Hey folks, we're trying to track down Michael. Hang in there.
Mike got tied up elsewhere, so he's going to be here at 4 ET to take your questions.
Thanks for joining me for this late-afternoon edition of the weekly NBA chat. I apologize for jumping around a bit the past few weeks with the time, but playoff travel is to blame. At any rate, thanks for hanging in there with me each week. This is a fun part of the job. So let's get right to it.
Is Battier not getting minutes because of poor play, match-ups or is he just fatigued from the entire season?
The fatigue part of the equation doesn't really exist. But Battier is simply in a slump. He's psychologically ineffective right now. His shot is betraying him and he was a defensive liability in the previous series against Indiana. All that said, Battier's issues just happen to coincide with Mike Miller's resurgence. He's confident. He's active. And his body is holding up, for now. We'll see how long that lasts.
Hey Mike, what are your thoughts on LeBron's PPG in the Finals? 18 in G1 and 17 in G2. Think he'll average over 23 in the Finals this year? He's averaging 22.5 I believe for his career in the Finals.
His scoring average really won't matter. LeBron's impact goes far beyond the points he piles up on any particular night. The better measure of his effectiveness would including adding his points and assists together. So if he has 18 points and 9 assists, the man has directly accounted for at least 36 points, and that's not counting 3-pointers. He won't necessarily have to average 23 points in the Finals for the Heat to win. He's playing a team-oriented game right now as he tries to get his rhythm together. But also credit the Spurs for mixing things up a bit on LeBron.
Michael, would you say that the Spurs are the best franchise in professional sports of the last 15 years when you combine: winning, how they draft and where they draft, the money they spend, the culture and their consistency?
As far as the NBA? Yes. Other teams rise and fall, but for the Spurs to string together 14 consecutive 50-win seasons, including five trips to the Finals and four titles, is a remarkable feat. I'd be willing to stack that track record against any team in any sport.
Should Finals go back to 2-2-1-1-1 or stay at 2-3-2?
Stay 2-3-2. I like the format. I may be in the minority, but I think it's the closest thing to neutralizing homecourt advantage as possible. I wouldn't necessarily complain if the NBA went to the 2-2-1-1-1 to keep the format in concert with the first three rounds of the conference playoffs. But I think the Finals should be unique. The home team still has four games at home, if they protect home court. At this stage of the season, both teams normally have proved they can win on the road in the playoffs. So it's really no big deal at all.
When do you think the Lakers are going to make a run at young point guard ?
Considering the last two "young" point guards they tried were Jordan Farmar and Smush Parker, I don't see them going that route again unless absolutely necessary. This team, as long as Kobe Bryant is around, is in a win-now mode. At some point, the Lakers will have to rebuild out of necessity. But that time isn't right now. At least not quite yet.
What do you think of Kevin Love's career progression?
I think he's one of the best young players in the league. I put him in that category with James Harden, Stephen Curry, Paul George and Blake Griffin, among others, as that next crop of superstars who fall just behind the likes of LeBron, CP3, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard as the superstars in their absolute prime right now. Love just has to find a way to stay healthy. It's a shame that every time you turn around, it's either Love or Kyrie Irving dealing with one injury or another.
Pop's strategy of clogging the lane and making Lebron pass so other Heat players must make the play is a mixed bag at this point. It lead to a split (good from an SA pov) but also a blow out (bad). As someone who really knows the heat, is this still a good strategy going into San Antonio? The old says in the role players struggle on the road, which means forcing the ball out of James's hands in Texas might work. But, really, are Bosh, Wade, Allen and even Chalmers really role players? Have you seen any evidence that they will struggle away from home? And, if so, is it enough to warrant Pop's strategy? Thanks for your thoughts.
Well, considering the alternative is to play LeBron straight up the way Indiana did early in the series, I'm not sure San Antonio's strategy is all that bad. LeBron is capable of winning games in a variety of ways. Right now, he's trusting his teammates to pick up the slack until he figures out how to get his offense going against a solid Spurs defense. There's a reason these two teams are in the Finals. Nothing is coming easy for either of these teams in terms of their star players. I have a piece coming out on ESPN.com tonight that examines how this series may come down to which 'Next Four' beyond each team's 'Big 3' has the biggest impact.
Based on d-wade's bad knees and bosh's established role on this Heat team (a role he plays well but definately not a role worthy of a max contract), what kind of $ signs do you think they are looking at if they re-up with the Heat?
That's tough to say right now. I don't see any of the three taking any sort of paycut at this stage. They'd be better off in that regard simply playing out the rest of their slightly-less-than-max deals. The Heat will have to make some tough decisions at some point, as will the players who can opt out of their current contracts after next season. But the Heat is going all in this year and next year before they truly have to approach those decisions.
Am I the only person (prior to last night) That thought Mario Chalmers was a top 7 PG in this league. He is always ousted by big name players, because it is impossible for people to get past the rest of Miami's Roster. He was incredible in college and would be a star for ANY team in the league. What do you think?
Top 7? Really?
Who is going to drop to the Pistons in this year's draft? Will they get lucky again like getting Drummond last year?
I'm not sure if 'drop' is the right term. There are a bunch of guys slotted along the same lines within the top 10. So one team's overlooked relative trash will be another team's diamond of the draft. I've said from the start that a player such as Otto Porter from Georgetown or Victor Oladipo from Indiana would be great fits for that roster in Detroit.
