Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 18, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:01 PM)

Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll do NBA in the first half hour and NBA Draft in the second half. Let's roll ...

Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)

What's been going on with the Cavs?

Chad Ford
  (1:06 PM)

I think Dan Gilbert's expectations were way too high. He was confident that this was a playoff team and talked about the culture that the team had put into place before the season. None of that looks true right now. The chemistry has been bad. The talent has been medicare and with new head coach Mike Brown stressing defense, the offense has stagnated. Something is going to have to give and soon. Either Gilbert is going to push for this to be a playoff team which will require some real changes on the roster or he's going to start eyeing someone like Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker and move a veteran or two off the roster.

Playtime (St. Louis)

Are the Cavs going to trade Dion Waiters? Should they?

Chad Ford
  (1:08 PM)

If they trade Waiters (and there are rumblings that he's been a source of chemistry issues in the locker room) what can they get? Not sure his value is super high right now. Ditto for Anthony Bennett. Kyrie Irving is probably the only untouchable guy on this team, just not sure the assets are there to get a valuable chip back in return.

Dan (Cleveland)

Seems like you're picking on the Cavs. Last week you blasted their drafting and now this week you are killing their chemistry. They are 4-7 ... calm down.

Chad Ford
  (1:12 PM)

No. Just an interesting team to talk about right now given the expectations. I know I took a lot of flak in Cleveland last week for my chat and truthfully, I think it came out harsher than I meant it to be. Tristan Thompson has been solid. Waiters clearly has talent. It's way too early to write off Anthony Bennett. My only point (which I admit wasn't clearly made ...) was that the combination of Thomposon, Waiters and Bennett aren't likely to be a lure to LeBron and that I believe the Cavs front office hasn't assembled a compelling enough cast to lure LeBron away from Miami. The draft is very hard to peg. Everyone makes mistakes, including me. And the Cavs haven't had great drafts to deal with the past two years. Nevertheless, it is what it is and I'm not sure the Cavs are as far along toward being a contender as they thought they were this summer.

Mueller (Germany)

Who leads your list of tanking suspects?

Chad Ford
  (1:15 PM)

The Jazz and right now it looks like it's a landslide. But remember, they are playing without a point guard right now and on a young team, that's going to make things very, very difficult. They have the worst offense in the league right now, highest turnover ratio, second lowest assist ratio. All that screams they need Trey Burke back (though i'm not convinced he's going to cut it).

Eric (Chicago)

What can the Rockets realistically get for Asik? Everyone knows he's going to be traded and everyone knows he's been asking out ever since Howard signed there. Do the Rockets take a deal now if it suits them or wait closer to the deadline? I mean if they are going to deactivate him on game days, teams will be lining up to not present their best deals. They need him on the floor to enhance his value.

Chad Ford
  (1:17 PM)

I think they're shopping. Doesn't seem like they have much in the way of a deal right now. Someone like Ryan Anderson of the Pelicans or Ersan Ilyasova of the Bucks would be perfect on the team. They really need a stretch four to compliment Dwight Howard. I think both guys might be available, but not sure Asik is the right bait. May have to be a three team trade.

James Dolan (MSG)

How embarrassing would it be if Jeremy Lin is named an All Star, I have to hand over a top 5 pick to Denver AND Carmelo Anthony leaves the Knicks, all in 1 year?

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

Not sure about that Top 5 pick part. Hard to believe the Knicks are going to be THAT bad all year. But point well taken. Let's take it one step further -- on top of all that, the Knicks look like they'll panic and trade their one young player with a lot of upside (Iman Shumpert) for a veteran who has one, maybe two solid years left. There's no way they are getting Rajon Rondo for Shumpert. Teams around the league value Shumpert a lot, but don't think Celtics are doing that deal.

Matt (DC)

True or False: The Wizards are best served not making the palyoffs and getting into the lottery one more time?

Chad Ford
  (1:23 PM)

For sure ... especially if they are bad enough to land a Top 5 pick. The problem is GM Ernie Grunfeld has been promising playoffs to his owner. He's worried more about saving his job than he is about setting up this team for the next guy. This is part of the problem in the NBA -- owners aren't always properly incentivizing their GMs. Therefore GMs are acting more out of self-interest than what's in the best long-term interest of the franchise.

