Chat with HOOPSWORLD editor Jason Fleming about any and all things NBA on Monday at 8pm Eastern Time. Trades? Rumors? Rotations? Signings? Anything hoops is fair game. Feel free to leave questions in the queue anytime.
It looks like Portland might be able to snag a top seed after all.
Do they look like a team that is better than the old guard now? (Lakers, Mavs, Spurs)
Prediction for the LAC game?
Welcome to this week’s chat! I’ll see how many I can get to in an hour…
Portland has been much, much better than I expected – I freely admit that. With all the new faces now a part of the regular rotation – Felton, Nolan Smith, Craig Smith, Kurt Thomas, and working Gerald Wallace into a groove – I expected there to be a learning curve for everyone, but they’ve looked good from the beginning. They really addressed the turnover issue in the early games and this team is playing like a veteran crew.
I don’t think anyone could argue any of those three teams was currently better than Portland. All are still good and will be in the playoffs, but as of right now Portland is a step above them.
Being at home I expect Portland should beat the Clips, but the Clips also have a rare two full days of rest before that game. Should be a good one, but I pick Portland.
Any news on Greg Oden? I read that his rehab is coming along but that they are taking it a day at a time.
Nothing beyond that, no. With Oden one day at a time is about all anyone can hope for at this point.
Hi Jason,Assume the KINGS finally realize they need a PG and they are willing to part with SALMONS. Please rank these 4 PGs utility given the KINGS’ youth. Mo WILLIAMS; Luke Ridenouer, Jose Calderon and Kirk Heinrich. Which do you think wd be the best? Thanks.
I’m sure the Kings would love to part with Salmons, given his contract and the fact he’s not a part of the future. Calderon would be my top choice out of that group. He’s the best point guard of the bunch, can hit outside shots, but doesn’t NEED to be a factor on offense. However, Hinrich is by far the best defender of the group – really, the only one who can make any kind of impact on that end – and the Kings desperately need that as well. He’d be my second choice.
Thus far, are the Jazz the biggest surprise?
They are up there, though Denver is higher on my list. Heck, the entire Northwest Division is pretty fantastic. I expected OKC would be the top team in the conference, that Portland would be a playoff team, but considering every team in the division has outplayed expectations….it’s impressive. (OKC hasn’t outplayed expectations, just lived up to them, which is always nice to see.)
I’m impressed with the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors too. So many people picked the Knicks to win the Atlantic, but that division may end up being the toughest in the East.
If you were David West, would you have signed with Boston or taken the extra few $ and gone to Indy?
Indy. Indy is the better fit for him. If he went to Boston he may not even be starting, though he’d probably still see plenty of minutes, unless Coach Doc Rivers decided to play Kevin Garnett at center. Indy had a hole at West’s natural position, needed exactly the talents he brings to the floor, and had more money to offer. Adding West to what they already had predictably made them a top four team in the East. I’m surprised he even bothered talking to Boston.
Great work, Jason, on the PTB. Obvious question: What’s up with Greg Oden? Any word on his progress? Will we get to see him this year? If we don’t, what will the Blazers want to do about his contract status for next year?
Still one day at a time, as I mentioned a little earlier. I’m not holding my breath on this year and even if he does come back to the floor, I doubt he will get in good enough shape to be a factor on a team looking to go deep into the playoffs. There simply isn’t flexibility in the schedule to integrate a piece like him.
As for next year…even if he doesn’t play this year I think Portland will make him some kind of contract offer, but how much is the right price? Three years and $20 million? $15 million? As of right now the Blazers are $15 million under next year’s cap…do they want to spend that money on Oden? I wouldn’t hold my breath he’ll be back.
In your PTB article where you showed that they have filled their holes, you mention that Felton and Crawford were good pick ups. Only thing is, after 8 games, they appear to be quite inconsistent. Knowing that with basically no camp, and players still getting their legs under them, it seems as though Felton and Crawford have always been so. What makes you believe these were good pick ups and not just reaching to fill a hole with the best available?
Well, part of it is starting 6-2 – that has a way of changing minds. (By the way, here is a link to the article Chip is referencing.) Some of it is also how well these two players fit into the team chemistry-wise. Felton has not only proven to be a nice fit at the point, but he’s also willingly mentored Nolan Smith and Armon Johnson, showing them veteran tricks of the trade. Both he and Crawford also allow the team to play at a higher pace, which given a roster that features the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace and Wesley Matthews would seem to be a no-brainer.
They are, as you correctly noted, not the most consistent players in the world when it comes to shooting. However, Crawford draws defensive attention when he has the ball, something Portland’s bench didn’t do much at all last season, especially when Brandon Roy was out.
