Welcome to NBA Chat with HOOPSWORLD Senior Writer Eric Pincus. I’ve got all the questions I can handle! Thanks for participating.
Eric covers the L.A. Lakers, Clippers and NBA at large.
Ive really been enjoying watching the Clippers, their promising rookie Caron Butler has really surprised me this season, why’s no-one talk about him for the rookie of the year away, haters going hate i guess.
Playoffs really close now – I’ll have both Los Angeles teams to cover in person – today we chat:
Hmmmmmmmm . . . blink, blink . . . help me out here.
So what kind of contract do you see Sessions getting this off season to remain with the Lakers (assuming he opts out of course)? Do you think his price tag goes above $6 mil per yer?
Sessions is under contract but can and will probably opt out (as you note). To figure his value, you need to look around at the teams with cap room and the free agents who might be on the list above him. Once teams run out of cap, the most anyone else can offer him is the Mid-Level Exception. Will teams with major cap pursue Ramon? They might not. So it becomes a matter of the market setting itself. I imagine the Lakers will exceed the MLE at $5 million starting salary regardless. Are they competing with someone else to push the number up to $7 or $8 million? I’m not sure it’ll come to that. Let’s pencil in an average salary over the life of the deal at say $7 million – that’s my estimate.
Can Ramon Sessions be a superb leader for the Lakers in this coming playoffs?? Very obviously, he will be one of the main pieces of Mike Brown for the approaching and intense playoffs. I am so totally exciting. Did you??
I love the wording of your question. Let’s just roll with it. The more Sessions is the floor leader, the better for the team – assuming Ramon can balance playing fast with playing slow. The Lakers true advantage is the size inside. That’s just basic basketball. If all that attention is there? Then Kobe Bryant is going to have a lot more freedom. Take the ball out of his hands initially and it’s much, much harder for teams to double team him AND defend the post. Look for the Lakers to see all kinds of defensive sets – zones, etc. Teams will dare Ramon to shoot and to date, he’s been an amazing shooter with the Lakers. That will need to continue through the postseason. I am always excited to see every playoff series each year.
Gordon, ariza, kaman. Evans, Thornton, cousins or wall, Crawford, nene…. Who you prefer?
That’s a mix and match of players – Cousins is the best big, Gordon (when healthy) the best non-point guard. Wall the best point but he’s playing on an island. A mess regardless.
Is it safe to say that Pau is a goner unless the Lakers could get to the Finals?
No, it’s not safe to say that at all. Ultimately the Lakers are probably paying more than they can afford for their third option in Pau, but that doesn’t mean they’ll make a deal that they don’t believe in. The supertax doesn’t kick into the following season, not next year.
I understand if Pau is dealt this summer it’s based on the economics of the new CBA. However, does this mean that if Billy King were crazy enough to swap D Will for Pau that Buss would not do it because filling in holes on the bench is more of a concern??
The Lakers would certainly have major interest in Williams and would pay for Williams on some level (although Sessions sort of shifted priorities a bit) but it’s moot. The Nets don’t want to build around Pau.
What would you think if Wizards won the lottery (2nd best chance behind bobcats now) and picked up Anthony Davis tempting Calipari to leave Kentucky to coach both number 1 picks and former players in Wall and Davis. It be an interesting storyline you think?
It would be an interesting storyline.
Hey Eric…why is Miami 13-1 w/o Wade? Is looks like D-Wade is hurting Lebron’s overall game. I think Lebron & Bosh is a better combo then D-Wade, Bosh & Lebron. Sometimes too much talent is not good (i.e. Lakers w/Malone, Payton, Shaq, Kobe)
I’d have to look at the game logs. Let’s see – Nets (twice), Bobcats, Pistons (twice), Sixers (twice), Cavaliers, Lakers, Spurs, Hawks and Pacers. I’m not going to read too much into that because the data isn’t really significant. The Nets, Pistons, Bobcats, Cavaliers and even Sixers just don’t match up with the HEAT (even without Wade). Miami is still a strong, capable team whether they have just James or just Wade on the floor.
I still don’t believe they’ve found the perfect mesh between the two stars, but I’m not going to read too much into those numbers.
do you think trading Tyreke Evans for a solid piece good for the kings? especially adding a good SF at the draft like maybe Kidd-gilchrist or harrison barnes.. kings could be a playoff contender in a couple of years.. your thoughts?
