Join NBA Writer and Columnist Moke Hamilton for his weekly NBA chat on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8PM ET. Answering any and all questions related to the association.
Hi Moke, we are 1 more week closer to NBA tips off its new season and good to have you back. Faltered to be the first one getting question answered last week.Thank you. My question is about andrea bargnani.He had 1, or 2 good seasons in Toronto which is why he got selected as no.1 overall and get his rookie contract extended. But he fell out short and never lived up to his standard. when i was a toronto resident, we were hoping to grab a future dirk nowitzki. Do you see him coming any closer to that? Dirk started slow but have to say his best years r when he was late 20s, early 30s.thus, Andrea still have time i think. Thank you
Hey Tim and thanks to everyone for joining me this week. I apologize for the late start, but we will still be here for a full hour and I’ll be taking any and all of your questions related to the association. Let’s get the party started…
Tim, I think asking any European born player to be “the next Dirk” is almost like asking a player to be “the next LeBron” or “the next Kobe.” Dirk is probably one of the all-time great power forwards to play the game. He is a member of Larry Bird’s 50-40-90 club and is an NBA Champion. Greatness like that is not replicated often nor easily, so no, I do not think Andrea Bargnani will be anywhere near the player that we remember Dirk as once it’s all said and done.
The way things are looking right now (and I emphasize right now) is that Bargnani will be lucky to be remembered in the same category as a guy like Tony Kukoc. Titles aside, Kukoc was regarded as a big-time player, and I don’t think Bargnani is even close at this point. Just remember I said “right now,” and I do think Bargnani will help the Knicks this season, for what it’s worth.
Hey Moke, as a Knicks fan, I want to know why you picked them to win the Atlantic again, which I greatly appreciate by the way!
Hi Deven. I see you submitted two questions here, so I’ll take them in turn since you got them in early…
I think I picked the Knicks the Atlantic Division again for two reasons. First, I think the additions of Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, Beno Udrih and even young guys Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Jeremy Tyler (once he returns from injury) make the Knicks a much better team than they were last year, at least on paper. I’m very high on Udrih, by the way. So, first, the Knicks are better.
Next, for the Nets, with what they have assembled, their only goal this season is to win a championship. Knocking the HEAT off in the second round and then losing to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals (in theory) would be a miserable failure. For that reason, I think the Nets are simply not going to get caught up in the race to win the Atlantic Division. I think they will realize that the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and you will see Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez and Paul Pierce all take games off to make sure they’re fully rested for the postseason.
At the end of the day, I’d peg the Knicks to be somewhere between 52 an 54 wins and for the Nets to be right behind them at between 50 and 52. Again… I do not think the Nets are going to be super concerned with winning the division.
What’s the latest on Andrew Bynum?
The latest on Andrew Bynum is pretty much the same as the old on Andrew Bynum. At this point, I have probably read and heard the same things as you. There was a report earlier this week that said that Bynum is probably going to miss the entire preseason and that the “hope” is that he will be ready for the first game of the regular season.
Last month, I heard that he was spending a considerable amount of time at the Cavaliers training facility and that he was working hard to get back.
One thing that is important to keep in mind here… Bynum missed an entire season. Typically, when guys are out for as little as two weeks, returning is difficult. Pro athletes are machines and their bodies are conditioned. When guys miss considerable time, getting back into tip-top shape and getting back one’s wind and endurance, it’s a process. The Cavs could be erring on the side of caution here, so I’m not ready to call Bynum’s partially guaranteed two-year deal a bust just yet.
Hello, have you heard anything about renaldo balkman? He was killing it at the Fibas Americas tournament and should have been MVP. He should at least get some invites.
Hey Jose. I am doing some work with the Jamaican Basketball Federation and have been paying close attention to their ascent in the international basketball world over the past few years, so yes, I was keeping a close eye on the FIBA Americas tournament.
There are two things as it relates to Balkman. First, is that he was playing against inferior competition in Venezuela. No disrespect intended to any of those guys or any of the NBA players that were in the tournament (Gustavo Ayon did very well, too). But you have to look at his production there through the proper lens.
