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January 15, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Chad Ford

Chad Ford
  (1:01 PM)

Aloha and thanks for coming to the chat today ... We just updated our Big Board this morning and for the first time all year, Andrew Wiggins is not No. 1. We will talk NBA first half and NBA Draft second half. Let's roll

Zac (Oakland)

What are your thoughts on the Dubs getting Crawford? I really like his scoring off the bench. are his handles good enough to fill in at PG?

Chad Ford
  (1:04 PM)

Warriors needed help in the backcourt and Crawford is a lethal scorer coming off the bench. Brooks has talent as well, though he's still a work in progress. I don't think Crawford is really a point guard, but as long as one of the three: Stephon Curry, Andre Iguodala or Klay Thompson is on the floor when he plays the W's should be fine. Good trade for the Warriors. GM Bob Myers is really good at his job. Really good.

Nick (Boston)

Hi Chad, with the Celtics trading Crawford and getting more draft picks could you see them trading those picks and getting a veteran to pair with Rondo?

Chad Ford
  (1:06 PM)

I think Danny Ainge tends to be a little agnostic on issues like this. If all of those draft picks and assets allow him to trade for a player or two that can make the Celtics a contender again ... he'll go that route. If trading a few veterans like Rondo, Jeff Green or Gerald Wallace can get him back valuable assets that help him rebuild later, he'll do that. Most people around the league think the Celtics are gunning for a Top 3 pick. I'm still unsure. Ainge isn't as in love with this draft as others. He may try to sell high if he can. Those picks are still worth a lot right now.

Greg (LA)

BOS trade - if PHI make the playoffs next year, BOS gets PHI's #1. That's their rationale, right?

Chad Ford
  (1:09 PM)

Yes, thought that seems unlikely. Then again, in a very weak East, with the Sixers adding Nerlens Noel + two potential lottery picks to the team next year, maybe the odds are better than we think. But even if it's two second rounders, Ainge was just trying to collect assets and gave away players he wasn't going to build around.

Ryan (Jacksonville)

Why didn't Miami just take Crawford and Brooks? Was this mainly a salary move for the Heat? Still a great deal for them just by getting Anthony off the books this year and next. Could this possibly lead to a Bynum signing?

Chad Ford
  (1:14 PM)

So many things that can happen this summer if LeBron James opts out of his contract. Heat knew Anthony would be picking up his $3.8 million option next year and wanted that contract off the books to help with their flexibility. They know that LeBron will leave if he finds a better situation elsewhere. They want to make sure they have the cap flexibility to bring in the players they need to next year. And as far as this year goes, this move is probably a forerunner to them signing Andrew Bynum.

Mike (Philadelphia)

Why is Hinkie waiting so long to trade Thad Young/Turner/Hawes? Isn't being terrible this year more important than optimizing the return on those three?

Chad Ford
  (1:17 PM)

Unfortunately for the Sixers, most teams don't make their best offers in January. Usually those don't come until the week of the trade deadline. So while there is clearly an incentive to trade now to lose more games, if Hinkie waits, he probably gets more value in a month than he does now. Besides, the Sixers still have the third best shot of winning the lottery with those guys. It's not like they are playing themselves out of a contention for a Top 3 pick.

Jim (Akron)

So Cleveland still looks bad. I like Deng as a player and for this season it was a great trade but how much does this potentially set the Cavs back if the trade pushes them out of the lottery (which is no sure thing).

Chad Ford
  (1:21 PM)

First, you have to give it a little time. It takes a while for a player to mesh with his new coach and his new teammates. Deng looked pretty good last night for the Cavs against the Lakers. Second, the worst case scenario for the Cavs is actually a probable one. Currently our Hollinger Playoff odds give the Cavs a 17 percent chance of making the playoffs. So the odds are against them making the playoffs (though their odds are obviously better given that the formula Hollinger uses doesn't know the Cavs just made a major upgrade at the 3). If the Cavs slip to like a 9th or 10th pick in the draft and miss the playoffs -- Dan Gilbert's goal was thwarted and the team missed out on one of the five guys that every other team is after. Have fun Cavs fans.

James (Philly)

Chad, which lottery team do you think can turn their team around the fastest if they land a top pick

Chad Ford
  (1:25 PM)

The Jazz. I really like their stable of young players. Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Trey Burke and Alex Burks all have so much talent. If they could add an alpha dog like Jabari Parker (who I think is a lock to go to Utah at No. 1 if they win the top pick) ... I think they will be a playoff team in the West next year.

