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May 17, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Kevin Pelton

Kevin Pelton
  (1:03 PM)

Chat will start a little bit late today because I have a radio interview, but we should be under way by 1:15 or so. Thanks for your patience.

FARES (San Antonio )

how long would the San Antonio vs Memphis series last??

Kevin Pelton
  (1:18 PM)

I reserve the right to change my mind as I research the series for our full Insider preview that will be on the site this weekend, but the pick I submitted this morning was San Antonio in 7.

Alec (Los Angeles)

Hi Kevin,Who ya got:Spurs or Grizz?More importantly, though: Memphis Barbecue (Central BBQ, Bar-B-Q Shop, Rendezvous, Cozy Corner, Germantown Commissary) or San Antonio/Hill Country Barbecue (Franklin, Snow's, Louie Mueller, Smitty's, Kreuz)?(I'll go with the Hill Country BBQ, if only because of Franklin.)

Kevin Pelton
  (1:19 PM)

Have never been to Memphis, so I think San Antonio has to win the BBQ wars by default. Also, my favorite BBQ in Seattle (there is such a thing) is a Texas import, I'm afraid.

Ray (Chicago)

Gasol & Randolph have struggled this year against the Spurs. Why?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:21 PM)

I think probably nothing more complicated than San Antonio being one of the few teams that can match up sizewise with two post threats, plus one of the league's top overall defenses.

dc (dc)

Is Oladipo a good fit for the Wiz?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:22 PM)

I have a hard time seeing that because playing Wall, Beal and Oladipo together would be a challenge and otherwise there's not a lot of minutes for Oladipo behind those guys.

Bryan (Toronto)

How bad do the Raptors want to move Bargnani's contract. I know Toronto loves Ersan Ilysova on the Bucks. Could Toronto trade Bargnani to the Bucks if the Raptors also threw in Terrance Ross and a 2014 first-round pick?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:23 PM)

I could see offering one of those two assets, but both seems like too much to offer for that upgrade. Dealing what could be a lottery pick for anything less than a big upgrade would be a mistake.

Cory (Indy)

As a Pacer fan do I have a right to be scared more than usual, if George Hill can't make it back? DJ Augitine is clueless guarding a pick and roll, and is I think 0-3 with a TO when on a fastbreak so far. What can the Pacers do.... try Lil Hansbrough?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:25 PM)

You absolutely have a right to be scared. I don't think the Pacers want any part of a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, and it seems unlikely George Hill will be able to return tomorrow. The optimistic perspective is that last night's game was still competitive in the closing minutes on the road, and the home crowd plus more minutes for Roy Hibbert (if he avoids foul trouble) could swing things.

messuggah (virginia)

why would sacramento trade a draft steal like thomas robinson for chump change?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:27 PM)

At this point, I think it's hard to describe Robinson as a steal. He showed little as a rookie to indicate he'll be more than a role player. Obviously much too early to write anyone off but the deal looks a lot better with the benefit of three months of hindsight.

QBert (San Jose)

With the Bulls season over, they're clearly not lacking in defense or heart, but if you can't score you can't win. What can/should the Bulls do to improve their offense? Who should stay and who should go??

Kevin Pelton
  (1:29 PM)

Barring a major change of heart in terms of the luxury tax, the Bulls are going to be shopping from the bargain bin once again. Seems unlikely Nate Robinson will be back with Rose's return, but I think Marco Belinelli showed enough in the playoffs to potentially return as part of a wing rotation with Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler, who may actually get to rest at some point next season.

Ed (Queens Village)

Why do teams tend to go retread route with coaches? I'm sure there are plenty of assistant coaches who are ready to lead team for first time. What is your pick for WCF?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:30 PM)

Well, Doc Rivers was a retread when the Celtics hired him, so it's certainly possible for veteran coaches to change their reputations. But there seems to be a really strong group of assistant coaches ready for an opportunity this year.

Barry (Florida)

If the Cavs drafted McLemore do you see him being as good or better than Waiters to justify the Cavs not drafting Porter if they are both on the board when SF seems to be the Cavs biggest need?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:31 PM)

In general, I think it's dangerous to spend too much time drafting for need in the lottery, but in this case I think it's appropriate for the Cavaliers because it's not at all clear that McLemore is the better prospect than Porter.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Let me ask a follow-up question about Dirk as well. Will his willingness to take substantially less money set an example for Paul and Howard to do the same as well in order to fit 3 superstars on one team?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:33 PM)

I think Miami's big 3 set that precedent. Dirk's situation is a little different since he's at the end of his career and has already made big money for years.

Joseph (San Diego)

How is it legal for the NBA to force the Maloofs to sell the team to the lowest bidder instead of the highest?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:34 PM)

The NBA didn't -- and couldn't -- force the Maloofs to sell to anyone, but it reserves the right to approve or decline both sales of the franchise and relocation. There is precedent for that.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

How effective do you think Dirk Nowitzki's pitch will be to Dwight Howard and Chris Paul of taking much less money ($5-$6 million per year for 3-4 years) on his next contract?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:36 PM)

It helps, but I don't think it's a huge deal. The Lakers will potentially have the same kind of cap space in 2014, and Chris Paul already plays with a better star than the Mavericks could attract in 2014, barring LeBron.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:36 PM)

By the way, as far as precedent, the real question is whether Kobe will vow to do something similar in 2014.

Kelly (Jacksonville)

I read recently where someone (I'm thinking Bill Simmons) claimed Tony Parker was the greatest European guard in the history of the NBA. Do you agree with that assessment? Couldn't the same also be said for Manu and South America?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:39 PM)

I don't think there's even a debate about Parker, since most of the great European players have been big men. And Ginobili's main competition for greatest guard from South America would probably be Oscar Schmidt, who never played in the NBA.

Chris (DC)

I am oddly fascinated with just how bad the Bobcats organization is from top to bottom (GM Rich Cho may be an outlier) and look at the team as a blank slate. Since this is a draft without a signature talent, wouldn't they be better off attempting to package the pick with an expiring deal like Ben Gordon (once he opts in) to acquire a productive veteran big man like a Millsap, Smith, or Jefferson to get some value? If they were to get the second pick and take either Otto Porter or Ben McLemore, maybe package them with Biyambo (a natural Ben Wallace type PF) for Andre Drummond.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:40 PM)

I'd be surprised by that kind of a move. The Bobcats seem content to build patiently. I think they're at least a year away from adding a veteran, and they would probably do that via free agency rather than giving up a pick.

