OK folks here we go! I'm gonna try to get to as many questions as possible!
Is Kevin Love the MVP of the league so far? How cant he be lol? 27.1ppg, 14.4rpg and 5.1ast!! And great shooting numbers. When was the last time a player had a line of 25+ppg, 14 rpg, 5 ast and a .350 3P%?
Great numbers and the team is winning but the season is 2 weeks old! When was the last time a player averaged that for a season? Never. For two weeks? I'm sure there have been a couple
Amin, which player in your mind has stood out so far this year? With the FA class that is coming in 2014, there are bound some dark horse candidates out there teams might be so low on by the end of the season.
Lots of great names so far....Eric Bledsoe has really come out strong, Paul George has taken the next step, and Anthony Davis looks like he might be All-NBA sooner rather than later. A dark horse free agent? My guy Zach Lowe had a great piece on Lance Stephenson today http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/82471/the-growing-legend-of-lance-stephenson
How do the sixers build a title contending team if they are good enough to barely get in to the playoffs? How will Hinkie adjust to bring in the talent? Or are they dooming themselves long-term?
Settle down, Q. The Sixers aren't making the playoffs. Nice start to the year, but that's why the NBA is an 82 game schedule: the pretenders eventually fall by the wayside. For the record, Sixers are giving up 10 corner 3P's a game to opponents, who are shooting 44%. That's a recipe for disaster
Amin, What are your thoughts on Utahs young nucleus and their future outlook?
I've written a bunch of times about how the Jazz "Core Four" is something that many teams would envy. I'm a huge believer in Favors as a defensive anchor and Hayward as one of the best young wings in the game! Trick is, can they keep them together?
As season moves forward and the Indiana Pacers are already that good without Granger how likely is it that Granger gets traded....if he does do you have any trade possibilities in mind?
Granger's health concerns make him a less than desirable trade target, even though his contract is expiring. On the flip side, the Pacers wouldn't want to take back any future money: they have a serious financial problem looming in the future. That said, everyone has their price!
At what point do the Knicks give up on Amar'e and just buy him out?
Problem with buyouts is it takes two to tango. Amar'e would have to accept taking less than what's owed him, and the only reason he'd do that is because he believes another team will sign him. With his health concerns, I'm not sure teams would commit anything more than a nonguaranteed minimum for him. Stat is in NY to stay
Hi Amin, besides the Rose rust, what do you see as the other main problems the Bulls are having?
I think they are having problems getting used to playing with him again. Last year, they each had to take larger roles on the offensive end (think about Noah operating from the elbow), but this year they look like they are back to standing still and watching Rose do what he does. They have to continue to integrate him back into the fold without overly sacrificing their newfound (from last year) offensive aggressiveness.
Do you think that Andrew Bynum will make it through this season? It sounds like he is extremely frustrated.
Recovering from major injury is as taxing mentally as it is physically. Frustration arises from his body not being able to do what his mind commands it to. Patience is a virtue, and it is important for Cavs to surround him with positivity!
So are the Spurs the perfect team in basketball right now or what?
They do this every year. No shock here.
Glenn Robinson, James Young or Wayne Selden for the Suns next June (if they pick around 10th mark)?
They'd be happy with any one of those guys, I think. Personally, I like Selden.
Amin, would a swap of Afflalo for Deng work for both teams?
Afflalo is a good defensive wing, but I think Chicago needs more offensive firepower than what he brings to the table. Also, he is pretty expensive for what he brings to the table ($7.5M/yr over the next 3 years)
The Knicks went small and athletic last night w/ the first five. Seemed to give them good early flow. Thoughts?
Didn't watch last night's game, but the Knicks have done well when playing Melo at the four, trying to beat teams with skill rather than size. Alas, that's a short term fix and not a long term solution.
How badly do the Knicks need a big to replace Chandler?
Replace, as in while he's hurt? Very badly, but they won't find anyone who comes close to approximating what Chandler does (not with the assets they have to lure such a talent).
Your thoughts on the pro prospects from Tuesday night in Chicago?
Lived up to the hype!
The Suns have a top 5 defense! Can they keep this up or is it an early season illusion?
Defense is about energy and execution. When you're winning, those two things are abundant. When you lose 3,4,5,6 games in a row, both seem to disappear. The Suns have individuals who have the physical tools to be good defensively, the challenge will be to keep the energy and execution up even when things aren't going their way
With the Knicks interior defense looking shoddy at best and the failed trade for Farid, do you think they will try to make a trade for a big man? If so, who?
They'll try. I don't think they'll succeed.
Did Serge Ibaka deserve to be ejected? Matt Barnes was clearly understandable, but Ibaka's is ridiclous!