I would also argue that filling a hole with the best available – as opposed to something else, as some teams seemed to do – is a win in itself. Portland decided which players would fit best with the rest of the roster and they went out and got them. Being able to formulate a plan and execute it in a timely manner is an underrated – and sadly rare – quality in a front office.
Maybe it is just the few games I have seen, but games seem very sloppy, blowouts… Is there much hope for better b-ball with no practice time and tired players with all these back to backs? Seems like this is a $$ grab season by both owners/players as this does not seem to resemble quality competive bball so far.
I think there is a clear division between teams who were ready and teams who were not. The teams with minimal change, for the most part, have been better at execution in the early going, but that should improve as the season goes on.
Is this a money grab? Well, this is a business…both sides are trying to make up for lost dollars. I wouldn’t expect anything less. Would putting 55 games in the same timeframe and giving another week of training camp produced a better product? Possibly, but players’ checks were are based on the games in the season, so they want to play more games just as much as the owners (players are getting a scratch over 80% of their salary, based on 66 games being about 80% of 82). If you read anything from a player saying this is too much and trying to put the onus for the tight schedule on the owners, please ignore it. Both sides wanted this. There were no unilateral decisions.
The good teams will get better as the season wears on, tired or not.
If you were an NBA owner, which point guard would you prefer to build your franchise around and why: John Wall, Ricky Rubio, or Kyrie Irving
Right now I’d take Rubio. I think Wall still has tons of potential and I like Irving’s game, but the vision of Rubio is pretty fantastic. A rookie getting 14 dimes in a game? That’s impressive.
When the players agreed to a condensed 66 game season, did they really consider the impact this would have in terms of injuries. Players are falling like flies, and this will most likely continue due to the shortened schedule and the multiple back-to-back-to-backs. Your thoughts.
I think the main consideration was how much of our paycheck can we salvage.
It’s funny, there was a study done – maybe someone can find it and post it in the comments – about this topic based on the 1999 season and it was found injuries did NOT occur at a higher rate that season. It may have been a higher number, but it was within statistical allowance so as not to be considered an aberration, if I remember right, and other seasons since then had higher rates of injuries.
I’d like to see some research done on if the injury rate so far in this early season is actually higher or just SEEMS higher. With games missed by the likes of Zach Randolph, Manu Ginobili, Paul Pierce and others, they are getting lots of press, but is it really higher? (And I would not count players like Brandon Roy, Greg Oden or Jeff Green, whose retirement, rehab, and surgery respectively had nothing to do with this season.) Anyone doing that research? Know of it? It would have to be fairly in depth, because to give it any kind of legitimacy you need all the injury rates from other seasons as well.
Does the fact that no team signed Gilbert Arenas to a veteran’s minimum contract highlight how bad Otis Smith is at GM. Smith was willing to take on 3 years and 60 million dollars for Arenas (at a time where the amnesty clause didn’t exist and wasn’t a certainty in the new CBA). Yet no one will sign him for 1 million dollars only a year later? Your thoughts.
Ask yourself this: Has Gilbert been actively trying to find a job? It’s not like he’s knocking on doors and no one will sign him. It’s been discussed a lot since Orlando waived him that he wants to sign with whatever team Dwight Howard goes to, plain and simple. He can’t go back to Orlando, so if he really is depending on a Howard move he can wait. Plus, it’s not like he’s hurting for money with that $30-some million he’s getting after taxes.
I believe the fact Arenas doesn’t have a team yet is more about him than it is about teams being unwilling to offer him a deal.
Andrea Bargnani is the most underrated player in the NBA. He scores at will and is mismatch to 90% of teams due to his length and ability to hit 3′s. But he gets no respect because he averages 5 boards a game out of the center spot. If Bargs didn’t play for the little exposed Canadian team and wasn’t forced to play out of position, he would be a LEGIT candidate for the all-star team (even at the PF spot). Agree or Disagree?
I think Bargnani should be an All-Star this year. I agree he’s not a center, never should have been forced to play there, but his play so far this year has been very impressive. He’s averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists and FG%.
Bargnani’s problems is a perception one, as you noted. Just because he’s 7-0 people assume he should be a center, that he should bang in the post and grab boards. That’s never been his game though, and that’s not the player the Raptors drafted. They have since forced him into that role despite knowing ahead of time that’s not his style, and fans and media have reacted accordingly.
Take away the position label and appreciate Bargnani’s game. He plays more like a small forward than a center, and he’s one of the better scoring forwards in the game. He’s not any kind of prototype, but people keep treating him like he should be.
If Bynum continues his strong play, is it not realistic that the Magic would deal Howard for a package centered around Bynum, not including Gasol?
