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

Chad Ford
  (1:01 PM)

Aloha everyone,Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll tackle NBA topics in the first half of the chat and then move onto the NBA Draft in the second half. Let's roll ...

Nick (Dayton)

is Kobe a viable MVP candidate this year?

Chad Ford
  (1:04 PM)

He's always a viable candidate. But through the first 11 games of the season only LeBron James and Manu Ginobili have a better PER and Manu's out with an injury. Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard will both be in the conversation as well, but if Kobe can get this weaker Lakers team back into title contention, I think there will be a huge movement to give it to him one last time.

Kirk (Cebu, Philippines)

Can the Jazz sustain their winning ways and make the playoffs?

Chad Ford
  (1:06 PM)

As an eighth seed in the playoffs? Sure. They have a nice mix of veterans and talented young players. They're playing well right now and the young guys like Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward are only going to get better

JD (Sacramento)

is there an ideal coach for the kings?

Chad Ford
  (1:07 PM)

George J. Mitchell:

Drew (Delaware)

Sixers..for real or a pretender?

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

For real. Not sure they'll finish the season a top John Hollinger's Power Rankings or even be a Top 5 team. But after the Heat and the Bulls, you can make a strong argument they're the next best team in the league long-term.

John (Streetsboro )

What is Kyrie Irving's ceiling?All Star or Super Star

Chad Ford
  (1:10 PM)

Probably All-Star ... even though that might be tough given the talented PGs in the East right now. Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo all ahead of him. John Wall has the potential to be as well.

nubby (Jax)

Bulls - keep team in tact or majot trade like for howard?

Chad Ford
  (1:12 PM)

If you can get Dwight Howard, you go and get him. Pairing him with Derrick Rose would be just amazing. But there's no pressing need to make a trade other than that right now. Bulls can compete for a title with this squad.

Maniac Maciej (Chicago, IL)

Westbrook for Rubio!

Chad Ford
  (1:13 PM)

Wolves aren't giving up Rubio for ANYONE right now. He's made Wolves fans believe that this 3-7 Wolves team are the Miami Heat.

Brandon (Detroit)

Would you rather have John Wall or Ricky Rubio as your PG of the future

Chad Ford
  (1:14 PM)

Right now? Rubio, no question. But I'm not writing off Wall. He has the ability to be a superstar in the NBA. He's in a terrible culture on a terrible team right now. Hopefully that won't permanently stunt his growth. But Wall's superior athletic abilities could allow him to be a transcendent player if he gets it.

Ron (Detroit, MI )

Chad, can I get your thoughts on Pistons center Greg Monroe? The guy looks stellar, and an all-star as well.

Chad Ford
  (1:18 PM)

He's the one bright spot on an otherwise dim Pistons team at the moment. It's still very early, but hard to argue someone else besides Wall should've gone ahead of him in the Draft. Favors could eventually surpass him because he's a much better athlete. Paul George has a chance to be great. Evan Turner is playing MUCH better this year. But Monroe is special. Brandon Knight should be pretty good too down the road. It's not going to be pretty for a while, but the Pistons do have some nice pieces going forward.

Peter (Atlanta, GA)

What do my Spurs have to do to become truly relevant again?

Chad Ford
  (1:19 PM)

Win the lottery and get Anthony Davis to replace Tim Duncan. They've been great for so long thanks to Duncan and David Robinson and some very deft drafting ... but without a superstar, it's hard, especially in a small market like San Antonio.

Colin (Atl)

I know the Wizards are terrible. Is it realistic for me to hope that they keep starting Booker and Singleton, get rid of Blatche and Rashard Lewis, and draft a SG who believes that passing is a viable option?

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

I think that's the blueprint. Vesely is in that equation somewhere. He has a lot of talent. Trading JaVale McGee may have to be in there too. He's crazy talented, but a knucklehead. New coach and new management are also going to have to be part of the equation.

James (San Antonio)

Thoughts on Kawhi Leonard this far? He seems to be picking things up pretty fast.

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

I'm a fan. If he can be a passable shooter, he's going to be very good.

Dan (Long Island)

KNICKS: How much will Baron Davis help? Is Iman Shumpert the real deal?

Chad Ford
  (1:23 PM)

Can't say on Baron. When he's motivated, he's great. But will his body cooperate anymore? Shumpert has a ton of raw talent but what is he? I just can't get excited about this Knicks team right now.

John (Chicago)

How long do the Thunder keep Westbrook/Durant together?

Chad Ford
  (1:25 PM)

The longer term question ... how do they afford to keep the team together. The way James Harden is playing means he's going to be getting a big deal somewhere. Same with Serge Ibaka ... they can afford to pay Durant and Westbrook big money. Not sure they can afford all of those guys and stay profitable.

Mark (Columbus)

Do the Cavs trade Varejao/Jamison/Sessions this year to get some picks/young talent?

Chad Ford
  (1:27 PM)

That's a tough call. Cavs are playing much better. A key to the development of the young players is to have a winning culture with vets who can teach. The Cavs have that right now. Yes, they'd pick up some important assets if they traded those three ... but it would come at a cost on the other end.

Nathan (Portland)

The blazers look great at home and terrible on the road. Any chance they pick it up over the course of the upcoming road trip?

Chad Ford
  (1:29 PM)

You're talking about 75% of the league. Only 6 teams have a winning record on the road this year. 7 teams, including the Lakers, have yet to win a road game. Blazers look like they're going to be fine and could be a possible Top 4 team in the West. I totally wiffed on them in the pre-season.

Evan (St. Paul)

Is the Rookie of the year Rubio's to lose?

Chad Ford
  (1:32 PM)

At this point yes. Weird fact. If Rubio wins ROY, he'll be the third player from the draft class of 2009 to do. That's got to be some sort of record. Tyreke Evans in 2010, Blake Griffin in 2011, Ricky Rubio in 2012.