Evans is a very solid player. At some point, when he hits restricted free agency his value needs to be set and that’s not an easy thing to do for the Kings who haven’t won a lick with Tyreke the past few years. I see the Kings as a long way off from contention. They’re still a number of pieces away.
Hi Eric, if the playoff stand as is. The top four teams are SA, OKC, LAL and LAC in that order. Assuming the Lakers beat their first round opponent, will they face the Spurs or Thunder in the 2nd round? I guess a better question is, what seed does SA have to be for the Lakers to meet them in the 2nd round over the Thunder?
The winner of seeds #1/#8 plays the winner of #4/#5. The winner of #2/#7 plays the winner of #3/#6. If the Spurs are the #2 seed and the Lakers stay at #3, then LA wouldn’t have to see the Thunder until the Western Conference Finals (assuming both get there!).
What did Bynum do to fix his FT’s? I remember in the beginning of the season his FT shooting was similar to Dwight’s. Then he just flipped a switch and started making them. I don’t remember at what point during the regular season this happened but it did. Look it up. How is this posible? He probably shot %50 in those games in the begining and whent he switch got flipped he was shooting in the 80′s. What happened?
I think he just got more comfortable and relaxed. He’s put in a lot of work. He’s too good a shooter to be hitting what he did early in the year.
I realize this is a hoops page but….How bout them Dodgers and Kings? Are the Dodgers for real? Last time they started thid good we won the WS. Can the Kings(8th) “SWEEP” a #1 seed? Has that ever happened in the NHL? For the first time ever, all L.A. teams are good and yes even though I don’t care for the Clippers, I include them too. =)
My first date with my wife was a Dodger game. We haven’t gone for some time given our three kids although now the youngest is probably old enough to give it a shot. Over the summer once they’re out of school we’ll head down to Chavez Ravine. I like hockey from a distance but don’t really follow it much. It is an odd time – this is the first for STAPLES Center ever – all three teams in the playoffs.
how do people determine potential? for instance in 2008 Jerryd Bayless who had comparable numbers(arguably better) to guys like Westbrook and Rose but at the next level Rose and Westbook are superstars. How can a fan like me get a bit more keen on this subject?
Let me fix that for you, “How can a GM get a bit more keen on this subject.”
Ultimately it’s a feel, a guess, etc. You look at a player dating back to what they did in high school, how they played in college. If they were in school for multiple years, how did they improve each season. If you’re talking about someone already in the league who a team is picking up for development, how have they progressed each year.
There’s talent and then there’s the ability to improve. I would argue both are important but to an extent, the latter may be even more crucial.
1st round looks like 1 of 2 LA teams will face the Grizzlies. I’d go Lakers on top. Who do you think would win a 7 game series, Clips/Griz??
I haven’t sat down yet and done a full series analysis which I’ll do if it comes up, but my initial thought would be Clippers over the Grizzlies. LAC is one of the few teams that matches up well with what is a problematic Memphis squad for most teams. Chris Paul is better than Mike Conley. It’s not like Tony Allen has a Kobe Bryant to try and slow on the Clippers. The Memphis bigs are powerful but not necessarily over-sized. I like LA’s athleticism and I don’t think Rudy Gay is going to want to see Kenyon Martin on him through a series.
Are the Sixers going to try to get a scorer for Iggy? also from what ive seen hes a very unselfish player could he play at the 1?
Iguodala is one of the most unique players in the league. It’s unclear how the Sixers proceed from here. They looked into moving Andre for some time but then the squad started to win last year and was good for the first half this season. Now that they’re struggling again, we’ll have to wait and see. I could see the team look to move him at some point if this season is a disaster.
I looked at the nhl playoff schedule and the kings are set to play at staples at 7 tommorow, but so are the lakers. Correct me if im wrong but whats going to happen? Will the kings game get moved to a different time?
The Lakers are playing on Wednesday in Oakland (Golden State).
Hi Eric. What is your prediction for the West’s playoff picture?
I like the Thunder but they want to avoid the Clippers. I like the Lakers but they want to avoid the Grizzlies and Thunder. I like the Clippers but they may want to avoid the Spurs. I like the Spurs but they want to avoid the Grizzlies. There are some dark horses but I don’t see the Mavericks repeating. The Nuggets, Rockets, Suns and Jazz don’t quite have enough. The wild card is Memphis. I look forward to the whole thing.
am I missing games to rest or to heal?
a) Is the production that we’re getting from Barnes and MWP sustainable into the playoffs?
b) Will we see our ball movement suffer when Kobe comes back?