Any time you cock back your closed fist like you want to punch someone, you are putting yourself in danger of getting ejected (or worse). The NBA has made it very clear that fighting will not be tolerated. If Ibaka was trying to fight, he messed up. If he WASNT trying, then he was being the fake tough guy, and that just might be worse.
Of Randle, Wiggins, and Parker performance on Tuesday who impress you the most?
I think Parker impressed me the most in his versatility. Not to sound snooty, but the other two did exactly what I expected them to do! But all three were magnificent
Terrence Ross has looked really good on defense this season with his ability to stay in front of his man and hassle his opponent. What are your thoughts on him and what is his ceiling on the defensive end?
I'm big on Ross, he's got great size and athleticism. Has all the tools to be a defensive stopper; now he has to do it every possession and execute
How about Shved and DWill for KG? You know Flip wants him and NJ owner would love Shved and AK47...
If you follow me on Twitter (@AminESPN), you'll know I abhor the "who says no" game.
At 5-3 should I be worried about the Heat's Slow Start
Were you worried in 2010?
Can you talk about your career and how you made it into the industry as a writer but not as a former athlete/coach or reporter? Relatedly, can I have a job?
I wasn't an athlete or coach, but I worked for two NBA teams in basketball ops. Never dreamed about working in the media until ESPN approached me to do what I do now. As for a job, only thing I'm hiring for is personal chauffeur for my family!
why do players like lance Stephenson and James harden before him say they wanna stay with their team but end up leaving? all u do is get the fans not on your side and bolt am i right?
Players have a very limited window of time to maximize their earnings so they'll be taken care of, their kids will be taken care of and they're grandkids are taken care of. I believe they all want to stay, but they also want to be compensated.
Thoughts on the Shumpert for Faried trade rumors?
Do you think all of the trade rumors swirling around are just talk or could some trades happen sooner rather than later?
Teams are always talking throughout the year. Sometimes it's about an actual trade proposal, but more often it's about who you like on someone's roster and who you wouldn't mind parting with. Often leaked deals have been dead for a while
Whats the deal with Chris Smith being in the NBA?
Do you have a brother that got a job because of you?
Nepotism is as old as the NBA. That said, my brother works in Silicon Valley, making the big bucks in the family. I am the black sheep!
Why do I hate Pablo Prigoni so much?
I don't know, Coach! He's one of the highest IQ guys on your roster on both ends of the floor!
If the wolves make the playoffs this year is Kevin Love a legit MVP threat? Guy has been amazing so far.
Minnesota hasn't made the playoffs since KG's MVP season. Think about that! So YES, if Love continues to put up stellar numbers and can lift the curse of the KG-ino off the Twin Cities, he should absolutely be considered as a viable MVP threat.
The NBA is changing the lottery system after this season, right?
I hope so, but I am not holding my breath
Do you think the Bucks will shift from a mindset of trying to make the playoffs to playing their young guys and possibly getting a higher draft pick?
As long as Herb Kohl is the owner, it doesn't seem like that will happen. Maybe another GM could make a more compelling argument to him?
What's good Amin? Big GSW fan herey. Love the team but I still think they need athletic frontcourt depth. I'm not sold on O'Neal and I know Ezeli will return but they need a Jordan Hill, Sam Dalembert or Mason Plumlee-type to get the to elite level. What do you think?
I think the Warriors success lies with the health of Bogut and Curry, the only true irreplaceables on their roster. O'Neal is a stopgap for now, and Ezeli showed last year that he can be a very competent backup/starter if need be. My guy Tom Haberstroh actually wrote about how the Warriors have been the best team in the NBA so far this year: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9974933/nba-golden-state-warriors-best-team-league
Two questions... Why has Irving been playing so poorly this seasons? Even his free throw percentage is way down. Second, I see there are rumors that the Cavs and Kings are discussing possible trades. Any word on which players either team might be interested in?
1- Kyrie is off to a slow start, but he'll eventually get back to his regular numbers. I think adjusting to new coach/new teammates makes things slightly less comfortable at first. 2- As I understand it, SAC and CLE are the two most active teams on the phones (i.e. not necessarily talking with each other).
Do you think a new arena deal for the Bucks could pop up and surprise everyone like the Braves new stadium deal?
Highly doubt it.
Is there any good way to measure individual defense?
There isn't, and that's the holy grail. Teams often have interns track their own players defensive aptitude, but as you can imagine that is time consuming and has a lot of grey area....and that's just for one team! I think using better adjusted plus/minus numbers along with the new SportVu data will help, but it's really tough to accurately track individual defense across the entire league.
Who is the most overrated player in the NBA? Has to be Rudy Gay right? Some people in Memphis are still upset they traded him.
