Join HOOPSWORLD’s senior editor Alex Kennedy for his weekly NBA chat this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET. Submit your questions early because this chat fills up fast!
You might get this question a lot, (I have no idea!), but what are your thoughts on the New York Knicks this season?
What’s up everyone? Thanks for stopping in and submitting your questions. Let’s get started.
I think the New York Knicks are one of the locks for a top-five seed in the Eastern Conference. I think the best five teams in the East will be the Miami HEAT, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls, in some order. I like the moves that New York made this offseason; I think the team did a good job adding talent despite having limited flexibility. I’m not sure if they have enough to take down Miami or Indiana and represent the East in the Finals, but we’ll see.
Hi Alex, a question on Beasley’s departure from the Suns. Don’t’ teams have some type of escape clause for these type of behaviors, esp. given his track record? Do they need to pay him or can they re-coup the loss?
Well, the Suns could have made his contract partially guaranteed back when they signed him. So, yes, technically there are safety nets in place for teams. However, in this case, Phoenix decided to offer him a fully guaranteed deal (a big deal too, one worth $18 million over three years). Not to mention, the contract was a head-scratcher at the time since they really didn’t have much competition to sign Beasley.
Where do you see the Warriors in terms of potentially becoming a powerhouse team for the next 5-8 years (maybe longer?)? What glaring weaknesses do you see this team have?
I think the Warriors could definitely become a powerhouse. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes are only going to get better in the coming years. Andre Iguodala is going to give this team an elite perimeter defender and another veteran leader. I really like the direction that Golden State is heading. The biggest weakness that will always come up when talking about the Warriors, at least for now, is their injury-prone players. The Warriors could be an elite team this season or, if Curry and Andrew Bogut go down for long stretches, they could fail to live up to expectations. Another weakness is their bench scoring. I think they’re going to miss Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry more than some people realize. I’m excited to watch the Warriors and see what they can do, though.
Good afternoon Alex, hope all is going very well for you. Today is the opening day, in Slovenia, of the FIBA European Championship. Turkey has 3 NBA players on the team: HOU-Asik, MIL-Ilyasova and ORL-Turkoglu- who has been named their captain; is this more a ceremonial move on Turkey’s part or is Hedo actually ready, in playing shape to be able to contribute to their team like he did 4 years ago for them as one of their best players?
I think it’s a ceremonial/respect move. Hedo Turkoglu is probably their third-best player at this point, but he has meant a lot for that team over the years. Not to mention, he’s probably the veteran leader on that squad so it makes sense that he would be named the captain. I don’t expect Turkoglu to return to his form from four years ago. That was Turk in his prime and now he’s a 34-year-old who is clearly on the decline.
1) What do you think of Lakers signing Shawne Williams? I know we have no money but I’m always suspect of a so called 3pt specialist who has shot below average from 3 more often than not in his career and only had ONE great 3p shooting season?
2) What team do you think would be best for Beasley? Despite my doubts I’d really love to see him on OKC (needs another scorer), Memphis (ditto, specifically a shooter) or the Lakers ( just need talent…) in that order. I can’t see none happening but my Lakers who allegedly were interested in him before.
1) I spent some time with Shawne Williams last month when he was training at the IMG Basketball Academy and he looks good. He has been working hard to get back in the league and I think this signing is a low-risk, high-reward addition for the Lakers. The team is hoping that playing in Mike D’Antoni’s system again can bring back the Williams that looked great with the New York Knicks. The Lakers were one of the first teams to reach out to Williams when he started training so it’s no surprise that they ultimately signed him. I agree that he hasn’t been consistent from behind the arc throughout his career, but the free agent pool has dried and he’s not a bad acquisition on a partially guaranteed, minimum deal.
2) I think a team like the Thunder or Spurs would be great for Beasley, just so that he could be have some structure in place and strong leaders around to keep him in line. However, I don’t think either of those teams will go near him at this point.
Which former #2 pick might have the most upside w/ a change of scenery?
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He’s the youngest of the group and I think he’ll be just fine in a few years. He’s going to take some time to develop, but he’s a gym rat who is going to continue to improve. After that, I’d go with Derrick Williams and then Evan Turner. It’s close though.
Hello Alex, which three teams are in the best Position five years from now if you had to guess? I like Cleveland, Orlando and Indiana.
Just one quick second question. Which five teams do you predict for the worst records next year:
I have Philly, Phoenix, Charlotte Utah and Sacramento in this order. Thanks for the Chats!!!
