Join NBA Writer Moke Hamilton for his weekly chat this Thursday, August 22nd at 8:00 PM Eastern
Hi Moke, first time chatting with you. Could you name 3 things that excites you the most for the new season?All i want to see is a new champion other than Heat,n Indiana got all my votes. Thank you
First, before we actually get this thing started, I want to say thanks to everyone for joining my first chat here on HOOPSWORLD. I am very happy to be here with you guys on this lovely evening and will get to as many questions as possible. There are quite a few (thanks), so I may have to put in some overtime, but again, I will get to as many as possible.
So, Tim, thanks for making the very quick question a fairly easy one. To be perfectly honest with you, I think the thing I am most excited about this season is Dwight Howard heading to the Rockets. In this day and age when superstars are worried mostly about their pockets, branding, and abilities to maximize their post-playing dollars, most guys would kill to be in Los Angeles. Dwight made what I believe is a good BASKETBALL decision in taking his talents to Houston and he did so for far less money than he could have made by staying in Los Angeles, taxes aside. Second, I would have to say is the Brooklyn Nets. I am interested in seeing what Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have left and I can’t wait to see how Jason Kidd manages that team. The third thing? I’d have to say seeing Kyrie Irving in action. I really like the team that the Cavs have put around him and I think I am putting them in as my early favorite to land the East’s sixth seed when the playoffs roll around.
Greetings from Germany
I have read that Lee is working on his 3 point shot to become a stretch 4. Have you heard something about this and do you think that he could become a good 3 point shooter?
How good would the Warriors small ball formation be against teams like the Grizzlies or Pacers?
What do you think about the situation in GS?
Greetings back to Germany. I spent time in Berlin and Munich and I love the place. Can’t wait to go back.
Anywho, David Lee is one of the hardest workers I have seen, so if he works hard to develop that shot, I do not see any reason why he would not. I am not one to doubt NBA All-Stars.
As for small ball, it really depends, but obviously, a team attempting to win a championship by playing small is cutting against the grain. That said, the Miami Heat have excelled with LeBron James playing power forward, so nothing is impossible. I do think the Warriors could have success playing Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala together, and I would probably take them over either the Grizzlies or Pacers in a seven game series, just because the team with the best player normally wins (Stephen Curry).
Overall? The situation in Oakland is good, those guys are right up there, IMO.
Are the Pacers the only team that can compete with the Miami Heat?
I certainly do not think so. I think the HEAT were exposed a bit last year in the playoffs. If a team has a credible post presence and good 3-point shooters, they can give Miami a lot of problems. As of right now, I would say that any of the other teams I expect to finish in the Top 5 of the East (with Miami and Indy) can give them some trouble. Aside from Indiana, if Derrick Rose is healthy, the Bulls have a shot. The Nets are loaded, and the Knicks are sporting a much stronger team, as well. I think the East is more open this season than in years past, for sure.
Moke, as a Knicks fan, please tell me that they’ll be okay, despite the acquisition of Andrea Bargnani.
Ok Deven, two in a row for you. Here is my take on the Knicks: the rest of the conference has gotten better, so the Knicks have flown under the radar. The core that won 54 games and won the Atlantic Division added some good pieces, and I think they are stronger this year than last. I think Bargnani, World Peace, and Udrih can all help the Knicks immensely. Problem is, everyone else is better, too… So yes, I think the Knicks will be “okay,” maybe even better than that.
Hi Moke. What do you think about Chris Paul becoming president of the NBPA? Is there a better candidate who should have been elected?
The few times I have interacted with Chris Paul, he was decent and respectful. I have never heard anything negative about him, personally. Those qualities do not necessarily make him a good president, but I do think it behooves the NBPA to have a superstar serving as the head of the union. Though most of the union are rank and file players, the mere presence of someone like Paul will cause more players to take union activity more seriously and if Paul is as good a leader off the floor as he is on the floor, the PA is in good hands. I have no opinion on other candidates.
Hi Moke. Why do you think Lebron is tight lipped about his free agency? What do you think his next move will be? And are there any Western Conference coaches on the hot seat?
That is a very good question. My honest opinion is that LeBron will do exactly what he did when he was a free agent last time. He won’t promise anyone anything and will take a look at all of his options when the time comes. People can say whatever they want about him going to Miami, and although he did flirt with a few cities (especially New York), from Day 1, he said he would go to where he had the best chance to win, and that is exactly what he did by going to the HEAT.