Terry (Chicago)

Who do you think the Pacers should move Granger for? Paul George is just as good.

Chad Ford
  (1:35 PM)

Granger is struggling to fit into the new realties in Indy. He no longer is playing for Jim O'Brien and no longer needs to take off-balance contested jumpers with 18 seconds left on the shot clock. You're argument that Paul George is just as good has some resonance. David West, Roy Hibbert, Darren Collison and George Hill can also get it done. If he can't buy in, I think they've got to consider moving him. Not sure what they'd get for him, but there's been a lot of interest in him in the past.

Nate (Minneapolis)

Should the Timberwolves trade Michael Beasley? Who would be interested?

Chad Ford
  (1:36 PM)

Yes. And no one.

Adam (Utah)

What are the chances that D-Will comes back to Utah after this season? Utah will have the cap space and they are in a much better position than New Jersey right now.

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

Can't see it happening. Not after the way it ended in Utah. Not for either side. I think D-Will ends up back in NJ if they land Dwight Howard. If they don't, I think he's in Dallas next year wearing a Mavs uniform. Not out of the question that Dwight Howard will be in Big D too.

jesse (NC)

Does Austin Rivers go pro if hes not a top 10 pick...which hes not

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

I doubt it. He doesn't need the money. He's going to start playing better. Another year would do him good.

Barry (Jacksonville)

2012 draft... who do you have as the top 5 players? And do you see the Cavs skipping on a PF like Drummond or Davis for a SF like Barnes if they get the top pick?

Chad Ford
  (1:39 PM)

1. Anthony Davis 2. Perry Jones 3. Harrison Barnes 4. Andre Drummond 5. Thomas Robinson. I think picks 2-4 are pretty fluid right now. If Drummond starts playing every night like he did against West Virginia, he'll be the No. 2 pick.

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama)

Chad, Who is going to be the most underated player in the draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:41 PM)

Might be Weber State's Damian Lillard.

Clint (Utah)

Best NBA point guard in the '12 draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

Tough, tough question. The draft is VERY weak at the PG position. Right now I have Washington's Tony Wroten Jr No. 1 ... though he's at No. 16 on our Big Board. Lillard is No. 2, though he's more of a combo guard. Kendall Marshall, Myck Kabongo, Marquis Teague, Scott Machado, Tu Holloway and B.J. Young are all potential late first rounders.

Andrew (Lexington, Ky)

Which team do you think could really use Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?

Chad Ford
  (1:46 PM)

All 30. He's so tough, is a great leader and will be a lock down defender at the next level. Doesn't need the ball to impact the game. Getting a high quality kid like him on a team like the Kings, Wizards or Warriors makes some sense.

Paul (Vermont)

Meyers Leonard's draft range? Ceiling?

Chad Ford
  (1:46 PM)

10-20. Has the athletic ability to be a very good NBA center thanks to his mobility and defense. But lots of questions about his basketball IQ and focus.

Matt (Bloomington, IN)

Any chance Zeller could leave early if he's a top 10 pick?

Chad Ford
  (1:47 PM)

Possible, but I hear he's strongly leaning toward returning for his sophomore year. Indiana has a great incoming class next year.

Chad (Richmond, VA)

In your top 100 prospect for the NBA draft, Mike Scott of UVA is not mentioned, even though most experts pick him as first half ACC player of the year? What do you think his possibilities are for in the NBA and the draft in particular?

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

He's very talented and is having a great year, but he's an undersized power forward who will turn 24 in July. That scares NBA teams off. He's ranked 101 on our Big Board.

Mark (Syracuse, NY )

The talk around Syracuse is that Dion Waiters is leaving, which begs the question...for what?

Chad Ford
  (1:50 PM)

He may be the second most underrated player on our Big Board. He currently sits at No. 24, but he could go 10 spots higher on draft night. Lots of scouts really warming up to him.

Chris (Halifax)

Hi Chad, how are scouts viewing Myck Kabongo given his uneven start?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

Pass first point guards need someone to pass it to. He'd be a first round pick if the draft were held today. But another season at Texas could put him in the late lottery.

Robert (Los Angeles)

Any love for Joshua Smith (UCLA) in the first round?

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

Slowly getting there. So much talent. Smart kid. Never seems motivated enough to get into good shape. That scares folks.

Norman (NY)

How good is Harrison Barnes? Is he worth tanking what would be a mediocre season for or is he too one dimensional?

Chad Ford
  (1:53 PM)

He's a NBA scorer all the way. The way he plays right now, he's got a lot of Danny Granger in him. At his age, he's already a better shooter. The lack of versatility concerns a lot of scouts, but may be a product of playing on a loaded team with NBA Draft prospects at every position.

marc (toronto)

Do you agree that Perry Jones is not an NBA SF?

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

Actually, I think we might thrive at that position at the pros. If he gets the right coach and the right system ... he could be monster in the NBA. Wrong coach, wrong system? A bust.

Mike (DC)

Will Sullinger slide to a position where the Cavs could be able to take him?

Chad Ford
  (1:56 PM)

Teams are really split on him. His comp at the next level is probably Zach Randolph. He's a lot more grounded than Randolph, though a bit smaller. If he was two inches taller or played above the rim, he might be the No. 1 pick. But those are the concerns. He'll go somewhere between 5 and 10.

Matt (West Valley, UT)

Would the Jazz pass on Anthony Davis for Harrison Barnes if they won the lottery?

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

No. Right now I don't think any team in the league would pass on Davis if they landed the No. 1 pick. That can change (we're only halfway through the college season) but I talk to a lot of scouts and GMs and ALL of them have Davis No. 1.

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

Gotta run everyone. We'll do this again next Wednesday!