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June 21, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Kevin Pelton

Kevin Pelton
  (2:06 PM)

Hello everybody and welcome to my first chat of the 2013 offseason. Between recapping the Finals and looking ahead to the draft and free agency, no shortage of topics today. I'll help take you through your afternoon into the weekend.

Ben (WI)

How many hours are you going today? You said you'll help take us into the weekend, does that mean we'll have an 11 hour chat? lol

Kevin Pelton
  (2:08 PM)

OK, not all the way into *Saturday*!

Ben (WI)

With Danny Green's emergence, at least until game 6 and 7, do you think 3 and D guys will become more valuable and sought after? I really think Green's play could help Reggie Bullock's draft stock.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:10 PM)

That was already the trend in the league, and I think Green's performance only enhances it. There's nobody in this draft who jumps out as an obvious 3-and-D player because there are questions about one side of that equation or the other for everyone. The interesting question that affects someone like Bullock is whether it's better to take a shooter and try to get them to lock in on defense or take an athlete (Jamaal Franklin?) and teach them how to shoot.

Mark H. (Detroit, MI)

Isn't the more accurate historical comparison of LeBron James as a player to Oscar Robertson over Jordan and Magic? Both the Big O and LeBron are multitalented greats capable of beating teams multiple ways.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:12 PM)

I would say Oscar is probably slightly preferable to Magic as a comp. LeBron's unique combination of size and skill is a little more Magic-like than it is Oscar-like, though. And the fact that Oscar isn't really part of the GOAT discussion is probably a big reason why the Jordan comparison gets more attention.

Liz Lemon (30 Rockefeller Plaza)

After Lebron, Durant and Chris Paul, I've been telling my friends that Duncan is the 4th best player in the league. My argument is that the average fan undervalues defense. Does WARP back me up or am I crazy?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:14 PM)

The tough thing with Duncan is that his playing at a high level is partially contingent on his minutes being limited, and durability counts in this discussion too. That's a key reason why I had Marc Gasol over Duncan on my All-NBA First Team/MVP ballot. But if I'm playing one game with players as they are today, Duncan is probably my center.

Bryan (Springdale, AR) [via mobile]

Lebron is a great player, and you can talk about how historic his postseason run was this year, but in the context of being flanked by All-Stars, it's still just another All-Star benefiting from playing with other All-Stars. In context, Dirk Nowitzki's was better than Lebron James, and I don't think it's debatable.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:17 PM)

That argument seems to hinge on the notion that there is a semi-magical difference between All-Stars and non-All-Stars. I rate both Jason Kidd and Jason Terry as more valuable during the 2011 playoff run than Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh were this year.

Seth (Southington)

Do you think the Public will ever have access to the SportsVU camera data?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:17 PM)

I would doubt there will ever be full access. The cost is enough, and the data valuable enough, that I think it will remain proprietary to teams even if the NBA decides to foot the bill for having SportVU in every arena.

MICHAEL (NYC)

As good as it gets!!! Maybe even better!!! LeBron may be a weapon of mass destruction on the basketball court. Even advanced metrics do not do him justice! HOW long can he continue to carry the other 14 players on the Heat for 100 plus games a season? Can you please not respond to any questions that mention the word "legacy"?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:18 PM)

But then I couldn't answer your question!

Kevin Pelton
  (2:19 PM)

On a serious note, I will take legacy questions if only to provide my perspective on their transient nature. Ignoring them won't make them go away.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:19 PM)

On a serious note, I will take legacy questions if only to provide my perspective on their transient nature. Ignoring them won't make them go away.

Crysander Siler (Seattle)

Why does Otto Porter project so well based on your draft prospect system? Qualitatively, he is not a superior athlete and his J is ugly.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:20 PM)

Because he played well in college at a young age.

Charles (San Jose)

I have Tyson Chandler as the 2nd best Mav in 2011.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:22 PM)

Counting defense, ditto. He blocked strangely few shots in the playoffs, and his usage rate went from low to microscopic, which is why he doesn't rate well statistically.

Kyle (Ny)

Do you expect the thunder to come out of the west next year

Kevin Pelton
  (2:23 PM)

Depending on what happens with Kevin Martin, etc., I think they are the favorites. There's a pretty good argument to be made that Oklahoma City should be the overall favorite given Miami's age.

Justin (Portland, OR)

Chad Ford said no one in this draft was a tier 1 or 2 player (no guaranteed all-stars.) Noel's stats are crazy, especially those steals/blocks/rebounds, and they suggest a very good player.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:23 PM)

To be fair, Chad Ford said *NBA teams believe* no one in this draft is a Tier 1/2 player. I would definitely have Noel in Tier 2 myself.

Trent (Orlando)

Could San Antonio land a free agent like Josh Smith or Iguodala to help with their athleticism problem?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:25 PM)

Do the Spurs have an athleticism problem? I think, if anything, they have a LeBron James problem. There's a possibility San Antonio could make a play for Iguodala, but that would seem to commit them to more smallball than I think they want to play. And Josh Smith seems to be a remote possibility at best.

Rick (Los Angeles, CA)

Am I wrong in thinking that Doc Rivers is vastly overrated if the price is two first round picks? Seems the difference between him and Hollins/Shaw isn't nearly that large.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:26 PM)

Not at all, especially when you factor in he's already being paid like an elite coach. To me, Rivers has very little trade value. On the other hand, Jordan and two first-round picks for KG is a solid value in my book, so I don't think you have to assign any trade value to Rivers for the combination to work.

Justin (Indy)

What would you consider the Pacers biggest needs to be going into the draft and free agency?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:27 PM)

1. Re-sign David West2. Bench (PG)3. Bench (PF)4. Bench (overall)

Justin (Portland, OR)

What do you think of the usage/efficiency debate? Like when you put a bunch of low usage, high efficiency guys on the court. Do you expect to see a drop in efficiency? Some advanced stats ignore this effect. Is that wise?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:28 PM)

Without question. It's a complex issue, and not always predictable -- witness Memphis getting better on offense while losing a high-possession player because Gasol and Conley were able to take a larger load without much drop in efficiency -- but in general, the evidence is to me very clear on the tradeoff.

Bob (Chicago)

Why do we discuss the draft picks in the BOS/LAC deal as if their value isn't team-dependent? Neither the Celtics nor the Clippers have done very well at drafting in the 20s (or almost at all, in the Clippers case), so why doesn't that come into the valuation? I don't expect the Clippers to find Ginobili, Parker, Chalmers, etc

Kevin Pelton
  (2:30 PM)

Well, they did get Bledsoe in the early 20s. It's not like we have a long track record of the Clippers having bad picks! And their GM is in his first full year. So I don't think that should be a huge consideration.

Hugh (York, PA)

Who do you think is getting the better side of the Celtics-Clippers Talks?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:31 PM)

If they can find a way to make the deal as presently reported, I think it's more of a win for the Clippers than the Celtics. But both Doc Rivers and KG are more valuable in L.A. than Boston at this point, which is why a trade makes sense for both sides.

Pierce (Walker)

Is Jerry Sloan being brought in as a "senior advisor" is really just preparing for Corbin's replacement?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:32 PM)

I don't get that sense. I think it's more about bringing a legend officially back into the fold after doing the same with Karl Malone earlier this offseason. Honestly, I'll be a little surprised if Sloan is a head coach again.

Jerry (Pawnee, IN)

Do you expect Dwight Howard to re-emerge as a top 10 player? His performance post all-star break seems to indicate such

Kevin Pelton
  (2:33 PM)

Probably. But I don't think he was a top 10 player after the All-Star break. I was actually surprised when I broke down the numbers that way that his improvement wasn't more noticeable.

Charles (San Jose)

In the preseason you wrote "SCHOENE estimates that Leonard will be one of the leaguea??s top 30 players by 2014-15, when he will still only be 23." After this season (and Finals) are you higher or lower on that projection?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:34 PM)

Probably about the same.

Austin (Texas)

Most elite NBA players, including Jordan, usually hit the "old age" hill around 35 or 36, where they skills and endurance decline sharply. But seeing how LBJ is a complete freak when it comes to body shape, do you think he can still be chugging along just fine at 36? I mean, maybe not MVP caliber but still very, very good right?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:35 PM)

I would say my general theory is that the decline curve is relatively similar for great players and middling ones; it's just that the great players obviously have much more room to decline and still be useful. And therefore I would agree that I anticipate LeBron will still be very, very good in his mid-30s.

