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May 24, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Kevin Pelton

Kevin Pelton
  (1:00 PM)

Hey everyone, with the conference finals now in full swing and the draft less than five weeks away, it's time for our weekly chat. Let's kill some time before the long holiday weekend, shall we?

Bret (Orange County, CA)

Something I've always wondered - since correlation always proves causation, are there any stats on the percentage of teams winning the opening tip and then winning the game? At home, on the road? Might be more relevant for overtime; just something I've always been curious about.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:02 PM)

Roland Beech looked at this several years ago and found that the team winning the opening tip does win more frequently, although probably largely because of home-court advantage: http://www.82games.com/random14.htm

Kevin Pelton
  (1:03 PM)

Overtime would be interesting to study, since the 50/50 chance of an extra possession could be meaningful over five minutes. I like the idea of using a jump-ball specialist in OT.

Corbin Smith (Vancouver)

Hey Kevin! Weird question, relative to gender, which league has a higher level of play, the NBA or the WNBA?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:04 PM)

Happy WNBA Opening Day! When you say relative to gender, do you mean as compared to an average person across the entire population of the same gender?

Ed (Queens Village)

Why are people calling this a weak draft class? Shouldn't we let players decided this and we can judge them years later what they think.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:05 PM)

For the same reason we have draft grades the night of the draft: Waiting is no fun! But obviously it is possible to make pre-hoc estimates of the quality of a group of draft picks, and I anticipate looking at this question statistically at some point before the draft.

modernagejazz (Brazil)

Hoopidea question: why is it that lose ball fouls award free throws when the team is in the penalty, but offensive fouls don't? Am I the only person who finds it pathetic that a team gets to shoot FTs without playing any offense when the opposing team over fought for an offensive board and committed a foul?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:07 PM)

If loose-ball fouls didn't cost free throws in the penalty, besides individual fouls what would be the cost of aggressively hacking in a rebound situation? The penalty in the case of an offensive foul is losing possession, which is probably worse on average than a loose-ball foul because they don't always translate into free throws.

Ray (Chicago)

Everyone seems encouraged by Memphis late 4th quarter run & Rebounding adavantage, are you? I think everyone forgetting that Tim Duncan was in foul trouble for most of the game

Kevin Pelton
  (1:10 PM)

Encouraged isn't a very strong position, so yes, I would say I'm encouraged. I don't read as much into the rebounding advantage but I do think the Grizzlies have realized the importance of Quincy Pondexter (and Jerryd Bayless) to spacing, which will be an important change going forward.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:11 PM)

That's a pretty high standard to live up to, so I will say no. I do think they've got a pretty good chance to add a player who can help immediately. Jeff Withey seems like he might be able to fill the Omer Asik role.

Owen (Los Angeles)

What do you think about a Bledsoe for the magic's pick for both teams. It gives the magic a point guard with more potential than Burke, and gives the clippers the chance to add the perimeter player they desire in mclemore or porter.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:12 PM)

I think the Clippers jump on that trade, but if I'm Orlando I don't give up four years of a rookie contract for one year of it. The Magic are too early in the rebuilding process for that kind of move, in my opinion.

Corbin Smith (Vancouver)

I would say that's pretty much what I meant.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:13 PM)

Hmm. I think NBA because the size/athleticism differences tend to be somewhat larger on the men's side than with the women.

Web (Dallas)

Can we please stop talking about the fact that the Spurs lost last year after going up 2-0? You know who remembers the most? The SPURS. They are out to prove a point this year, and if anything it is an advantage for the Spurs.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:13 PM)

Does that imply that the Spurs took last year's series for granted? Because if so, agree to disagree.

Kyle (Cleveland)

If you're Chris Grant, who would you take? Assuming they don't trade the pick.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:14 PM)

Barring something troubling medically, Noel. To me, his ceiling is much higher than any other player in this draft.

Ryan (New York)

What are the best predictors of a college player's success in the NBA?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:15 PM)

1. Performance in college.2. Age.It's a little more subtle than that because certain skills tend to translate better from college, but that's generally the formula.

Joey (Tx)

How many games did you have Memphis winning in?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:16 PM)

I picked San Antonio, as did 9 of the 14 people on ESPN's panel: http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2013/matchup/_/teams/spurs-grizzlies Is that page not showing up in Texas?

Jay (Vancouver)

How far could the Cavs go if they draft Nerlens Noel?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:17 PM)

Hold that thought for next week ...

James (Canada)

Chris Andersen has a positive rating in every single advanced metric: Hollinger's PER, David Berri's wins produced, Winston's adjusted plus-minus. For instance, Andersen leads the league in postseason PER thus far. How does he rate in terms of WARP thus far? And why doesn't Spo give him more minutes when the evidence in favor of more Birdman is so loud and clear?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:18 PM)

If anything, Birdman rates better in terms of Win% (the per-minute WARP component) because it tends to place more value on blocks. He's No. 14 in playoff WARP despite his limited minutes.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:19 PM)

At the same time, remember that we're not evaluating the average Haslem minute vs. the average Andersen minute. We're evaluating the _marginal_ minutes played. And Birdman's productivity has historically gone down the more he has played.

Charles (San Jose)

Kevin, who's the best head coaching candidate no one's talking about?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:19 PM)

I don't know how qualified any of us are to evaluate assistant coaches, but I would say it surprises me that we don't talk more about Mike Budenholzer of the Spurs.

Bill (DC)

Is it possible reuniting Boogie Cousins with John Wall could keep Cousins in check? Do you think Washington could get him without sacrificing Wall, Beal or the No. 3 pick (which they obviously would not do)?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:20 PM)

At that point, you're building an offer around Nene? No, I don't think there's a way to get him without one of those three pieces.

vk (dc)

Best fit for the Wizards at #3, Porter or Bennett?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:21 PM)

Porter is the better prospect, and while you could make an argument for a big over a wing, it wouldn't be nearly compelling enough to go for the lesser prospect.

Malik (Philly)

How do you feel about the Sixers hiring Hinkie as a GM? Fans are aware that he's good with analytics but what's his track record of scouting talent and making deals in Houston? How much influence did he have with the Rockets?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:23 PM)

I think it's important to understand that with assistant coaches or assistant GMs, it's rarely so simple as pointing to this decision or this move as being theirs. They are a part of everything, and Hinkie was clearly the No. 2 in command in Houston, but unless you're in the room you don't know how much any individual influenced the decision.

zack (stl)

Which player from last years draft outperformed your projections/expectations by the largest degree?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:24 PM)

Drummond by far. I had him rated about where he went. Drummond is the rare player who was more effective against NBA competition than in the NCAA. That's just not supposed to happen.

Abdul (Houston)

Regarding Dwight Howard, wouldn't Houston make the most sense basketball wise? Harden is better than any FA the Lakers could pick up in 2014 and is Kupchak's best selling point to Dwight.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:25 PM)

Well, I wouldn't say he's better than *any* free agent the Lakers could get in 2014 because of the outside LeBron possibility, but he's better than the average of those outcomes, so I tend to agree strictly on Basketball Reasons.