Andrew (Mn)

If the Twolves keep Pekovic, get a better SG through draft/FA/Trade and the rest of the team is healthy do they make the playoffs next year? I have never seen more injuries to a team than the wolves last year. If the wolves are 100% healthy they have a great team with Love, Pekovic, Rubio, Kirlenko and a SG and a good bench.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:42 PM)

I think they'll be in the mix, as they would have been had they had reasonable health last season. The biggest problem for the Timberwolves is that there are more teams who legitimately hope to make the playoffs in the West next year than there are teams likely to slip out of the playoffs.

Adam d. (Shreveport)

Will warp projections be released next year similar to what was in previous Prospectus books?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:43 PM)

Not entirely sure what format they will take, but those projections will probably be part of player pages as they were in the past with John Hollinger's similar method. Stay tuned ...

Sean (SLC, UT)

Do you think there will ever be a way to measure defensive value to some degree using new technology and advanced metrics? For example, I can't count how many times I saw Serge Ibaka go for a block shot that he didn't get, only to leave his man open for an O rebound. Yet he is regarded as such a valuable defensive player largely because of his BPG. Which brings me back to my question, how do could you ever adjust for that? Seems wrong to just conclude the best shot blockers/steals leaders are the best defenders....

Kevin Pelton
  (1:45 PM)

Without question camera-tracking data will improve our ability to rate players defensively. The question is whether that information will become available publicly or will remain primarily in the hands of teams who subscribe to the SportVU system. We can also do some of this with plus-minus statistics, since they should pick up those kind of nuances over time. And, indeed, Serge Ibaka's net defensive plus-minus has never been elite -- one reason he hasn't been part of my All-Defensive Teams.

Corey (Miny)

If Love is 100% Healthy next year and Pekovic is back do you think that is the best PF/C combo in the league? To bad they didnt get to play together last year...

Kevin Pelton
  (1:45 PM)

It will be hard to pass Gasol/Randolph, but a healthy Love/Pekovic would be in that conversation.

Dan (NYC)

Are you doing a Hollinger-style draft preview this year?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:46 PM)

Yep. I'm working on updating my system right now in anticipation of having everything ready to go by some point in June. This was something of a preview: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/PerDiem-130329/nba-shabazz-muhammad-overrated

Matt (Utah)

Victor Oladipo=Tony Allen?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:47 PM)

I don't think Oladipo will be as extreme -- Allen is a generational defender, and Oladipo the much better offensive prospect. I would see Oladipo's comparison more like a smaller Andre Iguodala.

Eric P (Ingelwood, CA)

Besides Howard and Paul, who are the other players who deserve max salaries this summer?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:49 PM)

They would be it. I think you could justify $15 million or so for Josh Smith, but that's a little shy of his max salary.

Roger (Oakland, CA)

What should the Warriors do with Jack and Landry?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:50 PM)

I think the Warriors may be able to replace Landry with more smallball and Draymond Green stepping into a larger role next season. Jarrett Jack will be much more difficult to replace, so he should be the priority. The Warriors will still want to be careful with the length of the contract.

Jack (Locke)

I know this is sacrilege, but I feel Magic and Bird are vastly overrated, not worthy of top-10 much less top-5 status. They benefited from being poster boys for the league's cultural/financial resurgence and suffered minimal criticism for their defense, all the while having relatively short NBA careers on stacked teams that played at stat-inflating fast paces. Am I delusional?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:54 PM)

That would be going way too far. By advanced stats, Magic and Larry were elite in their primes. Their relatively short careers make them a little difficult to compare to players with longer careers, but it's not an issue of skill. They were cut short by injury (Bird) and illness (Magic).

Morris (Pgh, PA)

I'm really excited about Jeff Withey's NBA Comps, given that most analysts won't make cross-racial comparisons. I mean, I've already seen him compared to Travis Knight (1.7 blk, 6.3 fouls per 36) and Greg Stiemsma (6.0 fouls per 36).

Kevin Pelton
  (1:56 PM)

That is a nice thing about the statistical comparisons. I see him as similar to Roy Hibbert defensively, though obviously Hibbert's offensive skills set him apart.

ludo (savannah)

Chris Paul playing with a bigger star than anyone not name Lebron? seriously?! there are about 20 guys better than griffin and his stats or play are not showing any significant progression. overrated highlight machine.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:58 PM)

And those stats indicated he was at the borderline of the top 10 players in the league. Sometimes the dunks are difficult to look past to see Griffin's ability as a passer and scorer.

vk (md)

John Wall doesn't deserve a max deal? Will he get one?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:58 PM)

At this point, based on the second half of last season, I would give him a max deal and sleep comfortably with that decision.

Ed (Memphis, TN)

Do you think the Grizz will put Conley or Allen on Parker? Who should they?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:59 PM)

I think we'll see Allen on Manu Ginobili whenever he is on the floor. If you're not saving that Allen-Parker matchup for the end of games, that makes it more likely Lionel Hollins deploys it earlier on, I'd think.

Jerry (NYC)

Re: Dirk taking less money - I know the MLBPA specifically discourages this because it lessens the potential salary for other players in negotiations / arbitration. Does this not apply to the NBA because of the salary cap?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:01 PM)

I think their big issue is players not renegotiating their salary downward, which is not even permitted under the NBA CBA. When players become free agents, it's their right to choose less money.

Paul (Seattle, WA)

What is the next step for Seattle to get a team? Is expansion even a possibility with the TV deal ending in the next few years or is Seattle destined to become the NBA's version of Los Angeles with the NFL?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:02 PM)

I think the L.A. comparison is overly pessimistic. The NBA wants to get back to Seattle; the question is when and how. In part, I think they do want to see whether they need to move a team like Milwaukee in a few years and will probably consider that before deciding on the possibility of expansion. The 2017 expiration of the Memorandum of Understanding will be the clock hanging over all of this.

David (St. Louis)

Withey's standing vert was around 26. Is that bad news?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:04 PM)

It's not good news, but not a big deal given how effective he is flat-footed.

Joe (syracuse)

As someone who hasn't seen him a great deal, what makes Tony Allen such a god defender? Footwork, strength, fundamentals? Does he just prepare better? Does the system help him? Gasol behind him doesn't hurt I'm sure...

Kevin Pelton
  (2:05 PM)

A little of all of the above. He's got great physical tools in terms of his size and strength, but you don't get to be as good as TA is without treating defense as your craft. The other thing that sets him apart from a lot of stoppers is his ability to successfully take chances for steals.