Brian (FTL)

I keep hearing the HEAT would amnesty Mike Miller. Which is fine except that he would be a GREAT fit for both Chicago and Indy if he gets through waivers.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:37 PM)

I don't know if I would say that should be a big factor in their decision, since there are other similar players on the market. (Kyle Korver, for one, is in the same mold but better.) The bigger issue is probably that it looks like they may still need Miller's contributions themselves.

Cory (Indy)

how scary would Indys wing D be with George AND Kawhi? In retrospect do you think San Antonio would have matched 4 years 32 million this past summer?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:38 PM)

Probably not, but I think the question is whether the Spurs would have traded Hill elsewhere before he hit free agency and he would have signed an extension or re-signed there. That's the big thing the Pacers got, along with one year of Hill on his bargain rookie contract.

James (Johnson)

Should the Heat look at trading Bosh? If so for who? Bosh for Noah? Bosh for Howard?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:42 PM)

I can't see the incentive for other teams to make those kinds of offers. Realistically, at best you're looking at a challenge trade of Bosh for a more traditional big man. And I just don't think that makes Miami better. Given the importance of spacing to the Heat's offense, I don't know that there is anyone who fits who would also be able to hold his own defending centers the way Bosh does.

Matt (Portland)

Blazers need a defensive center; Splitter is a free agent. Any chance they could get him?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:43 PM)

If San Antonio decides to let him walk, it's possible. Splitter is about in Portland's price range and his versatile game would fit well with LaMarcus Aldridge. But I will be surprised if the Spurs don't bring Splitter back. To me, that would probably be an overreaction to the Finals, depending on the alternative.

brandon (dc)

even if the celtics clear a bunch of cap space by getting rid of pierce, terry, garnett and lee who should they sign and more importantly who would likely want to sign?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:44 PM)

Whatever moves the Celtics make will be more about long-term flexibility than this summer's free agency. At the same time, Bill Simmons does keep bringing up a sign-and-trade for Josh Smith ...

James (Canada)

Wow speaking of Brian's hypothetical, Indy's D with Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, David West and Roy Hibbert? That might have produced an all-time great D

Kevin Pelton
  (2:45 PM)

That is a scary thought. Although whoever would be at PG in that lineup would be a downgrade from George Hill's size and wingspan.

Steve (Miami)

If Miami could add one more complementary piece in the off-season the way Riley has done each year, what would be the biggest help?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:47 PM)

Probably another Bosh-type stretch big man who could play the four off the bench and keep Shane Battier from having to do so as much during the regular season. But I'm not seeing an obvious fit, and luxury-tax concerns may keep Miami from adding any piece this summer.

Bob (Chicago)

SA needs a backup PG, sixth man, etc. to replace Ginobili's output (even if he doesn't retire, they need to transition to someone else). Is there a good fit in FA?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:49 PM)

With Cory Joseph developing, I think they'll probably look more at a wing. J.J. Redick would be a great fit if he's interested and the Spurs could create enough cap space.

sam (boston)

How much did the finals lower Splitters contract?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:49 PM)

Good question. Tough to say how much teams will rely on that in their evaluation, but might have cost him a million per year.

Jack (Au)

A far-fetched hypothetical?If the Clippers get KG and then Dwight (for Griffin/Bledsoe, which btw LAL should jump at right?), wouldn't KG's subsequent retirement and Butler's expiring contract pave the way for Lebron at 19m or so in 2014?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:52 PM)

I don't quite think so. Paul and Howard would make about $40 million in that hypothetical, and even if you move everything else on the roster (most notably Jamal Crawford's contract, which is partially guaranteed at that point), the cap holds probably shrink what you could offer LeBron to somewhere in the $15-17 million range. Almost impossible to get three true max guys at this point.

Andrew (DC)

Do you think that Pop has given a blueprint on how to defend the Heat to the rest of the league? And if so, how drastically will it effect LeBron's and Wade's numbers?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:54 PM)

Well, first, I don't think everyone in the league -- or most teams, even -- have the personnel to pull it off because San Antonio's defense started with Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw being able to contain LeBron one-on-one. And Wade will probably be more dangerous when he is healthy next season. The other thing is, as we saw in this series, LeBron eventually decided to just take the jumper and made the Spurs pay. If he saw this kind of defense on a nightly basis, that adjustment would be easy to make.

Tim (Houston)

Would you rather start a team around Lin, Howard, and Harden or Rose, Noah and Deng?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:55 PM)

Parsons, Howard and Harden.

Mike (Simpson)

The Lakers should look at signing Ellis, keeping Howard, and finding it in Kobe's heart to take a pay cut so they can sign Josh Smith. Would they contend?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:55 PM)

There is basically no way they could do all of those things. Read up: http://www.cbafaq.com

Ethan (Providence)

In the 2016-2017 NBA season, the top 5 players will be...

Kevin Pelton
  (2:56 PM)

LeBron, KD, Westbrook, Harden, Rose

Kevin Pelton
  (2:56 PM)

Though I was tempted to say Andrew Wiggins.

Charles (San Jose)

Wade being healthy next season is an interesting assumption.

Kevin Pelton
  (2:57 PM)

Healthier? He was much healthier this year's regular season after an injury-marred playoffs.

David (Cleveland)

What's your take on Thomas Robinson? Isn't it much too early to say he's a bust?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:59 PM)

It's too early to say he's a bust. But it's not too early to say he was overrated. There's a lot of evidence stacking up -- his middling draft projection, a poor summer league, ineffective play in Sacramento and not even being able to get off the bench in Houston. I think Robinson can be useful by reinventing himself as a hustle player, but stardom no longer seems to be in the cards.

Nick (Green Bay)

The big question is....does Juwan Howard ride off into the sunset with his two rings?

Kevin Pelton
  (2:59 PM)

Veteran leadership never ages!

Nate (Madison)

Do you honestly see LeBron going somewhere else? He's not a player that NEEDS to play in a big market because his name will generate income no matter where he goes. I think I would x off the Lakers, Bulls, and Celtics because I don't think he wants to follow other people's legacies. I'd also think the Knicks are out of the running because of Melo's $$.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:00 PM)

Realistically, I think it's Lakers, Cleveland or stay in Miami. And if you look at the best chance of long-term success, it seems to be a return to the Cavaliers.

Abed (Greendale)

Does Tim Duncan have a legitimate argument for Top 5 all time or is he a game 7 too short?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:02 PM)

I wouldn't assign that much importance to one game. No. 5 or so is probably the ceiling for Duncan arguments.

Frank (Philly)

If the Magic can't swing a deal for Eric Bledsoe, what other young point guards could they target via trade?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:04 PM)

Not sure if any other starting-caliber guys will be out there. Jeremy Lin might be available, and perhaps Isaiah Thomas if Sacramento drafts a point guard. More likely, they wait until next summer to fill the need.

Draco (Hogwarts)

Do you think we'll see ONE Kobe vs. LeBron final before Kobe retires?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:05 PM)

Outlook not so good.

Chris (Nashville)

Do you believe the HEAT will look into Greg Oden? It seems like it would be another low risk gamble like the Birdman and Eddy Curry.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:06 PM)

Given Pat Riley's history, I would be stunned if he didn't look into it. The question is whether Miami would be willing to commit more than the minimum to such an enormous gamble. And Oden will have no shortage of options, possibly even for more money than the Heat can offer with the taxpayer MLE.

Brian (FTL)

I don't think he was assigning the importance to the game, but rather the lack of a 5th title.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:06 PM)

Well, if one game can determine a fifth title, then that's the same, right?

Rich (London)

FIBA just announced some rule changes. Going to 1 free throw for techs is falling in line with the NBA, but the 14-second shot clock after an offensive rebound is new. Do you think that's something we'll see in the NBA sometime soon?Talking of FIBA/NBA differences, are we ever going to see the NBA/WNBA address the mess that is the clear-path rule?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:08 PM)

The clear-path rule seems like an obvious fix to me. I'm usually not much for legislating intent, but we can all tell when teams are fouling to stop the fast break. Let's just call that and stop with the incessant replays. Naturally, I'm not optimistic about it happening.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:08 PM)

14-second shot clock after an offensive rebound ... interesting. I think I like it, since it will only matter much late in games when teams are running clock, but I'm curious to see it in practice in FIBA play before making up my mind.