Brian (San Ramon CA)

Kevin, If Dwight leaves the Lakers how do they best set themselves up for '14-15 season? Do they even consider doing the Laker version of going in the tank, for next years super talented draft??

Kevin Pelton
  (1:26 PM)

I think you'd have to consider it in that scenario. If Howard decides quickly, it's possible the Lakers could amnesty Gasol if they don't find a trade market, and at that point you're close to giving up on 2013-14. But they do have to weight whether coming off a poor season would hurt their chances in the LeBron sweepstakes.

Tim (bay area, ca)

If you're Bob Myers, what do you do this off-season for the Warriors to get them to the next level? Do you sign Landry or Jack? Do you pursue another post player or defensive presence? If so, who?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:28 PM)

I think the most important thing right now in Golden State is patience. The Warriors don't want to lock themselves into bad, long-term contracts that hamstring their ability to improve when Biedrins, Bogut and Jefferson come off the books in 2014. Jack may fall into that category depending on how much money he is offered. I don't think I would bring back Landry because smallball was so effective for the Warriors in the playoffs. I would have either Barnes or Green at power forward any time David Lee isn't.

zack (stl)

What does it say about this draft that the #1 prospect is a guy that blew his knee out 3 months ago?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:29 PM)

It says that the guy who was the No. 1 prospect happened to suffer a knee injury.

Cem (Turkey)

There is no question that Lebron James is currently the best player on the planet, but it is obvious that him being physically superior to everyone else is a major factor. My question is, what if every player in the league would have the same hardware in terms of height,weight and athleticism, who would be the best pure talent wise?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:30 PM)

I guess Stephen Curry? But that's kind of an unfair question because players build their games around the physical ability they have. LeBron has become an incredible shooter and his basketball IQ is phenomenal. His gifts shouldn't overshadow that.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:30 PM)

Put another way, if you give everyone the same body, LeBron is still way above average.

Mike (min)

Do the Wolves resign Pekovic? Do you think it will make it easier to resign him with Howard entering the free agent market?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:32 PM)

I think they will. I don't know if Howard will be a major factor because there are only a handful of teams legitimately vying for his services and they won't necessarily overlap with the teams in on Pekovic. For example, Houston will surely chase Dwight, but it's not like Pekovic is a Plan B because otherwise they're happy with Omer Asik.

Danny (Kenosha)

You think the Bucks will sign Josh Smith this offseason?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:32 PM)

That's my guess, but it's not really anything more than that. And it may depend on the next Bucks coach.

Joel (Puerto Rico)

Vogel Obviously showed his concern of Bosh playing at center with Battier, I think Battier should be on the starting line up and take Haslem out of the rotation, with Chris Andersen doing the dirty work I don't see a place to Haslem in this Match up, with Battier in the PF position and Bosh in the Center, Hibbert HAVE to defend Bosh in the perimeter and be more busy, more open shots for Miami Heat drivers.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:34 PM)

That lineup was more effective for Miami in Game 1, but remember that it brings disadvantages at the other end with Battier defending David West. So it serves to help both offenses. I think it probably helps the Heat sightly more than the Pacers, but it's not an overwhelming difference.

Steve (Battle Ground, WA)

How was the Tony Allen acting job not a bigger deal? He doesn't get fined under the "no flopping" rule?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:35 PM)

What Allen did was certainly distasteful, but I'm not sure it technically falls under the category of "flopping." The contact, and his fall, were legitimate.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:36 PM)

Word of advice: Repeatedly posting your question is a great way to get me not to answer it.

Rob (Shelby Twp., MI)

Andre Drummond actually rated very high in Hollinger's college PER rankings, so why was he lower on your rankings?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:39 PM)

Hollinger had him rated 15th overall, but moved him up his board subjectively: insider.espn.go.com/nba/draft2012/story/_/page/PERDiem-120618/nba-2012-nba-draft-rater

Kevin Pelton
  (1:40 PM)

My current method has Drummond rated ninth, so exactly where he went. But if we were redrafting today, he would be at worst fourth and probably higher than that.

allan (austin)

I disagree with the guy in Houston. Even if the Hawks just landed D12 to go along with Horford and a resigned Josh Smith plus Teague, that team would be just as viable as Houston!

Kevin Pelton
  (1:41 PM)

Depending on what the Rockets do with Asik, I would say no. Houston was the better team this year, would have to let fewer rotation players go to clear the necessary cap space, and has far more shooting to put around Howard.

Jay (Tacoma, WA)

Which player in the upcoming draft do you project to have the biggest immediate impact, i.e. NEXT year? Presumably it won't be Noel.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:41 PM)

I would say Otto Porter.

Steve (Phoenix, AZ)

better player over next five years, griffin or love and irving or wall?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:42 PM)

Griffin and Irving, but both are close.

Josh (Knoxville, TN)

Eh, 8 of the 9 panelists who picked San Antonio said they'd do it in 7 games. Might as well say it's a toss-up. Yes, I'm creative in my paranoia about Spurs' disrespect.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:43 PM)

Admitting it is the first step.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:45 PM)

Someday we're going to do a chat where I just pick all the questions where my answer is "I don't know." It will be like one of those repeated jokes that are funny at first, not at all funny for awhile and then eventually hilarious.

Wayne (Vancouver)

Could the next 3 players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame be former Georgetown players? Your column sometime ago basically indicate that the top candidates in each of the next 3 years are Zo, Dikembe, and AI. As a lifelong Hoya fan that would be great!!

Kevin Pelton
  (1:46 PM)

Possible, but I'm guessing a few of the holdover candidates (Mitch Richmond? Tim Hardaway) will sneak in there as well.

Sean (Berlin)

Btw. what do you think of Dennis Schroeder?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:46 PM)

Saw a tiny bit of his practice at the Hoop Summit and the entire game on TV. He looks the part of a first-round pick, and the Rondo comparisons make sense even if they set some unrealistic expectations.

Alec (Los Angeles)

Who do you think the Clippers should target as their next HC (personally I'd like to see a Mike Malone or Brian Shaw over a Byron Scott)? also if they can sign CP3, what are the next moves they should make?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:48 PM)

I think Malone might be a nice fit there. Agree that Byron Scott is probably not the right guy. At this point I'm not sure what kind of big moves are available to upgrade the roster. If a KG-type deal is still out there you have to seriously consider it.

Danny (Cleveland)

You're the gm of the Cavs... what are you looking to do trade, take the best position available or draft for need? list in order!

Kevin Pelton
  (1:48 PM)

1. Best position available, 2. Trade, 3. Draft for need. I think it's almost always a mistake to draft for need with a top-three pick.

Chris (SLC)

David Locke recently posted an interesting comparison of Gordon Hayward's career compared to that of Paul George. I have also heard on local radio a guy say that "had the Jazz picked Paul George over Hayward the Jazz would have made the playoffs this year. Agree?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:50 PM)

We've had these questions several times, and again defense is a major point of differentiation between the two guys. Hayward is average on D and Paul George is one of the best wings in the league. Given how close the Jazz were to making the playoffs anyway, and that Hayward was injured a bit more than George, I would say that Utah would definitely have made the playoffs with George.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:50 PM)

But I think for Hayward's sake, it's best to lay off these comparisons and let him be his own player.

