Lang Greene is a NBA Writer for HOOPSWORLD covering the Atlanta Hawks and Eastern Conference. Lang’s chat gets started at 8pm EST every Wednesday.
Who is the best player right now ? And can you please tell me the top 10 player right now? thank Lang.
What’s up Hoop Freaks? March Madness is about to begin. Almost NBA playoff time. Great time to be a basketball fan. Let’s get to it.
For my money LeBron James is the best player in the game today. Period. This is his time and the only person who can cut his reign short is himself. Top ten? Hmmm … I’ll give you the top eight starting with LeBron, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose (when healthy), Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook … no particular order …
The other two spots can be filled by any of these guys depending on the day of the week: Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki (age), Chris Bosh, James Harden, etc.
Hi Lang, Who do you think will be a better player in the long run, Valanciunas or Anthony Davis? I was really surprised Why Bryan Colangelo, didn’t sign Matt Barnes, after his stint w/ the Lakers. Eventually Barnes, signed w/ the Clippers. He would have been a perfect fit w/ Dwayne Casey’s system. Very disappointed as a fan?
Anthony Davis. No question. But, I’m not as high on him as most are though. Great talent, but there are some things I’m seeing early which I believe may hinder him. Still early though.
Bringing in a guy like Matt Barnes is a tough call to make. Personality wise. If your team is winning or has a high probability of winning, then fine, roll the dice on him. Barnes has been a solid veteran. But if you’re bringing him in to a losing situation, or in the case of Toronto, a situation where there are plenty of young guys and winning may not be abundant … I’d pass on him too. It’s all about the fit.
Hi Lang. Who can the Hawks bring this offseason in order for Josh Smith to stay in Atlanta?
Smoove doesn’t have a Dwight Howard-esque request list. Retaining (or losing) Smoove will likely come down to dollars and (common) sense.
Did you go to the Sloan Conference, Lang?
No. I was in New Jersey visiting my mother. But funny, since I work in the field of analytics you’d think I’d be there on the first thing smoking. I’m going next year though.
Hey Greene, I have a question
1) What’s gotten into Al Horford lately? I’m happy to see him producing cause of always admired him. I noticed in Feb his FGA went up by about 2 per game. Is that just him being more aggressive or is Coach intentionally feeding him more? He avg 21ppg on 63% FG, 11rpg and 1.8 blks.
Well there are a couple things here. First, I think Al is finally getting back to a healthy spot from his injury last season. Earlier this season he talked of trying to regain comfort in his body and his release mechanics. It also was an adjustment period for most guys on the team living without Joe Johnson who routinely attracted double teams every night.
Now this is my personal theory … the timing of Al Horford’s game raising came in the month of February … which is the host month of the … you guessed it … the trade deadline. I do think the Hawks evaluated offers for Josh Smith and in the process probably decided to take a look at Al Horford as the centerpiece of the offense during this time. Call it due diligence. Good question. Thanks.
I’ve noticed something about Lebron that makes it hard to take pity on him: for at least the last 5 years, at least in games I’ve watched, there will be a play where it looks like Lebron is really hurt, than on the NEXT possession (once he’s gotten up) he immediately scores. It almost never fails.
If this is the reason you’re finding not to like LeBron James, then I must say you’re really grasping at straws and just have a natural disdain for the man, which is cool by the way. As human beings we’re dynamic in that regard. What does it for me might not do it for you. Totally understandable. But I ask you to not make this your headlining reason.
I’ll go back to Sunday’s game, against the Knicks, where he came down hard on his left knee after a failed alley-oop attempt. LeBron stayed down for a moment, grimaced and then got up to scorch the Knicks the rest of the game.
Maybe he hammed it up a bit. Or maybe he was just taking a precaution. Depends on how you view him. I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Damian Lillard and Paul George future of their franchises? (When I say future I mean the guy unquestionable guy on play-off team)
I see what you’re saying. It remains to be seen whether those two guys can become true superstars (LeBron, Kobe, Durant, etc) … but as of now I can see them leading teams to the playoffs once they get some seasoning. This is a compliment by the way. For example, Danny Granger isn’t a superstar but he was able to lead Indiana to multiple playoff appearances as the leading man. I think Paul George can fit that mold in a couple years and w/ some seasoning possibly Damian. We shall see.