Josh (Knoxville, TN)

I know it's not a perfect comparison because Duncan is a true big and Bird isn't, but the advanced metrics I've seen tend favor Duncan, particularly when you look at the playoff numbers. I think Bird might be overrated (or maybe Duncan is just underrated).

Kevin Pelton
  (2:06 PM)

I would say much more the latter.

Ed (OKC)

Do you think the Thunder's advanced stats tell them something about Perkins that others just miss? Why else would they keep him around and play him the minutes they did?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:07 PM)

I think the Thunder values continuity a lot more than almost anyone else. That's a little difficult to reconcile with the Harden trade, but explains the reluctance to make major lineup changes. And this year the Oklahoma City starting lineup was very effective at both ends. It just required Westbrook's scoring to make everything work.

Justin (Portland, OR)

Where does LeBron's 2013 rank all-time, assuming he gets a title?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:07 PM)

Hold on to that thought ...

JR (Philly)

Since he was name-dropped above, what do you think of Biyombo as a 'Ben Wallace type'? Is that a polite way of saying he doesn't score, or can he bring other contributions to the court?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:08 PM)

I think that's unfair to Ben Wallace, who had much greater defensive impact and better hands. So far, Biyombo has been a disappointment and I'm not sure how much upside he really has.

milo (de)

Rankem: Wall/Beal, Irving/Waiters, Curry/Thompson.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:09 PM)

I think Curry/Thompson, Wall/Beal, Irving/Waiters.

Andrew (SF)

What do you mean you've never been to Memphis?? You never been to a Grizz game? ESPN's gotta get you out there more!

Kevin Pelton
  (2:10 PM)

I would love to get there at some point!

Steve Urkel (Chicago)

Who do you see the Thunder picking in the draft with the Raptors pick? Is there anyway they don't pick a bigman?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:11 PM)

It would be pretty surprising if they went for a perimeter player, what with Jackson, Lamb and maybe Perry Jones developing at those spots. I wouldn't be surprised to see them draft a European prospect (Saric or Gobert).

David (St. Louis)

"It's not good news, but not a big deal given how effective he is flat-footed." In college, sure. But in the NBA?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:12 PM)

Possibly on the glass, but you don't really want a guy like Withey jumping a lot to try to block shots.

Andrew (SF)

Have you heard from Hollinger at all? He pumped?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:13 PM)

Yeah, I sent him congratulations the other night. He is pumped, and rightly so. I think he's had his Grizzlies towel with him day and night for the last two weeks.

Matt (Utah)

You've said that this draft isn't as weak as it's been made out to be. How does this year compare with poorer years like 2000 or 2006?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:14 PM)

I think I made that statement under the assumption that most of the top prospects would declare. With guys like Marcus Smart going back to college, I may have to walk it back. But I haven't had the opportunity to compare the actual pool to past drafts.

John (Las Vegas, NV)

Doesn't Tony Allen on offense actually help the Spurs in their defense so they put Parker on him and then stick Green on Conley? Your thoughts? It works both ways right?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:14 PM)

Definitely works both ways, which is why I think we'll see plenty of offense-defense subs with Jerryd Bayless as in the OKC series.

Eric (Hermosa Beach)

Do you think the concern of big/desirable markets attracting the best free agents has been overblown, especially considering the new CBA? It seems the new CBA created an environment where top free agents are going to stay with their current teams for that extra year and money. Also, it's going to be essentially impossible for players to plan to join super-teams in LA, NYC, Miami. Further, as far as the most desirable markets - there's really only LA, Miami, and the NY

Kevin Pelton
  (2:15 PM)

Well, I think the big thing we'll continue to see is players pushing for trades to those kind of markets before they become free agents. That's exactly what happened with Paul and Howard, not to mention Carmelo Anthony. We'll see if they're willing to leave this summer.

Mike (NY)

Thoughts on Kelly Olynyk as a prospect? The fact that he, as 7-footer, has the same wingspan as Oladipo worries me.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:16 PM)

I think he's more of a power forward than a center in the NBA. He shoots well enough to pull it off and his lack of length is not a major issue there.

scott (kelowna)

thoughts on Wiggins picking Kansas?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:17 PM)

I think it's good news for those of us interested in evaluating him as an NBA prospect because it's a good medium between playing with quality talent in a top system and playing with so much talent at Kentucky that we might not have been able to see him carry a team.

Kitty (SA)

Kevin, How is Memphis getting it done with out any really athletic wings?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:18 PM)

I would think Tony Allen would disagree with that! But Tayshaun Prince has shown that length and smarts can be as important defensively as athleticism.

Dan (NYC)

What do you see as Dion Waiters' ceiling. You seem very down on him, but I think the ability is there IF he learns how to play.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:20 PM)

Ceiling questions are tough for me, but I think he can be an excellent scoring guard. It's less that I'm down on Waiters and more that I'm very high on Beal, who I think will be a multi-time All-Star.

Crysander Siler (Seattle)

What is your definition of a Hall of Fame player? Based on my analysis, it seems like a fair figure is 120 win-shares (including postseason). Given this, why doesn't Horace Grant get more HOF consideration?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:21 PM)

Grant is one of my pet Hall of Fame candidates. I think his contributions to the first Chicago threepeat are tremendously underrated.

Jerry (NYC)

Knicks seem to need youth at every position - what / whom do you see them targeting?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:21 PM)

The main thing to keep in mind with the Knicks is that they filter their decisions about role players based on how they can fit with Melo. So I'd expect either another shooter or an interior defender.

MICHAEL (NYC)

Can you see the ECF going longer than 5 games and that might be a stretch?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:22 PM)

I think that's very possible. Both Indiana and New York took at least two games off the Heat during the regular season, and both were in the small club that beat Miami with Chris Andersen.

Kyle (Cleveland)

Noel weighed in at 206. Will that prevent him from being taken #1?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:24 PM)

I don't think so. As was noted on ESPN2's coverage of the NBA Draft Combine, one upside of his injury is that it gives him time to develop his upper body. And that tends to happen over time. So I don't think it's a huge red flag.