I think Gay has been tarred and feathered enough, so you can't be overrated if everyone is calling you overrated, right? Carmelo Anthony is still pretty high on my overrated list, as is Josh Smith and Larry Sanders. But that's just me!
What has impressed you the most about the Suns so far this season?
The amount of energy they're playing with. Playing with a high motor will keep you in a lot of games in this league
Is Nash done? Just looks terrible last year and the few games he's played this year. Shouldnt even really be a rotation player on a good team anymore. 3 PT specialist at the most
Injuries have really slowed him down, stemming all the way back to him getting hurt in the first week of last season. I think if Steve isn't reasonably healthy, it's tough to expect him to produce
Amin- thoughts on the Barnes tweet? Sadly seems pretty predictable from him.
Matt is a very emotional player. It's what makes him special, but on occasion it can also get him in trouble (like it did last night).
What, if anything, should the Pacers do to improve their team? Will they trade Danny Granger or use him off the bench? Is Ben Gordon a possibility for some shooting/scoring off the bench?
The Pacers have a good thing going right now, so there's no need to jump to move Granger. And like I said in an earlier answer, they'd be reluctant to take back future salary in any Granger deal. Gordon is an interesting name as a scorer with an expiring deal, but why would Charlotte help Indiana? Only way is if Pacers ship out a first to sweeten the deal, but if you're Indiana and you already gave up a first for Scola, might not be worth it
Hey Amin, i know a question was asked last week about NBA coaches hours worked, etc. Just curious what your days were like? Were you putting in full time or were you more part time?
I was full time, even when I was an intern. As a video guy I would typically get to the office between 7:30-8 (head VC would be there earlier) and not leave until around 10pm on non game days, later on game days. When I transitioned to front office, my hours became roughly 8a - 8pm on non gamedays, later on game days. I loved my job!
Is Iman Shmpert really the best theNugs can get for Manimal? I'd rather they keep him if that's the case...
Shumpert is the best the Knicks could offer. Big difference!
How much longer do you think LBJ is going to be the best player in the year? Another 3-4 years?
Interesting question. The fascinating thing about LeBron is as he loses his "pop", he'll transition to more of a forward role. As a post up option and excellent passer, he can continue to be a devastating force.
Amin, you have in your AAV for the free agents of 2014 that Hayward deserves to get between $10-11 Million. If he keeps up his current numbers of 20-6-5 does he get more then that?
I had Hayward at about 10.5, with incentives that can get him to 12. He'll probably get bigger deals (maybe even a max offer), but that doesn't mean he's worth that much.
Is there any concern that Jabari Parker is a tweener and that transferring to the NBA will follow the same path as Beasley and Derrick Wiliams? What position does he defend in the NBA?
Definitely a concern, but I think Parker's IQ is way higher than those other two guys. Ultimately his position will be defined by who he can get away with guarding, but in an increasingly position-less NBA, you can find someone to stick him on!
Would the Knicks be crazy enough to try and swap Shumpert for an unproven defensive center like Dieng?
Nobody's that crazy
With the Spurs playing Mills at backup PG and with the addition of Belinelli, could you make an argument that this is a deeper (and potentially better) team than last years finals team?
The supporting cast is better, but every additional year means a litttttttttttle bit less of Timmy, Manu and (to a lesser extent) Tony, and what they bring to the table cannot be replaced by supporting cast types. They're still really good
If draft was tonight and you have #1 pick, who you taking?
Probably Wiggins, but it's a long year and I keep an open mind
How come when a player catches a pass and gets fouled and makes both free throws it doesn't count as an assist? If not for the pass he doesn't have the ball and doesn't get fouled and to the free throw line?
Funny you should ask that. NBA.com's new SportVu stats tracks just that!
The term "Draft and Stash" has been uses a lot this year. Can you name some rookies that should have been "Draft and Stash" candidates ?
Nemanja Nedovic for the Warriors, Antetokounmpo for the Bucks (altho he's played really well) and a host of 2nd rounders (particularly the guys who got cut!)
Gary Harris really impressed me against Kentucky. Think he could be a top 10 pick?
Love his game, but I question the upside. Ideally, you want your top 10 to have a chance at being really special
Clippers really need a third big, do they have a good chance of bringing back Odom...
On your answer to the Ibaka question, come on, Barnes is the biggest fake tough guy in the league. Maybe league history. KG is the only one close
We had Barnes on our team. I have witnessed enough to assure you he's not a fake tough guy
Omer Asik played abou 5 minutes last night. Do you think the rockets finally gave up the idea of playing two bigs? If thats the case who can they trade asik for, with the 15mil. in year 3. Except for the obvious answer ryan anderson, do you think it could make sense to trade for another SG or SF to move chandler Parsons to the 4?
