Aloha everyone and welcome to my second chat of the season. I'm in Chicago this week for the Championship Classic between Kentucky-Michigan State, Kansas-Duke. Tons of NBA scouts and GMs will be here to get our first good look at many of the top prospects in the draft playing against each other. We'll talk a little NBA the first half and then do NBA Draft in the second half. Let's roll ...
Do you have "small sample size" ready to paste as an answer to half the questions for chatting efficiency?
Maybe I should just post this and be done with it ... LOL. Read my mind Mark. Read my mind.
Do you see MCW as the clear front runner for ROY?
For sure. Not sure there's a close second right now. Steven Adams is the dark horse right now. So impressed with his play at OKC. Better than anything he really did as a freshman at Pittsburgh. Victor Oladipo will always be in the hunt too, but he had some serious shooting woes last week. Things starting to click a bit with Ben McLemore as well.
Would you trade A. Bennet for next year lottery pick (no 8-14)?Don't want to write him off but am I wrong that in next year lottery may be better talent from no. 1 pick to no. 14 pick than in this year's draft top 3?
Top 10 pick? Yes. Not sure I'd go lower than that. Bennett has talent. He's just out of shape and rusty. But the bigger point is that the 2013 NBA Draft just didn't really have a true No. 1 pick. That's why there was so much uncertainty leading up to the draft. I'd take anyone in my Top 7 right now over anyone in the 2013 Draft.
Do you think the Jazz are aggressively tanking? or just trying to mesh as a team with a new identity and new core players?
No. That's what the Sixers and Suns front office did over the summer (though apparently the players and head coaches didn't get the memo). The Jazz didn't lop off young talent, they just didn't make any efforts to strengthen their team this summer and knew they weren't a playoff team with this group. However the more I watch this group, the more I think that the effect will be the same. They'll be serious contenders for the No. 1 pick -- even when Trey Burke gets back. And I think everyone in Utah will be OK with that. I doubt they do anything to try to make this team competitive.
If I bet a bunch of money before the season on Markieff Morris winning most improved player, how excited should I be right now?
He's been very good ... but have you seen what Anthony Davis is doing right now in New Orleans? He's second in the entire league in PER and leads the league in Estimated Wins Added. The Pelicans are two completely different teams when he's on or off the floor.
Do you see either the Suns and/or the Sixers dropping off significantly to meet their preseason expectations?
Probably ... though I'll be the first to admit that they're already better than I thought they'd ever be. I thought the Suns would struggle to win ONE game in the West. They've won 5. But both GMs know that they need another elite player. Guys like Evan Turner and Markieff Morris, who are playing out of their minds right now, could be on the block soon. Selling high is always a good idea when you're rebuilding.
Are the Knicks in trouble?
Let's see ... they're playing awful. Hired Isiah Thomas' enabler as the new GM. Tyson Chandler, the soul of last year's team, is out. And on top of it, they can't even throw their hands up in the air and start tanking for Wiggins or Randle. They must send their draft pick to the Nuggets this year, even if it's the No. 1 pick. I guess they could try to trade Carmelo, but just don't see that happening. It's going to be a long year Knicks fans.
If this Celtics team is .500 at the trading deadline, what direction do you think does Danny Aigne take?
Depends on why they are at .500. If that's because Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk are leading the charge, he's stoked. If it's a Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries and Courtney Lee led charge ... changes are coming.
Does Ty Corbin get fired??
Not sure why. He didn't make the decision to jettison off the team's vets. Nor did he draft Trey Burke. Not sure another coach would have this team playing much better. There are all sorts of positives for Utah right now (and losing might be one of them).
What should miami heat do if big 3 leaves in free agency?
I don't think they're going anywhere ... I love the idea of LeBron returning to Cleveland ... but as long as Dan Gilbert is the owner, I don't see it happening. Besides ... I'm not sure the Cavs have drafted well enough to make it compelling for LeBron. Had they chosen differently on Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett? Maybe ... but they've clearly missed a few times on players that could've been more helpful to their cause. Thank goodness for Kyrie Irving.
Are you surprised by the early struggles of Bulls, Heat, and Nets?
Not surprised with Bulls slow start given how long Rose has been out. By mid-season, I don't think this is going to be an issue. Watched the Nets play live on Friday night in Washington and just wasn't impressed -- but this is a veteran team and they're still all getting a feel for each other. I'd be shocked if they didn't end up as a playoff team. As for the Heat ... not sure what's going on there, but won't be concerned unless this is happening in March and April. In other words ... patience.
One more question/thought. I hate the idea of tanking in general I think it's bad for the league. What do you think of the idea of getting rid of our system and having all teams (15-30) have the same chance of getting #1 pick. This would avoid teams purposely losing, and competing to be the worst. Would this make the league more or less competitive in the long run?
It's not a horrible idea, but my fear is that some of the worst teams might never get better. I think they should dump the lottery. My idea is for the league to take a 3 year average to determine draft order. The team with the worst record over the last three years would get the No. 1 pick. If you are going to tank ... you have to commit to three straight years of it before you're in a position to get the No. 1 pick. That would make most GMs think twice -- not sure how many of them could keep their jobs. I also think it would protect from teams taking a one year dip and landing a great pick because they've had an injury or because they are intentionally tanking.