Drom John (Macon, Georgia)

Is Splitter getting Asik money?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:27 PM)

Good question. We'll see what kind of market there is for him among teams with cap space. The upside for the Spurs is they aren't vulnerable to a poison pill offer for Splitter.

ludo (savannah)

Come on Kevin, you'd pick Blake before Randolph, Aldridge, Bosh, Love, carmelo or even Dirk, Duncan and Garnett if you wanted to win next year?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:27 PM)

At some point you're splitting hairs. I think he's in the same category as most of those guys.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Do you ever submit questions to yourself to keep the chat interesting?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:28 PM)

Be suspicious if you see a bunch of questions from Seattle.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:29 PM)

I will admit I did do this from time to time at Baseball Prospectus. But not necessary with the volume here. The challenge is getting to so many questions!

Jay (Kalamazoo)

What are some teams that have the assets to trade for DeMarcus Cousins and the culture to be comfortable with that decision?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:30 PM)

Denver and Houston spring to mind.

JP (Buffalo)

Do you have Tim Duncan as a top 10 player all time?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:31 PM)

I think so. It's not a question I consider on a day-to-day basis, though. Only during these chats!

Kyle (Cleveland)

Better prospect on D, Withey or Dieng?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:31 PM)

I think Withey is the better defender right now but Dieng might have more potential to be able to chase the pick-and-roll and much up with a variety of offensive players.

JJ (Bay Area)

Any link to your WARP standings?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:33 PM)

Unfortunately, they're not online right now. Hoping to change that by next season.

Roger (Oakland, CA)

Did any of the measurements Chad Ford reported change your outlook on a player?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:34 PM)

I haven't looked at them in a historical context, but not really. I don't place a huge amount of value on measurements.

Steve (Cleveland)

Have you seen the measurements on Rudy Gobert? 9'7" standing reach and a 7'9" wingspan!! Where do you see him going in the draft?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:34 PM)

I think somewhere between 10-20. Late lottery or middle of the first round.

Jay (Tacoma, WA)

So we know the Kings are (apparently) staying in Sacramento...but they still stink. Is getting rid of the Maloofs enough, or do they need to "clean-slate" the management, and possibly roster, too?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:35 PM)

Not enough. I wrote about this today: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/PerDiem-130517/next-steps-sacramento-kings

Mike (Seattle)

If Seattle were to get a team, would it be more likely be via relocation or expansion? If relocation, which teams may be looking to sell?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:38 PM)

If I had to pick one, I'd say expansion. Everyone will be watching the Milwaukee Bucks. I think the NBA has concerns about the Bucks' viability competing against two other pro teams in a major market. And everyone agrees they need an arena solution in 2017. But the NBA has a long history in Milwaukee and Sen. Kohl wants to ensure the team stays in his home state.

Tom (NYC)

Where do you think Pek ends up?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:38 PM)

I may be underestimating the market, but I think he comes back to Minnesota.

Gabe (NJ)

Like your work (and others) pitching in for departed Hollinger. Any hope for Sixers? What would you do with them? I'm honestly looking for another team to root for for the next few years.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:41 PM)

The hope is Sam Hinkie's arrival. I think he'll take a smart approach with this roster. One thing I'd consider likely is an Evan Turner trade, given the difference between his perceived value and his advanced statistics.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

If the Maloofs had a better reputation as owners, does the NBA support them more in selling the team to the Seattle Group?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:41 PM)

I don't think so. I really think this was primarily about rewarding Sacramento for stepping up with a new ownership group and an arena plan.

James (Dallas)

James Harden followed Dwight Howard on twitter yesterday. Something or nothing?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:42 PM)

Well, no surprise there. We know the Rockets would like to sign Howard. The question is whether that interest is reciprocated. If Howard follows Harden then maybe that's something!

Rich (Richmond)

Aren't Chris Paul and Blake Griffin not getting along well? There is no way LeBron is the only player that the Mavs could argue they could add in 2014 to entice Paul. Also, who do the Clippers have (or who could they get) that would be as good a third banana as Dirk?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:47 PM)

I don't know how much people have looked at the 2014 free agent crop: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8589693/nba-free-agents-2013-2014

Kevin Pelton
  (2:47 PM)

If you look at the unrestricted free agents, which makes sense given the difficulty of getting a restricted free agent, it's really the Big 3 and a bunch of aging veterans. It's not, to me, a great year to have cap space.

Jon (Miami)

We all know LeBron will end up being top 5 all-time if he wins at least 2 more championships and continues at his current pace but where does Dwyane Wade rank all-time assuming he finishes with at least 3 NBA titles?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:48 PM)

Definitely in the top 50. Not sure we can get more specific than that yet.

zack stl [via mobile]

SHAQ vs duncan. Go.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:49 PM)

Tough call, but I tend to agree with Bill Simmons that Duncan is the best player of his generation.

Greg (Minneapolis)

I know Rubio has long way to go with scoring, but where does he rank w/PGs defensively? Obviously, he almost won the steals title, but he doesn't gamble to the detriment of his team, and it seems like he has good 1v1 technique.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:50 PM)

I had him second team all-defensive his rookie year, and would expect him to get back close to that level now that he's healthy again.

Dan (WI)

Can you think of any good reason for Flip Saunders to cut Roy and his non-guaranteed contract this early? It seems to me that he gave away a free option.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:52 PM)

I'm not sure what the timetable was because of the unique nature of Roy's guarantees, but if it was possible to cut him after the draft, that could have been an asset then.

Charles (San Jose)

So if Milwaukee (or Charlotte) were to move to Seattle, the Wolves could finally go to the Eastern Conference like they've always wanted, right?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:52 PM)

Also possible with expansion, which would force some sort of rethinking of the current division system.

paul (chicago)

in football there is a points value that allowed teams to weigh what a draft choice is worth - I think Jimmy Johnson started it. Does this exist in the NBA? So is it pretty well agreed upon how much it is worth to move up 'x' draft positions?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:54 PM)

I haven't seen one. With just 2 rounds' worth of picks, it's not quite as tricky to value them, so I think teams generally go based on the specific distribution of talent. And the analytical teams surely know the historic value of picks.

Wayne (Vancouver)

Do you think Alonzo Mourning is a hall of famer? Short career, played in an era when there were 4 or 5 centers better than him. But has a championship (albeit as backup), gold medal, All-NBA, DPOY, All-American HS and college, etc.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:54 PM)

I do. I would put all three of the elite defenders coming up -- Mourning, Ben Wallace, Dikembe Mutombo -- in the Hall.

Jay (Tacoma, WA)

I'm in Tacoma. Am I one of your fake questions?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:54 PM)

Whoa!