John (MN)

If this year's draft class was considered a 10 at the start of the year, where would you rank it now after seeing these guys in college for a couple months? Still as many franchise changers as you thought initially?

Chad Ford
  (1:29 PM)

A 7 or 8. All five players at the top of this draft are viable No. 1 picks. Rare to have a draft with that many guys. And all of them would have gone ahead of the top guys in last years draft. But there was an expectation that Wiggins, maybe Randle and Parker, would be a franchise player that could immediately turn around the fortunes of a team. I haven't seen that so far. Wiggins and Embiid have that potential. I think Exum does too. Randle and Parker are going to be likely All-Stars in the league for years to come. But I haven't seen that guy who will be transcendent ... yet. Remember, most of these players are very young and there is still a lot of time. Derrick Rose did not look like a future MVP of the league halfway through his freshman season at Memphis. Patience is the key. Ask me again in June and it might be back up to a 10.

Jean (New Jersey)

Why is Joel Embiid a better prospect than Nerlens Noel was last year?

Chad Ford
  (1:31 PM)

Not sure he is. I think the advanced metrics have Noel slightly ahead of Embiid. Had Noel not torn his ACL, I think he would have been the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft last year. But Embiid and Noel are very different players. Noel was dominant defensively, but very raw offensively. Embiid actually is quite skilled offensively. It's his defense that needs some work. I think NBA GMs see more upside in Embiid however, because of his potential to be a dominant offensive player down the road. There just aren't a lot of NBA big men that are these days.

Joel E. (Lawrence)

Which teams at a shot at #1 wouldn't take Embiid? Just Utah?

Chad Ford
  (1:36 PM)

I think the Jazz and Celtics have Jabari Parker rated ahead of him right now. The Magic and Sixers have Andrew Wiggins rated ahead of him. I think the Bucks, Kings, Cavs, Lakers would all go Embiid. I could see the Celtics, Sixers and Magic switching to Embiid by June. Think Jazz would stick with Parker.

Jim (New York City)

Is it just me or does Dante Exum seem to be the only guy in this draft without a major flaw? His shooting is streaky yes but his form is solid and with a couple years in the NBA, he's sure to be at least a decent shooter. He has everything you could be looking for in a player. He has elite size for his position, elite athleticism, always attacking the rim, 6-9 wingspan at the point guard position, and he works hard. Plus, he's only 18. Why aren't people putting him in the conversation for the first overall pick?

Chad Ford
  (1:37 PM)

He's not a great shooter. That's an issue. And teams are sure he's a true point guard. He might be more of a combo. Finally, since he didn't play college ball, his exposure to playing against top talent has been limited to international competitions. But yes, he is an elite prospect and worthy of being in the discussion for the No. 1 pick.

Niko (Oregon)

Seems like the guy who has been getting little coverage despite monster numbers this year (and the past three) is Doug McDermott. Will his game translate into the NBA, or is he going to be remembered solely for his college career?

Chad Ford
  (1:39 PM)

He's been steadily moving up our Big Board all year. Moved into the lottery (No. 14) on our newest Big Board released today. Teams are primarily interested in him because of his shooting ability and basketball IQ. But his athletic and defensive limitation put a ceiling on what type of player he could be a the next level. I think he could crack the top 10. But not sure he goes higher than that.

Rick (Philly)

How volatile has your Big Board been this year? I heard Jalen Rose say you change it every five minutes ... but it seems like it's been pretty stable at the top.

Chad Ford
  (1:43 PM)

This is our fifth Big Board. We did our first one in July. It's actually been remarkably stable at the top. The same eight guys we had as the Top 8 are the same players we have as the Top 8 today. None of them have dropped out. Wiggins was No. 1 in the first four and slid to two today. That's hardly changing every 5 minutes. Embiid started at six and has steadily risen. What that tells me is that I think the Top 8 are going to likely all go in the Top 10 -- though the order will likely vary on team needs. I will say that it's been much more volatile after that. I think there's a significant drop off after the No. 5 and another big drop off after No. 10. This draft doesn't feel as deep to me in the late lottery and mid first round as in years past.

Matt (New York)

Where do you see the Harrison twins going?

Chad Ford
  (1:44 PM)

Hopefully back to Kentucky for their sophomore seasons. Neither looks ready to play in the NBA right now. If they declared for the draft? Probably late first round to early second.

