Aloha everyone, Happy Holidays and thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll tackle NBA in the first half hour and then move onto the NBA Draft in the second half of the chat. Let's roll ...
Any hope of talking this LAL fan off the bridge...?
I'm running out of excuses. Everything is just a mess right now in LAL. Team doesn't really fit the style of play D'Antoni favors. Nash will help with that, but he really doesn't have the players that can get up and down the floor and shoot the rock. Defense is a mess. Kobe is back to taking 25+ shots a game. No chemistry. There's so much talent there at the core that you have to believe that they're going to get better ... but Championship contender? Not sure how anyone could make an argument for that right now.
ESPN cited sources today saying the Lakers were looking at bringing in a point guard while Steve Nash recovers. Who is available on the trade market that they could realistically get?
Not much out there unfortunately. Marc Stein is reporting that they're giving a serious look to Delonte West. As far as talent goes, he's the best option. But on a team that has really struggled with chemistry, are you really going to bring in a guy who has a repeated history of causing chemistry issues. Lakers are a volatile mix right now. Jose Calderon is another option according to Stein. I like this better for the Lakers however, I don't think Bryan Colangelo is just going to give him away. Contrary to popular belief, not every GM in the league is dying to make the Lakers better ...
Is there any possibility that the Lakers will miss the playoffs?
Yes. Hollinger has their playoff odds pegged at 55 percent. That means there's a 45 percent chance they don't make it. I bet they go up, however, once Nash returns ...
Is it possible the Suns will end up getting a lottery pick from the Lakers this summer?
Here's the skinny on that pick the Lakers are supposed to send the Suns from the Steve Nash trade. The Lakers will send the least favorable of their own 1st round pick (top-14 protected), Cleveland's own 2013 1st round pick, Sacramento's own 1st round pick (top-13 protected) and Miami's 2013 1st round pick to Phoenix. If the L.A. Lakers' 1st round pick is within the top-14 selections, Phoenix will automatically receive the L.A. Lakers' 1st round pick. In other words, if the Lakers are in the lottery ... or even if they WIN the lottery, the Suns are getting the Lakers pick. Makes the Suns' Nash trade a whole lot more palatable.
The Washington Post report that the Wizards actually turned down Harden-for-Beal/Singleton can't be completely accurate? I mean, its the Wizards, but no front office is that dumb...right?
Sounds right. Before the draft I reported that the two teams were seriously talking before the draft about a similar deal. The Thunder loved Beal and even had him in for a secret workout before the draft. The holdup was the owner's reservations about paying the max to Harden. I hadn't heard about the subsequent talks after the draft, but they make sense.
Evan Turner appears to finally be showing why he was the number 2 pick a couple of years ago. Are you impressed by his recent play?
Absolutely. He's been awesome for the 76ers this year. The combo of Holiday-Turner looks like a terrific future for Philly -- especially if Turner can keep shooting the ball at this clip from 3. This was one of the biggest reasons the Sixers wanted to move Iguodala. They felt Turner could never be the talent he needed to be until Iggy was gone.
Will this be the best Clippers season ever?
Sure looks that way. If CP3 and Blake Griffin can stay healthy, there's no reason they can't win it. I still have my reservations about Del Negro as a coach, but the talent is there and they are playing really well right now.
Did you expect Jason kidd to be playing this good for the Knicks at 39?
Uh ... no. Did anyone? Simply amazing. And perhaps a bit of cautionary tale to GMs and owners. Given training and medical breakthroughs, players are able to extend their careers now in ways they couldn't a decade ago. We will start seeing more players playing well into their late 30s. That's a great development for the NBA in my opinion. It will deepen the talent pool.
How much better does Danny Granger make the Pacers?
A lot. He's still their best player. Paul George has been great in spots, but is still very inconsistent. But put him on the floor with Granger, taking some of the responsibility off his shoulders and I think the Pacers will quickly get back into contention in the East. Just wish they had a stronger bench.
Enes Kanter has looked like a new man this year. His offense have really improved. Is there a team with a better future front court than the Jazz with Kanter/Favors?
If we are talking 2 to 3 years from now? Jazz have a strong argument. Detroit will be right there too if Andre Drummond keeps developing. New Orleans has Anthony Davis who almost counts for two.
Is Jrue Holiday the early favorite for MIP?
He's in the mix. But Andray Blatche and O.J. Mayo would probably get the vote ahead of him for me right now. Anderson Varejao too.
Should Minny trade Love now? He's been dropping hints for years that he isn't happy there.
He is unhappy there. Has been for several years. Once he signed only a 3 year extension, the writing was on the wall. But I can't fathom the team trading him right now. David Kahn really, really wants to make the playoffs this year. They don't come close without Love.
I'm sorry did Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic turn 35 overnight? They will have the be the be the best front court for the forseeable future.
You're right (sort of). If Love lands next to a good center on his next team, that might be the best front court. Just don't see him in Minnesota in 2 years.
Who are the biggest riser and faller from start to season to now in terms of draft stock?
Alex Len has been the biggest riser. We had him in the late teens at in July, now he's No. 5 on our Big Board. Michael Carter-Williams has moved up 10 spots from No. 20 to No. 10 since July. Marcus Smart went from 30 to 15. James Michael McAdoo and Isaiah Austin have both slipped about 6-7 spots since July.
Is Anthonny Bennett ahead of supposedly not undersized PF's Poythress and Mcadoo?
Bennett is currently ranked No. 7 on our Big Board. He's ahead of McAdoo (12) but not Poythress (4) right now. But if he keeps playing like this all year, he's going to have a case as a potential Top 3 pick.