Who are must watch players in ESPN Marathon not named Parker, Randle, or Wiggins?
Oh, there's a ton at the Championship Classic. There are 8 players there that I currently have ranked in the lottery. 13 I have ranked in the Top 30 and 17 I have ranked in the Top 50. That's crazy for four teams on the same floor on the same night. Highlights include Kentucky's Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress and Darkari Johnson, Michigan State's Gary Harris and Adrien Payne, KU's Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden and Duke's Rodney Hood
Thoughts on the debuts of Wiggins/Randle/Parker?
Thought they all played really well. Wiggins is never going to be able to live up to the hype. No matter what he does, some are going to be disappointed. To me, all look worthy of the type of praise they've been given in high school.
Which freshman has been the best so far?
Julius Randle has just been a beast. Two double-doubles. Killing everyone. He's the most NBA ready of the prospects. Wiggins may have a little higher ceiling, but Randle is ready right now. I think he'd better than any rookie in the NBA right now.
Would you draft Randle over Wiggins?
Way too early to tell ... Expected Randle to come out of the gate strong. Ask me again in June :)
What range do you think Glenn Robinson III will land in in this stacked draft (assuming he comes out this year)? Do scouts see him as having as much huge potential as Michigan fans like myself do?
Scouts really like him. IF he continues to improve his ability to create his own shot? He's a Top 10 pick. Great athletic abilities and size for his position and has that great NBA DNA.
Is Dante Exum a top 3 pick?
I think so. Hearing from sources that he and his family are now strongly leaning toward skipping college and having him go straight into the NBA. Some NBA guys think he should be the No. 1 pick. Will be interesting to see how they feel if the college guys all live up to the hype while Exum is just working out in Australia.
Is Marcus Smart still a top 10 pick? Would you take him over Exum?
Think he's a Top 10 pick. Depends on what your looking for in a point guard of whether you'd take Exum or Smart. Smart is such a great leader and a defensive force. Exum I think has much more potential as an offensive player. I personally lean Exum right now, but I'm still a big Smart fan as well.
What other players have you been impressed with the opening week of the college season?
Arizona's Aaron Gordon, Michigan State's Gary Harris, Indiana's Noah Vonleh, NC State's TJ Warren ... I could keep going.
Where does Vonleh fall in your projections?
Potential lottery pick. Defensively, I think he could play in the NBA right now. The offense could still use some work. Think he's a real sleeper to crack the Top 10 by the end of the season.
Chad, do you think the macadoo we saw friday night is the one scouts have been talking about?
Yes and no. He's played well before against weaker competition. Need to see him do that against a ranked opponent.
How good is Embiid? Is there any Thabeet in him? Who do you like better as a big man prospect, him, Montrezl Harrell, or Cauley-Stein?
Like him a lot. Think he's the best true center prospect in the draft. Great combination of size, quickness and skill. Still doesn't know what he's doing lots of the time, but his learning curve has been off the charts lately. Like Harrell and Cauley-Stein too, but see those guys and borderline lottery picks. Embiid could easily go Top 5.
Besides Exum, are there any other international prospects that could be a lottery pick?
Teams are pretty excited about Dario Saric. Not everyone loves him, but those that are fans, tend to be big fans. He's off to a fast start in Croatia this year averaging 14.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg and shooting 60 percent from the field. On Saturday, Saric dropped 22 points and 10 rebounds on Mega Vizura. He's No. 8 on our Big Board right now. Croatia's Mario Hezonja another potential lottery pick though he's getting much less run in the ACB in Spain.
Where do you have Kyle Anderson from UCLA right now? He has to go in the lottery right? He seems like a protatipical NBA SF. Has size, handles, can shoot and rebound and plays OK defense. Seems more complete than Otto Porter no?
Still really intrigued with him. He and Saric are the most unique players in this draft -- they are Point 4s ... Point power forwards. He had a very good opening game for the Bruins. If he plays like that all year, he'll likely creep into the late lottery. His lack of athletic ability is what is causing concern ...
Did you have a chance to watch the Wisconsin game last week? Where does Sam Dekkar project. Also, this Badger team seems like the perfect mix to go anti-Bo Ryan and push the tempo and shoot a lot of 3's
I'm a very big Dekkar fan. So are a lot of teams that rely heavily on analytics. Think he could have a big year. He's No. 17 on our Big Board.
What arebscouts saying about arizona state Jahii Carson?
Like him. Maybe the Kings' Isaiah Thomas is the right comp. Little, but lethal.
How worried are scouts about McGary's back "condition"?
"Back condition" provokes an automatic response of worry in every NBA scout. We will see how serious it is, but yes, it's scaring teams a bit.
Gotta run everyone. Enjoy the Championship Classic on ESPN tomorrow night. Not sure you'll ever find a finer collection of NBA talent in college on the same floor on the same night.