I’d go with Cleveland, Orlando and Indiana as well. Philadelphia and Phoenix could be up there as well, depending on what happens in the next few drafts.
I have Philadelphia, Orlando, Phoenix, Charlotte, Utah and Sacramento finishing with the worst records next year.
Regarding my blazers, do you feel some critics sleeping a bit on their predictions? I can potentially see a golden state esque push in the cards if they gel. Neil did a great job filling up the bench, lacking maybea swing man stretch four backup as their only real weakness. I can see a late season push maybe surprising some folks, your thoughts? Side not I think thomas Robinson and mccollum will be putting in so.e real work this year
I agree. I think the Blazers definitely have the potential to surprise people. I’ve written a few articles where I’ve raved about the Blazers offseason. The team needed a defensive-oriented center who would do the dirty work so Robin Lopez was acquired. They needed a knockdown shooter who could spread the floor so Dorell Wright was signed. The Blazers lacked bench scoring so C.J. McCollum, arguably the best scorer and most NBA-ready player in this class, was drafted 10th overall. Add in Thomas Robinson, Earl Watson and Allen Crabbe, and it’s clear that this Portland team is much deeper and more talented than last year’s group. I love the moves that Neil Olshey made. Couple those with another year of development/meshing from Damian Lillard, Nic Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge, and this team could be playoff bound. They’ll definitely be one of the teams fighting for a final playoff berth in the West.
Hello Mr Kennedy ,
Knick question here if thats ok. Beasley is now released and wouldn’t it be worth the gamble for NY to grab this kid ? They got enough thugs to keep him in line and , in my opinion , maybe even get him back on track. I know we need a center but this , to me , would be a low risk – high reward NY could use , especially if he turns his life around. Thoughts ?
I wouldn’t go after him. Even if you ignore the off-court stuff, this isn’t a kid who helps you win games. He has been described as toxic in more than one locker room and his play is efficient. I just don’t think he’s worth the trouble at this point. He’s had a ton of opportunities and he hasn’t made the most of any of them. Some team will probably sign him because every executive believes they can be the one to help him “turn his life around,” as you said. I just know, if I were a GM, it wouldn’t be me.
I dont get why people thinks the Knicks are going to be worst this year?? They actually improved their roster, they added young legs to the mix something we didnt had last year, Novak for Bargani it was a great upgrade, add MWP and Beno… my q is if they finish 2nd last year why would they finish 5ft this year?? Nets = Lakers last year they need to get some chemistry before they are real contenders… Indiana is a good team but i cant see them on 2nd spot with that team, DRose & Bulls are going to be good but my personal opinion their bench is not that deep… so again why 5th spot? How do u see the knicks this year? Ill say they are still on that 2nd spot they are not better than the Heat but they can take em to a 7 games series??
I think you’re underestimating Indiana, Brooklyn and Chicago. Those teams should be much better next season, which is why New York has been moved down in the standings. It’s nothing to do with the Knicks’ offseason, it’s what the other teams did around them. I think the Knicks will be a top-five team and they could make some noise in the postseason. Like I said earlier, though, it’s tough to predict them coming out of the East.
Who gets the 7 & 8th seeds out west and how many wins will it take to get to the playoffs.
I’m going with Denver and Minnesota, and I think it’ll take 47 wins to get in.
Hi Alex, although Riggin for Wiggins is the catch phrase, I am surprised that more teams are not positioning for the draft. Which teams are on the bubble that you feel should blow it up and what moves would you advocate (e.g. Phoenix trading Gortat)?
Philadelphia has already started positioning for the draft, obviously. Orlando is going to play their young talent again this season and see what happens. Utah will do the same thing. Phoenix has traded away Jared Dudley, Luis Scola and Caron Butler so I’m assuming a Marcin Gortat is next, at some point. Those are the four teams that seem to be zeroing in on the draft. We’ll see if a team like Sacramento joins them.
First of all I’d like to say how much I enjoy your chats!
I am baffled as to why the Clippers signed Jamison and not a banger. Unless DJ improves drastically and can play more minutes I can’t see how Jamison helps us. As much as I love where we are at right now, I can’t imagine us getting close to a championship unless we get lucky with our route to the Finals. Perhaps I’m forgetting how good CP3 is, how good Blake could become and that we have one of the best coaches in the league.
