Thanks for joining me for another week of NBA chatting. Let's get right to the questions.
Indiana is obviously struggling a lot on offense, they lead the league in Defensive efficiency. Do you see them making a move to right the ship?
If you started a list of teams that have been the most disappointing this season, based on expectations coming in, you'd have to list Pacers and Lakers at the top. Like L.A., Indy is also dealing with some serious injury issues. The loss of Danny Granger is crucial in this equation because of his leadership and overall playmaking ability. But other key players on the team haven't stepped up to fill the void. That list starts with Roy Hibbert and Paul George. Fortunately for them, those guys are holding themselves accountable - at least publicly. Do they need to make another move? Not right now. It's still early. If Granger struggles to come back and recover from the injury, then you have to re-evaluate the situation in another month.
Would you recommend re-installing Joel Anthony into the regular rotation (at the expense of some offense) in an effort to cure some of the team's defensive woes or would that be too damaging to the team's offensive flow?
No, I don't think Joel Anthony absolutely hurts the Heat's chemistry and flow on offense. He's simply not involved in enough sets beyond the occasional pick and roll to really get in the way. But he does help tremendously on defense. I think he'll continue to be what he is right now: A part-time, or situational, rotation player who provides a defensive spark every now and then.
Is Jose Calderon playing himself into a trade or a timeshare?
Who? I'm not exactly sure who that player is anymore. But I like what I've seen these last five games, when Calderon has averaged 13 points and 13 assists. But the Raptors are just too inconsistent. That goes from the top to the bottom of the roster. And Calderon is a microcosm of the problem.
Does the arrival of Mike D'antoni really help the Lakers right now or is it going to take time for him to implement is 8 second offense?
Don't expect D'Antoni to turn the Lakers into his best version of the Phoenix Suns. The dynamics are totally different. He never had an elite shooting guard and center to work with in Phoenix. That version of his offense there was created, in part, to take advantage of the speed, quickness and athleticism of the roster he had at the time. In LA, the terms speed, quickness and athleticism don't quickly come to mind when you're describing the Lakers personnel these days. He'll have to make some adjustments that will benefit Dwight and Kobe far more than he has to tweak anything to accommodate Nash.
Not really a question just a hope that this keeps me well entertained while I pay no attention in class.
I'll do my best.
One question:Where do you see the heat five years from now, together or split.
With the way the league is these days, I'm not even sure I can tell you where they will be five months from now after the trade deadline. If there's ever an "in the moment" team in this league, the Miami Heat are it.
Michael, as a big time D.Wade fan I'm starting to realize that D.Wade might be more Penny Hardaway/T.Mac (breaking down) than MJ/Kobe (Elite at their mid 30's) and that is a shame. Miami can't win with a injury prone D.Wade
I wouldn't put Wade in that first category. The man's got two rings on his fingers from leading and co-leading teams to championships. If his career ended after this season, I think he's a very strong Hall of Fame candidate.
Why has the voting for the All Star started already? We're 10 games into the season, you can't tell who is an all star yet. Do you agree that the All Star game is losing it's credibility because it's more about popularity than anything else?
No, I don't think it's losing its credibility. It remains a globally popular game. I would do more to allow coaches and even players to factor more strongly into the voting process, though.
Hey what do you make out of Austin Rivers early struggles? Is it just a rookie deal or should us Hornets fans be concerned as he was drafted to play in the backcourt with Eric Gordon but doesnt even look like hes in the same galaxy as Gordon talent wise.
It's a perplexing situation. But the Hornets have invested in a shooting guard who has missed as many or more games than he's played in so far in his career and a rookie who is still about three seasons away from being a real impact player in the league. You can only sell a fan base on youth and promise for so long. Eventually, folks need to see production. That said, patience is a must in N.O.
What will be the difference between coaching the Knicks to coaching the Lakers for Mike D'Antoni?
How this D'Antoni dynamic worked out is still astonishing to me. He gets booted from an underachieving, non-believing Knicks team and takes over an instant title contender in L.A. Not many people rebound from a firing in that fashion. But I think the Lakers want to believe in D'Antoni and he will find a way to get everyone's offensive numbers up. That still keeps player happy. But if the Lakers don't improve on defense and get healthy, it won't matter who's coaching them.
Would adding Kmart or Birdman and releasing Harris be beneficial to the Heat
This Heat team is real particular about not only the how a player fits into their system, but just as importantly, into their culture. Guys like Ray Allen and Shane Battier have never been a problem - or a commanding presence - in the locker room. They come in to fit in - not necessarily to stand out. So that will be a key question when it comes to adding Kenyon Martin or Chris Andersen. I see the Heat being more likely to pass than take a chance on either of those guys, barring a frontcourt injury.