Now, Balkman played in the NBA because he is a good basketball talent and from what I hear, that was never in doubt. The complaints I have heard about him had more to do with his work ethic. In Venezuela, at the very least, he proved he can still play basketball and I would not be surprised to see him in the NBA again in the near future… But when a talented player like Balkman ends up not being in the league, it usually has to do with things other than “basketball reasons,” and that is the case here.
Hey Moke, Is/was Pat Riley a better NBA executive or coach?
I don’t mean to discount his coaching career, but I could coached Magic, Kareem, Worthy and company to a few championships.
He only coached frontrunners, much like Phil Jackson. That could mean that he was perceived to be good enough to pick and choose his jobs I suppose?
That’s a very good question, Jim, and it’s not one that I have heard anyone ask before.
Personally, I think discrediting a coach (like Jackson or Riley) who takes elite talents to the promise land is unfair. My response to that would be to ask whether or not Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade or Kobe Bryant would have won their titles without Pat Riley or Phil Jackson. Maybe they would have, but who’s to say they would? It’s something we should just stop talking about, in my opinion, especially when you consider the amount of talented coaches out there (Rick Adelman comes to mind), who have had super talented teams but were never able to win the whole thing.
As for whether Riley was a better executive or coach, it is nearly impossible to answer, especially after he brought Patrick Ewing to within one game of winning an NBA title back in 1994. If I had to choose, I’d go ahead and say executive, just because of what he has accomplished in Miami, and I mean even before LeBron James and Chris Bosh… I’m specifically thinking about the Miami Heat of the mid-1990s. If you go back and track Riley’s moves, I think you’d agree that he rarely missed when it came to evaluating talent and assembling pieces to a great team.
Who do you think will have the top perimeter defense, top interior defense, and who will have top overall defense?
Interesting question, AJ. I think both the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies are defensive juggernauts that strike fear into their opponents. The same can be said for the Spurs and the Heat. If Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng share the floor together (odds are, they will), then they have the potential to be a superb defensive team on the perimeter.
I can’t single out any one team in particular here, but the ones I mentioned are the ones that immediately come to mind. I’ll throw the Thunder in there, as well.
Good evening Moke, hope all is well with you. Less than 2 weeks to NBA camps opening; most NBA writers seem to in general agree that in the 13/14 West, the following 7 teams are probably playoff bound: DEN-GSW-HOU-LAC-MEM-OKC-SAS(alphabetically). I agree. That leaves just one spot to be decided, realistically among just 3 teams: LAL-MIN-POR(alpha’d). I mostly agree, but to me it’s really only two: MIN-POR; I don’t think LAL did enough in off-season to keep 7th(or 8th seed), and there is still question of when Kobe will be able to fully contribute. Let’s face it, without Bryant their defense AND offense would be crippled. My question: have I analyzed 13/14 NBA West generally correct or am I missing something?
Hi Greg. Im doing well, man. I’ll tell you, though, the weather in New York City needs to make up its mind. We’ve had 80 degree days and 50 degree nights… It’s becoming a bit confusing. Now, for your question…
I was actually discussing this on Twitter last week. I have six teams who already have their tickets punched out West. In no order, HOU, LAC, MEM, OKC, SAS, GSW. I am not sure that the Nuggets get in this year just because I think the losses of Andre Iguodala and Corey Brewer will hurt them immensely. There is also the questionable knee of Danilo Gallinari… I think Ty Lawson can drag them there, but it’s not a certainty.
So, for me, I put DEN, LAL, POR, MIN, and DAL into the “teams on the bubble” group. If six spots are taken, then that means two of those teams get in. If I had to choose right now, I think I would pick POR and DEN. The bottom line is that it is a very tough call, but I think you’ve analyzed the situation correctly. Each of those five teams will have a very tough fight to make the playoffs. For what it’s worth, there are some who think the Pelicans have a shot at getting in, as well. Personally, I don’t see it, but if you ask 10 people to pick the seven teams out West that don’t get in, you would have a lot of different answers.
What is your expectation for Brooklyn this season? Will Kidd be able to command the respect of the veteran roster? Will the players accept (slightly) lesser roles given the amount of overall talent?
