

dan (nj)

Dont think Jackson is getting by the Nets

John Hollinger
  (1:07 PM)

You may be right.

Marcus Williams (oblivion)

Rod drafted me because I got him a good deal on some laptops.

John Hollinger
  (1:07 PM)

In his defense, given the Nets' budget under Bruce Ratner, it's possible those savings were crucial.

Vinnie (ATL)

Being a business traveler myself, Hartsfield is no picnic.

John Hollinger
  (1:08 PM)

I have home-court advantage there, it's the only thing that makes it manageable is I know all the tricks now. Better for O/D than for stopovers; changing planes there is beastly awful.

Kenneth Faried (Morehead)

Why aren't people rating me higher? I have the most rebounds in Division I history. What more do I have to do??

John Hollinger
  (1:10 PM)

rebounding translates to the next level, but the thing is that if you look at college players who were just rebounders, as opposed to all-weather dominators, they mostly struggled as NBA players despite great rebound rates. Faried basically translates as a Reggie Evans type; he's more offensively skilled than Reggie, but he's that type of player.

David (PDX)

What do the Blazers and Hawks have to do today to get your "dream" finals in 2012?

John Hollinger
  (1:10 PM)

You got a few hours?

Tom Jones (San Francisco)

Hey John, don't you think Ws should go for a 'Monta-for-#2 pick' in order to build for the future? I think it could work for both teams!

John Hollinger
  (1:11 PM)

If the Warriors can get #2 for Ellis, they should make the trade call immediately before the Wolves can change their mind. I'm not a big Ellis fan and would nevereverever trade a high lottery pick for him.

John Shields (Pennsylvania)

Is it possible for a team to trade out of the draft altogether? This is such a weak draft, why would a team want to guarantee money to someone who will be a role player, at best?

John Hollinger
  (1:12 PM)

Yes, but sellers require buyers. I think a couple of teams in the 20s would welcome selling their pick for $3 million or trading it for a future 1st, especially if "their guy" isn't there. But it takes two to tango.

John Hollinger
  (1:13 PM)

Alright folks, that's all the time I have but thanks again for all the great questions. We'll do this again sometime soon, presuming there's any league business to discuss. Enjoy the draft everyone!