Daniel M (Maine)

Are the Raptors going from the worst GM in the league to the best GM in the league?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:52 PM)

I think you'd be hard-pressed to argue that Colangelo was the worst GM in the league. Below average, yes, and if they can land Masai Ujiri -- still a big if -- I do think that's a major upgrade. But I wouldn't say they're starting at the bottom and going to the top.

zach (Minneapolis)

Who is making the playoff next year...Wolves, Cavs or Wizards

Kevin Pelton
  (1:52 PM)

Hold that thought for next week ...

Kevin Pelton
  (1:52 PM)

Hold that thought for next week ...

Mark (Canada)

The NBA defines flopping as ?any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player? with the ?primary factor? in determining a flop being whether ?a player?s physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:53 PM)

If we apply that definition literally, isn't yelling when a player doesn't hit you on a shot technically a flop?

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Are chatting until about 8:00p tonight?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:53 PM)

Heh. Probably not quite that long ...

Bob (Seattle)

Schrodinger's cat - dead or alive? The location of an electron? Will the NBA return to Seattle?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:54 PM)

You're supposed to save these for the all "I don't know!" chat.

Jay (SF CA)

do you think Lillard's success contra Hollinger's projections indicates that too much weight is given to age in evaluating draft prospects?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:56 PM)

No, for a couple of reasons. First, I don't think one player should ever get that kind of weight when the importance of age is based on hundreds. Second, I think to the extent Lillard forces us to rethink things, it's more in terms of how to adjust for strength of schedule at the collegiate level. The updated version of my draft projections comes close to predicting Lillard's rookie performance but still doesn't have him as underrated in the draft.

Wayne (Vancouver)

I get your point about Birdman's production could go down if he plays more. But surely there's enough breaks in a playoff game for a guy to just do two 7-minute stints, and still contribute more than Haslem (who can't hit a shot from anywhere) or Battier (major slump from long range, and getting brutalized by West). Having his size on D, and his ability to get open when Hibbert goes for block shots is huge.

Kevin Pelton
  (1:57 PM)

Not sure what you mean; two 7-minute stints is almost exactly what Andersen played in Game 1.

Jason (IA)

If D12 decides early, and opts out of the lakers...could they take that money and make an offer to CP3? Or are there tax implications that make that impossible?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:58 PM)

Only if they amnesty Kobe.

Brad (Chicago)

What would most NBA GMs find more enticing in a draft pick. High ceiling or high floor?

Kevin Pelton
  (1:59 PM)

I think the history is pretty clear that they tend to prefer high ceiling, especially in the lottery.

Mike (NY)

Though I'm sure the sample size is small, there is any indication of how success in the D-League translates to NBA success in terms of the draft? Logical follow-up to this; what do you think about Glen Rice Jr.?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:00 PM)

There's a decent track record as far as D-League translations overall, even though they're usually for the purposes of finding free agents rather than the draft. I haven't yet looked at this year's numbers to see how Rice projects.

Brendan (DC)

Please tell me that Grunfeld wont fall into his own ways and trade #3 for a big name vet on the decline (I'm looking at you Danny Granger).

Kevin Pelton
  (2:00 PM)

Grunfeld wont fall into his own ways and trade #3 for a big name vet on the decline.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:00 PM)

I'd be surprised by it with the potential of adding a local guy in Porter.

the bird (md)

Regarding the Irving vs. Wall question, isn't it fair to say that Irving is more likely to be the better player, but Wall has a much greater upside? Wall is a better rebounder and defender already, and gets way more assists. Kyrie is clearly a better shooter, but if Wall is anything close to the guy he was the 2nd half of this past season offensively, Wall is MUCH better than Irving.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:02 PM)

I think it probably depends more how much you think Irving will improve on defense with a lighter offensive load and a better system in place. Irving is pretty likely to be the better offensive player either way, so the question is how much of that gap Wall will close if not exceed with his superior defense.

Arun (Texas)

1) Why does the league not rescind flagrant 1 on Ginobili?2) What is Hollinger's take on the MEM/SAS series, mathematically and emotionally?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:04 PM)

I thought it was a legitimate Flagrant 1 despite the acting job. It's just generally not safe to be dragging people out of the air at full speed, and I don't think the right to contest a shot supersedes that.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:05 PM)

As for Hollinger, I'm guessing he objectively would view this series similar to the stathead consensus, which is close to a toss-up with a lean toward the Spurs. And subjectively, he's probably nervous the whole time, if he's anything like me.

Drew (Michigan)

Why do fans care so much about the "respect" their favorite teams get from the media? I see Zach Lowe's mentions on Twitter sometimes and wonder what is wrong with people. There is plenty of coverage out there aside from what people on TV say, I don't get why anyone would feel validated because of someone's opinion of their team. It means nothing

Kevin Pelton
  (2:05 PM)

Fandom is by definition not rational, and I can't get on people too much because I was the worst about this growing up with the Sonics in the '90s. Fortunately, there was no Twitter back then.

Bob (Chicago)

The Wizards are a very young team. Is that a compelling reason to explore trading for a vet? OKC never did that, added a bunch of young talent, and had to trade 40% of it away (keep Westbrook, Ibaka, Durant; trade Green and Harden) without getting anything for it when the rookie deals came close to expiring.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:06 PM)

I don't know that they're that young since they already did exactly that with Nene, but OKC is uniquely constrained by inability to pay the luxury tax. If the Wizards can put together a winner, I would expect Ted Leonsis to be more flexible.

Blair (Toronto)

You could throw in a couple "it depends" with the "I don't know" for variety.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:07 PM)

Or maybe some Magic 8 Ball responses: "Ask again later."

Brandon (Indy)

What would your hypothetical scenario look like, meaning what do the Pacers need to do to pull the upset in this series? And yes, outside of a LeBron injury...

Kevin Pelton
  (2:08 PM)

I don't think it's all that different from Game 1. I was surprised that the Heat seemed to retreat a bit from the strategy that had success in the last regular-season meeting, although I know Frank Vogel thought the result had more to do with his team's defensive execution than what Miami did on offense. To the extent the Pacers can continue to take away easy baskets, deny shooters open looks and find timely scoring, they've got a chance in this series.

Jeff (NYC)

How great is the incentive to tank next year for Andrew Wiggins?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:10 PM)

I would say what makes next year interesting is that it's not just Andrew Wiggins -- the top three or four prospects all look strong, depending on how you feel about Andrew Harrison. That's where the incentive to tank is greatest because the odds of getting a top-three pick are so much higher than getting the No. 1 overall pick. See 2007 with Durant and Oden, for example.

Ethan (Utah)

Suns probably getting Oladipo at 5, right? I think he's a solid piece for the future, but probably won't have an immediate impact on their record. How do you think their record changes next year? And does tanking kick in at any point?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:11 PM)

I would probably agree that Oladipo would not move the needle tremendously for the Suns next year. As to their record and/or tanking, depends what kinds of moves they make within the season. Gortat figures to be available at the deadline.

