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April 1, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wallace

Michael Wallace
  (2:01 PM)

Thanks for joining me for another week of NBA discussion. There's plenty going on, so let's get right to it.

WK (Ellicott City MD)

No doubt (in my mind) that the Heat sat DWade and LBJ to get back at the Spurs. As a consumer of the NBA product I was disappointed on both occasions and wish there was something that could be done to prevent similar scenarios from playing out in the future. What's your take Michael?

Michael Wallace
  (2:04 PM)

I'm with you. I do believe there was a bit of payback involved in the Heat's decision to at least rest LeBron James. But when you peel back the layers, could anyone dispute that LeBron doesn't deserve a game off? The decision to sit Dwyane Wade was was easier to make and/or defend, considering he was dealing with a sore knee and sprained ankle the past week, and had missed two of the previous four games. These decisions always are difficult for fans to take, because they buy a ticket expecting to see stars perform. But the only thing the ticket guarantees is that the Heat will play the Spurs on that date. That's about it.

Brandon (Utah)

It might be wishful thinking, but can the Jazz hold onto the 8th seed? Jekyll and Hyde seems to describe this team well, but 6 of their last 8 are at home.

Michael Wallace
  (2:07 PM)

I'm on record predicting that the Lakers would make the playoffs, but I'd kindly request a mulligan if I could. The Lakers, Mavs and Jazz are all equally flawed teams, or they wouldn't be in the position they're in right now. Utah had been a far better team at home than on the road, so I think this final push slightly favors the Jazz in terms of their schedule/opponents. But just when you expect the Jazz to be one thing, as you suggest in the question, they always do the opposite.

Michael Wallace
  (2:11 PM)

I've got a four-man race going for coach of the year, and it's far too close for me to call at this point. But Spoelstra, Popovich, Hollins and Karl have all done remarkable jobs this season. I could strongly argue for any one of those guys.

George (Heat Fan in NE)

Coach Spo should be Coach of the Year. Your thoughts?

Michael Wallace
  (2:11 PM)

I've got a four-man race going for coach of the year, and it's far too close for me to call at this point. But Spoelstra, Popovich, Hollins and Karl have all done remarkable jobs this season. I could strongly argue for any one of those guys.

Frank (Ocala, fl)

In your opinion who do you think should win the DPOY award for this season?

Michael Wallace
  (2:13 PM)

Like coach of the year, this one's another very close and tough call. It's funny, but I think the MVP award will be the easiest of them all to hand out this season. I like Joakim Noah. I also really like Avery Bradley, but I know he's a longshot dark horse.

Jeff (Wellington)

Is J.R. smith sixth man of the year? With 5 30+ games this past month who else has a chance?

Michael Wallace
  (2:18 PM)

I think JR as the Sixth Man of the year is the second-easiest call to make after the MVP award. I know there's a lot of love out there for Jamal Crawford, and Jeff Green is making a strong push as of late. But Smith has had a great season and has accepted his role in a very productive way for the Knicks.

Paul (New Haven, CT)

Do you think the Knicks are seriously disrespected among basketball analysts? Seems to me they are still overlooked. There's been talk of their demise for months now, yet they have weathered tons of injuries and have secured either a 2 or 3 seed, and are playing as well as they have all season. Now, with the emergence of Martin and JR Smith, shouldn't they be considered THE major threat to Miami in the East?

Michael Wallace
  (2:22 PM)

I don't think the Knicks are overlooked by any stretch. I just think they haven't accomplished anything yet. They haven't won a playoff series in a decade. So that's why there's such a wait-and-see approach with New York. But you are correct in stating that they've overcome a ton of injuries and are playing their best ball of the season right now. But there's no way to judge this team - or place them in the tier as a legitimate contenders - until they get something done in the playoffs.

Keith (Detroit, MI)

Michael, pretend for the moment that you are Joe Dumars (or, a Joe Dumars that doesn't ruin the team with bad FAs), who would be your top realistic FA targets in the offseason?And while you are at it, who do you think would be the best player to draft at 5?

Michael Wallace
  (2:26 PM)

If I'm Detroit, my plan is to build around Brandon Knight, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. The obvious way to fill in the gaps would be to obtain perimeter shooting and defensive help first. I trust that Monroe and Drummond will develop quickly into players who will command double teams, so they need to be complemented. That said, I've mentioned before that I trust Dumars' drafting ability far more than I've trusted his free agency decision-making in the past. Maybe that changes this summer.

TK (San Diego)

Is there a big man playing better then Duncan this year? I mean, i tried to overlook his numbers but its getting harder to ignore him for a possible All NBA first team spot this year. What do you think? Thanks

Michael Wallace
  (2:32 PM)

Duncan is aging like fine wine and cheese. There are games when it looks like his feet are emerged in quicksand. But he's put together one of his better and more efficient seasons in recent years. If you're arguing that he's having the best year of any center in the league, I'd offer a couple of other names, such as Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol and Larry Sanders. But overall, I'm not sure I can dispute your notion.