I don't think anyone ever really believed the whole "they can both play together" line Houston tried to feed us. The Rockets need a stretch four, and some perimeter defensive help (a wing who can also shoot). Moving Parsons to the four should be a situational thing and not a long term fix
Your thoughts on the trailblazers this season. They are 6-2 and looking good.
They have a lot of nice pieces. They'll definitely be in the mix for those last two playoff seeds in the West. Great homecourt advantage with that crowd!
What do you think the celtics do the rest of the year? Ride it out? Or try to move anything they can for picks/young players?
Sit back and let the offers come in....no need to be aggressive if you're Boston
The Pistons big lineup hasn't looked good. Should they try to play the 3 together as little as possible? I also assumed Datome would help their spacing issues.
From the "I told you so!" pile! This is what I envisioned the moment I heard about the Smith signing. Also, Datome only helps if you actually play him (can't space from the bench)
Regarding earlier question of an Amare buyout, even if Dolan was willing to pay the entirety of his remaining contract, it would still count against the cap, no? I believe only the amnesty provision, which they foolishly used on Billups instead of buying out his partially guaranteed deal, would absolve the Knicks of Stoudemire's albatross, right?
Even if the Knicks had an amnesty to use, they;d still have to pay Amar'e. But yes, it would have wiped out his numbers off the books. Then again, amnestying Billups allowed for the Chandler sign and trade to happen....
What's your opinion on Enes Kanter's development with his offense, and do you see his defense improving more as the season progresses?
Kanter's defense has a long way to go. Optimist view: "lots of room for improvement!"
Any hope for the Pistons this year?
If you're looking for Pistons-related optimism, you came to the wrong dude. But I like Drummond and Monroe, and Datome was a great signing. Need more shooters, and more pass-first players
Why dont the 76ers try and sell high and get rid of evan turner?
You're assuming the offers are rolling in...
Amin what is the biggest reason for the Rockets slow start? Is it lack of execution on D, or is it a bigger chemistry issue?
Wouldn't call it a "bigger" issue, but yes they have to get accustomed to one another. Harden has been under the weather recently, Beverley missed time as well, and they still don't have a real power forward. But even then, I always had them as being a 4-5-6 seed in the West this year.
Afternoon Amin! are u a fan of Blake w/Nash hurt?
Steve Blake is one of the most underrated players in the game. Not flashy, not explosive, but a solid backup who can defend, hit the 3 and run a pick and roll. But the Lakers NEED a healthy Nash if they have any sort of dreams of playing past Apr 15
Anthony Bennett is really struggling out of the gate. I don't think it'd be a good idea but is it possible the #1 overall pick of the draft could see D-League time this season?
He needs to get in shape first and foremost. Get on the treadmill! Then he needs to approach his minutes with more of an idea of maximizing efficiency. The shot selection early has been less than desirable
With Douglas going down for GSW do you see them going for a pg in free agency or giving bazemore more run ??
I think you'll see more Iguodala ball handling, and maybe some Bazemore for defensive purposes.
When it comes to the best 3-point shooters, how many shots are they practicing a day in their offseason? How about during the season?
A lot. Summer is for getting better as a player, and all the best shooters are getting shots up. But more than quantity, it's quality: making sure form is consistent, and practicing the types of shots you expect to get during games.
Who helps a contender more Aaron affalo or spencer hawes ??
Depends on the team
Who's mostly likely to receive a Derrick Rose Narrative MVP?
Candidates: KD (always a bridesmaid, never a bride), Kevin Love (he does SO MUCH with SO LITTLE), and Steph Curry (he's only TWELVE YEARS OLD)
Amin, great to be here, long time listener first time Celtics fan. I am wondering your thoughts on this whole "The Butler Way" mystique that is attached to Brad Steves. Do you feel his scheme and talent evaluation is radical? Can a system like "The Butler Way" make it in a league perceived to be run by superstars? I'm sick of the inmates running the asylum.
I think the Celtics have done a great propaganda campaign. Stevens is different from other college coaches in that he knows how to communicate to players (a must in the NBA) but I don't think his offensive system translates. He'll adapt (or he'll be back in college)
Am I back?
Party like it's 2011!
What percentage of NBA players would you say have a warped perception of reality and would not survive having a real job in the 9-to-5 world?
A lot lower than you would expect. (I cant put a number on it)
Do you partake in No-Shave November?
I keep it real: no shave all year round!
OK guys, that's my cue! Thanks again for tons of great questions, we'll do it again next week.In the meanwhile, follow me on Twitter: @AminESPN