Mark (Canada)

When it blatantly affects the outcome of a game, and the replay clearly shows the player embellished in order to cause the refs to call a flagrant foul, it should be treated as a flop.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:12 PM)

Do people honestly think Allen flailing about had any impact on a call that was reviewed? Referees saw the same thing we did on replay.

Mike (SA)

If we apply that definition literally, isn't yelling when a player doesn't hit you on a shot technically a flop?"Yelling does not earn you a fould

Kevin Pelton
  (2:12 PM)

It could. We don't know that it doesn't any more than we know that holding your head does.

Justin (Portland OR)

Do people realize that if Hibbert had been in the game and they switched Hibbert wouldn't have been in the paint?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:13 PM)

It's a complex situation. I think the way Bosh is used changes dramatically if Hibbert is in the game. If Bosh gets and makes an open 15-footer, do people criticize Frank Vogel for not taking Hibbert out? Probably. And if so, what's the point?

Peter (Toronto)

Does the Chalmers shoulder injury change the complexion of the ECF if he's limited going forward? Can Cole pick up the slack?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:15 PM)

If he can't play at all, you're asking a lot of extra minutes out of Cole + Ray Allen with LeBron running point. But if he's just limited, I don't think it's a huge factor.

Javier (Austin)

I'm predicting that the Heat will win by more than 10 points tonight...agree?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:15 PM)

I think there's a pretty good shot of that. Not sure it's better than 50-50.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:16 PM)

What's interesting to me is there is strong evidence for the zig-zag theory in the playoffs, that the losing team has an advantage in the next game. I think that's true because psychologically they're more likely to make adjustments and play harder. What I haven't seen studied is whether that applies differently in games that are as close as Game 1. Do the Heat treat it like a loss? Or is Indiana extra motivated? I don't know!

dc (dc)

Given that teams shouldn't draft for need, would you advise the Wiz to draft McLemore at #3 if, hypothetically, Porter/Noel go 1 and 2?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:18 PM)

In that scenario they should probably trade.

Bruce (Houston)

Do you think basketball or football is more complex from a strategic aspect?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:19 PM)

Football, if only because there's so much time for strategy -- 40 seconds between each play, a week between each game.

Wooz (Columbus)

With their cap space, and I'm guessing a Muhammad/Bennett with the #8 pick, doesn't JJ Redick, a guy who can shoot, make sense for the Pistons?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:19 PM)

Should hold up better than Gordon and Villanueva. But honestly, a lot of people ask Pistons questions and I rarely know how to answer them. I have no feel for their direction whatsoever.

Josh (Knoxville, TN)

Before Parker went down at the beginning of March, San Antonio had a +9.2 point differential. After, they were 1.5. Even post-Gay Memphis was only been 4.4. Did injury-related problems make these teams look closer than they really were?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:21 PM)

Closer? I think so. And I'm not sure the absence of Russell Westbrook got enough credit for Memphis' win over Oklahoma City. But we're talking about two teams that have played six games this year, and three of them have gone to overtime. So obviously they're fairly closely matched.

Charles (San Jose)

Why hasn't there been any criticism of Sam Young for not fouling LeBron and just letting him lay it in? What happened to no layups in the playoffs?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:21 PM)

To foul him, you'd have to get close enough to defend him. Young wasn't in position for either.

Will (Chicago)

How are win shares calculated?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:22 PM)

http://www.basketball-reference.com/about/ws.html

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

How long until we see another team with one superstar (Dirk and the Mavs) win a Championship?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:23 PM)

With Wade playing like this, does this year's Miami team still have two superstars? I don't know.

the bird (md)

The Wizards are young, but they have exactly two young players that are any good. Let's not worry about the cost of extending Veseley!

Kevin Pelton
  (2:23 PM)

Yes, but what about Seraphin???

Mike (Indiana)

How did teams miss so badly on Paul George? Other than John Wall, he's so much better than every player drafted ahead of him.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:25 PM)

I don't think even the folks involved in drafting him will tell you they knew that George would be this good this fast. I think part of it is situational, as Andrew Sharp discussed last week in a great Grantland piece (http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/62485/page/nba-130517/the-kawhi-leonard-conundrum-and-why-life-is-unfair). And he also deserves major credit for working hard to improve his game. He's not at all the same player he was when he went through the draft process.

the bird (md)

To push the Wall/Irving thing a bit further, sure Irving is likely to be the better scorer, but isn't a 19pt 10assist guy more valuable offensively than a 23pt 6 assist guy?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:26 PM)

Depends on efficiency, and Irving is likely to be the more efficient scorer. I also think we'll see him move the needle a little more toward playmaker as his supporting cast improves.

zack stl [via mobile]

In terms of pure physical abilities where does LeBron rank all time?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:26 PM)

Good question. I don't think it's No. 1. Top 10, probably.

Brad (Chicago)

Any potential late-first-round draft picks project as solid defender/wing-3-point-shooter guys, a la Jimmy Butler or Thabo Sefolosha?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:29 PM)

There isn't anybody that I see who combines both qualities right now. Reggie Bullock has the size and the shooting. Jamaal Franklin has the defensive chops but not the shooting. Tony Snell can shoot and has athleticism but isn't yet a quality defender.

Bruce (Houston)

What do you think of Nate McMillan as a coach? He seems slightly above average to me. Nothing special.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:30 PM)

You say that like it's a negative. Above average is hard to find in this league! Above-average guys usually don't change jobs.

Scott (Chicago)

What do you think of Phil saying he would take Russell over Jordan to start a team? I think its a joke. Someone had to get the ball to Russell, Jordan could just bring the ball up. When Russell played he had to beat what 1 or 2 teams in the playoffs?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:31 PM)

That's a weird way to put it. Would you never take any center over any guard, then? Also this seems to imply that Russell was a post threat and seems to apply more than Chamberlain. Russell was the guy who started the fast break, and better than anyone before or since.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:32 PM)

It's tough to compare Russell's track record as far as championships to Jordan's for the reasons you cite, but put another way, the other guys only had to beat one or two other teams too -- and they could never beat the Celtics.

Man (District of Columbia)

Let's say the Wizards select Otto Porter with the 3rd pick...who's more likely to get shown the door, Ariza or Webster?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:33 PM)

I think Ariza, who doesn't seem to fit as well with Beal and Wall because he's such a non-shooter. Webster could also play both wing spots behind Porter and Beal.

Arun (Texas)

And Miami/Indiana did not have any flagrant foul?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:33 PM)

I thought Ian Mahinmi's foul on LeBron James could easily have been called flagrant.

Joe (Los Angeles)

Why do we hear names like Byron Scott who has been fired from 3 jobs and despite a couple finals appearances (when the East was awful) hasn't ever been a top coach? I would much rather hire someone like David Blatt or Ettore Messina.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:34 PM)

He's a known quantity, and NBA decision-makers like to minimize the risk. Put another way, if Blatt or Messina don't work out you might get fired. Byron Scott rarely gets you fired.