Andrew (SF)

You worked for Baseball Prospectus? Do you still follow MLB closely?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:55 PM)

I worked for Basketball Prospectus, and we did our chats at Baseball Prospectus. Tough for me to follow MLB closely with the attention I pay to hoops at every level.

Florian (Germany)

Although it saves the teams millions of dollars, isn't sending a player to college counterproductive? With the shortened three point lines (maybe three steps to close out on an opposing shooter instead of four) and different rules, don't young players develop some bad habbits? What do advanced metrics say about this? And yes, I know M.Gasol developed in Spain with similar rules. What do analytics say about this?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:56 PM)

I don't know about bad habits, but I think the limits on practice time and the other demands on a college student may slow down development. It's hard to study this issue, but the development of the preps-to-pros stars makes it hard to argue that college develops players better.

Nick (Oregon)

Uhm, wouldn't OKC be the logical choice to join the eastern conference. At the very least, they shouldn't be in the NW division.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:57 PM)

OKC has lots of local rivals in the West -- Memphis, the Texas teams. The teams closest to Minnesota -- Milwaukee, Chicago -- are all in the East. But yes, the NW division is geographically silly at this point.

Steve (New York)

Where do you think Shane Larkin goes in the draft? Very surprised he had a 44 inch vertical. What are the Knicks chances of taking him with their pick?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:58 PM)

I'd be surprised if he got that far. I think he probably goes top-20.

Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

Do you think Paul George's aggressiveness will grow as he gets older? He's too passive in passing it to West or Hibbert when he should be attacking JR Smith or Prigioni. Or maybe I am seeing it wrong and that is just what he is told by Vogel.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:59 PM)

The big key is continuing to improve his ballhandling. That will allow him to make more plays 1-on-1. He's come a long ways this season but still has more room to go.

Reader (Seattle)

It seems like it would benefit OKC to amnesty Perkins, because it could then retain Martin (if his price is fairly reasonable). Much easier to find another big man to play 20 minutes or so, than to find someone who is so efficient and effective with Collison in the pick and roll. Thoughts?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:00 PM)

Ultimately, I think there are some ownership groups who are unwilling to pay a player not to play for them. And I think Oklahoma City is in that group. So I wouldn't count on amnesty for Perkins -- or Carlos Boozer.

Greg (Minneapolis)

Are the Wolves best off ridding most/all of the non-Rubio-or-AK wing players from their roster? None of them (except maybe Bud or JJ) can shoot well or do the things that make RR and AK effective.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:04 PM)

I think it would be premature to assume Shved can't shoot, as he had good shooting numbers in Europe and European players -- like Pekovic -- tend to do better in year two. And Budinger is definitely worth keeping around. The rest, sure.

Jerry (NYC)

Can a D-League team "recruit" high school players? For ex. could a team guarantee Wiggins a starting spot with unlimited practice / coaching with pay for a year before declaring for the draft?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:07 PM)

I don't think so only because any player skipping college for the D-League would have to go through the usual draft process, so far as I know. So maybe the team with the No. 1 pick could do so.

Hannes (Sweden)

Follow up on Nate Robinson; hasn't he proved that he deserves to stay with Chicago after this year!?!?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:09 PM)

With Rose and Kirk Hinrich, not sure where they carve out minutes for him at the point next season. And he can probably get more money next year.

Eddie (NYC)

Have any coaches ever experimented with short shifting players, like teams do in hockey? Are there any physiological studies about playing athletes shorter minutes with shorter rest periods?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:09 PM)

Really only at the college level, where you can potentially do that with three groups of guys. Haven't seen any studies.

Chris (DC)

Following up on Perkins' amnesty, wouldn't CHA have been better off agreeing to deal #2 pick last year (Beal) and expiring deal of Diop for Harden and Perkins? Harden will be the best SG in the game post Kobe and Wade, and legit All-Star for next decade and Perkins would've at least been serviceable while creating flexibility for OKC with a young replacement for the Beard and an expiring deal.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:10 PM)

I don't know if Oklahoma City was ready yet to make that deal. We heard some rumors but the final decision to trade Harden didn't come until after he turned down their extension offer.

ken (park ave)

don't know enough about the assistant gm to the rockets that the sixers brought in but why should that give the sixers hope?it seems the league is just the haves vs. the have-nots at this point...how many different teams have won a championship since 1980? 8 or 9?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:11 PM)

That's just kind of the nature of basketball, since one elite player is so important. If your fandom is based on the chance of winning a championship, and your team doesn't have a top-5 player, basketball is never going to be the sport for you.

Jay (MN )

Do you think the Wolves will keep Derrick Williams or trade him? What would you do?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:12 PM)

I would probably look to move him. Not sure what kind of value they can get at this point, though.

Jerry (NYC)

If a study were to exist on a certain subject, where would I find it? Or - what sites do you read on a daily basis?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:13 PM)

Well, most of the sports studies I see are either part of the research paper competition at the Sloan Conference or published in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis of Sports.

Vic (SF)

To add to Jerry's (NYC) question, do you think the D League is a better place than the NCAA for players to develop? Should more people go the Glen Rice Jr. path, minus getting thrown out of college?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:14 PM)

The D-League is a higher level of play than the NCAA, a topic I studied in Pro Basketball Prospectus a couple of years ago, but I'm not sure it's necessarily a better place for an elite player to develop. We really don't have enough examples of that.

Adrian (Canada)

Is Norris Cole for real? Many, such as Haberstroh, has trashed him for his +/- and PER. Is he just hot, or is it fool's gold? Does seem like he's limited some of his dumb 1 on 3 drives, and his stroke is better. Maybe it's the extra playtime at the end of season that's helped.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:15 PM)

I would say somewhere in between. He started to improve his shooting over the second half of the season, and his college stats didn't portend he would struggle this much in the NBA. But obviously this kind of 3-point shooting is at the extreme of his value.

David (Toledo)

Given that you aren't real high on 2014 free agents, what would you do with cap space if you Chris Grant in Cleveland

Kevin Pelton
  (3:16 PM)

There are still guys who can help, and they can also use it to make trades for veterans. So I don't think it necessarily changes their philosophy. I just think fans have to be realistic that they're probably not getting a superstar in the summer of 2014.

ken (park ave)

i love basketball, it's def the sport for me but i guess i'm just bitter evan turner is just another guard haha, tough job for small market gm's to even pitch a prized FA unless you have a legit star to pair withwhat's a team's plan when it comes to trying to attract the top FA talent

Kevin Pelton
  (3:18 PM)

And the Sixers took a shot at what looked like an elite player, and airballed. That obviously sucks for fans.