No and yes. In other words, things will be bumpy and inconsistent but probably better than some of what we saw earlier in the year.
If the Lakers keep playing the way they are Bynum, Gasaol and MWP, Keep playing as aggressive and kobe makes a smooth transition into the line up can you see the lakers going all the way?
Certainly possible although lack of depth is a concern.
I know Kobe will always be Kobe, but do you think that the fact he has been “Coach Kobe” has helped him see how good his teammates are & how it sometimes hurts the team when he shoots more than needed?
When we focus on Kobe being our lone operator on offense, we get horrible shots late in the shot clock. I’m worried that when he comes back, we’ll start resorting to that again.
It would be good for the team for Kobe to have learned how to use his teammates a little more constructively. Perhaps this perspective will allow for that.
A non-LA topic: The 3 largest cities without an NBA team are San Diego, St. Louis, and Seattle. We know about Seattle. But can I assume that the others are also without an NBA-quality arena? I never hear San Diego and St. Louis mentioned in NBA discussions.
I wouldn’t count out Vancouver and Kansas City. Seattle doesn’t have the arena yet, that has to happen first. St. Louis, the market is too small. The arena in San Diego needs to be bombed, gutted and rebuilt from scratch.
I know it’s still early but I hear all this talk about MWP or Steve Blake getting amnestied next season but with MWP’s resurgence and Steve Blake seemingly having a grasp on Mike Brown’s offense, do you think either will still get amnestied next season?
I could see it. It depends on performance through the rest of the year. The Lakers aren’t going to want to pay a player not to play if they can avoid it, but it’s an option to be considered.
Hey Eric, How do you feel about the rest of Clippers games Denver, Phoenix, New Orleans, Atlanta and New York?
If the Nuggets had lost recently, that would have been a Clipper loss. Now it’s no longer a “win or miss the playoffs” game for Denver, so there’s a little more potential for LA. The Suns should be a loss because Phoenix will probably be desperate. The Hawks may be better served to fall to six and avoid the Celtics. The Hornets play hard but are beatable (though not as easy as you’d think). By the time the Clippers see the Knicks, New York may be in or out either way (likely in) and if the game is meaningless to the Knicks, but substantial to the Clippers?
A lot of why a team wins is urgency.
Do you think West should be fined or suspended for his childish finger-in-his-ear poke on Hayward last night?
You can argue that. I’d like to see a fine instead of a suspension.
Bynum is dominating and Pau is shooting well. World and Barnes have turned it up. Sessions has looked good. Kobe is resting his shin. Please write something to bring us optimistic Laker fans back down to earth.
In my mind, players can overachieve for about two weeks, then they come back down to earth. Ideally Kobe’s return precedes that for the Lakers.
I cant figure out why Mike Brown wont give Goudelock any burn with Kobe out. I know he wasn’t the most efficient scorer when he was getting regular minutes, but he can at least create his own shot. That would be especially helpful for the second unit. Better to give the kid a chance instead of over extending other guys.
I don’t get the infatuation with Goudelock. I like him a lot in general, he’s one of my favorite interviews in the locker room. To date, he’s an undersized two-guard who hasn’t shot a high percentage in a team concept. He can create his own shot to a point (the floater) but not one for others. He’s yet to show that he can play-make or defend at the two. He’s not a point guard, that’s from his own lips, so he shouldn’t be backing up Sessions.
I think Goudelock can help the Lakers in the future but as constructed? It’s better for the team right now that they go with a taller two – in this case Devin Ebanks.
how do you see Ramon Sessions comparing to other elite point guards in the league when it comes to crunch time? and I pick Lakers, Thunder, Heat, Chicago to make it to the final 4. what do you think?
Sessions isn’t in the elite but he’s been impressive at times, hesitant slightly at others. Overall? He’s been a LOT better than I expected him to be with the Lakers. That could be the final four, but only if the Thunder finish #1 and the Lakers #3.
Who looks to be the Lakers likely 1st round opponent?
Either the Nuggets or the Mavericks . . .
Do you know why do the Lakers switch when defending the pick and roll? They always get caught in a mismatch and the offensive team scores at a high percentage. Do you have any idea what is going on with Andrew Goudelock and Jordan Hill and why they are not getting any playing time in case of another injury? Thanks for your time.