Jerry (NYC)

Can Patty Mills' game ever approach his ability as a towel-waver?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:09 PM)

No way. And I say that as a big Patty Mills believer. But he's one of the GOAT towel wavers.

Jon (WI)

Do you see any K. Leonard in Jamaal Franklin......besides the fact they went to the same school?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:10 PM)

It's a natural comparison because they went to the same school and have similar body types. Leonard is bigger, which gives him more upside, but Franklin is really in a similar position as Leonard coming out of college -- if he can learn how to shoot, he'll be a very good NBA player. Leonard also rated much better statistically at San Diego State.

steve (battle creek, mi)

Whats your opinion of the Mo Cheeks hire in Detroit?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:11 PM)

Surprising. I didn't think, based on the way his previous two jobs ended, he would get another chance as a head coach. I would have gone with Nate McMillan. (I'm biased on that count.) But we're all guessing when it comes to coaches.

N1S4L (Ridgefield, CT)

What kind of Roy Hilbert are we going to get offensively next year? The guy from the playoffs or the 45% shooter?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:12 PM)

Probably somewhere in between, not unlike his 2011-12 regular season. That was good enough for an All-Star berth. It was pretty clear that something wasn't right for Hibbert early in the season, and his wrist injury explained his struggles. But he's also not quite as dominant as he looked against the heat.

Nathan [via mobile]

How long does kidd have as a head coach to be successful before he gets the boot?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:13 PM)

I think probably more than anyone else who got that job because of his popularity. Probably has to win a playoff series in the next couple of years to avoid the hot seat, though.

Matthew (Laurelhurst)

Of the point guards who fall to Utah at 14, who should they take? Larkin? Schroeder?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:14 PM)

I like Larkin the best of the second tier of point guards. More difficult for me to evaluate Schoreder because he doesn't have as meaningful statistics -- no translation as yet from the Basketball Bundesliga to the NBA.

Draco (Hogwarts)

No matter when it happens, next year or 3 years from now; who do you think will be the next EAST team (other than the heat) to win a championship?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:15 PM)

Cleveland?

Luke (Raleigh)

I don't understand why LAC would trade for Kevin Garnett. Isn't it way too early to jump ship on DJ? I mean.. the kid barely got to play last year. And when you consider how many guys in the league have DJ's size/athleticism... What am I missing here that everyone else so obviously sees?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:17 PM)

He played 25 minutes a night, and has each of the last three years. Over time, Jordan will probably improve his defensive instincts and positioning to address one of his weaknesses. But he's never going to be able to shoot even a little bit, and that's a problem that's exacerbated when he's playing next to Blake Griffin. So I think adding KG would significantly increase the Clippers' chances of winning a championship, and it wouldn't be impossible to replace Jordan's game down the road when KG retires.

Pouler (Pinswood)

How good is Mario Chalmers? On a bad team is he Damian Lillard? Awful D/good 3P shooting? (On a Bad team, on Miami his defense is fine)

Kevin Pelton
  (3:18 PM)

No, I don't think he's that talented of a scorer even on a bad team. Maybe more like Mo Williams in his prime?

Trent (Orlando)

Does Jameer Nelson or Glenn Davis have any trade value around the league?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:19 PM)

Nelson yes, especially since he's functionally an expiring contract. Davis, no.

Adrian (Greenville TX)

Why would CP3 want a coach like Doc when he's done such a great job coaching the team himself the last couple of years?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:20 PM)

Even a great coach needs assistants!

Jerry (NYC)

GOAT towel-wavers - Turiaf is obviously up there. I think big Balkman was very underrated as well.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:20 PM)

And Kent Bazemore and Robert Sacre are both on historic paces as rookies.

Pouler (Pinswood)

Can Ricky Rubio be an all-star level PG? Great passer, good D, just kind of awful shooting.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:22 PM)

I think it's possible. Making All-Star is challenging at point guard right now -- the competition in the West includes Lawson, Curry, Paul, Conley, Westbrook, Lillard and Parker -- but he's not yet 23 and has plenty of time to continue developing.

Dellis (DC)

Has anyone done any quantitative analysis on the difference that a head coach makes (e.g. how many WAR was Phil Jackson worth)?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:24 PM)

Separating coaches from their teams might be the greatest challenge for statistical analysts. There have been a couple of different methods. You can try to tease out specific skills, like the study of player development in Stumbling on Wins (Neil Paine has done some similar work) or including coaches in adjusted plus-minus to capture their impact on offensive/defensive ratings. Then there's also the method of looking purely at results, as John Hollinger did in the first incarnation of the Pro Basketball Prospectus. But neither method is really satisfying.

cp (reno)

ML CARR....Best ever

Kevin Pelton
  (3:27 PM)

Never forget!

Galdwin (HagginBuffle, Florida)

Do you have thoughts on Patrick Ewing trying to get a coaching gig? Seems unfair that people like him, or Brian Shaw are still waiting on job opportunities while Jason Kidd got a job a week from retiring.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:28 PM)

Again, we're all just guessing, but is there evidence to suggest Patrick Ewing would be a good head coach? Because that's what matters, not how long he's waited.

bryce (miami)

Does Spo finally get the credit he deserves as being a great coach, if not one of the top coaches in the league by taking on Pop this year?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:29 PM)

I think so ... right up until next year's playoffs, when everyone forgets this happened.

Wayne (Dallas)

Would Michael Jordan have benefited as much from advanced metrics like Lebron James has?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:29 PM)

In terms of how advanced metrics assess James' game? Or the way he's used them to become more efficient?

Alex (DC)

Please don't disrespect Kent Bazemore as a simple towel-waiver. His bench antics go so far beyond towel-waving. He's got the complete package of skills. He also scored an actual key basket in crunch time of a playoff game vs. the Spurs. So there's that.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:30 PM)

I really hope Bazemore gets the chance to play 5-10 minutes a night next year. Enjoy watching him play.

Wayne (Dallas)

The way he has used them to become more efficient

Kevin Pelton
  (3:31 PM)

Interesting question, and kinda tough to say. I think the main thing they would have told Jordan was to work much harder on the 3-pointer than his midrange game.

Richard (SLC)

Out of the handful of teams that have tons of cap space this off season, Utah may be the best off. However, players like CP3, Howard, Josh Smith, etc. are never mentioned as possible Jazz players. This happens to other small markets as well. Will these small market teams ever have a real chance at a Championship without tanking? Or even with tanking?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:32 PM)

Indiana has a real chance at a championship, and the Pacers never drafted higher than 10th. I think that should answer your question.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:32 PM)

Also, not sure what the solution is: Force free agents to sign with small markets?

Adrian (Greenville TX)

Could it be that it's because big men are only taught a specific skill set, as opposed to wings, who are taught more general skills that help them become better coaching candidates?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:33 PM)

I think that theory has been advanced to explain the relative lack of big men as successful head coaches. Another theory -- because there's a larger pool of smaller players, they tend to be separated more by their ability to think the game than big men, who can make the league more on the strength of their physical tools.

David (Philadlephia)

What evidence was there to suggest Jason Kidd would be a good head coach? Playing isn't coaching, he has zero years coaching basketball - at any level

Kevin Pelton
  (3:35 PM)

Well, Brooklyn hired him. That in and of itself is evidence. You can extend this too far, since it took Tom Thibodeau many years to get a head coaching job, but basically the Patrick Ewing argument seems to come down to "he was a great player so someone should hire him as a head coach." Am I wrong about that?

Soren (LA)

If Miami had made a couple fewer shots and lost Game 7, how badly would the pundits and haters be ripping Bosh right now?

tdiddy (winniepg) [via mobile]

Are the Heat dumping Bosh in the offseason? He was just awful.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:36 PM)

People are ripping him even though they did win! So there's your answer.

Morris (Pgh, PA)

San Antonio (21st in the NBA in FTA) shot 158 FT vs 118 for Miami. And of course Indiana out-FTAed Miami 194-175. Is the lack of talking heads complaining about this disparity due to A) the fact that Miami won anyway or B) the fact that it happened to Miami?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:36 PM)

Both. If the facts don't fit the narrative, they get discarded. For the record, I didn't have a real issue with the refereeing of either series.