Vinny (Colorado)

One thing that frustrates me with you, is your percieved obsession with players and against others. Last year you drove Smart through the roof on knocked MCW for everything...I think somethimes you allow bias to creep into your evaluation. No way Smart becomes a better NBA player then MCW!

Chad Ford
  (1:48 PM)

I base my Big Board and Mock Draft's completely off intel from NBA scouts and GMs. Last year, our intel on Carter-Williams was correct. Teams took Trey Burke and CJ McCollum ahead of MCW and had Smart been in the draft, he would have gone No. 2 to the Magic. You can argue that the scouts are wrong (and they often are) but I see my job as getting you the intel from the people who will be making the pick. Draft grades are for my opinion to creep in. If you read me carefully last year, I was a Carter-Williams fan and gave the Sixers an A on draft night. However, full discloure, I too would have taken Smart ahead of him had I been drafting last year.

Craig (Colorado)

What does the ACL injury do to the draft stock of Spencer Dinwiddie?

Chad Ford
  (1:49 PM)

He was a likely late first round pick before the injury. With it, I think he slides into the second round if he decides to declare for the draft. He's probably much better off rehabbing and coming back for his senior season.

JT WAUGH (Indianapolis)

Who does Indiana's Noah Vonleh's game translate to at the next level? Lately he has shown a pure stroke from deep.

Chad Ford
  (1:51 PM)

He showed some of that in high school and he's hit six of his last seven threes. Add in the terrific rebounding numbers, his activity on the defensive end and his great athletic abilities and I think he and UCLA's Zach LaVine are the two guys who could somehow dislodge Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon or Dario Saric from their spots ahead of them on our Big Board.

Nam (Toronto)

Is Tyler Ennis athletic enough to be a starting PG in the NBA?

Chad Ford
  (1:54 PM)

That's the question. He's been phenomenal this year. Really he's been on par with Jabari, Randle, Embiid, Wiggins and Gordon as far as impact goes. In fact, he leads all of them in Win Shares. His four to one assist-to-turnover ratio for a freshman is unbelievable. He's not a bad athlete, but in an era with so many hyper athletic guards, I wonder if he could guard any of them at the next level? That's why he's in the early 20s and not in the lottery on our Big Board. With that said, a lot of scouts do like him.

Drew (Fayetteville)

Who is the riskiest player among your Top 10? Zach LeVine?

Chad Ford
  (1:55 PM)

Probably. He has the NBA athleticism and he's the best pure shooter in our Top 10. But the in-between game isn't there, and his shot selection can be very iffy at times. He also needs to add a lot of strength. But even then, when you tell me elite size for position, great athlete and can really shoot it -- those attributes typically don't lead to bust at the next level.

Isiah Thomas (Sacramento)

who would be an ideal pick for my sacramento kings?

Chad Ford
  (1:58 PM)

Likely will come down to Parker and Embiid. Rudy Gay plays the same position as Parker, but if the Kings decide they don't want to break the bank to keep Gay around, Parker is a cheaper and frankly more talented, less selfish option. Embiid gives them much needed shot blocking and frees them up to move Cousins to the four. But Embiid isn't totally NBA ready and I hear a sense of urgency from the Kings to start putting a winner on the court now. I know Kings management has a thing for Dante Exum. Obviously Isaiah Thomas has been great, but Exum projects as a better prospect and he's six inches taller.

Justin (Tucson)

Arizona is #1! They deserve on question! Most succesful player on the team in the NBA will be...

Chad Ford
  (2:00 PM)

Aaron Gordon. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but he's a game changer in so many other ways. Reminds me a lot of a young Andrei Kirilenko. Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski, Nick Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are all legit NBA prospects as well -- though currently I have all of them as second rounders.

Xavier (Paoli, IN)

I wanna see a wing tandem of Andrew Wiggins and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Why would the Bucks take Embiid over Wiggins?

Chad Ford
  (2:02 PM)

Because they have no one who can score in the paint. No one. If they get a guy who can, opens up a lot of things on the perimeter for Antetokounmpo. With that said Jabari Parker, Wiggins, Randle and Exum will all be in the mix there. They need everything really.

Chad Ford
  (2:02 PM)

Have to run everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We will do it again next week. In the meantime, enjoy our updated Big Board 5.0 and Lottery Mock Draft machine.