Whats up Lang,
Longtime reader 1ST question…
Being from memphis i watch the tigers every game and considering the way Geron Johnson and Joe Jackson have been playing why are they not on any mock drafts at all I believe geron can b be a 12pts 5r 3a can on any nba team and as for joe jackson he has been extramely consistent this year and has scored in double figures all but 4 games season your thoughts on the memphis tigers pls
Thanks for always checking me out and finally sending in a question. Appreciate you.
Well let’s get going … Not sure how you can see Geron being a 12/5 at the NBA level when he is a 10/3 guy in college. Next, Johnson and Jackson are both smaller guys. They are cut from the traditional “college point guard” mold … the 6’1 – 6’3 … 170 – 185 pound cut. Those types of guys are plentiful at the collegiate level. Smaller guys can make it, think Jeff Teague, but they need to be cooking. Jeff was a beast at Wake Forest – lightning quick with an ability to go beast mode. The numbers Geron and Joe are putting up are standard fare for guys that get minutes and have the green light, so the scouts are viewing them as solid collegiate guys who likely won’t be studs at the next level.
If the Spurs have overcome the “0.4 shot” by Derek Fisher (I mean if it was ruled as not counted), and let’s say Manu didn’t foul Dirk on his lay-up during the dying minutes of their Game 7, do you see the them achieving a FIVE-peat?
Do you see them eventually going to the NBA Finals and beating the 2004 Pistons and 2006 Heat? Because I do.
Your thoughts, please?! Thanks!
Hard to play the what-if game. in this instance. Because when you talk to those guys part of their motivation after those playoff defeats were coming back the next year to send a message. Just too many moving parts here.
They beat the Pistons in 2005 so I could totally see them taking out the 2004 group. Not sure if they could have gotten by the 2006 HEAT. Dwyane Wade was cooking in the Finals …
How good would the Knicks be if they had say a Kevin Martin playing the same role J.R. Smith holds??
You must have read my Twitter timeline because I posed the same question on Sunday. I think the Knicks would be as good as the Clippers. That level. A threat who is just one more piece away. I like JR Smith, but having him on your roster you’ll have to learn to live and die by some of his basketball decisions. Kevin Martin is just the higher IQ player. He wouldn’t take that errant three or throw the silly jump pass.
“I don’t really see how it can be let go,” Griffin said. “But I’m not going to do anything about it. I’m not going to cry and complain.”
That’s just an excerpt from a pretty long yak yak BG had with the press about it.
Isn’t that what he’s doing “cry and complain” about why Ibaka got a fine instead of a suspension?
BG kinda has a rep for….dramatics on court, flopping,”crying” to the refs, etc doesn’t he?
Something like no comment would be the way to go if he didn’t want to “cry and complain”?
Well you have to understand the dynamics of pre and postgame interviews. The media will ask enough questions to get the quotes needed for their story on most topics. You also have to understand what Blake is doing with his wordplay here as well. The guy is walking a tightrope and doesn’t want to be fined. Typically you start verbally questioning the league’s decision and they will come down on you either via fine or the next time you’re involved in a skirmish.
So, I don’t think Blake was crying and complaining. I think he was walking that tightrope. Showing his frustration aggressively then following it up with a passive “I’m not going to complain” ….
What trade package would you accept for Lebron James if you were the Miami Heat?
The answer can’t be nothing.
Let’s see … Kevin Durant AND Russell Westbrook.
What’s DH worth on the open market? He’s injury prone…a coach killer, I wouldn’t say he’s a “locker room” guy?
He’s more trouble than he’s worth at this point in his career. High Maintenance/High Money.
RC Buford or Sam Presti would avoid him like Crytonite…no, not good for business?
As a Coach or GM…he’s a major red-ass. Is he approaching “Starbury” status???
