Aloha everyone. Sorry for the late start. We're going to talk NBA in the first half and NBA Draft in the second. Let's roll ...
Sure the Sixers learned that Jrue can play like an allstar without Iguodala, but do you think there is some regret about the Bynum trade? Vuchevic looks legit in Orlando, Harkless has potential, and Bynum looks like he could be Brand 2.0. Not to mention the lost picks.
Lots of regrets right now. But if Bynum can get healthy (and stay healthy) and if they can work out a long-term deal, the truth is Bynum will have been worth it. But right now? Those are pretty big ifs and Vucevic, in particular, is starting to look like a real player.
What is the best way for the Pacers to reintegrate Danny Granger without disrupting Paul George's emergence and reviving an anemic offense (bench in particular)?
I fully expect that by the start of next season Granger will be wearing a different jersey. The challenge right now is how to bring him back, prove to teams he's still a pseudo-All-Star so that his trade value is high, and not disrupt what's happening in Indy. George is the future of the franchise and Granger's absence has given him the opportunity to emerge. They can't mess with that. But they don't want to sell Granger for pennies on the dollar. Lots of veteran teams would be interested in him if they are comfortable that he can stay healthy. Look for Golden State, Toronto, Houston, Dallas to all pursue.
Does Rudy Gay end up being moved before the trade deadline and if so, where most likely in your opinion?
I think someone will be moved. The Grizzlies are going to try to trim payroll while still trying to remain competitive. Gay is the most likely option, but Zach Randolph is another possibility. Right now Gay has the most trade value however. The Warriors would be a perfect fit, but not sure why they are insisting that Grizzlies take back a bad contract in return. That's not happening. I could see the Suns as a real possibility as well. Not sure the Raptors have what the Grizzlies are looking for.
Is Houston going to be active in the trade market as the deadline nears?
Hearing yes in a major way. They like their backcourt and feel that they are set at the five. Upgrading the 4 looks like the biggest priority ... but could also look to upgrade at the 3 (though Chandler Parsons is having a good season). Rockets still have a number of young assets to offer.
What will the interest level be in Nikola Pekovic this off season and how much money do you think teams will offer him on an offer sheet?
He's a tough, physical center who can score and rebound. He's going to make a ridiculous amount of money. Did you see what Roy Hibbert got last year?
Do you think Joe Dumars make a trade before deadline..? and if so could it be Moroe and Daye for Cousin and maybe their first round pick.. something in those lines...
Nope. I'm told Monroe is untouchable. They do like Cousins, but won't give up Monroe and given Drummond's strong play, there's an increasing feeling in Detroit that they can't trade him either.
Do you see the Celtics making any trades as the deadline nears?
Yes. I would put them up there with the Rockets, Grizzlies and Lakers as the most active teams right now. I'd be shocked if they didn't get something done. May or may not include Rondo, but the Celtics are looking for a youngish player to fill out their front line.
What happens if the Mavs can't pull off a meaningful trade and whiff again in free agency? Will Dirk really play out next season on a lottery team?
Marc Stein is the Mavs/Dirk expert so I'll defer to him. But from the outside looking in and from the sounds of his recent interview, he can't be happy. To be honest, I loved that Cuban gambled. He swung big because you need big stars to compete in today's NBA. He clearly has struck out ... but the effort was there.
If the Jazz deal Millsap and/or Big Al, what should they be targeting in return? PG, perhaps? Are there any impact PG on the market right now? Thanks!
PG is the most glaring long-term need. Given the emergence of a couple of PGs in the draft -- Marcus Smart and Michael Carter-Williams -- the Jazz may be able to address that need in the draft. They own the Warriors pick (though that's increasingly looking like it won't be a lottery pick) as well as their own. Not sure if either of those guys will be there. The problem is there aren't a lot of great PGs on the trade market right now. If they wanted to upgrade at SF, they may have a better shot at landing a Rudy Gay or a Danny Granger.
Should the Clippers get involved in the hunt for Gay? Bledsoe, Butler, and a filler would seem to make since fit both teams. Clips can't afford to pay Bledsoe long term and they don't need all the depth come playoff time.
Such a tough call given how well the Clippers are playing right now ... while Gay would be a great fit and an upgrade in the starting line-up, Bledsoe and Butler make a difference for them and I'm not sure how the chemistry would be affected. Really tough call, but if the Clippers were offering Bledsoe, the Grizzlies would have to listen.
Do the Lakers make the playoffs?
