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December 19, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:00 PM)

Aloha everyone and Happy Holidays. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll hit NBA in the first half hour and then NBA Draft in the second. Let's roll ...

Jaime (Virginia)

Chad, I think is evident that with all the trade talk for years now Pau Gasol haven't been the same player, I will like to know your opinion of a trade of Gasol for Amare, both made 19 million a season Amare had his best years with Nash and d'antonne and Gasol know how to play with a ball hawk like Carmelo (Kobe)?......Thank you and Merry Christmas!.....

Chad Ford
  (1:01 PM)

I think it would be a great deal for the Knicks. But for the Lakers? Seems like they'd be doubling down on an old team that desperately needs to get younger and specifically, needs better shooting. Amare's constant injury woes are also a big concern. I just don't see it happening. Sorry Knicks fans.

Kevin (Denver)

I disagree with your point that Cleveland should move Varajeo. I think it's important for a young rebuilding team to be competitive(meaning being in games, not necessarily winning) in order to develop effectively, otherwise you turn into the Sacramento Kings. If they drop Varajeo they'll be on the wrong end of more blow outs and really hinder the development of Irving, Waiter, Thompson and Zeller. Additionally, I think they can get a good 4-5 more quality years out of Varajeo.

Chad Ford
  (1:03 PM)

I agree with everything you said here Kevin. If the Cavs can't get back quality assets in return, I agree they shouldn't trade Varejao just yet. But if they can? You sell high. Varejao isn't going to help you compete anytime soon and when he hits free agency, he'll probably opt to go to a contender. You get something now while you can. Milwaukee is the team that really intrigues me. They are in a "win now" mode and have enough younger assets to put together an interesting package.

Dan (DC)

What on earth do the Wizards do? Obviously some health and a new GM are in order, but the team has never felt more directionless or hopeless.

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

At this point I can tell you what they shouldn't do -- which is what they have done the past few years -- which is sell future assets (players & cap flexibility) in return for mediocre veterans in hopes of turning the team into a sixth-eighth seed in the East. It's that "Let's be average" mentality that's killed them the past few years. You either rebuild or you go for it. The Wizards have tried to split the difference and it's killed them over and over again. If John Wall ever gets healthy, he's a building block. So is Bradley Beal, despite the poor shooting at the start of the season. Everything else is open ... I'd try to sell anyone else. Pick up assets, lots of assets, and go from there.

Matt (Indy)

Paul George has looked much more comfortable playing as a "3" recently in Granger's absence, and if he continues to play more consistently, do you see the Pacers moving Granger for a more dynamic SG?

Chad Ford
  (1:10 PM)

Yes. But the timing is tricky. Until Granger gets back and proves he's going to be healthy, his trade value is way too low. Of course, putting Granger back into the starting line-up may stunt George's phenomenal growth over the past month ... it's a tricky balancing act. But I fully expect that Granger probably isn't wearing a Pacers uniform by the start of next season.

Kevin (Toronto)

Can the raptors make a push and get back into the playoff picture(8th seed) or are they in too much of a hole ?

Chad Ford
  (1:12 PM)

I don't see it without a trade for a veteran big man to protect the rim. They are in an interesting place. They have enough pieces they could go in either direction. They could move a few younger players for a player like Varejao and probably be pretty good or they can try to move Bargnani and Calderon and double-down on the rebuilding process. If Bryan Colangelo has watched the Wizards ... he knows which direction NOT to go.

Barack (DC)

Any chance the Pelicans trade Ryan Anderson in a package for Gasol? Maybe involving another team or two? I think Ryan Anderson's skillset would do wonders for this Lakers team.

Chad Ford
  (1:18 PM)

That's the type of player the Lakers are looking for. Don't see the Hornets having a strong desire for Gasol anymore. But they could be part of a three team deal with the Wolves for example. If Pekovic and Williams went to New Orleans and Gasol to the Wolves this might work.

Stefan (Denmark)

Avery Johnson... Not a fan! How would the Nets look like, with Stan Van Gundy as their coach? I mean, besides removing the 0.000% chance of Dwight Howard coming to Brooklyn.

Chad Ford
  (1:20 PM)

He'll be the next to go if things don't improve. The Nets are stuck with this roster. They don't have any real flexibility to make deals. So ... coach will be the one to go. Van Gundy is a great choice, but you may be right. I think the Nets still hold out some hope that Dwight Howard will find a way to get there. If he does, Van Gundy can't be the one waiting for him.