Like him, loathe him or love him, Dwight Howard will be a MAX player come this summer in free agency. Actually, I think if the Spurs had a legit chance to bring in a guy like Dwight Howard they would in a heartbeat.
Dwight isn’t a coach Killer. He helped propel Stan Van Gundy to the heights he sits at now and is one of the reasons why SVG will continue to make millions once he gets back into coaching. SVG is a good coach, I’m not saying he isn’t, but talent wins games in the NBA over the long haul.
Mike D’Antoni just isn’t a good big man coach. He has had trouble getting BOTH Pau Gasol and Dwight into a consistent rhythm this season. Read that line again. We’re talking about future Hall of Famers, multiple time All-Stars and Olympic medalists struggling. I’m not ready to put all that blame on Dwight.
Lastly, he is a good locker room guy. Most of his former teammates like him. But my question is does he have a championship type mindset … I say no … but I do see the signs of it starting to blossom in him though. Pay attention.
Lang, where can I start a petition to get rid of Jim Buss and put Jennie Buss in charge of Laker operations? Why did the best OWNER in history (Dr. Jerry Buss) leave us? And to make it worst, leave Jim in charge. Ugh!! I want to shoot myself.
Lol. Jim is catching a bad rap … the big thing I fault him with this season is the decision to bring in Mike D’Antoni after just five games. Could have rode with Mike Brown a little longer or paid Phil Jackson. I just think D’Antoni was the wrong move.
On the personnel side he brought in Steve Nash and acquired Dwight Howard to pair alongside Kobe and Pau Gasol. Lots of people had the team in the Western Conference Finals before the season began. Solid team on paper, but chemistry means a lot at the pro level. Can’t be measured, but will be reflected in the win/loss column.
Blazers are only 1 game behind the Lakers, and yet everyone gives the Lakers a fair chance to make the Playoffs, but no one gives the Blazers a chance. Explain?
Of course I can’t speak for everyone but maybe it has something to do with the fact the Lakers are 6-4 over their last ten games and the Blazers are just 3-7 over the same span. The Lakers seem to be peaking at the right time to make a run while the Blazers appear to be running out of gas as we approach the finish line.
Why don’t the Bucks trade Brandon Jennings. He doesn’t want to be there. Shouldnt they try and re sign Ellis and Reddick to be the starting back court, and maybe sign a free agent back up, or draft a pass first point. I think the bucks have a solid team, they maybe one or two pieces away from being a top 5 team in the east. you thoughts please.
In the NBA you don’t just give away assets. BJ very well might not be in the Bucks’ long term plans, but if they do decide to trade him, I expect the team to re-sign him first and then deal him once the market provides what they’re looking for in return.
Hey Lang, What’s Up?
Celtic question as usual. Celts are playing pretty good ball and it’s fun watching the ball movement (like 2008). Although I love Rondo, I actually think that the Celts would be better off trading Rondo to jump start their rebuilding. Clearly, Rondo is their best player and a top 10-15 player in the NBA. But I don’t think they can win (Championship) with him being their Best Player; he needs to be a 2nd or 3rd best player. And I don’t see a way that we can get a #1 or 2 star without trading Rondo. What kind of players/draft choices do you think Rondo would bring. Or do we need to wait until training camp when teams can see he’s recovered.
Or am I crazy?
What’s good my man? The problem is Rondo isn’t going to many places willingly without sulking and w/ a torn ACL his value at the moment isn’t at the highest. Trading him right now won’t get you near the value you need to truly jump start a rebuilding process. Also, it is my belief that Danny Ainge is trying to reload on the fly rather than completely rebuild like the Charlotte Bobcats for instance. Look at some of the moves Ainge has recently pulled off … bringing in young and talented guys like T-Will and Jordan Crawford.
As much as Ainge talked about breaking up the core before I don’t think he has the stomach to go all-in … I think he will continue trying to add young pieces, watch the cap space and brace for when KG and Paul Pierce hang up those laces for good.
I read your article about Nuggets emerging as a sleeper.
They are fun to watch but, I see them as too chaotic and haphazard style of play for the playoffs.
Who is their best center?