I don't think the Lakers even know the answer to that question anymore. Just still stunned that they can't find a way with all of that talent to play together. My inclination, based on some conversations with those around the team, is to blame Kobe. He's struggled to change his game to fit with Howard and Nash. But given the disaster, I think there's enough blame to go around from front office, to coaching to even Nash, Gasol and Howard. These guys are all elite players. Basketball is a team game. They really need a collaboration expert to come in and work with them. They lack the trust they need to really work together.
Is Trey Burke the best player in college basketball right now? How high has his draft stock risen and is there any way he does not come out after this season after considering coming out last year?
Possibly. He's on the short list. He's moved from a bubble first rounder into a discussion as a late lottery pick. Given his desire to declare last year and his stock improvement, I'd be shocked if he didn't leave Michigan at the end of the season. This is a weak draft for point guards and I think Burke will be one of the first three or four PGs off the board.
The media does not seem to be hyped about Marcus Smart. Big PG, aggressive attacks at the basket, improving jumpshot, great leader... what gives? Good fit with the young core of the Jazz?
I'm not sure about the media, but he's No. 11 on our Big Board and has been in our Top 15 since early in the season. I wrote in my column with Jay Bilas on Monday that if he finishes strong, I think he's a Top 5 pick in this draft. Fran Fraschilla made a Chauncey Billups comparison recently and I like it. Big, physical guard who is a natural leader. He needs to improve his jumper, but it's getting better.
What's your opinion on Mike Muscala from Bucknell? Does McCollum's injury open up the opportunity for him to breakout?
I think he's already broken out. His game against Missouri last week was an eye opener. Given his size, offensive skills and improved rebounding numbers he's got a shot at the first round. Absolute shame about McCollum. He's one of my favorite players to watch. Even if he misses the rest of the season, don't think his draft stock is affected too much as long as he's healthy enough to do team workouts in the draft.
how good is my boy Kelly Olynyk? Please tell me he'll stay in school for another year though.
May be the most improved player in college basketball. Just a different guy this year and for the first time in his career, a legitimate NBA draft candidate. My guess is that he's a second rounder right now. Another year at Gonzaga with that improvement curve could raise his stock even higher.
Hi Chad, love the chats. Brandon Paul seems to be much improved from last year, and more consisent. Does he go in Round 1?
Probably. Great athlete. Has improved his shot selection this year and his jump shot.
What's your opinion on phil pressey in missuori?
Can love him and hate him in the same game. He can be a special passer and also make mind numbing turnovers. If he was two or three inches taller he would be a lock for a first round pick, but scouts worry about his size.
Whose stock has fallen the most in the top 15 and whose has risen the most so far from your last top 100 list.
Tony Mitchell of North Texas and James McAdoo of North Carolina were both in my Top 10 before the season began. Both are now out of the lottery. Highest risers have been Alex Len & Ben McLemore. Both were in the late teens (McLemore) and early 20s (Len) before the season began. Now Len isn No. 3 and McLemore No. 4 on our Big Board.
Who is your top 10 picks for the 2013 NBA Draft right now?
1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky2. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA3. Alex Len, Maryland4. Ben McLemore, Kansas5. Cody Zeller, Indiana6. Anthony Bennett, UNLV7. Alex Poythress, Kentucky8. Otto Porter, Georgetown9. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse10. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
How deep is this draft? Better or worse than last year?
Depth is actually very good. I really like a lot of the players in the 20s and 30s on our Big Board. The issue with this year's draft is that there aren't really any franchise players out there. No superstars. But a lot of the players in this draft will stick in the league a long time. So if you're drafting 1-3 you're really bummed right now. But if you're draft 18 or 25, there are players here that you are genuinely interested in.
What is your impressions on Andrew Wiggins?
Love him. Best wing prospect NBA has seen in a long time. Reminds me a lot of Tracy McGrady with a better motor. He has the potential, and I emphasize potential given his young age, to be a Top 5 player in the NBA someday.
What do you know about the Seattle Sacramento Maloof sit?
Can't confirm that reports that are coming out. But everyone in the league office that I know has insisted all year that the next city to get a NBA team will be Seattle. So it won't surprise me if it's true. However, remember that the Maloofs have a history of changing their minds. I'll be happy for Seattle fans if this happens. I think the relocation of the Sonics to OKC was disgraceful. But Kings fans are among the most rabid in the NBA and I feel for them. But then again, I grew up a Kansas City Kings fans so ...
Gotta run everyone. Have a great week and we'll do this again next week.