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December 23, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Tom Haberstroh

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:00 PM)

Season's greetings, y'all. Let's get the show started. Ball's in...

Jordan (South Florida)

Even with the absence of Brook Lopez are the Nets still contenders for a playoff seed in the east?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:02 PM)

Absolutely! Have you seen the East this year? There's still enough talent on this roster to win the division and land the fourth seed. But talent is nothing without health. I still think they'll be in the playoffs, despite the doom and gloom in BK.

Sean (Orlando)

I'm kind of surprised that with all the injuries throughout the league, and the Magic obviously rebuilding, that there hasn't been more trade buzz on Afflalo, Nelson and Big Baby. Is it just a matter of time or is there just not much interest at this point?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:05 PM)

"Spellcheck" isn't very buzzworthy since he's a strong sell-high candidate. Nelson and Big Baby are solid depth pieces, but Omer Asik provides far more impact long-term than those two. Until he's dealt, you won't be hearing much about anyone in trade talks.

Mark (Halifax)

Tom - you are now running the Toronto Raptors. At this rate, the team is destined to be the 4th seed by virtue of winning the Atlantic Division. With fans longing for the taste of playoffs and the best draft in a decade coming up, what direction do you go? As evident by the recent road swing, this team appears to be too gritty for a tank job. Do you force tanking or try to create cap space and flexibility (a la Rudy Gay trade)? (Ps. I'm a big believer that Rudy Gay never really fit and it was addition by subtraction and Toronto is better for it).

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:06 PM)

Hold that thought...

Patrick (Jersey)

Early thoughts on the Thunder Bench? Lamb and Jackson's On/Off #s are impressive, could their bench unit be one of the tops in the league?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:09 PM)

Thunder U just won't quit. Their bench will be one of the best in the league as long as Kendrick Perkins is starting. Indiana, Miami, Portland and San Antonio up there, too.

Eric (Jupiter, FL)

If incoming commissioner, Adam Silver, wants changes to the NBA draft lottery system, then what are the possible timeframes of this happening?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:12 PM)

First, if you haven't, go read Zach Lowe's piece today on the "wheel" proposal that a team official submitted. We can talk about reform now and the sad thing is that it won't take place until 2020 at the earliest, since there are still owed draft picks until then. That's a real bummer, unless Adam Silver can come up with a way to compensate teams for draft picks outstanding. It's a tricky issue that probably is fixed by eliminating the draft all together.

The Man (Outerspace)

Based on advance stats, who would you give the nod to, D.Wade or Harden? How do experts such as yourself take advanced stats into consideration when comparing players in general?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:16 PM)

Good question, complicated answer. I don't know where you'd draw the line for "advanced stats" but anything that incorporates defense will tend to favor Wade, who anchors the Heat's back-line and can create turnovers the other way far better than Harden. But both of these guys aren't nearly 100 percent right now. Assuming both fully healthy for this season, I'd take probably Wade. Long-term, Harden, who's just entering his prime now.

Mike Woodson (NY)

Why do I insist on going big when all the relevant data suggests to do the EXACT opposite?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:18 PM)

Don't underestimate the power of upper management (see: Dolan). Remember, Bargnani was the team's marquee acquisition this offseason and they gave up an unprotected 2015 first-rounder to get him. Seems Woodson may not have a choice in the matter. Play Bargnani or else...

Pessay (DMV)

Does pineapple belong on a pizza?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:19 PM)

Yes. I'm a Hawaiian pizza fan and I know this might sound unAmerican and I can't believe I'm saying this, but hold the bacon on a Hawaiian pizza.

Brad (Toronto)

Is Amir Johnson underrated throughout the league?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:19 PM)

Hold that thought...

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:19 PM)

Hold that thought...

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:20 PM)

Hold that thought...

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:20 PM)

Hold that thought...

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:20 PM)

Hold that thought.

Izzy Lanzo (Philadelphia)

What do you think about the Future of the Philadelphia 76ers ?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:21 PM)

As bright as the mind of GM Sam Hinkie. (Hint: he's super bright). Great basketball city. Lots of young talent. I'm on the long-term bandwagon, for sure.

Charles (San Jose)

How many NCAA squads could make the playoffs in the East?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:22 PM)

Easy: none.

pat (rick)

Really appreciate you chatting with us on this Monday before christmas. Hardly anyone would/should have complained if you were not chatting- which means I appreciate it all the more.Have a great christmas and happy new year, Mr. Haberstroh!

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:23 PM)

That's really nice of you to say, pat(rick)! If you work in the NBA, Christmas week is just another work week.

JWR (Chicago)

For the casual NBA fan, which Christmas game is most worth watching?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:26 PM)

As a company man, all of them! Thunder-Knicks is my pick here. Yes, the Knicks are in turmoil these days, but Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and co., in Madison Square Garden? Pairs well with egg nog.

Bill (CT)

Can Reggie Jackson be a top 10-12 Guard in the NBA as a starter?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:27 PM)

Can? Sure. Will he? Need to see more before I slot him in that range with all the point guard talent in this league.

Bill (FL)

Victor Oladipo = franchise type player?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:29 PM)

Yep, two-way foundational piece a la Andre Iguodala. Although his efficiency needs to climb... It's early.

Brett (ATL)

Might there be 3 good teams in the East?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:31 PM)

Yes. I'm as big of a Hawks believer as any. Teague-Lou-Korver-Millsap-Horford is an awesome 5. They could push Indy and Miami to six games, but probably not more that. Pacers/Heat a cut above.

Craig (Braintree, MA)

Will Kevin Love get votes for MVP?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:33 PM)

He's top-five on my fake ballot. Just because his bench is rotten and Ricky Rubio can't score doesn't mean he's not valuable. In 2011-12, he finished 6th in the MVP vote, but he should have been higher. Also, look at LaMarcus Aldridge this season. Amazing what a talented roster will do for your reputation...

