Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 6, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wallace

Michael Wallace
  (2:19 PM)

Thanks for joining me for today's chat. Been a very busy day already, and I apologize for the late start. We'll take it until 3:20 to make up for lost time. Let's get right to the questions.

May (Fort Wayne)

Could a team of all of the NBA's injured stars beat the Heat in this year's playoffs: Rondo, Kobe, Westbrook, Rose, Love, Granger, Lee (?), Gallinari, etc.?

Michael Wallace
  (2:20 PM)

That's when you know you have the mark of a great team. It's when folks try to come up with creative All-Star type teams to match up with you on a hypothetical basis. Yes, a team of the injured stars, if healthy, could beat the Heat. But we'll never see anything like that.


Why after yesterday's victory, are most putting the loss on the Knicks instead of giving credit to the Pacers. There were missed calls on both sides - the late game offensive foul against David West and no call for Paul George were just as bad as Melo's offensive foul. I thought that Roy Hibbert should have finished higher in the DPOY voting. Does the lack of national TV time affect the team's perception on the national stage?

Michael Wallace
  (2:22 PM)

That's been the case with the Pacers all season. Whenever they play a marquee opponent, they can't seem to get the credit they deserve for beating them. But there's only one way Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert can change that. They have to put together three more wins against this Knicks team. At some point, they'll get the much-due credit. But they've got to earn it.

Cait (Indiana)

I am an avid NBA fan and follow advanced statistics. This being said, I know I may be biased being a huge fan of the Pacers, but I am completely confused by Paul George and Roy Hibbert not finishing at least in the top 5 of the DPOY voting. What is the explanation for this? Is there a more versatile, perimeter defender than Paul George?

Michael Wallace
  (2:24 PM)

Paul George put together a defensive masterpiece in Game 1 against the Knicks, holding Carmelo and JR Smith to woeful shooting numbers. I'm still a bit surprised that Marc Gasol won defensive player of the year. He's a solid player and perhaps the most complete center in the league. But he might not even be the best defender on his own team. Expect Paul George to get more consideration for DPOY next season if he continues at this playoff pace.

Al (Chicago)

What do you think about Chicago trading Deng, Gibson, and the Charlotte pick for Love, then they amnesty Boozer and use that money to bring in Iguidala.

Michael Wallace
  (2:24 PM)

Sounds like an awful lot of wheel-spinning without much of an improvement to the roster.

John (DC)

How many MVPs do you think LeBron will end up winning? I think people realized the mistake they made succumbing to "voter fatigue" when Jordan played. And 2010-2011 feels like an exception with all the disdain toward The Decision and that brazen pep rally. I got 7.

Michael Wallace
  (2:27 PM)

Considering the way LeBron is running away from the competition with each MVP he gets, I could see him winning six. The guy is 28 years old right now. He's got another four or five solid seasons in his prime, provided he remains relatively healthy.

David (Chicago)

Do you know how they came up with this odd playoff schedule? Spurs and Warriors both clinched before Friday, but they play Monday instead of Sunday, while the two teams that clinched Friday (Grizzlies and Thunder) played Sunday. Nobody plays this Thursday, so the teams that play Tuesday don't play again until Saturday (4 days), but the teams that play Wednesday play again Friday (2 days). I'm confused.

Michael Wallace
  (2:29 PM)

Me, too. But the TV networks have a strong say in how the schedule plays out, with the Saturday and Sunday slots considered the prime real estate for the teams that draw the highest ratings. (davie,florida)

that vote for Melo as MVP....who diminished?? Lebron or the savvy "journalist" who placed personal grievances over professionalism?

Michael Wallace
  (2:30 PM)

Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe cast the vote for Carmelo over LeBron. And then Washburn stood up and explained exactly why he made his choice. Again, it's his choice. LeBron is clearly the best player in the league. I don't think there's any debate about that. I think LeBron has completely distanced himself from the rest of the field.

Brian (FTL)

Why would Spo change the starting lineup now? The team is something insane like 42-3 in its last games, so is there a reason to go small and subject Shane Battier to the abuse he is going to receive from Carlos Boozer? I understand that the floor is spread, and the HEAT are much harder to guard when Battier is out there for Haslem, but this doesn't feel like the right time or the right series to make the switch.

Michael Wallace
  (2:34 PM)

Spoelstra has always held a few lineup options in his back pocket when it comes to how the Heat plan to attack. Give the man the benefit of the doubt when it comes to adjustments. Spoelstra has been on fire since the 2011 Finals setback against Dallas. He continues to hold his lineups close to the vest until the very last minute.

Tim (Columbia, MO)

Will D. Rose play tonight?

Michael Wallace
  (2:35 PM)

No. Rose spoke to the media after shootaround this morning and said again that he's just not ready. But he didn't rule himself out for the entire series.

Johnthan (Chicago IL )

Do you think the Bulls have a chance of beating the heat at all?

Michael Wallace
  (2:36 PM)

I've got the Heat winning the series in five games, so yes, the Bulls will at least get one victory. I wouldn't be surprised if they get another. I won't ever make the mistake of underestimating Chicago.

Zach (New York )

Who will win Pacers Knicks and why?

Michael Wallace
  (2:37 PM)

Going in, I had the Knicks in 7. I'm not so certain about that pick after what I saw in Game 1. But again, I've seen plenty of teams drop Game 1 of a series and still turn things completely around.