Bingo (SF)

In no way is an aging KG worth Deandre and 2 first round picks. How can you assign that much value to someone who may or may not play for another year beyond next, let alone be as effective as that package would indicate.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:38 PM)

1. Because Jordan makes $11 million, it's not at all clear he has positive trade value. It's possible he has slight negative trade value.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:38 PM)

2. Flags fly forever: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8913188/nba-los-angeles-clippers-try-land-kevin-garnett

Austin (Texas)

When it comes to Pop, people usually shake their heads and chuckle whenever he gives his classic short answers. However, I've noticed that quite a few people got a little irritated the way he refused to answer the question about why Tony Parker was on the bench at the end of the game. Your thoughts?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:39 PM)

I think part of the reason Pop gets away with what he does is people agree that a lot of the questions he complains about are somewhat pointless. That was obviously a legitimate question, and he didn't offer a legitimate answer. I think that's the difference.

steve (battle creek, mi)

Im surprised in your '16-'17 top 5 players projection you have no big men. Who would be some big men fighting to get in there? Drummond?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:41 PM)

Sure. Anthony Davis would also have to be in that discussion, and I considered Blake Griffin. Perhaps Kevin Love, who will still be in the tail end of his prime.

Jimmy (Texas)

James and Wade somehow seemed to have the ability to "turn it on" and make their jumpers fall last night for the big moment, even though the statistical record said they couldn't. Was their success just dumb luck, or does the statistical record fail to consider certain intangible factors?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:43 PM)

I wouldn't quite say it was either. To me, dumb luck is hitting a 3 from half court or something. This was more like luck as the residue of hard work in the sample of a single game. But I don't know if I would credit it to intangibles when Miami nearly lost a must-win game on Tuesday.

T (Toronto)

Kevin, would Calderon make sense as Indiana's backup PG? Or are the defensive deficiencies too much for their culture?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:44 PM)

He wouldn't be much worse than D.J. Augustin defensively, so I think that would work. However, I think Calderon will probably be out of their price range.

Ron (Lakerland)

If the Lakers keep their roster basically the same (sign Dwight, do not amnesty Kobe) little or no cap flexibility to sign players. Are they even a playoff team next year?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:45 PM)

I think probably so, because Howard and Gasol should be healthier, but not anywhere close to a sure thing.

Hazeltine (Vegas)

What should Atlanta's backup plan be? Build the team around Horford and Teague? Not really a challenger in the East. And Danny Ferry seems to educated this time around to waste free agent deals on Monta Ellis or Al Jefferson, right?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:45 PM)

Yes on Ferry. I wouldn't be stunned to see them rent their cap space for draft picks and maintain flexibility going forward.

Daniel (Maine)

"Also, not sure what the solution is: Force free agents to sign with small markets?"Isn't it pretty simple math? If you remove maximums on individual players salaries, the top talent will be much more evenly distributed.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:47 PM)

Yeah, that's the obvious answer I set up. But even before the individual max, it's not like we saw stars *going to* small markets. They just tended to be less likely to leave.

Francis (DC)

"[B]asically the Patrick Ewing argument seems to come down to "he was a great player so someone should hire him as a head coach." Am I wrong about that?" This is missing the key point here. Obviously Ewing was a great player, but he's also put in the time to try to learn the profession of coaching as an assistant. So he has the "great player" thing as well as years of NBA coaching experience. So the question is why can't he get a shot?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:48 PM)

But again, the great player part is what's distinguishing him from dozens of long-time assistant coaches. And if anything, I think the track record suggests great players are usually worse head coaches.

Trent (Orlando)

On the Tony Parker question what was Pop going to answer "tony was playing horrible in the biggest game of the year i thought it was hurt us more than help us to have him out there" isn't it possible he was defending his player?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:49 PM)

Maybe, but I don't think that was the answer. I think it was more about wanting to get as many shooters on the court as possible. That's pretty easy to explain.

Jason J (NYC)

The question then becomes, would Jordan's teams be better off with him taking more 3s? Sure his advanced stats might be better. His TS% might go up. But would he actually win more? BJ, Paxson, Kerr, and Kukoc were there to take 3s. Jordan was there to create open 3s for those guys and hit the intermediate shots that good defenses force players like Kobe and LeBron (and Dirk and Pierce and Parker and Duncan) to make in order to win titles.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:50 PM)

You've hit on a good point -- for all the focus on avoiding the midrange, the great ones usually have to be good from there in order to sustain a high usage. But I think Jordan could have remained a good midrange shooter while improving from 3, as LeBron did this season.

Ron (Lakerland)

Realistically, what can we expect from Kobe this year? People are killing D. Rose took the whole year off and people are doubting his return to form, let alone a player a decade older.

Kevin Pelton
  (3:52 PM)

I would temper expectations down heavily, since the Achilles has been the most problematic injury for NBA players and Kobe was unlikely to keep playing at the same level simply due to his age. And if Kobe proves us wrong, we'll be pleasantly surprised.

Gorilla (Phoenix, AZ)

Time to stop the bleeding. Oladipo or Bennet for the Suns? Does Bennet have some Barkley comparisons?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:53 PM)

That's probably the most optimistic comparison possible for him, yes. I would go with Bennett over Oladipo. Not sure if the choice is between Bennett and McLemore.

Adrian (Greenville TX)

SA, Indiana, Miami, and Memphis are all small markets, with stars, and they had chances to win the title. We're not even mentioning OKC. Is there really an issue with small market teams being competitive?

Kevin Pelton
  (3:56 PM)

I think there's an argument to be made this is the greatest point in NBA history for small-market teams. But the specific question is whether it's possible for them to win without tanking their way into a star, which disqualifies San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Memphis spent years at the bottom of the league, but that wasn't as clearly related to the Grizzlies' rise.

Bob (Chicago)

I very much doubt what Daniel said is true. Let's say LeBron is on the open market after his rookie contract. He can sign anywhere for any price (but the salary cap still exists). If LAL and UTAH both have cap room to offer him, say $40M/ys, LAL is still a better offer because they are more likely to pay the luxury tax (which translates either to better teammates or larger raises or both for LeBron)

Kevin Pelton
  (3:58 PM)

Well, I think the idea is that the Jazz might be more desperate and offer $50 million. But you're right that it also limits the players around him. I also think we're talking about a notch lower of stars. If LeBron's making $40 million, he's not teaming up with Wade, Bosh, etc. and those guys are the ones playing elsewhere.

Grant (Fort Worth)

CBA Question: It doesn't seem fair that teams with loads of cap room come July 10 (or official start of new league year) can't make trades on draft night under the '13-'14 cap as opposed to '12-'13 cap. What is the reasoning behind this? Shouldn't NBA encourage more movement in draft day? Wouldn't this help the small market teams the NBA so badly wants to aid?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:00 PM)

The accounting that needs to be done would require moving back the draft, which I don't see the league doing. More importantly, we often see teams agree to deals at the draft and consummate them at the start of the league year. I don't think it's a pressing issue.

Derek (Minnesota)

Kevin, are you saying you like McLemore and Bennett over Oladipo? Could you explain why? Some posters over at canishoopus.com have done some pretty significant and extensive regression testing and found that Oladipo has a much higher chance of success than either McLemore or Bennett.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:02 PM)

Draft Rater. Monday.

Manuel (Chicago)

Kevin, I have a hard time getting excited about draft discussion -- we're talking about 19-year-olds who won't be top-level players for 3 or 4 years -- when we just spent 2 weeks watching exhilarating basketball at the highest level between multiple Hall of Famers. And now it's over. Please talk me out of my sudden malaise!

Kevin Pelton
  (4:05 PM)

Well, you can always rewatch the Finals on NBA TV? But remember, Kawhi Leonard was that 19-year-old (he might have been 20) two years ago, and there he was one of the best players on the court last night.

Thomas (Philly)

What do you think Sam Hinkie does for the Sixers in the upcoming draft?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:06 PM)

I am going to give you a much more specific answer than you ever expected and predict that the Sixers take Arsalan Kazemi in the second round next Thursday.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:06 PM)

Draft Rater. Monday.