Who is their go-to crunch time scorer?
Which point guard runs the show with game on the line, Miller or Lawson?
IF the Nuggets get home court advantage in the first round, then pencil them in round two. They are almost unbeatable at home but truly struggle away from the Pepsi Center. I don’t have them getting out of the second round versus an OKC or San Antonio but they have enough horses to make it an interesting series against either and push it to six games.
By the way … very valid questions you noted too … lots of unknowns with this team come playoff time when rotations get shorter.
hey Lang do you see this offseason the pacers trading danny granger for eric gordon? the pacers get there shooting guard and the hornets can put austin rivers as the starting 2 guard with granger at the small forward spot thoughts?
Two guys with terrible knees, so equal risk for both parties here. But I don’t see why New Orleans would make the move. They are a young team and Danny Granger is likely finished being a true go-to guy. I don’t think he would fit in w/ their chemistry.
EG would be a solid fit in Indiana and also allows Paul George to play small forward full-time without restriction. I just don’t think there would be a market for this move.
Lang whats going on with you brother. Here we go.
1. Kover is a freeagent this summer i think he should resign if possible, think he’s an asset(pure shooter) you thoughts
2. If Drew is not the coach of the Hawks next season then give me your top three that might be
3. Whats the sales pitch that would get a major free agent to sign here in Atlanta, what do we have to offer
1. Korver has been lights on this year. No doubt, but the Hawks have to watch what they spend on him … he’s getting up there in age so you can’t afford to overpay. I think $4-$6 million per season is solid for three years.
2. First, Drew has done an outstanding job and proved a lot of people wrong. Respect to LD. Lots of good candidates out there, I would give Nate Mc a call. I could see Mike Brown also getting a call based on his previous connections w/ Danny Ferry.
3. Six straight playoff appearances. Plenty of cap room. And an All-Star sidekick (Al Horford) ready and waiting to rumble.
How far can the Nuggets go in the playoffs? What do you think they need to take the next step?
If they get home court, book them to the second round, but second round is their ceiling in the Western Conference. OKC is just two dominant for them and San Antonio is just to efficient.
Will the bobcats sign a decent fa? Who do you think they take in the draft?
The Bobcats are in a massive rebuild. Their philosophy isn’t to get too crazy bidding on a free agent.
Banking on a free agent who gets a huge deal is risky business. Draft wise, the Bobcats need help at almost every position. Got to go best available talent on the board. The rest will work itself out later.
My friend actually called the no-suspension for Ibaka… he said it was because their next game was going to be on national television… I didn’t believe him then, and am still in disbelief now… would the league really go lenient on such behaviour for TV ratings?
I’m always up for a little conspiracy theory … but I’m not sure on this one. I think they cut Serge a break because he’s been low profile when it comes to incidents like this. I also don’t think the league would bend over backwards for Serge being that he’s not an All-Star caliber guy yet. I could buy it more if it was Westbrook or Durant skating in a situation like this.
What’s the problem with Trey Burke. When i watch him i see a great pg with all the tools. But most mock drafts have him in the middle of the first round. What the problem can’t be height cp3 and ty Lawson are short pg playing at a all star level. Trey has produced at a high level all year.
Our man Yannis is the HOOPSWORLD collegiate expert, so he may have a more in-depth answer. I do think the size is impacting him. Burke measures at 6′ even in shoes. That is really average when you start talking about PGs at the pro level. He also tends to shoot first and his shot attempts in games I’ve seen have been erratic. Not JR Smith bad, but eyebrow raising for a PG.
He could very well be the next Damon Stoudamire or he could easily be another Salim Stoudamire / Quincy Douby (balling overseas though) type.
do you think it’s worth it to drop tristan thompson and pick up mo williams in fantasy?
Totally not a fantasy guy anymore. But Tristan gets you double-doubles consistently and shoots a high percentage.
Mo Williams has been banged up for most of the year. ON the surface alone, I wouldn’t make that move.
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Kobe Bryant is just days away from returning. ... Should Isaiah Thomas be starting for Kings? ... Sixers learning to manage expectations
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