Adam (New York)

As a Heat fan, and seeing the heart of the Bulls, should I be very nervous about the Bulls winning in 6

Michael Wallace
  (2:38 PM)

Let's put it this way: No one is taking the Bulls lightly, even in their overwhelmingly diminished state. But a Bulls win in this series would constitute the biggest playoff upset in NBA history.

Devin Brooks (Detroit)

Lebron is the BEST PLAYER HUH... wow, well tell your boy Lebron to go to a team like Cleveland and WIN it all, without two other players on his team that are top 5 at their position. Kobe had Shaq, Magic had Kareem, MJ had Pippen.. one extra player, not two like Chris Bosh and D.Wade..

Michael Wallace
  (2:39 PM)

Dude, seriously?

David (Miami)

Who do you see as the next coach for the underachieving Brooklyn Nets?

Michael Wallace
  (2:41 PM)

A Van Gundy, Jeff or Stan, would be a perfect fit for that roster, especially Jeff if he ever chooses to leave the broadcast booth again.

Jerry (Houston)

If Rose were to come back, though theres a slight chance of that, what game do you think he would come back? I'd say Game 3 or 4. Especially if they go down 2-0 or 3-0 in the series.

Michael Wallace
  (2:42 PM)

I don't think he's coming back. But if he does, it'll almost certainly have to be Game 3. If the Heat go up 3-0, there's no reason for Rose to suit up. There's absolutely nothing he could do at that point.

Daniel (Boise, Idaho)

I understand what you mean by the Pacers have to "earn" it, but if anything they have earned more than the Knicks. The Knicks have advanced past the 1st round only once in what, like 13 years. The Pacers have been good, with this group, the Knicks have not.

Michael Wallace
  (2:44 PM)

The point is that being right and being relevant. Say what you will about the Knicks, but they are a relevant and polarizing team that commands attention. Obviously, that holds no bearing on a team's ability to win a ring or advance deep in the playoffs. The Pacers are a blue collar team that has to "get theirs" the blue collar way.

Aleajandro Rodriguez (San Antonio TX)

Since Westbrook has been hurt Durant has stepped up to a different level in games. Being left as the solo leader after losing Harden and Westbrook I believe Durant has played better than Lebron in the post- season and has taken control of the team. Who do you think has played better in the post-season between Lebron and Durant? and can OKC make the Finals?

Michael Wallace
  (2:47 PM)

Why compare these two guys right now? Durant has shown that he has another gear or two in his game that would put him on LeBron's all-around level if he continues to play and lead his team this way. Durant has always been an unselfish player. It's taken him a couple of games to adjust to having to carry the complete load of his team. He's going to continue to make this postseason fun to watch, regardless of what happens with the Thunder.

Nate (Chicago)

Let's assume that at the start of next year, all teams are completely healthy. Which team(s) are closest to winning a title besides Miami? What moves would it take those contenders to make?

Michael Wallace
  (2:48 PM)

This summer could feature some huge free agent moves that make it difficult to project at this point. What happens with Chris Paul and Dwight Howard in L.A. will have a major impact on what happens to other teams around the league. So let's check back after the first week of July.

Ray (Chicago)

Tim Duncan 18 points 10 rebounds and nearly 3 blks in 30 minutes of action and second place in west. Why is he not a First Team All NBA?

Michael Wallace
  (2:54 PM)

I could see Duncan getting strong consideration for first-team All-NBA. It just depends on how voters view his impact as compared to someone like Carmelo Anthony. I think Chris Paul, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are locks for three of the spots. Duncan, Melo and Kobe Bryant will battle for the final two spots on that first team, I'd bet.

Jeff (Brooklyn)

If Phil Jacson take the Nets job ( which I ont think he will ) I think his first order of business would be to trade that soft as cookie dough Brook Lopez for D 12....Any thoughts?

Michael Wallace
  (3:01 PM)

Those Dwight-to-Brooklyn doors continue to be open, I see. But those are two very big "ifs" we're talking about.

Andrew (Phoenix)

Do you see any tough matchups for the Spurs to get to the NBA Finals? I feel they match up with Golden State but the tough matchup could be the Grizzlies in the Conference Finals should that occur.

Michael Wallace
  (3:11 PM)

This will be a unique matchup for the Spurs. They'll have to figure out how to get a handle on Stephen Curry without compensating too much and allowing one of the other Warriors to get going. If nothing else, this will give San Antonio a perfect sparring partner to prepare for a potential Western Conference finals matchup with OKC if Durant gets those guys past Memphis. Either way it plays out, this will be an intriguing playoffs the rest of the way.

Gaz (England)

How likely is a Heat-Grizzlies Final match-up?

Michael Wallace
  (3:13 PM)

Funny thing is, when these teams met earlier this season in Memphis, the local paper billed the matchup as a potential Finals showdown. Folks laughed it off then. But there's a good chance it could happen. The Grizzlies are a very tough team, but I do think that their lack of a dynamic wing scorer will eventually catch up with them. They've done a remarkable job of adjusting to the Rudy Gay trade. But this is a different level of basketball once you get deep into the playoffs. Memphis is dominant at times inside, but not necessarily dynamic.

Michael Wallace
  (3:16 PM)

Thanks so much for your time this week. As always, you guys brought the strong questions and takes. Let's do it again this same time next week. Enjoy the playoffs. I know I will. Until then, peace. MW