Aloha everyone ... it's been several months since my last chat. I'm super excited that the NBA season is underway and also looking forward to the start of NBA Draft season this Friday when the college game begins. I'll be taking questions about the NBA in the first half of the chat and NBA Draft in the second half ... let's roll ...
What do you make of the Sixers? What is their ceiling for this season, if Bynum gets healthy within the month?
The key part of that question is ... "IF Bynum get's healthy" That's not a given when you consider his past injury history. However, if he does, he really opens things up on the perimeter. I'm still skeptical about the Sixers ability to shoot the long ball ... but they have the talent to be a 4th or 5th seed in the East if Bynum can play the whole year.
With the great start of the season the New York Knicks look like a potential contender in the East. With Amare Stoudemire's problems and chemistry with the team in the past, do you see the Knicks possibly trading him? If so, what teams do you think would be interested in him?
I really like the line-up the Knicks are playing right now and agree that when Amare returns, it could actually hurt the Knicks. The problem is that right now ... I don't see any potential takers for Amare. His contract isn't insured which means if he continues to struggle physically ... whoever trades for him is on the hook for all of his salary. Maybe the Knicks use him as a super sub off the bench?
I heard a fantastic rumor yesterday (which I'd been thinking about since July) that Jerry Sloan would be coaching the Lakers by December. Thoughts?
I think there are A LOT of rumors out there about who will be coaching the Lakers in December. Obviously if they continue to struggle like they are ... Mike Brown is gone. The Lakers woes aren't all Mike Brown's fault by the way. There are plenty of structural problems with this team. But just about everyone, including me, believed that the Lakers would very good and that would only happen if the chemistry was right. Right now, it's not right. Not sure Sloan is the right guy (he's so tough and demanding, not sure how the vets would respond) ... D'Antoni is another possibility.
In my opinion, the thunder's hopes will hinge on Russell Westbrook's ability to develop as a playmaker and decision maker, since we all know what Durant can do. Agree?
Probably right. They miss Harden. Westbrook and Durant are both alpha-males on the team and now there isn't anyone to mediate between them and make them both happy. Of the two, Westbrook is the one that needs to change. Not sure he can ... I love his game, it's just not a great fit with Durant's. Still a little surprised that the Thunder didn't trade Westbrook instead of Harden ... had the Rockets held onto Kyle Lowry ... they might have done that deal instead.
When Wall and Nene return to the lineup, do you see this team competing for a playoff spot? If not, will we see those vets(Ariza, Nene, Okafor) traded for youth and picks?
Skeptical. Once again I think the Wizards spent a ton of money to be a 9th or 10th seed. Maybe 8th seed at best. They got really solid players ... just can't see how they all fit together very well ...
Why are the Spurs AGAIN not getting the respect they deserve? I have a hard time seeing the Spurs do any worse than the Western Conference Finals again, especially with the Thunder weaker after the Harden deal.OKC should have kept Harden and dealt Westbrook.
I think we believe (John Hollinger is the exception of course) that the age issue will eventually catch up with them. So far it really hasn't ... they look great (again) and they don't even have all of their guys playing well. Not only is that a testament to their front office and head coach, but to their trainers who have kept the Spurs relatively healthy ... with the Lakers stumbling and the Thunder taking a step back, I think Hollinger may have nailed the Spurs winning the West. It's early, but right now they look like they're in a different league ...
What do the Pacers do now that Granger is out for three months?
See if Paul George is everything they believe he could be. If George blossoms, the Pacers are going to have a very long run with this team. If he's peaked, you'll see people flying off their bandwagon very quickly.
Assuming Dion Waiters can play at the level he has through 4 games and Kyrie Irving/Anderson Varajao can stay healthy, do the Cavs have enough depth in the remainder of their roster slots to make a run for the 8 seed in the playoffs?
Perhaps ... don't love the depth on the team right now, but Varejao has been awesome, Irving is going to be an All-Star sooner or later and after a very rocky summer and pre-season, you're starting to see glimpses of why the Cavs took Waiters at No. 4. If Waiters can keep playing at a high level ... yeah it's a possibility.