Mike (Detroit)

What is your opinion of Rodney Stuckey as a player? Just needs a change of scenery?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:34 PM)

Maybe a little undervalued now because he had such a fluky bad start to last year as a shooter. I'm still not sure where he fits on a good team, however.

Jason (IA)

So I guess the next question is "should the Lakers amnesty Kobe and let Dwight walk?" Make a run at CP3 with Pau? Or maybe even deal Pau at that point for some athleticism/picks and go that route?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:35 PM)

If you amnesty Kobe, you better be real sure you're going to get CP3. And given age, health concerns for both players, and performance, I think Howard is the more valuable free agent. So keeping him is surely Plan A.

Dave (NY)

Who would win in a best of 10 one on one challenge, Jordan in his prime or Lebron today?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:36 PM)

I think at this point, LeBron because he's become MJ's equal as a shooter and would have the physical edge.

John (DC)

Could the Wiz play McLemore with Beal if they think he's the best player in the draft? Is there any precedent for two small wings, re: if the uptick in offense is worth being susceptible to mismatches defensively?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:38 PM)

I don't know if I can think of a team that has started two guys that size on the wing together. We're probably closer to that day but I'm not sure we're there yet.

Matt (Virginia)

Hey Kevin, Bill Simmons and Brian W. threw out the idea of a Gasol for a combination of Cleveland's #1, 19, 31 picks. What do you think about that? They'd have to take Oladipo or Porter, right?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:38 PM)

I can't see giving up three top-31 picks for a rental when they could theoretically sign Gasol a year from now. That's way too much value.

the bird (md)

This has got to be the most Wizards heavy chat in the history of espn.com!

Kevin Pelton
  (2:39 PM)

Cavaliers fans are furious!

H. Doofenschmirtz (Tri State Area)

Do you see the Jazz re-signing Millsap or Jefferson, or is it just time to part ways with both and go young?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:40 PM)

I think we'll probably see Utah pick one of the two and let the other one go. There's plenty of minutes to go around in that scenario.

Tom (Chicago)

Kirk Hinrich has started at SF before for the Wizards.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:40 PM)

Not for a full season, though.

Tom (Chicago)

Rule: the worst team in the league cannot win the #1 pick. Does this help change tanking?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:40 PM)

Imagine the furious fight to get to No. 2!

David (Cleveland, OH)

Do you think the Cavs could have Waiters and Irving switch roles on offense at times? Waiters can get to the rim and Irving is a good 3 pt shooter. I think it would allow the Cavs to change up their offense when necessary.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:41 PM)

I agree. Similar to what I wrote about with Houston using Lin more in the pick-and-roll over the course of the season with Harden spotting up.

Marty (Dallas)

To zack stl, go find some footage of the young Bill Russell - physically equal to L. James but a half-century earlier. Same goes for Wilt Chamberlain

Kevin Pelton
  (2:42 PM)

The Chamberlain video that was on YouTube a few weeks ago was frightening. Does raise the question of how much you have to adjust for era.

Zach (Minneapolis)

Kevin, keep going i only have a half hour before the holiday weekend. I would like nothing more then just to read this chat.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:42 PM)

Will do!

Angel (New York)

Not only was Dirk the only superstar in his team, he was the only current All-Star in that team. Wade and Bosh are still All-Stars.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:43 PM)

Yeah, there is a level of distinction. But it's certainly possible that Chicago could win a title with Rose as their only All-Star.

Brian (Philly)

I saw Evan Turner ranked as #77 on ESPN's WARP list. Does that suggest he is a solid #3 guy in the league?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:45 PM)

Not sure which list you saw, but EWA (the PER version of WARP) doesn't seem to have him that high and he scores below replacement level by my metrics.

todd (md)

why isnt Jrue Holiday in the Irving/Wall debate when hes only 22 and hes already been in a all star game?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:46 PM)

There are some All-Star selections that just don't hold up well over the full season, and that's one of them. Holiday is a nice player, I think he'll justify his contract, but he's not in the Irving/Wall class.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:47 PM)

I'm sorry. I wish I had something interesting to say about the Pistons going forward. I just don't.

Aaron (Calgary, AB)

Which top 10 guy in the draft do you see as being a bust? I don't honestly see Zeller being anything more than a bench player...

Kevin Pelton
  (2:48 PM)

Zeller had a pretty incredible freshman season. Despite his physical limitations, it would be surprising to see that not translate into at least a solid NBA career. To me, Alex Len is the riskiest top-10 pick.

George (TX)

WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE THE SPURS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kevin Pelton
  (2:48 PM)

Because of caps lock?

Toby (TX)

Kawhi or Paul George in three years? Both had identical PERs and great perimeter defense, Kawhi shot better from the field, 3's and FTs but obviously wasn't used nearly as much. He's also two years younger...

Kevin Pelton
  (2:49 PM)

I think I still have to see more from Leonard in terms of his ability to create his own shot. That's the big progression George made this season, and it's not reflected in his PER.

Steiny (NYC)

Any chance Dwight would sign with the Warriors? Colin was rumbling about that this morning.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:50 PM)

I would be surprised, given it would require the Warriors to give up assets in return to make a sign-and-trade work, but nothing would shock me with Dwight.

ken (wethersfield ct)

I agree much too much for Gasol. What about for just the 2 #2's they have?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:50 PM)

That's more in the ballpark.

Mike (Cleveland)

Can Noel work with Tristan Thompson? Both need to stay close to the basket to score. Can an NBA team win with two starters in the paint?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:51 PM)

Over the long run I think you'd need Thompson to develop a midrange jumper. He showed progress in that regard this year.

Aaron (Calgary, AB)

I really don't see the Raptors having much choice but to offer Rudy Gay a hefty, close-to-max contract to entice him to stay. Toronto is a great sports city but doesn't have that lustre to attract free agents to sign there.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:52 PM)

Who else is offering Gay anything close to that at this point?

Wayne (Vancouver)

What I meant previous on birdman playing time question. Surely Spo can squeeze more than just two 7-minute stints for him. With timeouts, quarter end, etc, he should be able to find 10 minutes each half. I guess he wouldn't start him to mess things up, but that could be a solution to get him more time too.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:52 PM)

Gotcha. Was thinking that might be the case. It's possible.

todd (md)

the sixers had no talent outside of holiday and thad young the offensive system that doug collins ran was horrible and holiday still managed to get 18ppg 8apg imagine if he gets actual talent and an actual system to support him hes only 22 its hard to carry the full load for 82 games im sorry but give me Holiday over Wall any day

Kevin Pelton
  (2:53 PM)

As opposed to the great talent and system Wall has had around him?

Damon (Santa Cruz)

What Chamberlain video are you talking about?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:54 PM)

I believe it was this one:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwvdsi6gLl8

Billy (Miami)

I haven't done the research, but who in the next couple of years could the Bulls target to couple with Rose to give him a sidekick?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:54 PM)

Kevin Love is the name that gets mentioned most frequently. I'm not certain Chicago needs that kind of No. 2 star, however, if the supporting cast and defense are good enough.

zack stl [via mobile]

Isn't Drummond pretty exciting?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:55 PM)

He is! Drummond is great!