T (Toronto)

Do teams keep statistics for contested vs uncontested FGs? (attempts, 2s vs 3s, FG%, etc)? It might confirm a lot of what we already know about players & teams, but I'd still find them interesting.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:07 PM)

Synergy Sports tracks this, yes. Usually not too surprising from what I've seen.

Daniel (Maine)

Great question by Jason J, there...Does a great offense need to be able to tug defenses spatially in any direction to maintain excellent spacing? Does the triangle need a Jordan/Kobe to pull defenses to midrange for it to maintain that spacing? It may be a system question...

Kevin Pelton
  (4:09 PM)

The continued ability of teams to shoot more 3s and get better offensively makes me skeptical that any system needs that kind of spacing. The problem for really 3-dependent teams comes when opponents can run them off the line and they need to make a midrange 2. That's the difference between choosing not to shoot the midrange jumper and being incapable of doing so.

Trent (Orlando)

Are 4 rings the only thing separating Lebron from MJ as the GOAT? or has the Jordan brand realistically made it impossible for it to ever change?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:10 PM)

I think it's been described well that while LeBron might surpass Jordan's stats and might even surpass him in championships, matching the Jordan narrative -- individual success followed by great team success, with the retirement and the comeback and the shot against Utah in '98 as a capper -- probably isn't possible.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:11 PM)

(By the way, I'm taking Bill Simmons' lead and pretending Jordan never played in Washington. Even though it was the only time I was in the locker room with him.)

Leonhard Euler (Ukraine)

Hello. How much possibility do you think is there for the Heat to make a swap for a Roy Hibbert or a Joakim Noah ?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:11 PM)

Zero.

Balgnar (Woonstif, Alaska)

If rings aren't an argument, suddenly Bill Russel and Jordan < Wilt and LeBron right?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:13 PM)

Well, first, Jordan is still ahead of LeBron at this point no matter what. LeBron is also 28. Second, I think there's a difference between fetishizing the number of championships and acknowledging that the goal is winning championships and success on the biggest stages matters more. Russell was great in his team's most important games and Chamberlain was less than great, and that matters.

Raymond (Baltimore)

When people talk about Kobe and his 5 rings, I've always said that during the Lakers' 3Peat, that Kobe could have been replaced by any all star caliber SG and they probably would have still won. Now I was about 10 years younger and dumber at the time, lol. But how true do you think that is?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:14 PM)

I would say probably not. 2000 was the closest, since Kobe wasn't Kobe yet, but the margin between the Lakers and the Blazers was razor-thin, so any downgrade would have cost the Lakers a title. 2001, the Lakers rolled but Kobe was a huge part of that. And 2002 the Lakers-Kings margin was equally thin.

Wayne (Dallas)

Thoughts on Wiggins? people used to say we wont see another Lebron James type player for a long time. But they are already making the comparisons

Kevin Pelton
  (4:16 PM)

I hope that people don't put that kind of expectation on Wiggins, because it's not fair. I haven't seen a ton of him -- basically practices and the Nike Hoop Summit the last two years -- but I don't think he's as physically gifted as LeBron. And his jumper and motor are works in progress. I understand the No. 1 pick hype, but expecting him to win MVPs at this point is unfair.

Andy (Austin, TX)

To me, the question regarding small-market competitiveness seems less like it's about whether you can succeed as a small-market team - that's clearly possible. It's about what a small-market or, perhaps more accurately phrased, a non-glamour market, can do to right its path that's not just "wait with your fingers crossed for the right line-up of clear star pick and lucky lottery balls." If you're Charlotte these days, or even Phoenix, what steps can you REALLY take that get you back in contention in a reasonable time frame. We can preach cap discipline and hoping for a good lottery bounce all day long, but when you're watching the community tune further and further out, it's hard to offer them an unknown number of years of losing for an uncertain payoff for the foreseeable future. If you ran a team like say, Phoenix, given the current system, what do you tell Robert Sarver on your first day on the job?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:18 PM)

I would probably go the Oklahoma City model. I saw the start of it first hand. Obviously it doesn't work without Durant, but it also doesn't work without the extra assets Sam Presti stockpiled. Serge Ibaka was drafted with one of the three first-round picks Presti generated from signing and traded Rashard Lewis. So it's not about losing games; it's about maximizing assets.

Kevin (Houston)

My argument for Lebron as a GOAT would be that he's the only player in history that if you cloned him four times and have a team of five Lebrons, that team would be the greatest team ever.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:19 PM)

You don't think five Magics would be the best team ever? I know they're a little weak defending centers and light on outside shooting, but my goodness, the passing!

Jay (Tacoma, WA)

I'm just disappointed that all the towel-waving discussion happened and nobody mentioned Mad Dog Madsen. I think they actually listed his position on the All-Star ballot as towel-waver.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:20 PM)

True.

CC (Ohio)

Do you think Cleveland is the best spot for Ben McLemore? Kyrie is already the man so McLemore could just be a great complimentary piece.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:21 PM)

I don't know. Cleveland has so much scoring that it might encourage McLemore to take a back seat. I can see him passing the ball to Waiters and never getting it back.

Bill (The Hill)

Isn't Duncan really a Power Forward as opposed to a Center?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:21 PM)

He's a post player. Done.

Tim (Dallas)

No mention of Steph Curry in your top 5 in the future? Not sure how you failed to include the best pure shooter in the league.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:22 PM)

Curry's in the discussion, but I'm only getting five guys. It's a hard list to crack.

Grant (Fort Worth)

FOLLOW UP: if what you are saying is true -- that teams can agree in principle to deals on draft night which will be then made official July 10 -- then why has it been mentioned before (Coon specifically) that the only teams who can really acquire Shawn Marion and the #13 pick on draft night are those with large enough trade exceptions to fit Marion's contract? Thanks Kevin, LOVE your chats

Kevin Pelton
  (4:23 PM)

If Larry has said that, it's probably because he means very literally *on draft night* as opposed to a deal that remains uncompleted.

Trent (Orlando)

why is it unfair to put the pressure on wiggins to be the next lebron, but it was fair to put the pressure on lebron to be the next jordan.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:24 PM)

Never said it was! But LeBron wasn't necessarily held to that standard coming out of high school. There was a great deal of debate about what kind of player he would be -- a Magic, a Michael, a Big O -- that continues today.

Catch and shoot dude (The Atl)

Does Danny Green's late-series struggles confirm that catch-and-shoot players are less valuable than catch-and-shoot-and-can-put-it-on-the-floor players? Which is why Steve Novak will always have less value than a similar player who can score off the dribble?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:24 PM)

Sure. But there's not a ton of those guys out there.

Alberto (Houston)

What did you think of Popovich's decision to not call timeout when Ginobili drove the ball full-court at the end of overtime in Game 6?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:27 PM)

I didn't love it because Tony Parker wasn't on the floor, fatigue or no. But there is ample evidence that in general teams should try to score in early offense rather than let the defense set up with a timeout.

Casey (Utah)

Kevin, Why do you always blame the Heat's woes on the Heat? I think you need to re-evaluate your journalism and give the Spurs some credit. The only reason the Heat one this series is because of a missed called on Ray Allen in game 6!

Kevin Pelton
  (4:27 PM)

When did I do that?

Ron (Lakerland)

Your top-5 list of who gets amnestied in the coming month?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:28 PM)

MWP. John Salmons. Mike Miller. Drew Gooden. Charlie Villanueva.

Mike (Oakland)

Other than Miami, Golden State gave the Spurs the hardest fight this postseason. How close is GS to being a legit contender? Does it really come down to how healthy Bogut is and whether he can play a full season?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:30 PM)

That's the biggest factor. The Warriors are a good example of a team that could be vulnerable to the plexiglass principle, or simply regression to the mean. Teams that improve as much as they do often tend to go the other direction the next year.

Nick (LA)

How many years can still play Tim Duncan at high level?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:31 PM)

It's very rare for big men to be effective as starters past 38, but if anyone is going to do it, it's Duncan. So I would give him 2-3 more years, depending how much longer he wants to play.

Patrick (Houston)

Who are the vets most likely to take/want a minimum contract on a championship contending team this off-season?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:33 PM)

I could see Elton Brand going that direction. Francisco Garcia, perhaps. Jermaine O'Neal? And, of course, Derek Fisher!

Mike (Chicago)

If Ray Allen doesn't sign with the Heat, do they still win the title?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:33 PM)

Given the shot in Game 6, I would say no.