If Jrue Holiday keeps playing like he has this early in the season, what separates him from the elite point guards like Deron Williams? Holiday: 19.1 ppg, 8.6 apg, 4.0 rpg, 45.6% shooting, 44.8% 3ptWilliams: 18.6 ppg, 7.7 apg, 2.3 rpg, 44.9% shooting, 29.7 % 3ptIf anything going by the stats, Holiday has been better so far, and will only improve when Bynum comes back. (the stats are through saturday)
And that's not even mentioning Jrue's on-ball defense. There's nothing I don't like about this kid. He's certainly in my mix for 'Most Improved Player' this season. There's no question that Deron has done more over a longer period, and has taken a team further into the playoffs. But Jrue is certainly on the rise and will be a good point guard in this league for a long time.
What's the biggest surprise of the season so far in your mind, Michael?
There are a few. But the way the Knicks have started the season, specifically the way they've defended, has been the biggest surprise to me considering where they were this time a year ago.
Do you think Allen Iverson will ever be signed with an NBA team again? If so, who?
Nah, he's done. That's my boy. But he's done.
Also I wish the best of luck and a speedy recovery to Brandon Roy even if he never plays again (dont think that's the case with this surgery). I just hope he will be able to walk when he's 50 with relatively little pain.
Ditto. Tough break for Brandon. Regardless of how this plays out, no one can ever say he didn't give his all to this game.
How many teams are kicking themselves for bypassing Drummond in the draft? (That kid looks like he can and will become great).
Big men, more than any other guys in the league, have been horribly inconsistent the past 20 years. I like the tools Drummond has, but let's give it a little more time to see how this plays out. He's still got an awful long way to go, but I like the potential that the Drummond-Monroe frontcourt offers down the line.
When do the Wizards get their first win?
The way it's looking, probably when Nene and/or John Wall suit up in something other than a sportscoat.
One Question: It's a tough one , because the season just started.Do you think that LeBron James will be MVP again?
He probably could be and should be. But I think, more than the past two years, voters will really want to give it to another player. And if Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Durant keep doing what they're doing, they will certainly make a case, respectively, for strong consideration. But there's no doubt at this point - or at least there shouldn't be - that LeBron is clearly the best player in the league. Clearly.
Grizzlies and Knicks making a lot of noise early in the season, do you see them lasting?
Grizzlies? Yes. Especially if they remain relatively healthy. Knicks? We'll see. Especially if they remain relatively Amar'e-less. Just kidding on that one. But it will be interesting to see how Stoudemire's return factors into their chemistry moving forward.
Is the LBJ chatter back to Cleveland real?
The fact that he's even in Miami proves that you can never say never. But I'm pretty certain LeBron isn't thinking about playing anywhere other than Miami right now. But anything's possible. Absolutely anything - provided the necessary cap space.
I'm concerned with Miami defense. Unlike last year I think their lack of size may hurt them this season. Is there any trade possibilities where they can inquire a legit big man?
Keep this in mind. From a personnel standpoint, the Heat are choosing to play this way. They've schemed on both sides of the ball to play smaller and with more speed to create extensive mismatches. Sometimes - and it's rare - they do get burned. But this isn't a roster that's forced on Erik Spoelstra. So I don't see them panicking after only a few weeks and a couple of shoddy defensive performances and going the trade route. Way too soon for that.
Michael, do you see the Wolves treading water enough until Love, Rubio, et.al make their way back from injury? Or should I save my Wolves/Playoff hopes until 2014?
They have a chance to tread water if the injuries don't continue to pile up the way they have been. At some point, a team reaches a breaking point when the bulk of its productive rotation is on the injured list. There will be a lot of competition for the seventh and eighth seeds out West. Minny should be able to remain in the mix if they don't completely buckle under all these surgeries and injuries.
If the grizzlies don't win it all/go far in the postseason, and with Conley Jr. needing an extension soon, do you think they considering trading Gay to a team like the Pistons? Unload his contract, resign Conley, and maybe get depth (Stuckey/Jerekbo type guys) and some draft picks outta of a trade?
Some decisions will have to be made. But I think they're pretty much set from a contract standpoint for at least this season and next. The Rudy Gay trade rumors will always be there, because they've shown in some cases they can win without him. But his dynamic play will be needed for this team to reach its peak. You have to keep an eye on this new ownership group to see if they're be financially committed to giving this squad a full chance to contend, as is or with an upgrade or two for depth.
What do you think has to happen for the Celtics to move into the elite class we all expect them to move into?
Great question. I initially thought both the Celtics and Ray Allen were better off having parted ways. But it looks like Ray has progressed a bit quicker in his new surroundings than the Celtics have with the new pieces they've added at shooting guard. I can only tell you what Doc Rivers told me a few weeks ago. He believes the rotation and consistency will lock in once Avery Bradley returns from his shoulder rehab. They could also use less sporadic play from Jeff Green. The Cs are relying on their supporting cast more than any true contender to help get them through the regular season. It's a must that those guys deliver and reduce the wear and tear on KG and Paul Pierce.
Hey, on that note, let me thank you all for sharing the past hour with me on the weekly chat. As a quick news update, LeBron James and Kevin Durant were name the Eastern and Western Conference players of the week, respectively, about an hour ago. Let's do this again next week. Until then, peace.MW