Giving the complete uncertainty at the top of the 2013 Draft, could Kansas' Ben MeLemore crack the top 3 if he keeps playing the way he has the last couple weeks?
That may be a little strong. I really like McLemore. He's ranked 18 on our board and I could see him moving up 8 to 10 more spots before the season ends. But don't see Top 3 yet. He might surprise me, but he'd have to take another step for that to happen.
Any Gophers look like they could get drafted?
Rodney Williams has a chance to crack the first round. Did you see the ridiculous 360 dunk against North Dakota State last night? Wow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of0f99iuTycAlso like Trevor Mbakwe as a possible second round pick.
Nik Stauskas have an NBA future? I had big doubts initially, but he is starting to look like he could be a JJ Redick type after four years at Michigan.
I see a lot of J.J. in him. Plays with such a swagger. NBA scouts like him. Not sure where he lands in a draft as everyone expects he'll be at Michigan a few years, but he's really got game.
better pro point guard, CJ McCollum or BJ Young? Could they be starters on decent teams, say, the Jazz...?
Both are more scoring guards than point guards, but the way the league is today, not sure that distinction means much any more. McCollum more highly ranked by NBA scouts at the moment, but it's close and some prefer Young. See both of them more as fire starting sixth men coming off the bench.
What position do you think Otto Porter plays in the NBA? Does he have enough of a stroke and the quickness to play SF?
I think so. I feel like his floor is probably a tweener like Jeff Green. But I see some Scottie Pippen in him. Scouts have been warming up all year, but at No. 9 on our Big Board, I still feel he's a little underrated.
Is Rudy Gobert the best international prospect in the draft? I personally like Dario Saric better
Scouts favor Gobert because of the crazy 7-9 wingspan and athletic ability. But as far as basketball players go, Saric is much further ahead. If Saric has a big year he's a Top 10 pick.
is shabazz's stock dropping? i just don't see the dominant player I thought I would see...
Not yet. Ben Howland's system has a way of making lottery picks look like second rounders. Folks are being patient. Shabazz had a shoulder injury that kept him out of practices and he doesn't look like he's in game shape yet. If he's playing like this in March, then he's got a problem.
Who will be better in the pros Marcus Smart or Lebryan Nash?
Smart. Could be a prototypical big point guard in the NBA. Coaches love him. He's very young and will continue to improve. I actually think he could end up, in 5 years, being the best pro PG prospect in this draft. But you have to be patient. Like Nash, but see him more as a late first round pick.
Does college basketball mean anything to scouts or is it what they do in high school? Bazz not dropping and Bennett isn't in the top 5...
Means something, but 8 games into a long season, they aren't throwing out what the kid did in high school either. Really won't their whole freshman year which explains why players like Brad Beal went very high despite a mediocre freshman year.
When do you see DeShawn Thomas being drafted?
Probably second round. He can REALLY score, but doesn't really contribute anywhere else and has major problems on the defensive end.
What is Mason Plumlee's stock so far after his strong start in his senior season at Duke?
Lottery. Potential Top 10. His age hurts him a bit. But this is a weak draft and he has NBA body/athleticism and he really seems to have turned the corner a bit offensively.
Which player on Michigan State do you think will be the highest draft pick? Dawson? Harris or Payne?
Gary Harris. He's in our Top 25 right now. I love Dawson as well. Real sleeper for me. Love the high energy, athletic guys who are willing to do anything to win. Payne has a shot, but he's a second rounder all the way right now.
If he continues to play at the level he's playing at once B10 season starts, do you see Indiana's Victor Oladipo getting into the late first round?
I do. Reminds me a lot of a young Tony Allen. Crazy athletic ability, defensive stopper, great motor, can do some things offensively.
With Erick Green playing out of his mind at the moment, is it really possible he could end up in the late first round?
Think so. I think he's having the best season of anyone in college basketball. Not sure what position he plays, but I think he could be a PG at the next level.
If the season were to end today, what's the highest you could see Michael Carter-Williams getting drafted? 1 is probably unreasonable, but any chance at top 3, depending on how the ping pong balls bounce?
5 to 10. Don't see him cracking that right now. NBA teams love big PGs, but his lack of elite athletic ability and his current shooting woes probably limit his ceiling a bit. But I could be wrong. If he dominates in Big East play? It's possible. The truth is that the top of the draft is really wide open right now.
I keep reading this is a bad draft. Looking over your Top 100, I'm not so sure.
It's a bad draft if you have a Top 3 pick. You want a potential superstar up there and I just don't see that guy really emerging right now. In any draft most teams would be fine with a Noel, Zeller, Muhammad or Poythress in the mid lottery. But not at the very top. But ... the good news is that there's a ton of depth. The top 20 players on our Big Board are, in my opinion, all legitimate lottery picks.
If Kyle Anderson declared after this year...could he go undrafted?
Who knows. Biggest enigma of the draft for me.
Thoughts on Trey Burke? Is he the best PG in the draft this year?
Not the best NBA prospect (though I do see him as a potential first rounder) but he might be the best PG in college basketball.
Who's the most underrated draft prospect right now?
Anthony Bennett is at No. 7 and Otto Porter is at No. 9 and I still feel like they're underrated. Ditto for McLemore at No. 18.
Most overrated prospect right now, and potentially come draft time ?
I have a lot of concerns about James Michael McAdoo. Really struggling to see how Isaiah Austin's game translates at the next level. Deeply disappointed with what I've seen from Tony Mitchell as well. All three are ranked on our Big Board based off potential, not what they've done this year.
Gotta run everyone. Really enjoyed chatting with you today. We'll do it again next week!