I do not think that Jason Kidd will have a problem getting respect from his players. Players usually tune out coaches who they cannot relate with or coaches who are “out of touch” with the culture of NBA players in the era in which they are coaching. That is not the case with Kidd, and with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the locker room, I do not see that being a problem, at all. Kidd is a champion and every single player on his roster watched him become one of the greatest point guards in the history of the game and saw him help the Dallas Mavericks pull off one of the biggest upsets in NBA Finals history. Respect will not be an issue.
As for the Nets, I think they will win right around 50 games this season, I would say 55 on the high-end. They are talented enough to win more, but I think they will realize that the season is not a sprint, but a marathon. They may even cede the Atlantic Division to the Knicks come March/April.
Those guys are all winners, they are all good guys, and it will work. If they get to the playoffs healthy, I would probably peg them to challenge the HEAT in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it depends on how the brackets play out. It’s tough to call. I can’t wait.
Which teams says no to this trade?
Houston gets Ryan Anderson
Minny gets Asik
New Orleans gets Pek
I would think that Flip Saunders would be the one to say no in this instance. I’m not sure why he would trade Nikola Pekovic just a month after signing him to a lucrative contract. And me personally, I think Pekovic is a far superior basketball talent than Asik. Ryan Anderson obviously makes sense for the Rockets and the Hornets would probably be thrilled to get Pekovic… But I don’t see the Timberwolves being enticed by this offer.
Moke loving the smile brother!
now for the question.
What do you believe to be the ceiling for the warriors this season. a healthy bogut and a improving curry and Thompson with the solid veteran defensive leadership of igoudola? i am thinking top 3 in west.
Hi David. Yea, I tend to switch up the pictures a bit. I have one that scowls and one that smiles. The smile seems to attract more questions, so maybe we’ll stick with that one for a while. Credit to the photographer, by the way. Trust me, I look much worse in person (lol).
The ceiling for the Warriors? Truth of the matter is I simply don’t know. Here’s what we have: Andrew Bogut is one of the few “true” centers in the game and he is excellent on both ends of the floor. His career trajectory has been limited by his injuries. David Lee, while he struggles defensively, is probably the perfect power forward. His post game is not nearly as polished as LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph, and he does not shoot as well as Kevin Love, but what I love about Lee more than those other three guys is his basketball IQ. He is a phenomenal passer and his instincts are just flat out awesome.
Andre Iguodala only happens to be, in my opinion, one of the best intangibles/glue guys to enter the league over the past 10 years. Stephen Curry is a combination of Gilbert Arenas and a young Jason Kidd and Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes are probably two of the most highly valued sub-25 year old players in the league.
How’s that for some love?
The ceiling? It is really impossible to say. If they all stay healthy and grow as a team, they can topple the Clippers in the Pacific Division. I would say 55 wins and a third seed is certainly within the realm of possibility.
Hey Moke why are the Knicks being over looked as a legit threat to Miami? Also I believe that people will be surprised by Andrea Barnarni. Also where do you think Stephen Jackson ends up?
Be blessed man!
This is going to be out final question for tonight. Thanks again for joining me, everyone! See you next week.
Hey Sam. Thanks for taking the trek over the HOOPSWORLD for the chat. I know you usually get at me on Twitter. Always enjoy talking hoops with you.
Let me ask you this: When was the last time the Knicks were NOT overlooked? But in all seriousness, here is why you, objectively, cannot think that the Knicks can beat the Heat in a seven game series. First, LeBron James is a better basketball player than Carmelo Anthony. Second, the Knicks have not yet proven that they have a post-threat on the offensive end (like Tim Duncan or Roy Hibbert) who can take advantage of Miami on the interior. Third, the Knicks, overall, rely heavily on three-point shots and outside shooting.
Objectively, it is difficult to conclude anything different. Where I think the Knicks have a shot is with their depth. Their second unit should be able to outscore Miami’s. But most analysts would probably give both the Nets and Pacers better odds of beating the HEAT than the Knicks or Bulls, mainly due to the interior offense/rebounding need against Miami (and even the Bulls are better than the Knicks in that department).
We’ll be back next Thursday at 8:00 p.m. ET. Thanks again.
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
In HOOPSWORLD's Week 6 Power Rankings, the Lakers get a jolt, the HEAT and Pacers fall and the Trail Blazers rightfully rise.
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