Aaron (Calgary, AB)

I feel bad for the Suns, salary is still tied up and no players to really build around. Any solutions for them in the 2013 draft or are they just destined to get Wiggins in 2014?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:55 PM)

I think a lot of teams wouldn't mind being in that position. If you're going to be terrible, this isn't a bad year to do it.

Web (Dallas)

predictions for Spurs-Griz tomorrow?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:56 PM)

I think the Grizzlies take tomorrow's game and Game 4 will determine how long the series goes.

Tyler (Dallas)

Is it possible for Dirk Nowitzki to opt out of his current contract? Mavs sign CP3, use Dirk's money to sign D12, and then resign Dirk to a lesser contract?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:56 PM)

It is not.

Zane (Nashville)

Rule: The worst team in the league becomes an NBADL team the next season and the NBADL champ moves up. This is how many soccer leagues in Latin America work.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:57 PM)

It sounds good until you try to negotiate a TV deal with Fort Wayne as one of your markets.

Josh (Knoxville, TN)

Close-ish games, I suppose. However, the average MOV for the Spurs over Memphis this year has been almost 13. Over the past 2 years, it's over 11. Average MOV for Memphis (in its 2 wins) is 2.5. Seems to me like Memphis' is really only capable of keeping it close. Yes, I'm a Spurs fan.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:58 PM)

Over the long run, margin of victory is important. In a seven-game series, it doesn't really matter. The Spurs don't get 1.5 wins for how easily they won Game 1.

Derreck (Veneta, OR)

How nervous do Nagbe, Valeri, Wallace and the Johnson boys make you?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:59 PM)

Not that nervous unless Hollinger and I start wagering on the derby matches.

Flavio (Brazil)

Could a team amnesty a player and resign him? Like lakers amnestying kobe and resign him for less money to get another piece

Kevin Pelton
  (2:59 PM)

Not for the life of the contract. The Lakers could re-sign him in 2014 if they amnestied him, but would have to do so without the benefit of Bird Rights.

Abe (Cleveland)

Who ya takin', Drummond or Noel?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:00 PM)

Drummond, since we've seen him do it against NBA competition.

sam (orlando)

Do you think Tobias Harris' awesome stretch post-trade is sustainable?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:00 PM)

Yeah, I think so. Want to see him apply himself a little more at the defensive end, however.

Mike (Oakland) [via mobile]

I think the better question is who would win in their prime - MJ, LeBron, or Charlie and Martin Sheen? This argument was mostly already settled.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:01 PM)

In case you haven't seen it: http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/61599/internet-unearths-late-80s-footage-of-martin-and-charlie-sheen-beating-michael-jordan-in-basketball-again-justifies-its-existence

Zane (Seals)

How impressive is it to you that Tim Duncan just got All-NBA first team, 15 years apart from his first time?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:03 PM)

Very impressive, but I didn't need more evidence in favor of Duncan as the best player of the post-Shaq generation.

Wayne (H)

Is Reinsdof's unwillingness to pay the luxury tax going to hurt them moveing forward, specifically if Rose deicdes that he might want to play for an owner who will invest more?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:03 PM)

Given Chicago's other advantages -- can offer more money, his hometown -- I'd be surprised if that drove Rose off, but it certainly limits the front office's flexibility, and that's never a good thing.

Mart (Tampere, FI)

Hey Chris, a bit weird question here. Now that Tracy Mcgrady has technically got out of the first round does his Hall of Fame credentials better than before?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:04 PM)

Who is Chris?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:04 PM)

No, I don't think it changes anything for him historically.

Nate (Grand Rapids MI)

Why do the Pacers not receive the respect they deserve? Obviously there are teams that have done greater things in the past. But this year, the Pacers have played well, and beaten the best teams in the league all year long.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:04 PM)

What would be the proper level of respect?

Abe (Cleveland)

Why would the Cavs be interested in Gasol anyway? He's aging and makes 20mil next season and wouldn't make them contenders. Probably doubtful he'd resign after the season too.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:05 PM)

If they're really committed to getting to the playoffs without blowing their 2014 cap space, it helps, but PF/C isn't really their need anyway. A rental would make more sense at SF.

Kenny (Houston)

Give me some Raptor news!

Kevin Pelton
  (3:05 PM)

Bryan Colangelo's out! Masai Ujiri might be in!

Angelo (NY)

Could Dwight or CP3 take a one year max deal with a club and then sign for the 5 max after that so that they don't "lose" out on money? I know there is the possibility of an injury but I would think even if they did get hurt someone would still pay max for those 2 guys.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:06 PM)

It would take three years for them to earn full Bird Rights in that scenario, so the team would have to still be under the cap by the max amount, I believe.

Billy (Miami)

Noel=Serge Ibaka?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:07 PM)

Defensively, yes. Offensively, probably more like Tyson Chandler.

Jason (PGH)

What do you think about Indy adding Sergey Karasev at 23? He projects to be a good/great 3pt shooter and his ball handling and passing would alleviate some of the halfcourt stickiness that sometimes plagues the Pacers in the halfcourt

Kevin Pelton
  (3:08 PM)

Solid fit. Might not be as much need for what he does if Danny Granger is able to return healthy next season.

Charles (San Jose)

Thanks for the link to that Wilt video. Good lord.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:08 PM)

Exactly.

Chris (SLC)

I'm Chris

Kevin Pelton
  (3:08 PM)

Aha!

Kevin Pelton
  (3:09 PM)

NEWS: The Ian Mahinmi foul was a grab of LeBron James' arm that the Sun Sentinel has learned has been upgraded by NBA to a Flagrant 1.

Bob (Fort Wayne)

OKC got a team. Why not us?

Jason (PGH)

What position would you like to see Tobias Harris settle in at? I personally prefer the 3, if he can tighen up his handle.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:11 PM)

My rule of thumb is that almost any tweener is better off as a power forward. Add in the presence of Moe Harkless and I think that's probably where Harris stays, though you could really say the Magic have two 3.5s.

Josh (Knoxville, TN)

I see what you're saying. My point regarding MOV was that the Spurs seem to be just as likely to beat up on Memphis as to win a close game. Memphis seems only capable of maybe winning a close game. I guess I just don't see it as being as close as you and many other analysts do. Plus, there aren't a ton of Spurs questions so I feel the need to contribute.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:12 PM)

I do think the Spurs are the better team independent of home court, and I'm not sure that's a consensus opinion.

Jay (Tacoma, WA)

For the Wilt Chamberlain video I am SORELY disappointed you didn't link something from "Conan the Destroyer".

Gabe (Seattle)

Given how well our man GP played Jordan, do you think he could have adequately guarded LeBron? GP is similar in size to Tony Allen, but I still think that extra few inches of heigh would be tough for GP to overcome.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:13 PM)

I don't think so. If the '96 Sonics come up against the Heat in an all-time tournament, that's a bad matchup. Maybe Shawn Kemp guards him? (That's a recipe for foul trouble.)

