Thanks for joining me for another weekly installment of our NBA chat. Let me also say Happy Bernard King-to-the-Hall-of-Fame Day. Congrats also to the others hoops greats headed to Springfield in this year's HOF class. Now, let's get to the questions.
Are these Knicks of the past 2 weeks able to beat the Miami Heat during these playoffs? We used to say that the heat had a free ticket to the NBA Finals but these Knicks are playing quite impressive.
I'm impressed with Carmelo Anthony's hot streak. But I don't think the Knicks can beat the Miami Heat in a seven-game series playing one-man "hero" ball. Also, keep in mind the Heat didn't have either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade when the Knicks won in Miami last week. Unless JR Smith and Raymond Felton play more consistently on offense and New York gets some of its frontcourt guys healthy, it will be tough to sustain what they've recently done when the playoffs arrive.
What do you think of the Jazz's three players Favors, Kanter, and Hayward. Would love a player comparison for each of what you seen of them so far.
I like all three of those guys, and believe that Utah's future is bright if they can add a few veterans around them via free agency or trades. I'm not sure I have a comparison for Hayward or Kanter, but I think Favors has a lot of Al Horford in his game, especially if he learns to step out to 15 feet and consistently knock down a jumper.
What chances do you genuinely give the Heat in being able to keep their "Big 3" together as their player options are just around the corner?
From a financial standpoint, what people tend to forget or understate is that the Heat and owner Micky Arison have a very big say in what happens here. Yes, LeBron James can be a free agent and will likely opt out to get the full max contract he's due. But I don't get the sense he's looking to leave Miami. That's largely a media-driven, speculation-rich storyline at this point. If he goes, LeBron will be walking away from everything he essentially came to Miami to accomplish. To me, Bosh is the wild card. Now that he has a title, and a shot at another, will he want to again be the focal point of a team that would be willing to make him the No. 1 or No. 2, at worst, option? We'll see. But I see this group staying together, even with the potential added expense of a more punitive luxury tax.
Wizards are looking good. Wall is finally starting to show his true potential. The team is playing like a 6 seed in the east. They aren't even 100% healthy yet, Nene isn't close to being full healthy and Beal is out for season. There also going to get a top 10 pick in the draft. Where do you see the Wizards next season?
It's crazy to me how some out there questioned John Wall's worth as a franchise and/or max player. Good for Wall that he took his time to get healthy, and then went out and hushed up a lot of doubter. The key for Wall and the Wizards will be to build on what they started since the All-Star break. I had them as a playoff team coming into this season. I felt they had the pieces to compete every night, especially in the East. The silver lining in Wall's injury was that it gave Beal and chance to develop with significant playing time in that backcourt.
Who should be the Pistons' top targets in FA? Also, who do you think would be an ideal pick for them at #5?
I'm not sure he'll fall to the fifth pick, but I like Victor Oladipo from Indiana for the Pistons. They need a dynamic wing scorer/defender who could slide in nicely alongside Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. The Pistons also need to add a knock-down three-point shooter, but they can find one via free agency to take this rebuilding process to the next level.
How severe is Dwayne Wade's injury; and for that matter, what is the overall health of the Heat as they wrap up their season?
The truth is it's hard to distinguish between Wade's knee being a serious concern or just the team being overly cautious and diligent with him right now. One thing I know is that Wade and the Heat organization are sensitive when it comes to the health of his knees. He's been down this road before with the left knee that's twice been through surgery. He says he hopes to play as soon as this week. I believe he'll try to get a game or two in before the playoffs, perhaps even Tuesday's game against Milwaukee. It's simply hard to tell.
Do you think Miami would still be the favorites to win the championship without Birdman?
Miami was the favorite before Chris Andersen arrived. That said, he's certainly given them a boost inside on both ends of the court.
Michael, 4th Qt 5 minutes left tied game who you got?Birdman/Bosh/Battier/Wade/James VSTyson/Kmart/Melo/J.R./Felton
I'd bank on LeBron until LeBron proves otherwise.
What is Andrew Wiggins ceiling?
I've heard everything from he's the next Vince Carter to he's the next Carmelo Anthony. But it's a big jump from being a dominant HS player to translating that hype and skill into the NBA.
Was it just me or was the High School and College Dunk Contests better than the NBA's?
It wasn't just you. In fact, I'd add that the NBA D-League dunk contest during All-Star break is also way better than the NBA product. But keep in mind that you're getting the best of the best players to compete at those lower levels. In the NBA, the best of the best only want to compete in the courtside seat fashion show and watch relative unknowns do the dunking.