It really seem Miami has an on-off switch. Is it sort of disturbing that the switch doesn't stay on the whole time, and seemingly only comes on after they lose a game?
The more remarkable thing is that they simply refuse to lose two in a row these days. I tend to give credit to the teams that beat them instead of acting like Miami should absolutely never have a letdown or lose a game. This league won't just concede a title to the Heat every year. Once you get to the conference finals and Finals, you're talking about teams that are pretty evenly matched - or evenly mismatched, if you will.
Will bosh be on the trading block no matter what happens the rest of this series
I'll believe it when I hear it for myself. With guys like Dwight Howard and Chris Paul in play as potential home-run free agent targets, if you're the Heat, yes, you dangle Bosh out there to see if anyone would bite if there's a shot to get Paul or Duncan. But other than that, I'm not sure the Heat would be interested in anything else out there. They brought Bosh here and asked him to change his game quite a bit to fit what works best in Miami around LeBron and Dwyane Wade. I think Bosh is valued and appreciated far more inside the offices at AmericanAirlines Arena than he ever will outside of them.
Although the Heat played a great second half in Game 2, what adjustments do you see Coach Spoelstra making in Game 3 to maintain pressure on the Spurs guards, limit their 3-point shooting, and get the Heat offense going early?
I think the Heat want to continue to pressure the Tony Parker and, eventually, force the ball out of his hands as much as possible. The other adjustment I think Spoelstra sticks with a bit longer is the "double bigs" lineup when Bosh and Chris Andersen play together. It helps Miami neutralize the Spurs on the glass and prevents them from stacking up offensive boards. For Miami, the main thing is to maintain their energy and aggression early on. Sometimes, that means there will be an open 3-pointer available for the opponent. But the Spurs shot 50 percent from 3-point range in Game 2 and still lost by 19.
In no order... Parker, Paul, Westbrook, Irving, Holiday, Rose, Lawson, Conley, DWill, Rondo, Curry.Send that list to Cody... that's 11 that are comfortably ahead of chalmers. Without counting players like Wall, Lillard, Jennings... But sure Top 7.
Consider it sent.
Assuming no big trades, the Bulls will need to fill up the backup SF and C with $3 million and the draft picks. How do you see them use those tools to get their backups? I think draft a C and sign a SF
Chicago certainly has a couple of holes to plug. But it's hard to figure out how this team shapes up until you see the impact Derrick Rose will have in his return. They do need another shooter, obviously, and they may make a second free-agency run at JJ Redick after losing out on his services the last time. That doesn't necessarily address the small forward spot, but Jimmy Butler can swing between both spots either alongside or behind Deng if necessary, if that's the plan moving forward. And this draft has a handful of young, athletic - albeit unpolished - big men who can be an obvious upgrade on Nazr Mohammed.
How would the spurs of years past do against this Heat team?Younger faster...
Really see no need to make that comparison when these current Spurs are holding their own so far in this series. Let this one play out first, and then we'll compare Spurs of the past with this Heat team.
Mr. Wallace - Love your work!It seemed Pop's strategy seemed to be working for Game 1 and 3/4 of Game 2. It seemed more of the Spurs not able to get going offensively and being very sloppy. First few scenarios of the game were like bad passes by parker and Ginoboli was very sloppy. Your thoughts? Also, it seemed to me Spurs really were not effective getting to the paint as well even Parker had a hard time..
I thought the Spurs got burned by a couple of calls that should have been kicked balls early in the game. But they also spent too much time trying to force passes through double coverage on those pick-and-roll splits. It happened repeatedly. You can't give Miami too many turnovers. They scored 19 points off 17 San Antonio turnovers. That was essentially the difference in the game right there. Miami won by 19.
would Dwight Howard and CP3 be a good fit for ATL?
They'd be a great fit together - anywhere they would end up, if that were the case. But I can't see those two landing in the same spot, even though a handful of teams will try to be as creative as possible to structure it so that it's a possibility.
What's your take on the Doc Rivers situation?
I'm confused. Seriously. I thought he was locked into a long-term deal. I thought I heard all sort of talk out of Boston about loyalty and such when Doc decided to stick around and sign the extension a couple of years ago. The only thing this indecision tells me is that Doc's loyalty was tied only to Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce being Celtics, or that this is all much ado about nothing. If there are plans to trade Garnett and allow Piece to walk away, then Doc must have an out in his obligation to that contract.
What do you think the clippers need to to in order to take it to the next level (of course resigning CP3 is a must) where they can contend for a title?
To me, it seemed as if no one on that roster had a mid-range game. It was either jumpers or dunks. No in-between. Caron Butler was supposed to provide that type of attack, but he hasn't been the same consistent threat since the meltdown of that Wizards team. The Clippers, as you point out, need to first sign CP3 and then round out the roster with a bit more balance. They need playmakers to help Paul. Easier said than acquired, of course. But there's still hope and optimism there, provided they find the right deal to keep their franchise point guard and then hire a coach that will allow his game to flourish more.
Well, that's my time for this week. Thanks again for joining me for the NBA chat. I think we've got one more chat left in us before the end of the Finals, so I look forward to next week and another dose of great questions. Until then, Peace - MW