I think LeBron wants to get not five, not six, and not seven rings… When the time comes, I think he will evaluate his situation and go to whichever team he feels gives him the best chance to win. And by the way, the HEAT have already shown signs of being a team in cost cutting mode. I doubt LeBron will like that.
Western Conference coaches on the hot seat? That will be published on Friday night at 10PM ET. You gotta stay tuned for that, Brownskin.
Hey there Moke,
Think Artest would get a cheap shot on Dwight this season after Dwight taking off and leaving Metta to need to find a team and go to NY after how much he was loving it in LA?
The question just made me chuckle, Aristotle. I get the line of thinking, but the Lakers may have amnestied World Peace even if they re-signed Dwight. If they re-signed Dwight, the Lakers would have had a payroll hovering around $100 million, and the luxury tax bill would have been astronomical.
Does World Peace think Dwight’s departure led to his demise in LA? Maybe, but you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, son! I think World Peace will behave himself as a member of the Knicks.
Who did the best and worst in this summer’s transfer market? How bout the Nets? Do you think Paul Pierce should come off the bench to add scoring off the bench and have Kirilenko start?
There are a number of teams that have improved themselves this season, and not just via free agency. The Nets, Knicks, Rockets, Clippers, Pelicans and Cavaliers all immediately come to mind. If Andrew Bynum were healthy, I would be inclined to say the Cavaliers. Bynum, Jarrett Jack, and Earl Clark, I think is a great haul. Since there are questions about Bynum’s health, though, I would have to say the Rockets. Job well done by Daryl Morey in building that contender. The Detroit Pistons may deserve an honorable mention here, as well, nabbing Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.
VERY good questions on Pierce and AK47. I think that is actually a good idea since the team may struggled to find a good shot distribution between their top five players. Better question would be whether Pierce could accept that. I’ll ask Jason Kidd for you on media day, Scott.
Should golden state play small ball to keep Harrison Barnes on the court with Igoudala? If Asik stays in Houston should they play him and Howard on the court together?
I think I floated this a little earlier. Iguodala, at 6’6″ and Barnes at 6’8″ could certainly share time on the floor together, depending on the match up. A front line like Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol or Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter is not seen all that much around the league these days, so yes, I think you will see Barnes and Iggy together. Barnes was just far too productive in last season’s playoffs to see his minutes decrease.
Asik and Howard? Heavens no. Houston needs floor spacing, so a Power Forward with a jumper is a must. Plus, with Asik and Houston on the floor together, you’ve got two terrible free-throw shooters. I don’t like that idea.
Do you think owners learned their lesson from before the lockout? I feel like a lot of guys have gotten crazy contracts this year.
At the end of the day, the owners compete against one another and the NBA is a free market economy. If Team A is willing to pay Player X more than Team B, Player X usually ends up with Team A. It’s just economics, so no matter what, we will always see guys end up getting paid more than we think he is “worth,” IF there is a market for his services. Two prime examples are Beno Udrih and Kyle Korever. Udrih, a very productive point guard, signed with the Knicks for the veteran’s minimum of about $1 million. Korver got a 4 year deal worth $24 million. The difference is that Korver was in demand. If you are an NBA owner with a bigger checkbook and feel that an in demand player can help push your team closer to a title, you’re gonna spend. That’s just the way it works.
People don’t give dwight enough credit for how truly great of a player he was at orlando….. people say he doesn’t make players around him better…… but in fact look at the players around him in orlando and look at how they thrived….
Ok, so I assume that the question is whether Howard makes those around him better? Yes, he does. I would even go as far as to say that the public’s general discontent with Howard’s character makes them overlook his talent. And last season, when he was playing for a team he really did not want to be on and playing through a myriad of injuries, he did not perform very well. Big shock, I know?
When healthy, the guy impacts a game as well as LeBron James and is absolutely dominant. If he did not make those around him better (to your point, Paul), his 2009 Orlando team would have never had a chance at the NBA title, people just have short memories.
How secure would coach woodwards job be if he does not take the knicks further into the playoffs this season? Concerning the current health and future of phil jackson, do you think he could be the one to get the knicks over the hump knowing he only likes coaching superstars like carmelo anthony.
I think you will hear some serious questions about Mike Woodson’s chops as a coach if the Knicks do not get further this season than they did last season. That said, I do know that he has Jim Dolan’s support, at least for now. As long as Woodson keeps a good relationship with Carmelo Anthony, he will be alright. BUT, star players turn on their coaches all the time, especially if the team is not successful, so we have to wait and see.