OB (Milwaukee)

Any clue where the Bucks are going at this point? Are they this bad or are the injuries the main problem?

Chad Ford
  (1:28 PM)

Injuries are a big part of it. Three of their starters (Sanders, Ilyasova and Knight) have missed at least five games. That's a big deal on any team. The bigger picture is more interesting. Owner Herb Kohl is anti-tanking. However, a poor finish this year might be the best thing that ever happened to the Bucks. They need a star. They aren't getting one via free agency. The draft is their only hope. If I'm John Hammond, I'm sending Kohl video of Wiggins, Randle and Parker every day until he relents.

kevin (phillips)

Hey Chad, Love your stuff, What is your take on the Derrick Williams situation in Minnesota? Is he getting interest from other teams

Chad Ford
  (1:30 PM)

From everything I can gather, he's available. It's just about finding the right deal. Head coach Rick Adelman would prefer another veteran big to fill out the rotation. I think GM Flip Saunders wants a little more value. I know the Kings have a lot interest in Williams and might have the right combination of veterans to make a deal (Jason Williams? Chuck Hayes?).

Marc (Montreal)

Hey Chad, you haven't answered a Raptors question all year long. How long do you think until Masai blows it up? It's ugly as hell watching DeRozan and Gay take turns bricking 19-footers, and every single Andrew Wiggins game is being broadcast nationally in Canada.

Chad Ford
  (1:33 PM)

I don't know. Masai is keeping his cards pretty close to the vest. He's been active on the phones according to other GMs, but he isn't letting on whether he's looking to blow the team up or to make a push for the playoffs. I've heard mixed responses from other GMs who have dealt with him. I do know he loves Wiggins and the fit in Toronto is so obvious -- that seems like the right direction. But remember, the best he can get is a 25 percent chance at the No. 1 pick. There's no guarantee he can land Wiggins and while Jabari, Exum (who Masai is also a huge fan of) or Randle would be prizes too ... they might be a disappointment to Raptors fans.

Hunter (Kentucky)

Who do you choose #1 overall? Wiggins, Randle, Parker, Gordon? Or maybe somebody else?

Chad Ford
  (1:37 PM)

Wiggins, Randle and Parker are all in the discussion. So is Australia's Dante Exum. Scouts love Aaron Gordon too, but I haven't heard his name associated with the No. 1 pick. But he looks like a Top 5 prospect for sure. I'm doing a column tomorrow on this subject. Talked to a lot of NBA GMs and scouts about this last week. Will give you the latest on their thinking tomorrow.

Elbah (Mpls)

Call me crazy but I would take Marcus Smart over Wiggins, Randle, and Parker. That kid wants to more than any of these guys, even Randle. You can't measure a kids heart or determination at the combine. Sure Wiggins is an athletic freak, Parker can do just about everything well, and Randle plays like a 10 year NBA vet, but Smart ability to lead and win has won me over...Any other front offices around the league as high on him as me?

Chad Ford
  (1:39 PM)

No, but a lot of GMs do love him. Smart's weaknesses (he's just a so-shooter, still struggles a bit with his handle and not the quickest athlete on the floor) worry people a bit. A few GMs I know don't like him at all as a NBA prospect. But most do and I think he could still be the first point guard off the board. One team I know loves him is Orlando. But again, we've got a long year ahead of us. I still think Smart could enter the conversation for the No. 1 pick with a terrific year.

Chris (Indiana)

What are your thoughts about Noah Vonleh from Indiana?

Chad Ford
  (1:40 PM)

Super impressed. He keeps this up in Big 10 play, he's a lottery pick, maybe Top 10. Has all the physical tools NBA teams are looking for in a big and he's a rebounding machine.

Travis (Boston)

You haven't had Olivier Hanlan of BC in any draft analysis. Granted BC basketball is horrible, but any NBA value in Hanlan?

Chad Ford
  (1:41 PM)

For sure. A sleeper. Some teams are looking at him in the late first round. Most of the teams that have him ranked there think he could make the transition to the point full time in the NBA.