Rob N. (Portroland, OR)

Hi Kpelt, do you see the Lakers being contenders next year. They still have a historically great PG and I think with D'Antoni in the slot that they can find better players to put around him. Also would it be OK if Kobe plays in a wheelchair while rehabbing or is that against NBA rules?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:13 PM)

No, I just don't think Steve Nash is that player anymore. Scary first-round opponent is about the best the Lakers can realistically hope for, I'd say.

Flavio (Brazil)

Boozer, J. Butler and pick for K.Love Good trade?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:14 PM)

That's the framework. Not sure how I feel about it for the Timberwolves.

Ben (Chicago)

With regards to Paul George, he's also grown substantially since becoming an NBA player.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:15 PM)

I think about an inch. I was looking at measurements the other day and he measured in at 6-9 at the combine but continues to be listed at 6-8 by the Pacers.

Rejean (Montreal)

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Kevin. If Toronto can't convince Ujiri to come over the border, who else is available who would be a good fit?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:16 PM)

Kevin Pritchard, the other guy who has been linked to the job, would be a sensible target. Interesting to see the Raptors target established GMs rather than free agents or promotions.

Vince (NY)

Better chance of getting to a championship in the next 5 years: Boston or the Lakers?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:16 PM)

Lakers, because they have a more realistic chance to change their trajectory in 2014.

Jason (PGH)

Thanks for taking my question, thats the first time that happened so i figure I should try again while I'm hot. I understand hypthetical trades are hard to guage in 15 seconds, but I really feel that a trade of Monroe (low post C and Nola native) and Villanueva (EC) for Ryan Anderson (premier stretch 4) and J. Smith (solid backup 4/5) makes ense for both teams. Gives Detroit some space for Drummond to operate and gives an offensive skill-set to pair with Davis' D

Kevin Pelton
  (3:19 PM)

That's got some merit. I think the Hornets would probably have to throw in a pick of some kind, but that produces better fits on both sides.

Martin (Hattiesburg, MS)

All this talk of trading Love...Wouldn't the Wolves be better trading Williams for someone to complement Love?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:20 PM)

I wouldn't trade Love unless I felt I had to or else he would leave. And I don't think anything will happen this summer.

Crysander Siler (Seattle)

Who makes your Space Jam team right now in the event that aliens attack?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:22 PM)

I'm going to assume we're playing this next week, so existing injuries matter. In that case: PG - Paul/Curry/ParkerSG - Harden/WadeSF - Durant/GeorgePF - James/DuncanC - Gasol/Howard/Hibbert

Ghostface Ilyasova (WI)

Uhh, Jordan average 31 point 8 rebound against Glove for career, 27 and 5 in playoff.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:24 PM)

Well, GP didn't always defend Jordan. Specifically, the question was referring to the last three games of the '96 Finals, after the Sonics switched Payton onto Jordan. In that stretch, Jordan averaged 23.7 points on 36.7% shooting after going for 31.0 ppg on 46% in the first three games of the Finals.

Otto (CA)

Will we ever see dominant offesnsive centers work the post like Ewing and Hakeem? Hibbert showed some glimpses.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:25 PM)

Probably not. The rules today just don't make the post game as valuable as it was 20 years ago.

Saint-Hilaire (New York)

Pacers have the best defense in the league and best at defending the 3, yet when Knicks and Heat struggle against them its because Melo and JR are in s slump or the Heat are rusty. For example vs Pacers this season, Ray Allen: 0pts, 0pts, 11pts, 4pts (1 three), Battier: 0pts, 11pts, 2pts, 3pts (3 threes) yet folks are saying that Ray and Battier wont shoot as bad as in Game 1.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:26 PM)

Trust me that I do not underrate the Pacers defense, and those guys probably will not shoot that poorly again. It's nothing more than regression to the mean.

Justin (Portland OR)

Who do you like for Portland as a pick? Do we have any chance at filling the hole at the center spot? And their defense/rebounding?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:27 PM)

Not looking good for those issues where Portland currently sits. You're looking at a choice between another project big, maybe someone like Olynyk who doesn't really fill those needs or taking a wing.

Blake (Louisville)

Any chance we get a franchise here in the Ville?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:27 PM)

Yeah, but the line forms behind Seattle at this point.

Justin (Portland OR)

Isn't Noel's defensive potential close to Davis'?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:28 PM)

I think so. I think Davis separates himself offensively.

Jason (PGH)

I apologize, I meant to add in a swap of this years first's as well. Thus allowing Detroit to either add Burke (and move Knight to his rightful place as 6th man) or Oladipo

Kevin Pelton
  (3:29 PM)

Yeah, I'm on board then.

Abe (Cleveland)

I think OKC would have been better off waiting to trade Harden this offseason to Cleveland for Waiters(to replace Harden's role) and the #1 pick to draft Noel(future center). Thoughts?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:29 PM)

I don't know if you can judge their decision by a deal they had no idea then would be available. I also think there's enough deals they did know then would be available that made waiting a year for the Harden decision more favorable.

Flavio (Brazil)

Do you see the pacers playing Granger and George together next season? I think they should trade grande...agree?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:30 PM)

My answer any time anyone poses that question: For what?

Arun (Texas)

What would it take to re-align the divisions to make more sense?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:30 PM)

Getting rid of them altogether is the simplest solution.

Charles (San Jose)

And Bill Murray as the 13th man.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:31 PM)

Naturally.

Bobby (DC)

Are you essentially saying, as of now, Lebron is better in his prime than Jordan was in his?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:31 PM)

No, because the 1-on-1 question is somewhat different than the context of a 5-on-5 game.

Frank (Greeneville)

Could you explain the differences between Power Forward and Center? Thank you.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:33 PM)

Centers tend to play closer to the basket. They have a more important role on defense and are relied on for shot blocking. Power forwards tend to be smaller, more athletic and better shooters. A class of them, the "stretch 4" plays primarily on the perimeter on offense. Of course, these are general stereotypes, and positions are slowly losing their meaning.

Bryan (Madison)

Certain stories about the 2013 draft imply -- or outright state in the case of the Mavs -- that some teams want to ditch their first-round selections to save $$$. If that's the case, what would it take for a rebuilding team to acquire a pick, say, in the late teens, early 20s. Is cash considerations and cheap, veteran players enough? Obviously a rebuilding team will not want to give up future picks.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:34 PM)

Probably cash considerations and future second-round picks.

zack (stl)

Wouldn't it be better to classify players as point guards, wings and bigs?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:35 PM)

For All-Star and awards purposes, yes. I was dealing with this in my updated college projections because I wanted to regress players to positional averages. I eventually decided I needed to use nine positions for this year's prospects -- PG, G, SG, wing, SF, F, PF, post, C.

Arun (Texas)

How many games do you play with each team if you get rid of the division?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:36 PM)

Either 3 or 4, as with non-division teams currently.