Phil Jackson? That ship has probably sailed. He recently called the Knicks roster “clumsy,” and Jackson is far too honest and friendly with the media for Dolan’s liking. I do think Carmelo could thrive in a triangle, but the Knicks would need to juggle a few pieces to make that work, IMO. The pieces they have now fit Woodson’s Mike D’Antoni-like pick-and-roll, dribble dish offense… That is, when the Knicks actually dish.
Do you realistically see Lebron and Carmelo teaming up after the 2013-2014 season to play for the Lakers?
2013-14? Do you know something I don’t know? I thought both were under contract with the Knicks and HEAT, respectively?
I assume you mean 2014-15? Do I realistically see that? No, I don’t. Carmelo loves New York and loves being “the man” in New York. Personally (I want to stress that: PERSONALLY), I believe that he would have a very difficult time playing second fiddle to LeBron James, who may have three rings by the time their teaming up is feasible. Also, Kobe Bryant may still be in Los Angeles, as well. Even assuming Kobe re-signed for a massive pay cut to allow the Lakers to sign both Carmelo and LeBron, the Knicks could blow the Lakers out of the water financially.
By rule, the Knicks can offer Carmelo a five-year max. deal, while the Lakers could only offer four. Don’t quote me, but when I calculated the numbers, I think the difference worked out to about $30 million. I don’t see Carmelo giving that up.
Do you think the addition of Ron Artest ( yeah I said Ron) is enough to offset the defensive deficiencies we already had, not to mention Bargnani?
By “we,” I assume you mean the Knicks.
Defense is a team concept, so I would probably never say that any one player can “offset” the deficiencies. That said, with World Peace (or Artest), Tyson Chandler, and Iman Shumpert, the Knicks have three phenomenal defensive players. Pablo Prigioni is good on the ball, as well, and J.R. Smith has shown an ability to defend when he tries. Defensively, I think the Knicks will be just fine, I think whether they rise to the top of the East again will depend on what Bargnani can give them. Carmelo Anthony absolutely needs someone who poses an offensive threat playing at the Center spot, and Bargnani, if healthy, can do that in spurts… But Woodson has to make it work.
What will indiana do with two Danny granger and paul George? With them being so similar in style… How big do you think Brooklyn’s window is with their aged stars? Thanks.
The hour is just about up, but I am going to put in some overtime. Thanks for being here with me.
Tivon, the Pacers were obviously a great team with Paul George playing small forward and Lance Stephenson playing the shooting guard (Brooklyn, stand up!). I think Granger can provide a lot of value for the Pacers as a sniper off the bench. He is a superb 3-point shooter and the Pacers could certainly use the firepower.
That being said, with the addition of Chris Copeland, they may not be looking at Granger to fill that role. Granger is entering the final year of his contract which means he will be a valuable trade commodity, so I think he ultimately gets dealt, or walks as a free agent in July 2014.
You seem to be in the minority for liking what the Bucks have done this off season. What specifically about their roster gives you the sense that they could be onto something in Milwaukee? I’m a life long Bucks fan, and outside of the Big 3 years and some competitive times in the 80s (Sikma, Cummings, Moncrief, etc), there is usually not much to look forward to.
Hey Keith. There are a number of things. First, I am a huge O.J. Mayo fan. I think he is a solid all-around player who is a starting shooting guard in the NBA. He has his flaws as a player, but I have always liked him. Before things fell apart for him in Memphis, he showed some serious potential.
And that’s the perfect word to use for Brandon Knight. Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, Zaza Pachulia, Carlos Delfino? Come on, Keith, how are you not excited about this team. Like I said, there may not be one or two superstars on this team, but I think they have eight or nine solid rotation guys whose collective talents should be able to win them some games.
By the way, Giannis Antetokounmpo has the potential to be a special, special player.
Injuries aside, are the Nets good enough to win a championship? Or do they just fall short in their ceiling?
If they are all 100 percent healthy and if Kidd proves himself to be a coaching prodigy, then they could do it. It’s highly improbable, but definitely not impossible. The Nets have just as good of a chance of winning the title as the Knicks, Bulls, and Pacers, in my opinion. It’s Miami, and then everyone else in the East… At least until proven otherwise. But yes, they certainly have a chance.
Everyone is penciling in the Nets as a 2 or 3 seed but I feel it’ll take some time for things to come together especially w/a rookie HC in Kidd. I think Pacers are 2nd best team in east. How do you think the Nets season will unfold?