Brian Lichtenheld (Boulder, CO)

Do you see CU's Spencer Dinwiddie coming back for his Senior year?

Chad Ford
  (1:42 PM)

Think he really wants to come out. He's well regarded by NBA scouts. A bubble first rounder right now, though NBA scouts who think he's really a PG instead of a SG have him ranked higher. He needs to have a really great year.

Clay (Kansas)

Should teams be worried about Randle's size? He is listed at 6-8. Can he be a dominant 4 in the NBA at that size?

Chad Ford
  (1:43 PM)

Very long. Good athlete. NBA body. Strong. Skilled. He's going to be fine. And i think he's closer to 6-9 in shoes.

Marcus A. (Seattle, WA)

If Nerlens Noel were in this year's draft class, where would he rate on your top prospects?

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

Probably 8 or 9. Ditto for any of the other top prospects in the 2013 NBA Draft. I'd take the first seven players in this draft over all of them.

Adam (Minny)

Who are the top 7? Wiggins Parker Randle Exum Gordon Smart ____

Chad Ford
  (1:45 PM)

Right + Joel Embiid of Kansas.

Julian (Buffalo)

Coming into college I was a big fan of Isiah Austin of Baylor. Where do you think he will go into the draft and how will he be as an NBA player?

Chad Ford
  (1:48 PM)

Been disappointed out of the gate. Didn't do a lot to improve his body or game. I know a shoulder injury set him back some ... but just haven't seen much improvement from last year. I'll get a long look at him in the Maui Invitational next week. Baylor, Syracuse, Gonzaga, Cal, Arkansas and Minnesota headlining. Really excited to see Cal's Jabari Bird up close. Garnering lots of buzz among NBA scouts right now. I could see him moving into the first round with a great performance there.

Jacob (TX)

Do you see either of the Harrison twins staying at Kentucky? At this point it seems like they could do better for themselves by avoiding this stacked draft class

Chad Ford
  (1:50 PM)

They've both had their moments (Aaron had 28 points on Sunday night to lead all UK scorers). I think it's too early to tell. I wasn't impressed with either one in Chicago, but you can't write off freshmen from one early season game. Both have a lot of talent and I think Coach Cal will get the most out of them.

Mike (Toronto )

Thoughts on Nik Stauskas? He was their go to guy vs Iowa St. Looks like he has added muscle and is an underrated as a passer and off the bounce

Chad Ford
  (1:52 PM)

I'm a fan. NBA scouts warming up to him too. Has a lot going for him. Yet another Canadian who looks like he's on the way to the NBA -- if not this year, then next year.

Frankie (Miami)

Aaron Gordon would scare me as a GM. He seems like a guy stuck in a SF body but plays like a PF. Am I crazy?

Chad Ford
  (1:56 PM)

Yes and no. He's a little undersized, but the guy he draws the most comparisons too -- Blake Griffin, is similar in size. Griffin measured 6' 8.5" in socks and had a standing reach of 8' 9" (they key measurement for bigs). Gordon is two inches shorter in socks (6' 6") but has a standing reach of 8' 10". So in the eyes of most NBA scouts, there isn't a huge difference because of the reach. And besides, while he's still a ways away from where he needs to be as a shooter, he is 4-for-5 from three so far this season for Arizona.

J (Boston)

what does Shabazz Napier need to do to move up draft boards? nearly averaging a triple-double (obvious small sample size caveat)

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

Keep doing that all year. Most scouts see him as a tweener. But if he's going to do everything well (and that's what he's done so far for UConn) he'll find himself back in the mix as a possible first round pick.

Islander (Barcelona)

If the Bobcats get the number one pick, how are they going to mess it up?

Chad Ford
  (2:01 PM)

Not sure you can mess it up this year. Though I'm sure they'll try. Most likely, Michael Jordan and company will keep trying to add veterans to make a playoff push. They're .500 and want to win now. Could see the selling off a young player or two (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist gets most of the attention) if it could land them another veteran who could guarantee a playoff seed.

Chad Ford
  (2:01 PM)

Gotta run everyone. Has been fun. We'll do it again next week from Maui at the Maui Invitational.