Jerry (NYC)

Going back to the D-League - has a team ever utlized it to its full extent as a minor-league team? Do you think a team will? Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions, much appreciated.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:19 PM)

They can't be a full-on minor-league team until NBA teams have exclusive rights to the players on their D-League rosters. I would say Houston and San Antonio have come the closest to this model, but it's still possible for other teams to poach free agents on their D-League teams.

Steve (Cleveland)

Why does the D-League produce such extreme statistics? i.e., why can Kevin Jones average like 25 and 10 in the D-League but not get off the bench on a lottery team? is it the pace of play?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:21 PM)

Two big reasons are playing time (Jones averaged 37.5 minutes per game) and usage. These guys are getting forcefed possessions down there, and then come up to the NBA and stand in the corner.

Mike (NY)

Where does the Euroleague fall in terms of quality of play vs. D-League and NCAA DI?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:21 PM)

Euroleague is the highest level outside the NBA. Fran Fraschilla's comparison is that the NBA is the major leagues, Euroleague is AAA, and college/D-League are AA.

Matt (Seattle)

Where is this BBQ joint in Seattle you speak of?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:22 PM)

Shoutout to Pecos Pit in Sodo.

Matt (Fort Collins)

Spent much time watching Anthony Bennett? Thoughts?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:23 PM)

I saw him a handful of times at UNLV. The thing that jumped out at me is that he's a rich man's Brandon Bass. Like if Bass was more of a shot blocker, had a legit post game and could shoot 3s. I don't know if that's an All-Star player, but it's a valuable one.

JJ (Bay Area)

So your still a bit a believer in Shved? I am too. Give a me reason to be hopeful.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:23 PM)

He was really good in Europe, and had his moments in the NBA this season. I think he can be a lesser Jamal Crawford in time. (How's that for a cross-cultural comparison?)

ken (park ave)

how long ago did you consult for the pacers?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:24 PM)

I left the Pacers at the end of last year when I joined Insider.

Jordan (Dallas)

Interesting note that was released during the game last night. Corey Joseph asked Pop to send him to the D-League for more reps. As a Spurs and Longhorn fan I never thought CoJo would be a contributor after how he looked last season. Amazing how the DLeague helped him. Playing Playoff minutes on a deep team.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:25 PM)

Joseph is a great example of San Antonio's successful player development, including the D-League. I would say Houston's approach has been a little different -- the focus is more on finding contributors than developing players.

Byron (Cleveland)

Kevin can you name a book or an article that dispels this small market myth? We have people from Philly now saying that its a small market.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:26 PM)

My favorite thing about market size is that Miami is a big market in basketball and a small market in baseball. Though, admittedly, season has something to do with that.

Eric (Boston)

With the decision to keep the Kings in Sacramento, do you think the NBA will use the spectre of "interested billionaire Seattle buyers" to negotiate with teams with shaky arena deals? Do you think this was a big part of their decision to keep the Kings put?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:27 PM)

Yes, to the extent they viewed the Sacramento market going forward as something of a sure thing and aren't certain about markets. And surely the leverage is valuable to them too.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:28 PM)

I do think Seattle fans are wrong to think the city was used here solely to get a good deal from Sacramento. The city and the league struck a deal both sides were happy with last year, only for the Maloofs to scuttle it. This deal may be slightly more team-friendly, but it's not like Sacramento went from zero interest to an arena deal after the sale.

ken (stuck at work)

going on two hours, props Kev, most just do an hour and call it a day! looking 3 years into the future, who's the best player from this year's draft class?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:28 PM)

I would bet on Noel. I think he has an elite NBA talent (rim defense) in a way nobody else in this class does.

Jerry Eastwood (Grand Rapids, MI)

Hi Kevin - love your chats! How many hours of work do you put in a week? You seem so on top of everything and it must take a lot of time to be prepared.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:29 PM)

Tough to say because a lot of it blurs the lines of work. Most of the time I spend is watching games and reading to keep up on the league.

Charles (San Jose)

What player outside of the top 10 in this year's class would you be least shocked to see in an All-Star Game?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:30 PM)

Good question. I'd say Gobert or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Also like Shane Larkin but All-Star rosters are tough to crack at PG.

Jerry (NYC)

When did Lance go from the chosen one pretty boy to a solid defender and elite rebounding guard?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:31 PM)

Early this season. The interesting thing is last year he tried to be part of the system, but ended up losing the aggressiveness that made him a special prospect. This year he's struck a nice balance between the two.

Charles (San Jose)

Wait, you watch games? I thought guys like you don't look up from your spreadsheets in your moms' basements. :)

Kevin Pelton
  (3:31 PM)

It's true!

Jay (Newport Beach)

Kevin, are you planning to write a column re: BronBron's 2013 season soon? Is that why you asked a previous chatter to "hold that thought"?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:32 PM)

Something along those lines, though it will be a bit.

Danny (Cleveland)

Should the Cavs look to trade for Demarcus Cousins?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:33 PM)

I think they'd have to be really confident in the ability of Kyrie Irving and their veterans (would Varejao be part of this trade?) to keep him on the straight and narrow. But they certainly have the assets to make a reasonable bid.

Jay (Newport Beach)

I was watching some playoff highlights of Lebron circa 07-10 on youtube and though he has improved on the defensive end, and shot selection, I would SWEAR he's lost some quickness/explosiveness. Should I be concerned?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:34 PM)

No!

Kevin Pelton
  (3:34 PM)

I think that's the natural transition all stars start to make at about this point. And so far LeBron has made it splendidly.

mike b (houston)

What would be the ideal offseason for Houston? What would you predict actually happens?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:35 PM)

I suppose sign Dwight and flip Asik for a stretch four. I think more likely they look at guys like Josh Smith and Paul Millsap at power forward, or consider a Pau Gasol trade.

pedromart (boston)

Back to your previous answer on renegotiating contracts. So can PP do a 'Brady' and opt out and resign at a lower number?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:37 PM)

I'm not certain of this, but I don't believe so because he doesn't have an option. The Celtics would have to cut him to take advantage of the partial guarantee on his contract, and then could not re-sign him for the rest of the year.

Mike (Los Angeles)

Mark Jackson seems like a one dimensional coach to me. He doens't draw up plays, tell his players to adjust. He seems only to inspire. Warriors were getting bad looks and shooting low % shots. I think that was a major down fall for losing the series.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:38 PM)

The Warriors made some pretty important adjustments in the Denver series. In this round ... I mean, San Antonio gets a little credit for that, right? They didn't win 60 games on accident.