Andy (Austin, TX)

Follow-up to the OKC model question: who are a few big contracts that teams could absorb that could come with picks that would make it worth absorbing them? Are the Bulls at that point with Boozer? Is there any way in the world the Knicks could pay someone enough to take Stoudemire? Is there someone obvious out there I'm missing, or is this the sort of thing that just hinges on what surprise trades need facilitating?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:34 PM)

Marion would have to be the most likely candidate at this point. If not for the Cavaliers already having between 5 and 75 draft picks, Marion + No. 13 to Cleveland would make great sense.

Ed (Sacramento, CA)

Any thoughts on Pete D'alessandro's hire by the Kings?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:35 PM)

Don't know much about D'Alessandro, but everything I hear is very positive. Any new blood would probably be good for the Kings.

Jason (IA)

The thing I don't understand about game 6 is...if you're taking Duncan off the floor to defend the 3 (a whole other conversation about whether or not Timmy is capable of defending the 3 if there is absolutely no concern for him defending the drive), but ANYWAY, if you're taking Timmy out, therefore giving up rebounding...then why have your players attempt to get the rebound at all?? After LBJ's miss, a rebound and putback puts you down 3. One FT made makes it a 4pt game. When LBJ missed the next one, Bosh grabs the board, puts it in...2pt game with what, 5 seconds left? With the ball? No heat timeouts? What the??

Kevin Pelton
  (4:37 PM)

Hmm. Hadn't thought of it that way, but at some point it's difficult to overcome player instincts to rebound the basketball. The other issue on the final possession is the Spurs were also out of timeouts, so getting the ball in was not a sure thing.

Dave (Orlando)

Do you think Bledsoe can be a top 10 PG with his own team?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:37 PM)

No, I think that's probably a stretch given the other young talent in the league at the position. I think at best he's probably about an average starting point guard.

Cody (St. Louis)

"Cleveland has so much scoring that it might encourage McLemore to take a back seat."Then would Olidapo make sense?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:38 PM)

Noel would make sense!

Chris Herrington (Memphis)

Can't believe you're still going. Tony Allen might not be the best towel waver, but he's definitely the best towel thrower.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:38 PM)

As long as people have towel questions/comments, I'm staying here!

Christopher (SeaTac)

What can the local Seattle ABC affiliate do in future years to avoid preempting Jeopardy with the NBA Finals?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:39 PM)

Primetime Jeopardy is great.

Bobby (DC)

Right now it seems the advanced statistics still support that Jordan (I guess defensively it favors Lebron right now) was the better player in the playoffs. Is that all that really separates Jordan from Lebron right now?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:41 PM)

Longevity still separates them. We have no idea yet how LeBron will age. And that's part of the fun!

Bobby (DC)

Isn't what Lebron went through with Wade this postseason similar to what Jordan went through with Pippen when he won his last championship in '98? As I recall Pippen went down with back spasms in the middle of the series and Jordan had to carry them at age 35.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:42 PM)

Probably a little different because that entire team was breaking down in '98. Rodman barely played meaningful minutes in the league thereafter, and so on. This wasn't quite that dramatic team-wide.

Jimmy (Brooklyn)

Do you believe George Karl deserved the coach of the year over Mark Jackson or Mike Woodson? What order would you put these three in ?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:42 PM)

My imaginary ballot was Karl/Woodson/Lionel Hollins.

Charles (San Jose)

I vote for Robert Horry for towel thrower. Or Sheed.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:43 PM)

Depends whether we're judging on distance or accuracy.

Nathan (San Diego)

Since Miami is a taxpayer, can they sign anybody for more than the league minimum?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:44 PM)

They will have the taxpayer mid-level exception as well, which is $3.2 million and can be split.

Greg (Minneapolis)

Could Cody Zeller and Kevin Love work well enough defensively for 15-20 mpg, and would they cause enough matchup problems offensively to be worth drafting him at 9?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:45 PM)

That would be tough defensively. I don't know that Zeller/Love issues alone are enough to pass on him at No. 9, but when you factor in the pressing need for a perimeter player with size and shooting, I went with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in our Insider mock draft: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/draft2013/story/_/id/9404686/2013-nba-draft-experts-make-their-picks-first-round

Jay (Tacoma, WA)

Reports have DeMarcus Cousins' agent saying "max him or trade him". What do you think will be the outcome of this?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:46 PM)

Eventually, a trade, though I don't think it will happen this summer.

Matt (Utah)

What are the odds that one out of the trio of Favors, Kanter and Hayward make an All-Star team?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:47 PM)

One of them at any point in their career? Probably 75-25.

Ryan (Chicago)

Here in Chicago much of the talk has been about Thibs overworking his players and getting them injured. Have you ever crunched the numbers to figure out if heavy minutes directly relate to injuries.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:49 PM)

I haven't. I think there is probably a factor, but it's such a long-term issue that it would be difficult to demonstrate statistically.

Jordan (Cleveland)

Which do you find more concerning: Noel's injury history or his raw offensive game?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:50 PM)

I guess his injury history. Having a raw offensive game as a college freshman is not particularly uncommon.

Alex (NY)

I would be hesitant to say OKC is going be the best in the west. I had the exact same surgery as Westbrook did and while I am not a professional athlete, the strongly question his ability to come back and play at the same level, especially over a full season. We saw how vulnerable they are without him.

Kevin Pelton
  (4:51 PM)

Not particularly worried about it. There's a long history of NBA players coming back from meniscus surgery without noticeable short-term impact. The issue is usually with losing cartilage in the long term, which is why the Thunder opted for a repair rather than a removal.

Manny (Houston)

i know it has been mentioned that the Rockets would like to pursue both Howard and Paul..as exciting as that sounds it is highly unlikely. Would Iguodala be a good fit?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:52 PM)

I don't think Houston is the right place for him. That would mean either benching Chandler Parsons or starting him at power forward, and I don't love either of those two options.

Daniel (San Antonio)

Is there any chance of you ever publishing the results from last year's Draft Rater? Or is that the property of an NBA team?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:53 PM)

We'll publish the past results as part of the fuller explanation with the Draft Rater. I don't know how much good they're doing the team now!

Rick (Oakland)

The Bulls have #20 and a taxpayer exception to acquire a wing and a big for the rotation. Which combination is likely to get them the most value?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:53 PM)

Either could probably work, but I really like Dieng or Withey for them with the pick.

Lon (SLC)

Does the amnesty provision have to be utilized by a certain date, or can an organization keep it in their pocket indefinitely?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:54 PM)

The summer of 2015 is the last year it can be used. In practice, by then anyone eligible for amnesty should be in the last year of their deals, I think.

steve (battle creek, mi)

Whats the anmesty deadline this year?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:55 PM)

It's open the first week of the league year, so I think that's July 10-16 this summer.

Trent (Orlando)

it now sounds like the celts just want a 1st for doc and the clips only want to give up a 2nd. seeing how svg went for 2 2nds are the clips just starting to look like impossible trade partners?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:57 PM)

Nah, I think that's just part of the negotiation process.

Cory (Indy)

Kevin the Pacers are going to resign West almost certainly and extend George. Next year Lance will be up for a new contract too, but the cap will be a problem... should they strike while the iron is hot now and see what they can get for him... he has to be pretty valuable on that cheap contract to someone and maybe they can get away with attaching Green to the trade.. thoughts?

Kevin Pelton
  (4:58 PM)

Depends what the offer looks like, but I'd say it's a big risk to deal Stephenson before knowing for sure that Danny Granger can come back healthy.

Seth (Southington)

WARP claims that Lebron is better than the next best player in the league, Durant by a larger gap than PER right? I would assume so due to the higher emphasis on defense.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:00 PM)

No, looks like the gap is actually slightly closer per minute in PER. The two players have defensive numbers that are pretty close to identical, so that doesn't change their rankings relative to each other much.

Tim (Germany)

Who is the very worst NBA player on the active rosters and how much would he still kick butt against any average joe?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:01 PM)

The gap between a normal person and an NBA player is difficult to conceive. For more, watch Brian Scalabrine beat good amateurs: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/01/22/toucher-richs-scallenge-no-challenge-for-brian-scalabrine/

Ben (WI)

Do you think the Bucks sign Sanders to an extension this summer? What do you think he is worth and what do you think he will get?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:04 PM)

I think his value is probably similar to Serge Ibaka last year, who got $49 million over four years. I think something in that range gets it done.