I think the Knicks win the Atlantic Division, not because they are necessarily better than the Nets, but because the Nets have aging veterans in Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. Those guys are playing for the championship. Whether they get it or not is another question, but I do think they will all be content with winning 45-50 games, getting into the playoffs as a top four seed, and rolling the dice. I don’t think they’ll get No. 2 or No. 3 just because I don’t think it’s all that important to them.
Ask me again in a few weeks, I may have changed my mind, though. *ducks*
Knicks starting five?
After this question, I’ll take three more…
Hi Rhonda! You’ve been following me for quite some time now, I gotta say, I appreciate the loyalty and am happy that you took the trek over the HOOPSWORLD to participate in my first chat.
Knicks starters? I was actually discussing this with some SNY colleagues earlier this evening. It’s a tough call since the Knicks had super success with Felton and Prigioni as their starting backcourt down the stretch of last season. The addition of Beno Udrih as potential first point guard off the bench makes that starting backcourt very possible, so I’ll go with that.
You’ve gotta start Shumpert and obviously Carmelo… And Chandler, too, right? If I had to choose, I’d say that the Knicks will start the same lineup they started in their final playoff game of last season… Felton, Prigioni, Shumpert, Anthony, and Chandler.
World Peace and Bargnani could enter the starting lineup if Mike Woodson elects to move Anthony back to the small forward spot (which I would do, personally). In that case, I would start Felton, Shumpert, Anthony, Bargnani, and Chandler.
I think the Knicks will be the second best team in the east this. Mostly because of their additions. What do you think?
If I had to choose right now, I would put them third. I think whichever team wins the Central Division (either the Bulls or Pacers) will have a better record than the Knicks, but I do not see both teams being better than them. So, my top 5 out East, in order, would be Miami, CHI/IND, New York, IND/CHI, Brooklyn.
Pinning the Nets as No. 5 is a tough thing to do since I recently said I expect them to win 55 games and the division, but it’s just so tough to call. The Knicks could easily end up fifth… That’s what makes this season so exciting, the conference is really competitive up top.
Man, I’m glad the chat is almost over, I may change my mind again.
Considering that Nets forwards last year, Humphries + Evans + Stackhouse + Wallace averaged 13.5 points last year and won 49 games why is everyone thinking the upgrade to Pierce + Kirelenko & KG can’t get 30+ together and make a 49 win team a 60 win team
After this, we will take one more question. Thanks for sticking with me.
I was debating exactly that on Twitter earlier today, Mr. Draper.
60 wins may be a stretch. As I just told Craig, the conference is much better… I’m not even sure I would pick Miami to win 60 games this season, honestly.
The other obvious thing to look at for the Nets is that they may simply not be interested in front running and TRYING to win 60 games. If they all stayed healthy and all played to their abilities, then yes, they certainly have the collective talent to be a 60-win team, but I just don’t see that for THIS bunch because I think their focus will be on the bigger picture.
I’d say that 52-55 wins is a more reasonable estimate because I expect they will coast over the final 7-10 games of the regular season.
Hi Moke, greetings from Italy. What do you think about Danilo Gallinari and the Nuggets? Can Gallo take them to the top? Do you put him into the best 6 small forward in the League?
And what about the Nets and clutch shots? Who will take the most important shots?
This is the final question for tonight. Thanks again for sticking with me. I will be back here each and every Thursday from 8:00PM ET to 9:00PM ET answering any and all of your NBA questions.
Now, for you Federico…
Italy! Roma! Lecce! Salento! Ti amo!
Did I say that correctly?
Top 6 small forward in the NBA? That’s tough. Obviously, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony are my Top 3. Luol Deng is in there and so is Paul George. That means that Gallo is battling Rudy Gay, Nicolas Batum, Andre Iguodala, and Jeff Green for my sixth spot. Hmmm… I think I would have to go with Iguodala as No. 6, but it’s a tough call.
I like Gallo, but the Western Conference is so tough, the Nuggets need at least one dominant scorer to get to “the top.” Gallo may develop into that player, but he is not, not yet, anyway.
As for the Nets, I think Joe Johnson has to be Option A for the final shot, just because of his proficiency in those situations last season. If he’s not available, then I’d go to Pierce.
Again, thanks for joining me. This was fun. I’m exhausted, and now, it’s time for dinner. See you guys next week. Same Moke time… Same Moke place.
Select a Team
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
Join NBA Writer and Columnist Moke Hamilton for his weekly NBA chat at 1:00 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 6. Answering any and all questions related to the NBA and his Weekly Power Rankings.
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