Hey Chad. Before the season started I read a few things that said "Watch out for the Jazz." I know it's only the start of the season but is their 3 game (possibly 4 after tonight against the Lakers) something for us fans to worry about?
I was writing about the future of the Jazz -- per our Future Power Rankings -- the Jazz in 2014, 15, and 16. For this season? No one is going to panic -- they lost to the Grizzlies, Spurs and Hornets all on the road. The Grizzlies and Spurs were both projected to be better than the Jazz this year. The Hornets? Not so much, but I think they're going to be way better than people think -- especially if Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon are healthy. The Jazz are taking a long-term approach ...
How good is james harden? has he gone from a fringe top 15-20 guy to a top 10?
He has such a unique game. I think Manu is probably his closest comp, but even that one's not great. He's been awesome in Houston. I want to see how he adjusts when NBA defenses start to key in on him more. But if he can get past that ... this was a home run of a deal for the Rockets and Daryl Morey.
How dangerous is Minnesota going to be once Rubio and Love come back healthy? Is Kirilenko's resurgence the most underrated story of the season so far?
Very dangerous. Potential playoff team and perhaps the proverbial "team no one wants to play in the first round". But a lot of that depends on when Love and Rubio are finally coming back and how quickly they get back into the groove. The West is tight and the Wolves can't afford to lose too many game over the next month. As for Kirilenko ... I think the time away in Russia and space with a new head coach are doing wonders for him.
Do Curry and Bogut round into form over the next month? Or, are the Warriors bound for the lottery AGAIN this year? Also, what are your early impressions of Harrison Barnes?
Love watching the Warriors this year. And I like the foundation they built. You're right, we're still waiting to see Curry and Bogut at 100 percent, Klay Thompson is still learning and Harrison Barnes still has a ways to go. I don't see them as a playoff team this year, but the foundation is a strong one.
With injuries to Danny Granger and Derrick Rose, do the Milwaukee Bucks have a chance to win the Central Division?
Maybe ... if Brandon Jennings keeps playing like this. If he can keep this up ... the Bucks finally have their star to build around.
Can small ball really work for the HEAT over an 82 game regular season? So far this season Miami is last in the league in defensive efficiency, and next to the bottom in the league in PPG allowed. I think the key to small ball being effective for Miami in the playoffs last year was that Lebron was able to play 44 MPG, and Wade and Bosh were able to play close to 40. Small ball on defense is a lot different when there are not as athelitc guys on the court, like Udonis Haslem at the 5, Rashard Lewis at the 4, Mike Miller at the 3, and Ray allen at the 2.
When you have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on your team ... I think the coaching philosophy doesn't have to be brilliant ... it just doesn't have to do any harm. I think the Heat are going to be just fine. No one cares about the regular season ... it's what they can do in the playoffs and if they lose a few games perfecting it this season ... all the better for the Heat. I still think they are the best team in the NBA.
Why are people so high on "positionless basketball" It works when you have Lebron on your team, but it doesn't mean it will work everywhere else. Right?
The Raptors definitely look bad enough to miss the playoffs, but just good enough to finish in the middle of the lottery, which means no draft pick. No question.....just......sigh.........
Raptors fans ...
Simple Question Chad. Will the Bulls make the playoffs?
How long do you anticipate it takes Doc Rivers to sort out his rotation/playing time for this deep squad? Bradley being out and JET/Lee playing subpar hasn't helped. Not sure if I'm a fan of his use of 3 PFs together- Bass/Sullinger/Green, w Pierce as occasional 2 guard.
Doc is taking the long view here ... he just needs the Celtics to get home court advantage in the first round. Probably just needs around 48 to 50 wins in the East to do that. He's got a veteran team. The new pieces are going to take some time to adjust (and I'd put Green in the new piece category). Given some apparent issues with the Pacers ... I think the Celtics are the favorites for the No. 2 seed in the East.
What are your thoughts on Jimmer Fredette so far? Future league MVP?
Someone help Wes ... I believe he's trapped somewhere in March of 2011.
Any reason to panic for Nuggets fans?