Ben (WI)

How many teams do you see tanking for next year's draft class?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:06 PM)

I think less than most people assume. I'd say at least half of this year's lottery teams realistically hope or expect to contend for the playoffs next year. The teams that seem to be in the mix so far are Charlotte, Orlando and Phoenix.

Dwight (Cleveland)

Why does everything think Noel will be better than Len in the long run? Alex is taller, bigger, more mature and has a much better offense.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:07 PM)

I can't speak for anyone else, but I think Noel will be better because he was more effective last season and is younger, and those are the two most important factors in long-term development.

Josh (Mesa, AZ)

Do you think the Suns could get anything worthwhile if they traded Luis Scola or Jared Dudley? I feel like both have reasonable contracts and could be solid contributors for a contender.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:08 PM)

Scola has little value, but Dudley could fetch a solid return. He's the kind of role player who would do well on a contending team. For example, you could easily see him playing for the Spurs in this year's Finals.

Spencer ((Cleveland))

Could you give a pro comparison for Karasev? And do you have any knowledge of whether he is coming over this year, or waiting another year to make his debut?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:10 PM)

I don't know if I have a good comparison for him. Maybe Hedo Turkoglu? Not as big, not as good a ballhandler, but a better outside shooter.

Brian (New York)

Would the sixers be 'better served' trading Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young for future assets in an attempt to rebuild from the foundation up?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:11 PM)

I think Holiday is probably young enough that you hang on to him. Young I would consider trading.

Charles (San Jose)

How is Noel better than say a Bismack Biyombo?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:11 PM)

Much better hands and coordination. He projects as a high-percentage finisher; Biyombo is not.

Wally B. (NYC)

Geeking to read the draft rater, but can you give us a preview -- any Late 1st/2nd round sleepers you're high on? Wolters? Ricky Ledo? Mike Muscala? Isaiah Canaan? Oh, and any towel-waving discussion should include the the Jackie Robinson of the absorbent fabric lively arts, M.L. Carr.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:12 PM)

Saving the Draft Rater surprises for Monday, but I want to post any comment that includes the phrase "Jackie Robinson of the absorbent fabric lively arts." Kudos.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Zeller is ready for the NBA right now, albeit with less upside than other guys. If he falls to a team like Philly or Portland and contributes to getting them back in playoffs, could you see him earning ROY?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:13 PM)

I'd be surprised, in particular because there's so much emphasis on high scorers when it comes to Rookie of the Year. I like McLemore's chances, and maybe Trey Burke's if he gets a chance to start right away.

Greg (Minneapolis)

How much of a detriment is a non-shooting wing to playoff contenders? Should it influence the thinking of the Wolves regarding Kirilenko for next year and beyond, considering that Rubio is also not good there yet?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:14 PM)

The better the team, the bigger the issue. Minnesota's not there yet. Kirilenko's value in other areas far outweighs that concern.

Frank (Philly)

What's the biggest area of need for Orlando? They have holes everywhere, but which one does Rob Hennigan need to address first?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:16 PM)

I wouldn't really say they have holes everywhere. The frontcourt is shaping up nicely, so it's primarily a better of finding long-term solutions in the backcourt.

Thomas (Charlottesville, VA)

Any chance we see Erazem Lorbek in a Spurs uniform next season, particularly if Splitter leaves? If yes, what sort of an impact could he reasonably be expected to make?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:18 PM)

I have Lorbek rated as a below-replacement contributor when his European stats are translated to the NBA. He was great in 2011-12, but not as good this year or 2010-11 and looks like a particularly weak rebounder.

Tom (Phx)

Am I crazy, or shouldn't the Suns look to absorb Thomas Robinson's contract since they are under the cap, and Houston wants to shed payroll to make runs at Dwight/CP3. They are in full rebuild mode, and could just have a top three pick from last years stronger draft....for basically nothing.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:19 PM)

Not crazy. I would try to get a second-round pick but the Suns are the kind of team that should be considering a Thomas Robinson deal. And who wouldn't want to recreate the 2011 Kansas frontcourt?

Brian (FTL)

Was Danny Green's performance more regression to the mean or a fundemental difference in the HEAT's defense? I feel like he missed some open shots in games 6 and 7 that he made the rest of the series.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:20 PM)

A little of both, and I think they're related. The fewer open looks you have, the more you tend to rush them and miss them. We saw that with Miami's shooters in the conference finals.

Frank (Philly)

Do you project Tobias Harris as a power forward or a small forward?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:21 PM)

Good rule of thumb I've stolen from Kevin Arnovitz: If you have to ask, he's a power forward.

Sam (Toronto)

Steve Kerr said that making 3 straight finals is mentally and physically taxing and didn't think that the Jordan Bulls could make 4 finals in a row. You think Miami will be questionable for the same very reasons not withstanding the obvious deficiencies of this roster (big men and rebounding)?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:22 PM)

I do think there may be something to that theory. It's proven very difficult historically for teams to make the Finals four consecutive years. Those games add up. What I'm struggling with is who beats the Heat.

Bob (Chicago)

In understanding not his legacy, but his potential in the GOAT discussion, is LeBron's age or odometer (minutes played) more relevant? I absolutely believe he can, like MJ, Kobe, Garnett, and Duncan (and others), reinvent his game as his athleticism slips, but when should we expect him to start slipping

Kevin Pelton
  (5:24 PM)

I don't know that we have a good answer to this yet. When I studied the issue in Pro Basketball Prospectus a couple of years ago, I did find some evidence for mileage > age. But it doesn't seem to have applied as much to the truly great players like LeBron.

sam (boston)

Is there anywhere where I can see players WARP? Or are they hidden away for only you to pluck out when needed?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:24 PM)

Hoping to get it updated on the site next year. Stay tuned.

Danny (Cleveland)

Was having an argument with my friend last night Kyrie and Waiters for Curry and Barnes? Which side do you like and who says no?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:25 PM)

I think both teams would probably say no, which is what makes it worth debating. I think I would go Kyrie-Waiters, but not by much.

Danny (Cleveland)

Where does Noel get drafted in last years draft if he were a year older?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:26 PM)

I think Charlotte would have seriously consider taking him with the No. 2 pick. No way he gets past No. 4.

Jon (Michigan)

Who is a guy who grades out well analytically that the Pistons could target in free agency?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:26 PM)

Andre Iguodala always has rated well defensively. He would probably be at the top of my list, even if I'm a little wary of the lack of shooting with him and Monroe in the frontcourt.

Austin (Texas)

Do you think most people overlook Bill Russell in the GOAT discussion because the players in his day were almost laughable compared to the players in Jordan's era?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:27 PM)

I think it's mostly because he doesn't have the stats to compare to modern players. For people who didn't see him play -- and that's most of us -- that shapes a lot of the narrative.

Jerry (Pawnee, IN)

Is likely that anyone will emerge to overtake Durant as the league's second best player? Or are we a year or two too early?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:28 PM)

I'd have a hard time seeing that while Durant is in his prime.

daniel (uk)

Why do you think Steven Adams has higher potential than Alex Len?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:29 PM)

I hate to be repetitive, but he's younger (by a couple months, but still) and was more effective last season.

Sean (Washington DC)

Assuming Ginobili returns, is there any chance he would play for the Spurs at the Veteran's Minimum?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:29 PM)

I'd be surprised if he took that big a paycut. Will be interesting to see where he and the Spurs end up.

Thomas (Charlottesville, VA)

Aside from or instead of the following, what should the Wizards be thinking about this off-season: (1) draft Porter if the Cavs don't take him at 1 (obviating need to overpay for Webster); (2) re-sign Wall to a max contract (if that's what he commands); (3) acquire an adequate and affordable back-up point guard; and (4) maintain flexibility for 2014 when Okafor and Ariza come off the books.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:30 PM)

That all looks good to me.

Will (Tucson, AZ)

Kevin, do you agree that there is not a viable trade option for Bosh without Miami changing their style of basketball on both ends of the floor. He would seem to be the perfect fit for pace and space. He just lost his jumper in the playoffs.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:30 PM)

I would agree with that. It's funny that people both think the Heat needs to trade Bosh, and also that he can command younger All-Stars in return. Either he's bad and not worth trading for, or he's good and they shouldn't need to trade him.