William (Kharkov, Ukarine)

Spurs fan here....What can we take from yesterday's game, a loss at home to the Heat without LBJ and Wade? Do we really have a chance against Miami if we meet in the Finals?

Michael Wallace
  (2:34 PM)

Taking nothing away from that game. These two teams haven't played a game in years when both had their full rosters available. The Heat nearly lost at home a few months ago to a Spurs team that was missing Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. The main concern with the Spurs is whether they're stars can hold up and get through three playoff series in the rugged West just to get a shot at Miami in the Finals.

Mike (LA)

who goes this summer, Pau Gasol or Mike D'antoni ? CLEARLY Pau is not fitting into D'antoni system.

Michael Wallace
  (2:37 PM)

Perhaps Dwight Howard. The Lakers are a mess. I don't see any short-term solutions there. The easy answer is to trade Gasol, but the issues seem to run deeper than needing to dump one particular player.

AJ (Colorado)

Do you think Chris Andersen recieves a bigger role in the playoffs (20-25 mins), especially versus the Pacers?

Michael Wallace
  (2:41 PM)

I'm not sure he'll get to the point where he's averaging 25 minutes a game. But he could see 15-18 on a regular basis, depending on the matchups. Andersen's energy and athleticism around the rim on both ends of the court have been the biggest surprises of the season for Miami. Keep in mind this dude basically walked off the street and directly into a rotation role for a defending champion. But Spoelstra always has a playoff adjustment/change-up up his sleeve. That could very well mean Shane Battier's return to the starting lineup alongside Bosh for the playoffs. That tweak got the Heat to the Finals last season.

Rizo (Miami)

Is D-Wade a still top 5 player? Who is the better player head to head; him or westbrook?

Michael Wallace
  (2:47 PM)

I know this chat is designed for me to answer questions. But allow me to flip the script and ask one. Name me five players you'd put ahead of Wade right now. Seriously. Take the fanatic element away and make an objective list. I can't say for certain that I can find five guys I'd put ahead of Wade. There's LeBron and Durant - no question. Maybe Dwight and Chris Paul. After that, you'd get a strong argument from most honest people. And yes, I'd take Wade over Westbrook, still, right now. That might not be the case a year from now. But for now, for me, it is.

Rico (Las Vegas)

Does MIA really need HCA throughout the playoffs? I think they perform better as a team when they have to go on the road and win a big game because I remember them having HCA vs DAL and I think that gave them a a false sense of security.

Michael Wallace
  (2:50 PM)

The Heat have won a playoff game on the road in each series they've played since LeBron, Wade and Bosh have been together. So homecourt advantage isn't a must for this team. But it never hurts to have it.

Kyle kennedy (Canada)

A nation of 30 million people collectively shaking there head at the Craptors right now..

Michael Wallace
  (2:53 PM)

That's been the case for a while, hasn't it?

Tom (Chicago)

Why was Taj Gibson's foul upgraded to a Flagrant 1 but LeBron's foul was not upgraded to a Flagrant 2? This makes no sense.

Michael Wallace
  (2:55 PM)

I'm still not sure Gibson's foul was flagrant. Let's face it: The only way to stop LeBron from getting an And-1 situation is to aggressively foul him and make sure he doesn't get the ball up. He's that strong. I thought it was a cop-out decision by the league to upgrade that foul. The officials got it right. The league got it wrong.

J (DC)

If this is awards hour, how about John Wall for MIP? This last month I don't even recognize him... understands change of pace, doesn't turn it over half the time, can shoot a little...

Michael Wallace
  (2:57 PM)

The key for Wall is to finish this season strong and go into next season with the same mentality. It's amazing how many folks either wrote him off, forgot about him or overlooked him. He's an elite player when healthy. But, much like Kyrie Irving, he has to prove he can stay on the court.

tony (san antonio)

Do you think we will ever see frequent "stars" sit out for games on tough stretches or road games to rest them as a normal thing like in baseball?

Michael Wallace
  (2:59 PM)

No. Most stars really want to play. What the Spurs are doing is specific to what the Spurs need to do with veterans who have a history of getting banged up in the regular season. Doc Rivers has taken that approach with Boston in recent seasons, as well. But that same approach doesn't apply with teams like the Clippers, Heat, Thunder and so forth.

Patrick (City of Angels and Smog)

No love for Jarrett Jack for 6th man? C'mon son!

Michael Wallace
  (3:00 PM)

I've got plenty of love for Jack. But I can't legitimately place him ahead of JR Smith.

Michael Wallace
  (3:01 PM)

Well, that's my time for the week. Thanks so much for joining me. It's always a pleasure to chat NBA hoops with you guys. I wish I could get to more questions, but hang in there with me. Have a great week, and until next time, peace. MW