There are many different coverages for the pick and roll. For the most part, Sessions goes under the screen and tries to pick up the player on the other side. Sometimes the Lakers switch outright. Sometimes they show and rush back. LA’s defense has been a positive for the most part this season. Brown mixes it up some. Hill is behind McRoberts and Murphy. He’s recovering from a sprained knee.
What would you assess as the biggest reason the Clippers have been very successful in April after a dismal March?
The Clippers had a brutal schedule in March. They went 11-9 I believe. I don’t think any team in the league would have won more than say 14 of them. So we’re talking the difference of three losses.
In general I liked how the pace changed with Mo Williams went out and the more defensive-minded/athletic Eric Bledsoe took over. Also Nick Young allowed for more size on the perimeter and while he’s still maturing as a player, he’s a better individual defender than advertised.
Bottom line – the Clippers improved defensively and with that have come more wins. Also, the schedule has lightened . . .
Have you noticed VDN doing anything different with the clippers huge surge of late? Or is the players just playing better.
Vinny, through a very difficult time, kept his team together and they got better. Was that him? Was it the players? There’s no concrete answer but I don’t like pass out blame to some and credit to others. The team has recovered – the coach and players are why.
Hi, Eric How are you doing today?
I have two questions: Do you see the Spurs getting the number one spot from the Thunder? Also, who would have home-court advantage between Boston and Atlanta assuming Atlanta finishes a better record than Boston even though the Celtics would have a higher seed because of the Atlantic Division title?
The Hawks, if they have the better record would have home court advantage over the Celtics even if Boston is the higher seed. The hard part about predicting the Spurs and their seeding – will Coach Gregg Popovich play all his players every night to get there? Maybe not. Spurs could end up second just because they’re resting up for playoffs.
Can you give me the ceiling of bledoes potential. He has a ton of talent and if he can develop a consistent shot watch out league.
Everyone has potential. For now I view him as an aggressive change of pace off the bench – a valuable one. He needs to learn how to shoot a little better and how to run the team as floor general. He’s more of a combination guard without much of a shot, but if he can impact the game defensively while scoring off of his athleticism? That’s valuable.
Do you think kemba can be a top point guars someday? Or is he a career backup?
He still has that potential but he’s also more of a combo than a true point. It’d be nice to see Walker play with more talent.
Prediction for tonight lakers vs spurs game?
With no Kobe, it’s going to be very difficult for the Lakers to beat the Spurs twice in a row.
Yo eric do u see the ebanks playing better next season?
I’m not expecting Ebanks to be a Laker next season, but we’ll have to wait and see. He’ll improve but he has to do more than just shoot the ball. He needs to defend, pass, rebound, etc.
hola eric. Who do you think ends up in 3rd seed clips or lakers? And who does it favor more?
I have Lakers staying at three, Clippers four. I would argue the Clippers prefer facing the Thunder in the second round and the Lakers the Spurs.
Who would you rather have kyrie irving or john wall?
What is the Lakers biggest priority this offseason? bench? small forward? athleticism?
All of the above.
Now that the Lakers have Ramon, I can’t see them being active in the offseason aside from re-signing Barnes and Sessions. Do you see the Lakers pursuing any notable players via trade? Bench depth would be the only focus, imo.
The team will have just $3 million to spend in free agency. They also have their trade exception and players they can try to move. A lot will be determined by the playoffs and how much money Sessions is expecting/offered.
What centers might the Heat target in the off season thru free ageny/Draft?
This will have to do for the week. Once again, thanks for your participation!
The hard part for the HEAT is budget. They will probably have just the Mini-MLE ($3 million) to spend and that’s not going to attract a lot. Trade are a possibility but also not easy. I can’t say I have an answer you’ll like other than role players like they’ve done (Turiaf, Anthony, etc.). I wonder if Marcus Camby would make sense. He’s unlikely to get $11 million from anyone this summer.
Select a Team
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
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Select a Team
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks
Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs
The Los Angeles Clippers, determined to keep free agent Chris Paul, won't bring back Coach Vinny Del Negro.
11:00am - Bill Ingram
3:00pm - Stephen Brotherston
3:00pm - Alex Kennedy
8:00pm - Lang Greene
10:30am - Steve Kyler
1:30pm - Joel Brigham
11:00am - Yannis Koutroupis
3:00pm - Larry Coon
11:00am - Susan Bible
5:00pm - Derek Page