AJ (Texas)

I'm still scratching my head as to why so many analysts were saying how Diaw shut down LeBron, when all he did was sag off and make him shoot jump shots. I mean, I give him credit for keeping up with LeBron when he tried to drive the ball, but it's not like Diaw is a lock down defender or something. LeBron was just missing his jump shots most of the series.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:32 PM)

What Diaw did was take away the post-up option, which was big. And he did a nice job when he was asked to play up.

Ethan (Providence)

Do you think Paul George can get good enough on Offense to be a top 10 player in the league? Can he give 20 points on 50% shooting for 82 games?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:34 PM)

Definitely yes to the first question; he was a top-20 player in the league this year. As to the latter, probably not, but with someone that shoots as many 3s as he does FG% is not particularly meaningful.

Jooseppi (OKC)

Do you think Shabazz Muhammad's lack of assists is a real concern? It seems like something few NBA coaches would tolerate, and as such, would be an area of focus to correct early on.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:35 PM)

Somewhat. He won't have the ball in his hands as much in the NBA, but it also speaks to the lack of secondary skills that is the key reason I'm so far down on his game.

Stephen (Denver, CO)

Visiting Seattle for the 1st time this summer. Any tourist things that are a must?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:36 PM)

Kinda hard to say since I don't really do the tourist things! But besides the obvious ones (Space Needle, Pike Place Market, waterfront) I'd suggest taking the water taxi over to West Seattle and checking out Alki Beach. Great view of the city from over there.

Jack (Au)

Could you please explain why Magic and Bird are always in top-5 discussions given their lesser peaks (compared to CP3, Shaq, Duncan, Garnett), short careers and that they weren't elite at half the game of basketball! Is it just popularity/nostalgia at play?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:38 PM)

You lost me at "lesser peaks."

Jimmy (Chicago)

Are there any metrics that measure how good of hands a player has? Maybe somethign that accounts for times a player is stripped, fumbles a pass, etc. It seems useful because there are a ton of players that are great atheletes and kill you because they had bad hands.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:40 PM)

82games.com breaks down turnovers by type, so maybe you could do something with that divided by passes caught if such a thing was tracked. But that's one that is pretty easy to tell from the eye test.

Ted (Cleveland)

Are you going to have another chat before the draft? Perhaps after you draft rater article?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:41 PM)

Not sure what the plan is for next week, but I think I'd rather chat before than after the draft. We'll see.

Matt (Utah)

Isn't signing Iguodala to a long-term deal risky given that he's nearly thirty and he can't shoot all that well?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:43 PM)

I think you're probably OK because it's a four-year deal at max, and by the fourth year he's an expiring contract.

Oskar (Georgetown)

Would Abdul Gaddy get more interest from NBA teams if he changed his name to Kareem Abdul Gaddy?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:43 PM)

Only if he simultaneously developed a sky hook.

Luke (New York)

Do you expect the Heat to be better this time next year than they were this year (because, e.g., they have a healthy Wade)? Or do you think the Pacers just played above themselves, and Heat inexplicably below themselves, during this year's ECF? I'm just curious as to why you're "struggling" with who might beat the Heat in the East next year when just this year the Pacers almost did -- and even looked like the better team for not-insignificant portions of that series. Heat will have to get through the Pacers again and the Bulls with a healthy D. Rose. They'll probably be favored against both, but it wouldn't necessarily be a huge upset if they were to lose.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:44 PM)

I think Wade is the biggest factor, yeah. And also the fact that when Miami turned it on in Game 7, the teams weren't particularly close.

Charles (San Jose)

What do you do with a guy like Grant Jerrett who could be really good, but will be useless for a couple years? Do teams feel out which players are willing to play in Europe initially?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:45 PM)

I wouldn't be surprised if they try to gauge that in pre-draft interviews. It's fairly rare among Americans, though. I think more likely you sign Jerrett to a three- or four-year contract that guarantees him some money early on in favor of cheap years late in the contract -- just like Indiana did with Lance Stephenson.

joe (texas)

it is highly likeky, in fact most probable that lebron james is a big-time PED/steroids guy who has benefitted largely from cheating. this is why the praise of the guy needs to be toned down a lot.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:46 PM)

Just by looking at him, you can tell it's probable?

Matt (Fort Collins)

If we're calling Anthony Bennett and undersized 4, how come no comps to Paul Millsap? I know PM was a much better rebounder in college, but AB looked better on offense as a 19 year old with similar mid/long-range games.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:46 PM)

I think I've heard that once. My favorite is a super version of Brandon Bass.

Kyung (California)

"If you have to ask, he's a power forward."Does that apply to Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:47 PM)

Anthony, yes. James has evolved beyond positions.

Paul (Dallas)

related to the euro-age draft question, are there any players in europe right now that you have rated as above average replacements worthy of free agency consideration by a team?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:48 PM)

Many! The tough thing is determining which guys are actually interested in coming over. Andrey Vorontsevich was linked to OKC last year, and he comes out as a solid reserve.

Daniel (San Rafael, CA)

What player/prospect was your initial in-person impression the most correct and incorrect on?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:51 PM)

Hmm. I saw Paul George in person during his freshman year at Fresno State and thought he was nothing special. So that stands out negatively. On the positive side, I was convinced that Gilbert Arenas was the best of the players on his Arizona team, and that worked out pretty well. (With all due respect to Richard Jefferson.)

Ted (Cleveland)

You talk about age being one of the most important factors in projecting a player into the NBA. Does this take into account "basketball age", as in how long they have been playing? Players like Kanter and Giannis Ante-something come to mind, or even Duncan.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:52 PM)

It doesn't. I think there are a handful of occasions where that makes sense -- Gorgui Dieng this year is a good example -- but most of the time I think that tends to be overrated. The 10,000-hour theory would imply it's a negative.

Ben (SF)

How do you factor in medical advancement in extending careers when comparing players over different eras?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:53 PM)

I don't know if it's a big factor yet, especially because the really distant players who often retired much younger aren't comparable using advanced statistics anyway.

Jay (Kalamazoo)

Doesn't MCW make a lot of sense for the Pistons when you look at it as him helping them out at two positions - moving Knight away from the point and to the off-guard, where he seems to be more comfortable and where the Pistons were forced to start Kyle Singler for half the season?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:54 PM)

I get the logic, certainly. I don't think you make the move based on its impact on Brandon Knight, but if they also think Carter-Williams is the best prospect, it's a nice bonus.

Morris (Pgh, PA)

Be honest. How many hours of sleep did you get last night?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:55 PM)

I'm not in Miami, so a lot more than everyone on the scene.

Brian (Ohio)

Is Thomas Robinson's stock being a little undersold? Yes Houston is shopping him, but if they had another few mil in capspace sitting around, do you think he'd be available?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:55 PM)

I think so. Part of the issue is he's more of a power forward than a center, but Houston's system basically requires its power forwards to stretch the floor.

Kevin (Houston)

Five Magic Johnsons would keep passing to each other till the 24 second violation expires. They would also turn it over 20% of the time. Five Lebrons win.

Kevin Pelton
  (5:56 PM)

For sure five LeBrons are the pick. I just think five Magics could come into the league and be a title contender.

Frank (Philly)

What do you think the endgame for the Magic's $18 million TPE is?

Kevin Pelton
  (5:57 PM)

Probably pocket it.

Bob (Chicago)

I'm moving to Seattle in a couple weeks and need to find a new comic book shop. Any advice? That's really my most pressing concern

Kevin Pelton
  (5:57 PM)

You've got the wrong guy. Surprisingly, never have been into comic books. If I was at a store it was only to get Rich Amaral cards.

Tom (Chicago)

Is it okay that I'm still mad over OKC getting rid of Harden? Amnestying Perkins, keep Harden and make up the $$ with championships still seems to be the only smart move

Kevin Pelton
  (5:59 PM)

Sure. Like Pop answering a bad question, I'm not angry with the Thunder; I'm just disappointed.

Kevin Pelton
  (6:00 PM)

Alrighty, I think I'm going to call it an afternoon after four hours. Enjoy your weekend and prepare for wall-to-wall draft coverage starting Monday.