Deuce (FL)

Hello, Chad. Now that Hollinger's gone how does it feel to be the biggest dork covering the NBA?

Chad Ford
  (1:24 PM)

I didn't realize I was the dork-in-waiting. Feel like there are much smarter dorks than me who are much more likely to be heir to Hollinger (in that regard Tom Haberstroh is off to a great start). But hey, if I was, it would be an honor. But really feel like Hollinger is pretty irreplaceable. Smarter than most of us and was really an excellent writer. Was the only column in the NBA that I NEVER missed. Read PER Diem every day.

Gary (Ohio)

Here's another question for you Chad. Best destination for Tyreke Evans? I believe he could be a future all-star but only if he gets moved out of sacramento and in with a new team. Is Boston the best place for him? What about Denver?

Chad Ford
  (1:27 PM)

Boston likes him. Not sure they have the assets to acquire him. Once upon a time they were willing to give up Rondo to draft him, but those days are over. I'm not sure he's a future all-star. Never learned how to shoot, play defense or play with others. Physical talents are all there, but physical talents alone don't get you into All-Star games.

Abhi Aggarwal (Houston)

What should the Rockets do about Jeremy Lin?

Chad Ford
  (1:28 PM)

They should've kept Goran Dragic ... but I digress. At this point, I think bringing him off the bench is a great idea. Lets him be who he is. Starting is so overrated

Jimmy (Chicago)

Why is it no one is talking about the Bulls as being a contender in the East. They are leading their division and should get a first round home playoff series. Once Derrick Rose comes back they should be a truly dynamic team again, and with the emergence of Marco Bellinelli this could be the best starting line D Rose has ever been teamed with. Why is it that when talking about who can beat the Heat in the East it is all NYK when the Bulls could be every bit as good if not better the the NYK when he comes back.

Chad Ford
  (1:29 PM)

If Rose comes back and is 100 percent, they will be mentioned by everyone as a serious contender. But that's a big if at this point.

Patrick (Milwaukee)

Chad,Do you think Ben McLemore has a chance to be the top draft pick in this year's draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:32 PM)

That might be a little much. I LOVE him. He's probably the hottest prospect in the draft right now along with Anthony Bennett. But ... he probably doesn't play the right position and he still has this tendency to shrink into the background at times. He got off to an incredible start against Richmond last night, then got in some foul trouble, then disappeared for a while when he returned. That's the big issue with him. People see Brandon Rush in him for good and for bad. Rush was incredibly talented in many of the same ways, but never was hungry enough or confident enough to be the man all the time. You want that in your No. 1 pick. With that said, I think he's got a great chance of going Top 10 and might go Top 5.

Jim (NYC)

Hey Chad, big Cuse fan and Im loving watching MCW. Can you comment on his abilities and if they will translate at the next level?

Chad Ford
  (1:34 PM)

He's got great size, is a good athlete and he really can see the floor. He reminds me a bit of a young Shaun Livingston. Livingston had a chance to be a star before his horrific injury. I think he can be a better shooter than he's shown this season. He still sometimes forces passes. If he was 19 instead of 21 he'd be in our Top 5 for sure. Not sure how the shoplifting accusation made against him will affect things.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

How high do you have Jeff Withey rated as a prospect? Will his size alone get him in the lottery of a weaker draft class?

Chad Ford
  (1:37 PM)

Not sure about Lottery, but he's getting closer. What makes him so special is that he's blocking 5.4 shots per game and averaging just 1.1 fouls per game. That's really incredible. Seems to be getting better by the game. If he was 19, again, he'd be a Top 10 pick. He'll be 23 on draft night which is a pretty big red flag for NBA teams and he's still pretty raw offensively. That's why he's in the 20s and not the lottery right now.

brady (campbell)

If Creighton makes a run in the NCAA tournament can Doug Mcdermott be a lottery pick? Can he be a starting Small forward in the NBA? His perimeter skills and athleticism cant be that much worse than Kyle Singler who is starting at shooting guard for the pistons.

Chad Ford
  (1:38 PM)

Most scouts say no. I'm torn. He's so smart, so efficient and so skilled. He clearly is able to put up these numbers against anyone. But the history of players like McDermott at the next level is very, very shaky. Probably a second round pick if he declared right now.