Ben (Chicago)

I've seen a number of comparisons between Nerlens Noel (and Anthony Davis and big guys Tyson Chandler. Given the size differential between the two (7'1 vs 6'10), the difference between their sizes and the likelihood (in my opinion) that Noel and Davis have to play power forward, is there a real comparison to be made? I think that athletic, rim defending power forwards need to be thought of as a different beast than athletic, rim defending centers, esp given the proliferation of stretch 4s. Larry Sanders getting bigger and playing C on offense might be a better comp. What do you think?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:39 PM)

I agree in general. I would point out that players generally drift to bigger positions over time. When Chandler was drafted out of high school, there was talk of him playing small forward. And he weighed 223 at the time. So it's not unprecedented that Davis and/or Noel could eventually bulk up and become more legitimate center options.

Arun (Texas)

Division = proximity so you play more games. Now it could end up in a way that you Dallas plays Portland, Sacramento 4 games and San Antonio and Houston 3 Games. is that not worse?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:40 PM)

We're talking a difference of one trip every four years or so, on average. I don't think that's a big factor.

Ghostface Ilyasova (WI)

Ghostface Ilyasova understand question! Given career number, it likely small sample in 96 not mean Glove is expert Jordan defender.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:40 PM)

Did you just refer to yourself in the third nickname person?

Jay (Utah)

Do you see the Jazz drafting a PG or do you think it is more realistic that they try a sign and trade with Millsap and/or Jefferson or one of the other FA's they have to get somebody like Bledsoe? If they draft one, who is the best fit?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:41 PM)

Both.

Chris (SLC)

Other than needing local fans to fill arenas does it really matter the market size in this day and age? With the Internet and League Pass I can watch every game of any team I want. SLC has no local NFL team but NFL games are certainly watched here...

Kevin Pelton
  (3:43 PM)

Yes, it definitely still matters for TV deals. And I think it's becoming increasingly difficult for small markets to compete with bigger ones in terms of revenue as corporate dollars become more important than individual season tickets thanks to sponsorship, suites, etc.

dc (dc)

Is NBA officiating good? Be honest.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:46 PM)

Compared to what? Compared to officiating in every other basketball league I follow (NCAA, WNBA, occasional FIBA), definitely.

Chris (BK)

How does Billy King still have a job? If sending the #6 overall pick in a fairly good draft class for a washed up SF who could've been signed as a FA doesn't merit being fired I don't know what does. Oh, maybe trading for an aging SG with the worst contract in sports this side of...well, the Brooklyn Bridge. Seriously, Barnes, Lilliard, Drummond all on the board at that point, anyone of which would've been a better piece next to Williams and Lopez. I don't buy the argument that Wallace and/or Johnson kept D-Will in a Nets uniform.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:49 PM)

The most important thing to remember when evaluating any GM is that they don't necessarily set the tone for the franchise -- that comes from above. Mikhail Prokhorov was obviously interested in winning now, and Billy King made moves accordingly. That's why he not only still has his job but got a contract extension too.

bob (MA)

You follow the WNBA?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:49 PM)

I do!

Jake (Wisconsin)

With all the talk about Curry, nobody paid attention to the amazing year Klay Thompson had. What do you see his career becoming? Will he ever be an all-star?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:51 PM)

Maybe a year or two. The playoffs, and Curry, overshadowed that this was actually something of a disappointing year for Thompson as an offensive player. He only made 40.1% of his 2-point attempts, which tanked his true shooting percentage.

Mike (MN) [via mobile]

What players do you think would fit with Minnesota with what might be available at #9?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:51 PM)

CJ McCollum or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope seem like the best options.

Jay (SF CA)

Is Tim Duncan the best PF of all time? or the 4th best C of all time?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:51 PM)

I lean toward best PF.

Jason (DC)

Is Neil Payne the smartest young guy you know (heck, or guy you know period)? His writing makes it seem like he does complex math in his sleep.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:53 PM)

Neil does great work, and I love the mathematical rigor he brings to Insider (and Basketball Prospectus, before that). The smartest guy I know is a tough competition, though.

Jarred (Kansas City)

Any chance Indiana will amnesty Granger to make a run at Howard/CP3/Smith?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:54 PM)

Indiana has already used its amnesty provision, and honestly other than Josh Smith (a dubious fit) those guys aren't realistically going to Indiana.

Nathan (LA)

I'm not sure that you'd rank Stephen Curry as the 3rd best "trade asset" in the NBA like one of your ESPN colleagues, but how unfair will it be to have him spotting up for international threes as a member of Team USA?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:54 PM)

In combination with teams trying to figure out how to defend James and Durant? Very unfair.

Norman (NY)

5 years from what's the better front court combo, Monroe-Drummond or Favors-Kanter (assuming they're still together)?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:54 PM)

Monroe-Drummond.

Jake (Wisconsin)

Just a follow up to the Klay Thompson, are you saying this year for him might have been a let down shooting? Could the Splash Bros really have a better campaign without adding more pieces?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:55 PM)

Well, he shot 40% from 3, too. It's the in-between game -- floaters and the like -- that he will have to develop.

Jason (DC)

Do you mean to tell me that ESPN really can't get WARP on the site due to its complexity, and yet you have it saved in some Google Docs spreadsheet somewhere?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:55 PM)

All Excel!

Arun (Texas)

"Is NBA officiating good? Be honest.", come on speak from your heart. Stars are treated differently. Rookies are treated differently. Is that even officiating? Officiating is done with business in mind.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:56 PM)

If you think that referees look at a play and say, "Oh, that's a star player, I have to call a foul," we'll agree to disagree. You know why stars draw so many fouls? Because they're impossible to defend without fouling.

James (Ohio)

Why is David West so underated?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:57 PM)

The Xavier-New Orleans-Indiana route is not exactly ideal for publicity, and a lot of West's value is subtle. I didn't even give him enough credit until I started watching him more closely with the Pacers. Part of it is I don't think West is particularly interested in the spotlight.

Gardner (Coburg, DE)

The Jazz could really do anything in this upcoming draft. What bigs do you see as good fits next to Favors & Kanter. Also, are there any good rebounding guards who play defense? The Jazz backcourt last year could not rebound...

Kevin Pelton
  (4:01 PM)

Olynyk might be a good fit as a big. Not a lot of rebounding/defense guards in the middle/late first round. Jamaal Franklin, but he's probably too similar to Alec Burks tomake sense.

zack (stl)

What do you think has had a bigger impact: The old rules about handchecking and physical conduct or the old rules about illegal defenses?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:02 PM)

Hand-checking, by far.

Chris (SLC)

I guess what I'm getting at as far as market size and TV deals is I see that it is a factor but should it be a factor? Just Because there are more people in New York City than any of the other markets does this automatically mean that across all fans of the NBA (regardless of where they live) that the Knicks have the most fans and the majority of NBA fans want to watch Knicks Games? Or is this an assumption the networks make that isn't necessarily true?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:02 PM)

I think they have plenty of data to back it up.

Arun (Texas)

Are you disagreeing what the commentators(former players) say? "He is a rookie he is going to get called for that.." "The refrees are aware that Lebron has 5 fouls that they will not call 6th". etc

Kevin Pelton
  (4:02 PM)

Yes, I am disagreeing with that.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:03 PM)

Alright, the chat system has crashed on me a couple of times, which is probably a good sign I better wrap this up. Enjoy your holiday weekend and the start of conference finals action daily and we'll do this again next Friday.