Dave (San Antonio)

Regardless of how the playoffs wind up, I believe the Spurs have to shop Tony Parker hard this offseason. Because of his age, probably their last chance to get top dollar in return for him. And the team needs to replenish with a couple prospects and/or picks because it seems, at most, that Timmy and Manu will be around for one more year. Not saying he must go, but he's the Spurs one trade chip and a Parker's value needs to be explored. Thoughts?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:39 PM)

I tend to be a believer that you ride the run and then bottom out, so I don't think having a slightly better Spurs team after Duncan and Ginobili retire is worth doing anything to hurt the chances of getting one last title.

Matt (Germany)

Do you rate Duncan higher than Shaq on longevity alone or also considering their respective peaks?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:40 PM)

I would say Duncan's best seasons were competitive with Shaq's best seasons when you consider his durability. So I think peak Shaq has a slight edge, but probably not enough to overcome Duncan's superior longevity.

Famous Mortimer (LA)

In follow-up to that work question, does your preparation take a lot of time away from relationships - family and friends?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:43 PM)

I wouldn't say that, really.

Patrick (TN)

Come to Memphis Kevin. The dry-rub ribs at the Rendezvous are worth the trip alone. Heck, I'll split a rack with ya.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:43 PM)

Stop, I haven't had lunch yet!

Tom (Chicago)

Who has more value when 100% healthy, Bradley Beal or Eric Gordon?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:44 PM)

I think at this point Beal's upside is probably somewhat better than what we've seen from a healthy Gordon.

Jay (MN )

Do you think KG is/was an underrated defender? I know he's a multiple all-NBA defensive first team player, but I think he's one of the best defenders ever when you consider 1-on-1 and team defense.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:45 PM)

Yes, I think he's in the discussion for best modern defender and sort of the archetype for the kind of defender who thrives in the current game/rules.

Andrew(Minneapolis) [via mobile]

I find it funny that the Knicks need "shooters" around Carmelo. The dude shot the ball 28 times and had ZERO assists. You can't make it up. I would go for the interior D so you might get something out of the money you are going to invest.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:46 PM)

Well, someone has to make the shot to get an assist. Jason Kidd and (until last night) J.R. Smith haven't been doing much of that in the playoffs -- part of the reason to look for more perimeter shooters.

Rich (Richmond)

Shaq played 19 seasons, Duncan has played 16 so far. How does Duncan have more longevity?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:48 PM)

In Shaq's last five seasons, he totaled less than 20 WARP. Duncan's 2012-13 campaign was better than any of Shaq's regular seasons after 2004-05. That's why.

mike b (houston)

So say Houston gets Josh Smith. Anyway they could flip Lin and one of their young PF's for Granger? Then maybe get a cheaper PG like Calderon or Jack?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:50 PM)

I don't know if it would make sense to add so many veterans to what is a young, growing core.

mike b (houston)

If Jennings gets away from Milwaukee, any way they take Lin and one of Houston's young PF's (Motiejunas, T. Jones) for Ilyasova?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:50 PM)

I like that direction a lot more.

Rob (Westbury, NY)

Hakeem Olajuwon > Tim Duncan. Thoughts?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:50 PM)

Hard to show statistically.

Myk (Seattle, WA)

Other than "this is how it has always been done"...is there any good justification for having divisions within the conference? Why not just have a Western Conference and an Eastern Conference and let the best teams get the best seeds?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:52 PM)

Well, teams get to sell division champions merchandise. That's about it. I'd get rid of them tomorrow.

Joe (Philly)

Then you shouldn't just say "longevity". That just implies playing for a certain number of years. You should say greater sustained production.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:52 PM)

I guess I view the difference as between "longevity" and "hanging around."

Kyle (Cleveland)

Will you be doing a breakdown of all NBA players before the start of next season, like John Hollinger used to?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:53 PM)

We will be doing that, and I will be a part of it, but not exactly sure how it will work yet.

ken (park ave)

who were you a bigger fan of while they were still in college? brandon roy or nate robinson?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:54 PM)

That's like asking a parent to choose among children! But Roy is probably my favorite UW player of all time.

Jake (Wausau)

Down two, 10 seconds left. You can choose Kobe, Lebron, CP3, Curry , or Manu. Who do you trust to get your team the best possible chance of scoring?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:55 PM)

Does Manu come with Pop? Probably LeBron.

Mike (SC)

What's the best advice for getting involved with an NBA team doing analytics?I have a couple advanced degrees in statistics and would love to work for an NBA team but I have no clue how to go about it.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:55 PM)

http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1189

Bryan (Madison, WI)

To follow-up on your earlier answer re: the Thunder not amnestying Perkins. If OKC isn't going to amnesty him, do the Thunder ride out his contract or do they try to trade him to free up money? If they want to trade him for the purpose of freeing up money, they will have to include some picks and/or young players (Jones or Lamb) in the deal.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:56 PM)

My gut says ride out the contract, but maybe this year's ending was painful enough to change that.

vk (md)

Does KG have an underrated mean mug?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:56 PM)

No, it's rated appropriately and respectfully.

Hildy (Candiland)

Why won't you answer a question from a female??!! Have analytics such as PER been applied to WNBA players?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:58 PM)

I wasn't aware I wasn't! To your question, absolutely. Check out here:http://www.wnba.com/lynx/stats/net_plus_minus.html

Kevin Pelton
  (3:58 PM)

I also have historically posted WNBA stats leaderboards during the season.

Mo (Chicago)

Would you rather see Boogie or KLove in Chicago (if you were a Chicago fan)?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:59 PM)

Definitely Love. Much less risky, both on and off the court.

adam (idaho)

where does elias harris fall in the draft

Kevin Pelton
  (4:00 PM)

Chad Ford has him 77th on the top 100, so no guarantees he goes in the draft at all.

Matt (Utah)

Going back to the longevity vs. peak argument, how should the two be reconciled? For instance, the vast majority agree that Michael Jordan was the best player ever, but a player like Kareem-Abdul Jabbar leads everybody in Career Win Shares by a significant margin. What's the best way to balance those two ways of evaluating a player.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:01 PM)

When I've looked at the issue, I've used a version of Bill James' method for including both factors:http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=415

Steve (Cleveland)

What's a decent comp for Otto Porter? Shane Battier?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:01 PM)

I'd say Porter is more scoring-minded and not the kind of defender, but that's not bad.