Not at all. I actually really like this team. I think at some point George Karl will relent and start McGee and when he does ... I think this is a very dangerous team.
If Chris Paul leaves LA, can a franchise be successfully built around Blake Griffin?
Love Blake, but I don't think so.
How impressed have you been with the Formless mavs? Can Rick Carlisle push enough buttons to keep Dallas in the playoff hunt until the big German returns?
Very. That backcourt of Collison and Mayo has been terrific. Think they will surprise a lot of folks when Nowitzki gets fully healthy.
Opinion of the 2012 draft class so far? Better or worse than expected?
Davis and Lillard are going to be in a huge battle for the No. 1 pick. Waiters, after a rocky summer and pre-season, is starting to round into form. All year folks thought we were overrating Lillard ... now it looks like we underrated him. Too early to tell for super young players like MKG and Beal. The play of Andre Drummond has to be encouraging to the Pistons. I wasn't much of an Austin Rivers fan coming into the draft and I still may have overrated him. He's been flat out awful both in the pre-season and regular season. Also been disappointed in the early returns for Thomas Robinson. The Mavs' Jae Crowder is the early pick for steal of the draft.
As a Suns fan, it may be time to root for losses. Who in the draft should we be pining for?
This isn't the greatest year to have a Top 3 pick in the draft. The consensus Top 3 are Nerlens Noel, Cody Zeller and Shabazz Muhammad. I like all three, but not sure any of them are franchise players the way Anthony Davis was. For the Suns, I would suspect Muhammad might be the most attractive.
Is Shabazz Muhahmad still a top 5 pick if he doesn't suit up for a game this year?
Who is the first PG taken in this years draft?
Arkansas' B.J. Young, Texas' Myck Kabongo and NC State's Lorenzo Brown are probably the first three off the board. But it's not a strong year for PGs. We don't have any PGs ranked in the Top 14 right now.
Cody Zeller's ceiling in the draft? Top 3?
Yes. A potential No. 1 pick in the draft. Heard he's gotten stronger over the summer -- that's going to be key for him. He really held his own against Anthony Davis last year. If he leads Indiana to a national title this year, there will be a lot of GMs beating his drum.
If Andrew Wiggins were hypothetically eligible for the 2013 draft, would he go #1?
No question -- he would be the No. 1 pick above Muhammad, Zeller or Noel.
Is James Michael Macadoo really that good? Or will his play/leadership this season determine if he's top 5 pick or 1st rounder?
Love his game, still trying to figure that out. I'll see UNC early in Maui at the EA Maui Invitational. For sure he's a guy that needs to play his way into the Top 5. Right now, I expect him to do it.
College game looks weak. Any internationals going to save the draft?
Much stronger year for international players. France's Rudy Gorbet and Croatia's Dario Saric could both be lottery picks. A number of teams like Spain's Alex Abrines. And this year's draft sleeper might be Denmark's Rasmus Larsen -- who is getting comped to a young Dirk (as so most tall international players with a face the basket game unfortunately)
Thoughts on Kyle Anderson at UCLA? Is he a 1 and done?
Tough one. Very unique game. Not sure there is a player in the NBA quite like him. Reminds me a little bit of Jalen Rose -- but not quite the same level of athlete. May be the toughest player in the draft to project right now.
Four more Kentucky Wildcats in 2013 1st Round?
We have Nerlens Noel ranked No. 1. Alex Poythress ranked No. 7. Archie Goodwin ranked No. 11. That's three in the lottery. Ryan Harrow (38) and Willie Cauely-Stein (45) are the other two possibilities.
What are Phil Pressey's draft prospects looking like right now?
Likely second round pick. Could sneak into the first given the dearth of point guards. His lack of size hurts him.
Who's the biggest sleeper in the draft I haven't heard of?
Check out North Texas' Tony Mitchell. Has had grade and off-the-court issues that pushed him out of Missouri. Has all the tools to be an excellent forward in the NBA. Lots of scouts are in love with his game. He won't get a lot of air time this year, but tons of talent.
Gotta run everyone. We'll start doing this every Wed at 1 p.m. ET. See you here next week!