If the Clippers have an early playoff exit, do you think Paul will stay? And let's face it, Vinny is an awful coach and he has to leave as soon as possible but his departure is not the only solution for the Clippers. Right?
I could be wrong here. But this Clippers/CP3 situation is starting to feel a lot like the Cavaliers/LeBron ordeal from a few years ago. Paul has plenty of reasons to stay, and the Clippers are a team that will be a factor as long as he's there. But there's also some anxiety there that you just can't trust or feel comfortable with if this team is eliminated before the conference finals.
Miami has a 4 loss lead for the overall number 1 seed, but how important is that overall number 1? In a potential Finals meeting, you have to endure 3 games in a row at the lower seed's home. Typically Finals teams have incredible home records. I almost think that being the lower seed, as the Heat were last year, is better. What do you think?
This is one trend the Heat traditionally buck. The top overall seed is far from a necessity for Miami. They've won a playoff game on the road in every series they've played since LeBron arrived in 2010. They lost in the 2011 Finals when they had home court advantage, and they won in 2012 when they didn't. So go figure.
Jazz or Lakers?
I'm hoping Jazz, but I believe the Lakers will do it.
Hey Mike, Happy Monday! If you were in charge of the Raptors what would you do to improve this team? The big debate going on is whether to extend Gay or not. The majority of Raptors fans seem to think 'no' because who else are we competing with to pay Gay $20 million a year. I totally agree as well. Getting tired of having nothing to cheer about.
I would hold off on an extension for Gay. He has to prove that he can carry that team to the playoffs next season, and maybe even win a first-round series. I love his game. I believe the advanced stats analysts are over-the-top harsh on him in some instances. But he has to prove he can carry a team to the next level. The Raptors also need shooters to go with those perimeter athletes. Also, if they can get anything decent in return for Bargnani, it wouldn't hurt at all. So that's a start.
Regardless whether D rose comes back or not, is this the last year for Boozer as Bull.
Honestly, this might be the first season that Boozer has actually earned something close to the money he's being paid. I've been impressed with his durability and consistency for the first time in a long time. I don't think he's their No. 1 problem anymore. But they do need to find another perimeter scorer alongside Rose, because the Rip Hamilton experiment has been an absolute failure.
Hey Michael, I really like your work but I dont understand something. If you say Melo doesnt have the teammates around him, why dont you have in your top five in MVP.
I didn't say he doesn't have the teammates around him. In fact, I think he does. What I was trying to get at earlier was that the Knicks haven't exactly been balanced offensively since he's been on this scoring binge of late. JR and Felton have to get back to creating offense for themselves and others, and Kidd and Shumpert have to bring something - anything - to the table in order for the Knicks to reach their full potential.
How many more years do you think Kobe will play?
I think he's got three more strong seasons in him, barring a major injury, of course. The question is will he do a Montana/OJ/Jordan type move and finish his career in anything other than a Lakers jersey?
Do you think Kobe or Lebron will pass Kareem for most career points?
I don't. Kareem essentially played from the Civil Rights era all the way through the start of Jordan's dominant MVP run. That's a lot of points to rack up over time. Kareem played well into his 40s, when he was still averaging double figures.
IF THE LAKERS DO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS WHO DO THEY HAVE A BETTER CHANCE AGAINST THE THUNDER OR THE SPURS???
Easy. The Spurs, considering they're not healthy right now. But I don't see the Lakers taking any more than two games from either the Spurs or Thunder.
Valunciunas - quite a March. How do you project him going forwar based on what you've seen?
It goes back to what I said earlier. Toronto has some nice, quality pieces on that roster. I'd like to see them add an outside shooter and another banger/rebounder inside off the bench. This should be a playoff team in the east next season if Rudy Gay comes back with a point to prove that he's an elite player in this league.
Who's the best PG in the NBA? Many people say it's Parker, but I believe any PG will greatly benefit playing in Popovich's system. Rondo has great stats because the ball is always stuck with him, it's clear the Celtics play better without him because there's ball movement. In my opinion it's CP3 or Rose. What do you think?
I say it's Chris Paul. But there are about 10 point guards in the league I'd take and walk away completely thrilled with right now. That's how deep and talented that position is in the league.
Do you think Derrick Rose will be in a different team's uniform next time he plays?
That's my time for the week. Thanks a lot for again joining me. There were still a bunch of great questions I couldn't get to this week. But jump back in line next week as we head toward the playoffs. Until then, peace. MW