Dylan (DC)

Mason Plumlee has been much better this year, but is he really a significantly better NBA prospect? He's improved his low-post game, but it's still mechanical, his touch is iffy, and he mostly scores against single coverage. I don't think he projects to be someone who will get regular post touches at the next level. Beyond that, is there really anything to suggest he'll be a better NBA player than we thought last year?

Chad Ford
  (1:40 PM)

His brother Miles was taken by the Pacers as the next Jeff Foster. I think that was a reach. Mason? To me he is a Jeff Foster type player at the next level. However, he's got to continue to get tougher. That's what separates him from Foster right now. With that said, in this draft, a Jeff Foster clone is a lottery pick.

John (Alaska)

What is Joel James NBA Stock?

Chad Ford
  (1:41 PM)

Might be the best NBA prospect on the Tar Heels. Not sure if that speaks to James' incredible potential or to my disappointment this season with James Michael McAdoo and Reggie Bullock.

Damon (Santa Cruz)

With Butler having upset Indiana like that, what does that do for the NBA Draft stock for Rotnei Clarke? He showed up big in that game, the guy has range out to half-court, and is a heady player.

Chad Ford
  (1:42 PM)

Teams in Europe will be salivating to get their hands on him.

Steve (Bloomington, IL)

How many future pros does the current Arizona roster have?

Chad Ford
  (1:43 PM)

Trying to figure that out. Going to go down to Honolulu to watch them play this weekend in the Diamond Head Classic. My guess right now is 3 to 4.

Kevin (New York)

Why isn't James Southerland getting more love in the draft? Athletic 6'8" guys with unlimited range don't grow on trees.

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

He's rising. Guy can shoot from anywhere. Quick release. Been impressed with him every time I watch Syracuse play. Dajuan Coleman getting better too. Syracuse has a ton of talent. I think they could win it all this year.

Ron (Waltham, MA)

What are Cody Zeller's chances of being drafted in the Top 10? From what I saw, he didn't do much this past weekend against Butler. If he can't dominate a team like Butler, will he even be a starter in the NBA?

Chad Ford
  (1:46 PM)

He's a Top 10 prospect for sure. But right now the talk about him being the No. 1 pick has begun to cool. As a college player, he's as good as it gets. As a NBA player, teams still trying to figure out what he does special at the next level.

Kalen (Denver)

Chad, which European prospect besides Rudy Gobert do you think will be the best in the upcoming NBA Draft?

Chad Ford
  (1:47 PM)

Really like Dario Saric. Some have gotten down on him a bit thanks to a crazy situation in Europe ... but I think once that settles down, he has some elite abilities as a scorer in the NBA>

Tedy ((Toronto))

Do you believe CJ McCollum will be the best point guard coming in the draft, if he makes the transition we expect him to make? Is Marcus Smart the best longterm PG in the draft? How good can he be? Lastly, is Trey Burke a potential NBA starter?

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

Not sure McCollum is a point guard. But he's very talented. A lottery pick. I think Michael Carter-Williams is the top PG prospect right now. Best long-term NBA potential, Marcus Smart for sure if he gets it. Has some Derrick Rose in him. Love Burke as a college player, might be more of a back-up at the next level. A late first round pick right now.

Jerry (NYC)

I was impressed with Powell from Stanford last night...seemed like he could be an NBA guy. What's the scouting report on him?

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

Scouts loved him as a freshman, hated him as a soph and are warming up to him again. He has first round talent, but the inconsistency is an issue. Needs to be consistently good all year.

Derek (Purchase)

Are any of the players on the Florida Gators draftable? Could Erik Murphy have a Bonner-esque career in the NBA? Thanks.

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

Yes. TEams like Murphy. Someone will take Patric Young in the second round. Boynton is struggling to get the love right now.

Aaron (Calgary, AB)

Is it just me or will Victor Oladipo end up being a steal of a late first, early second round pick...solid NBA role player/energy guy off the bench??

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

Lots of scouts on him right now. Great chance at the first round. A Tony Allen type player in the NBA>

Kyle (Portland)

What position is Anthony Bennett in the NBA?

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

Stud. He's just a basketball player that goes out and gets it done. Can play 3 and 4 in the NBA with his athletic abilities and long arms.

CBLL (Germany)

Can Archie Goodwin play PG in the NBA?

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

Yes, in a sort of Russell Westbrook sort of way. Not as good as Westbrook, but similar players.

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

Gotta run a few minutes early today! Hope everyone has a great week and I'll be back the day after Christmas to chat again. Merry Christmas everyone.