Wiz Fan (Bridgewater VA)

Is John Wall the best point guard in the East? and will Otto Porter be a meaningful contributor to the Wiz?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:35 PM)

Sure on Wall, but that's like saying eggplants are best purple vegetable. Not much to choose from. Doubtful on Otto Porter this season; he needs a healthy offseason first, doesn't he?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:37 PM)

I'm not ready to go there yet with Lance, but I've loved his improvement so far this season. Needs to work on getting to the line more, if he wants to truly make the leap. Also: this is a real place apparently: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibbard,_Indiana

Hanson (DC)

How much can Lance Stephenson grow on this Pacer team? He has a ton of tools and seems to get ,more mature day by day and is still extremely young.Can he George and Hibbard become a big 3 type group?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:38 PM)

Sorry for the mix up.

Chris (Miami)

Is there a Zach Randolph-Pierce trade that makes sense? Grizz get out from Zach's contract, Nets keep Netting...

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:40 PM)

I think Randolph could be had. 1.4% odds of making the playoffs and a small-market team with a huge hole at the 3. Here's a fun one that probably won't happen: Pau to Nets; Z-Bo/Calathes to Lakers; Pierce/Mirza/a future protected LAL first to Memphis.

Otto (CA)

Will Carmelo be on the Knicks roster next fall?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:41 PM)

If things continue going downhill? Nope.

Deez (CT)

Everyone loves to say the East is super weak, but I wonder if you think the two best teams in NBA are the Heat and Pacers? I gotta believe that the Pacers would be favored the rest of the way if the Heat were knocked out early, no?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:42 PM)

Advanced power rankings like this one disagree: http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings Right now, I'd still take OKC over Indiana. And maybe the Spurs, too.

John ((DC))

Better fit for Carmelo wizards or lakers ??

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:43 PM)

The non-Kobe team.

Jerry (Cortland, IL)

Can you explain to me why everyone seems to refer to LaMarcus Aldridge as "up and coming?" Wasn't he drafted in '06?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:45 PM)

First I've heard that. If LMA's up and coming, so is LeBron. Same age.

JJ (OR)

Why doesn't anyone respect the Blazers yet?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:46 PM)

Blazers fan?

Do (Re)

Biggest surprise - celtics or Toronto ?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:47 PM)

Celtics. Brad Stevens is a wizard on defense.

Jason (Toronto)

If Love puts up numbers like last night, could someone from a non-playoff team win mvp?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:48 PM)

Doubtful. Not with LeBron, KD, etc still in the league.

Joe (Tyrone )

Biggest upset to this point?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:49 PM)

Brooklyn. Thought they'd be much better than this, even considering the injuries. Chicago's close though.

Rick Roszell (Jamaica)

Klay Thompson is not a good player, who should the Warriors trade him for? Maybe a guy like Austin Rivers?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:51 PM)

Nice try, Austin.

Cj (LV)

Biggest shock in the standings in the east to this point. Not record wise but where that team sits right now.

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:51 PM)

Am I missing something?

Daryl (Idaho)

Would you admit most of the time you dont know how good a team is before the season starts? You thought Brooklyn was going to be good, You thought Portland would be an 8th seed, etc etc. In reality you guys dont know anything, true?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:53 PM)

Using that logic, you should do away with weather forecasts if it's wrong once a month.

Devin Brooks (Detroit)

Tom... OK.. let tell me if you feel or think this could happen.. Detroit Pistons trade Monroe, CV, a future no.1 draft pick for C.Anthony.. then we trade Jennings and Stuckey to Boston for Rondo.. they get a young PG in Jennings and cheap, and Stuckey 8.5 millions off the table.. we Detroit could have a lineup of Rondo/KCP/C.Anthony/J.Smith/Drummond.. with a bunch of no name bench guys.. tell me can this happen.. We have the trade assets to do it don't you think.. Thanks..

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:55 PM)

Woah woah woah woah woah. WOAH. He has a name and it is Josh Harrellson.

John (NY)

How many allstars do the blazers have a chance of getting? and which players?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:56 PM)

Two: LMA and Dame. Might not be enough room for Dame, though. Good recap of the situation here by my man KP: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10168582/nba-early-leaders-west-all-star-squad

Jason (Toronto)

Gay has not done much for his reputation considering both the Kings and Raptors records since he left, now has he?

Tom Haberstroh
  (2:58 PM)

Rudy Gay is fed up with your stats.

Tom Haberstroh
  (3:00 PM)

Last ones...

Izzy Lanzo (Philadelphia)

What players on the trading block do you think will be moved first ?

Tom Haberstroh
  (3:01 PM)

Anyone on the Philadelphia 76ers roster not named Michael Carter-Williams.

Tim (AZ)

Joel Anthony worth anything in a trade, maybe for Asik? Add in Lewis and Jones, it works money wise.

Tom Haberstroh
  (3:03 PM)

Rudy Gay for LeBron James works money-wise, too.

David (Miami)

is this battier's final season?

Tom Haberstroh
  (3:05 PM)

In an NBA uniform? All signs point to "Yes." But he'll be around the NBA as long as he wants, even if it's in a suit.

Jason (Toronto)

Paul or George is the 3rd best in the league?

Tom Haberstroh
  (3:06 PM)

Chris Paul.

Jon (Phoenix, AZ)

What would be a fair trade package for Kevin Love and when will Phoenix execute it?

Tom Haberstroh
  (3:07 PM)

Whatever it is, I doubt Flip Saunders signs off it.

Tom Haberstroh
  (3:09 PM)

I gotta run. Thanks for the great questions as always. This time next week. Happy Holidays, be safe and keep cool, my babies!