Islander (Barcelona)

Funny (and biased idea), why don't send players to top European teams instead of the D-league. Nothing beats that competitiveness and professionalism besides the NBA

Kevin Pelton
  (4:02 PM)

I think the difficulty is that European teams are worried about winning and not developing players (and rightfully so!). That along with the cultural transition makes that a challenging proposition.

Josh (Knoxville, TN)

Fun stat I'm stealing from TBJ...Spurs are +7.7 per 100 against lineups featuring Gasol and Z-Bo while Memphis only shoots 42%. Add in the perimeter defense of of Green and Leonard (does Memphis have a small guy as good as Curry or Thompson?) and I'm wondering how Memphis will score. What do you think?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:03 PM)

I think it will be a little tough to read into the regular-season stats because 3 of the 4 matchups took place before the Gay trade. And the one after that, Duncan didn't play. So we really haven't seen the matchups for this series yet.

Mike (NY)

Can we have the 16 best teams make the playoffs no matter the conference? So that way, teams like Millwaukee won't make the playoffs.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:04 PM)

Not a fan of that because of the additional travel it would mean.

Matt (Utah)

In evaluating a draft prospect, how much should a player's previous seasons be taken into account? For instance, Kelly Olynyk was monstrous this year, but was pedestrian in his previous years at Gonzaga.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:04 PM)

Good question! It appears more than you might think. More on that in the future.

Steven (Cleveland)

Even though I believe that expand isn't a real option right now Why won't David Stern at least promise Seattle the next expansion team? And this reeks of nothing but Stern Helping an ex-player look good but while he does that it makes it seem like Stern has something against Seattle. Does Stern Dislike Seattle this much?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:06 PM)

No, I don't think Stern truly has anything against Seattle. And it's tough to promise the next expansion team because that would seem to imply expanding at all, which the league is not yet certain it wants to do. But I laid out the argument for it today: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/58391/the-view-from-seattle

King Schultz (Germany)

In your opinion, who is the greatest international player of all time?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:07 PM)

Probably has to be Dirk. You could make an argument for a healthy Sabonis. Someone asked about that earlier and I'm not sure you could use numbers to answer the question, but all available evidence indicates he was a monster.

Josh (Sacramento)

Which players do you see entering the HOF in the next 3-5 years? Do my guys like Chris Webber and Mitch Richmond get in?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:08 PM)

Wrote about that here:http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/PerDiem-130408/nba-else-make-hall-fame

Kevin Pelton
  (4:08 PM)

I think Richmond and Webber probably both fall short.

Mike (SC)

Thanks for answering my question. I read your article about making a career in sports stats and I found it informative. Any hints on where to find useful data without coding things by hand?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:08 PM)

Dougstats.com or use the CSV features on Basketball-Reference.com.

Drom John (Macon, Georgia)

The Spurs have sent James Gist and Marcus Denmon to European teams.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:09 PM)

A little different because those guys were pros, not players directly out of high school.

Brian (Toledo)

Is there any confilict of interest type of laws preventing an NBA owner from buying a European team, and using it as a fully controlled developmental team for the NBA franchise?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:09 PM)

I can't say I can think of anything that would stop that.

Mike (Los Angeles)

When is the NBA ping pong lotto?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:10 PM)

Next Tuesday.

Les (East Windsor, NJ)

Re: this longevity issue: I believe you have to take a player right before, during, and right after his peak years. Shud not matter if 10 years or 15 years. (There r exceptions, like Koufax.) Sure, Kareem played longer, but remove his last 5 or so yrs and he is still a Top 10 player of all time.

Pierre (NYC)

If you had to pick one player for a season with the goal of winning a championship, would you go with Shaq or Duncan in their prime? Seemed to me that when Shaq was dialed in (which I'll admit was rare) he was virtually unstoppable.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:12 PM)

I think one way to reconcile those two thoughts is to come up with some kind of "championship added" method that really only considers elite performance. That also factors in the Shaq/Duncan distinction there. Shaq was the better player in his prime, but Duncan was still arguably more valuable because he could play more minutes over more games. Depends a litle on the teammates around them. Shaq had the luxury of another superstar when Duncan didn't.

Lee (MN)

When answering the greatest internatioal player question, aren't you ignoring foreign born players who played at american colleges? Wouldn't Hakeem be the obvious answer? Maybe Duncan if you consider U.S. Virgin Islands to be international.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:12 PM)

Yep, I was forgetting Olajuwon because of that.

Jay (MN )

What does Rubio need to work on more, finishing at the rim or his outside shot? Would he be considered an elite PG if his shooting % jumps to say, 40%? That's essentially Jason Kidd territory.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:13 PM)

I think outside shooting because I'm not sure how much finishing can be improved. It's something I'm looking to study.

Matt (Fort Collins)

Dirk > Nash? Not saying he isn't -- just wondering your opinion

Kevin Pelton
  (4:13 PM)

Yeah, I think so.

steve (battle creek, mi)

I am a big believer in advance stats and how they can be used for game planning and player development, HOWEVER, some of these stats they are throwing out there during games.... ex. Lebron is only 2nd player in history to avg 27 8 8, or only 5 players in history avg over 12 assists while playing less than 30mins a game. I mean, it seems they are searching for "stats" to show how great someone is playing. Im sure we can find a stat for anything, Nate Robinson is 3rd player under 6'0 in nba playoff history to score 30pts in a 2nd rd playoff game.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:14 PM)

Well, those aren't advanced stats. They can be fun, and I've used them myself, but they're a level different.

Jay (Kalamazoo)

Wouldn't Otto Porter's best comparison coming out of college be a smaller Jeff Green? Solid all-around guys who don't really have that one skill that jumps out. Is Otto Porter having a defined position the main thing that would suggest a better NBA future than Green, who is a tweener?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:14 PM)

Porter was much more efficient in college than Green. I think that's his big upside.

Charles (San Jose)

David Robinson wasn't a superstar?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:15 PM)

Not by the last couple of years of his career, which is when I'm thinking. That 2003 team in particular was as superstar-centric as almost any modern champion.

Flavio (Brazil)

best superstar in the finals with a pour team? I go with iverson in 2001....what do you think?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:15 PM)

LeBron in 2007 is tough to top for me.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:17 PM)

Alright, three hours and 16 minutes later I'm going to call it a day. Thanks to everybody for your questions and see you next week.