From the Lakers point of view, to the best of my knowledge, there is not a Bynum+Gasol package. It’s simply not an option, no matter what Orlando wants to ask for (and remember, they aren’t talking trades for Howard). For them to move both players they need to be getting another star level starter in return WITH Dwight Howard, and Orlando cannot offer them that. What Bynum’s strong play means is it’s more likely the Magic would accept some kind of Bynum-Howard deal. It also makes the Lakers less likely to trade Bynum. I remain skeptical Howard will end up with the Lakers.
Marcus Thornton has been lighting it up this year, even to the point where Billy Ingram picked him to this years Western All-Star team. I know Chicago is happy with Rip Hamilton, but isn’t reasonable to believe they are regretting not trying to steal him from Sacramento? They had the capspace, but paid him almost zero attention. Your thoughts.
Chicago never had cap space. The most they could have offered Thornton was the same deal they gave Hamilton – the MLE. They were over the cap before they signed rookie Jimmy Butler to his rookie scale deal and Brian Scalabrine to a minimum deal (Bulls salaries link) and now have $69.2 million committed this season (and $76.8 million next year!). Considering the deal the Kings offered Thornton before he so much as talked to another team, Chicago never had a chance.
He has been playing pretty well though, hasn’t he? He won’t be an All-Star, but he’s a very good offensive player.
Trade Jarrett Jack for JaVale McGee?
I don’t think the Wizards would be that interested.
Do the Lakers make a push for Deron Williams?
They should, but what are they going to offer Jersey in return? They only have the MLE to offer Deron as a free agent, so it would have to be a sign-and-trade deal.
Where do you think Dwight Howard will land if you were a betting man?
I’m not, because betting means I lose every single time. I still think New Jersey has the best chance, followed by Dallas.
Is Ricky Rubio the early favorite for rookie of the year?
Either him or Kyrie Irving. I’m not sure how much longer Rick Adelman can justify bringing Rubio off the bench behind Luke Ridnour – probably not long. MarShon Brooks, Norris Cole, Markieff Morris, Iman Shumpert, Brandon Knight, and Jimmer Fredette have all looked pretty impressive at times too.
Will Warriors be dead last in the Pacific (or in Western Conference)? What needs to be done/changed?
No, I think the Warriors are too talented to be dead last. I still think they are better than the likes of Phoenix, Minnesota, Utah, New Orleans, Sacramento and Houston.
They need to score points. Coach Mark Jackson has them playing better defense, but it’s come at the expense of their offense. They are averaging 14 LESS points a game this year!
Stephen Curry being out is a huge reason they have struggled, and even when he has played he hasn’t been 100%. They really need to think about doing whatever it’s going to take to get him better, even if that means sitting out an extended amount of time.
Name your top three FA that you think portland should go after next season
The number one FA is Raymond Felton. Assuming the rest of the season is as good as the start, they need him back. Being under the cap means they can pay him the going rate for a respected point guard.
After that they need a center. Camby may return, but it could be as a reserve at a much cheaper price, and Oden may not come back at all. (Check out the 2012 free agent list.) They need a center like Camby, just 10 years younger. Going after restricted free agent JaVale McGee might be a good idea, since they will have the cap space. To be real honest, other than Dwight Howard – whom they have no shot at – the rest of the best free agent centers are offensive players, which isn’t necessarily what they need. Chris Kaman wouldn’t be bad because he is a good rebounder.
I suppose that’s my list: Felton, McGee, Kaman. It’s not very sexy.
Love him or hate him, I think we all have to agree that David Khan thinks “outside the box”
1) Trades OJ Mayo for Kevin Love on draft night (everyone disagrees)
2) Trades for Michael Beasley when no one else would
3) Signs Darko Milicic when no one else would
4) Passes up Stephen Curry and drafts Ricky Rubio
Some GM’s don’t like taking risks, then here’s a guy that’s willing to go against the grain of 29 other general managers. Your thoughts.
Well, when you put it like that it’s hard to disagree with, isn’t it? The Beasley thing may not work out long-term, but he filled a gap that helped them get to Derrick Williams. Darko, as much as people rag on him, is a cheap center and worth what he is paid. Love’s play speaks for itself. I’m not ready to say Rubio was a better choice than Curry, but he might be a better fit for this team with so many weapons.
It’s quite possible David Kahn gets the last laugh here.
Thanks for all the great questions and we’ll do it again next week! Follow me on Twitter – @jfleminghoops.
Select a Team
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
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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
There is a lot of talk this time of year about trades regarding players and draft picks, but when making a trade in June there a few extra things to keep in mind. Here's the breakdown.
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