I think they viewed Antawn Jamison as someone who could be a significant contributor, whereas there weren’t many quality centers available in the free agent pool. If there had been a banger who could make an impact, I think the Clippers would’ve signed him. I’m not too worried about L.A. I think their biggest upgrade is going to be Doc Rivers over Vinny Del Negro. Going from having one of the worst coaches in the league to one of the best is really going to help that team. Throw in the fact that the Clippers have ridiculous depth at every other position and that we should see some improvement from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and the Clippers should be alright. Check back on Monday because I’m going to be writing a big article on the Clippers’ title hopes in the NBA PM.
If Kevin Durant does become a Free-Agent in 2016, who do you see as some early favorites to land him?
If Kevin Durant leaves the Thunder, he’ll likely want to join a contending team in a larger market. As far as specific teams go, it’s way too early to start that speculation. As it gets closer, we’ll have a better idea.
No one knows how good (or bad) the Memphis Grizzlies will be this season. What’s your honest opinion on what’s to come for the club when following up a franchise-best season?
I think they’ll still be a top seed in the West and I still view them as a legitimate contender. Dave Joerger will be fine. Even though the team no longer has Lionel Hollins on the sideline, the more important thing is that they brought back all of their core players. Memphis will be alright.
Whos Your Top 5 In The West?
As of right now, I have the West looking like this:
What are your thoughts on the Bulls? Some analysts have them being the no.1 seed in the East (Even though I’m a Bulls fan, I don’t think they can beat the Heat… yet). Do you think the starting core (Rose, Deng, Butler, Boozer Noah) is strong enough to contend? Do they have enough supplementary pieces on their bench with the new arrivals (Dunleavy, Snell, Murphy) to give them that edge over teams like Brooklyn, New York, and their division rival, Indiana?
I don’t see them being No. 1 in the East, but I do think they have the talent to contend. It really depends on Derrick Rose. If he can return to MVP form as the playoffs are approaching, anything is possible for this team.
Hi Alex, what are your thoughts on the Rockets and their potential breakout year? Do you think they could make an extended playoff run with their current roster and role players?
That’s certainly the goal in Houston. There’s going to be an adjustment period for Houston since they’re bringing in a new focal point in Dwight Howard, but if they can mesh early in the season then this could be a big year for the Rockets. I’m excited to see James Harden and Howard playing alongside each other. I think they could form one of the better one-two punches in the league. The big question: Is Howard completely healthy? Last year, he was a shell of his former self in Los Angeles. If he returns to Orlando form, the Rockets could be very scary.
I cannot get a feel for how good Brooklyn will be this year? Sure, they have 5 all-stars in their starting line-up, but are they good enough to beat my Pacers in the postseason? If KG is not playing any back-to-backs this year, it seems like it is going to be fairly difficult for them to get a top seed for the playoffs.
Right now, I have Brooklyn as a second-tier team in the East. The top-tier teams are Miami and Indiana, in my opinion. The additions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce definitely make them better, especially come playoff time, but I just can’t see them taking down the HEAT or Pacers in a seven-game series.
What do you think of Kevin Love, Westbrook and Kobe’s injuries? Do you think they can all play at elite level next season? How many games and minutes do you expect from each one of them?
I expect Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook to play at an elite level next season. I’m not so sure about Kobe Bryant. I hope he can return to an elite level because I love watching Bryant play and I’ll be really sad when he can no longer drop 30 points on opponents. But I just don’t know how the Achilles is going to affect him. As I’ve said before in these chats, it’s not just the Achilles that you have to worry about. With that kind of injury, players tend to start breaking down and injuring other parts of their body as they try to come back (just look at Chauncey Billups last year). My fingers are crossed that Bryant can be the dominant player that we all know and love, but I’m much less confident in his return to an elite level than I am of young guys like Love and Westbrook.
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Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks
Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs
Select a Team
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks
Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs
Despite the Cavaliers' slow start, the team remains determined to end their postseason drought ... Kevin Durant impressed with Thunder's bench
10:30am - Steve Kyler
3:00pm - Yannis Koutroupis
8:00pm - Jessica Camerato
11:00am - Nate Duncan
8:00pm - Bill Ingram
12:00pm - Travis Heath***
8:00pm - Lang Greene
1:00pm - Joel Brigham
3:00pm - Jabari Davis
1:00pm - Moke Hamilton
3:00pm - Larry Coon
8:00pm - Alex Kennedy
11:00am - Susan Bible ***
*** denotes chats that are held bi-weekly