Join NBA Writer and Columnist Moke Hamilton for his weekly NBA chat on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8PM ET. Answering any and all questions related to the association.
It is unfortunate that the Nets pulled off a blockbuster deal after they hired Jason Kidd. It is better to put such rosters in experienced hands, namely Phil Jackson (who i know turned down the Nets), or Stan Van Gundy (a better coach who is currently without a job). What do you think?
Thanks again for joining me this week, guys (and gals). First and foremost, I want to say that I appreciate the questions that are pouring in. I will do my best to get to as many as possible, so with that, let’s get it on!
Hi Tim, in a sense, I agree with you. Kidd definitely has some lofty expectations and asking a rookie head coach to guide a team to a championship… I’m not sure if that’s anything we’ve ever seen before. What it really boils down to for the Nets and for Kidd is whether or not the franchise is willing to be patient with him. If it takes Kidd two or three years to learn how to be an effective head coach, will they give him that? Will they allow him to become a fixture like Jerry Sloan once was? I honestly think that he will be afforded the opportunity to learn on a job. One other thing about his hire… It has completely galvanized the Brooklyn fan base. I like the move on a few levels, but definitely understand your points. In all, I think I support the move, personally.
When discussing Dwight Howard in one of your chats, you are quoted as saying “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.” I will have to respectfully disagree about the far less money aspect. There was much made about the “cost of living” expense difference between the two cities… Taking into account cost of living, no income tax, etc. where are you getting the far less figure from (as there were many reports which took all these factors into account and proved money was near equal). Can you please elaborate on this statement?
Hmmm… Asking to defend a position in a previous chat? I must have made the big time…
Sweet Dee, I am aware of all of that stuff but the bottom line is that Dwight took less guaranteed money to sign with the Rockets. We cannot assume that he will play three years at the same high level and then sign a new five year deal with the Rockets. What if his back issue is debilitating? What if he is never the same player? As a professional athlete, you never know when you may have signed your last contract. If, for argument’s sake (and I pray this is not the case) Dwight suffers a career ending injury, he will never recoup the $25 million or $30 million he left on the table in Los Angeles. And again, he left it on the table in the name of winning. I respect that.
In one of your chats, you said you would take Golden State over both Indiana and Memphis in a seven game series, just because the team with the best player normally wins (Stephen Curry). Does this mean if you were starting a team from scratch, you would take Curry over both Paul George and Marc Gasol
Yea Charlie… That was definitely a bit of a shotgun answer. To be honest with you, thinking back on it now, I may be inclined to take either of the other two teams because they both have awesome defensive weapons (Paul George and Tony Allen) that can be used to slow Curry down. It’s a tough, tough call. As of this moment, I’d like to change my answer to the Pacers. Is that allowed?
As for your question. If I was starting a team today, I would have a VERY tough decision choosing between the three. They are all transformational players, in my opinion. George has a small sample size, but I think I would lean toward him mainly because I have concerns about Curry’s durability and George is much younger than Gasol. Holy cow, what a tough question, though.
Why didn’t Cleveland go with the obvious choices the last couple of drafts? They could of had a core of Irving, Oladipo, Barnes and Valanciunas but instead they reached for players.
It’s a fair question, Robert… But there are some that thought that Greg Oden was the “obvious” pick over Kevin Durant, too. The bottom line is that a good general manager has to go with his instincts. History has shown us that correctly predicting a player’s ceiling is one of the toughest things to do. And the other thing we should point out here is that the jury is still out on most of these players. How do we know that Dion Waiters will not end up being the next James Harden? Tristan Thompson is nowhere near his ceiling. If I’m the Cavs, I feel pretty good about what I have right now.
I will give you Barnes, though. From what I have seen (and granted, it’s not much, he’s only been in the league for one year) he looks like a special player. Still, it’s early. Tyreke Evans and O.J. Mayo (two guys I love) both looked “special” after their rookie years, too…
We owe the Cavs a little more time before we hate these picks, I think.
I see alot of people knocking Dallas this year and while I agree they have their work cut out for them they do have some intriguing players that appear to fit together. Calderon, Ellis and Nowitzki offensively will be able to put the ball in the basket while getting others involved (Calderon and Ellis combined for 13 Assists/GM last year). Marion and Dalembert are defesive specialists and am I wrong to be intrigued by Blair and Wright off the bench in the front court? That leaves Harris, Carter and Crowder to relieve the starters on the perimeter. Why all the hate? they swung and missed on their first option, but they look competitive on paper.
Hi Josh. I actually agree with you here. I think Calderon, Ellis and Nowitzki form a nice triumvirate and I think Ellis is exactly the type of player that Nowitzki needs to play with at this stage of his career.
One thing that fans often do, though, is accuse the “media guy” of being “a hater” or having some sort of bias against a certain team. Here’s the truth: we all wish we were correct 100% of the time. Nobody is actually going to pick against a team that they, deep down inside, feel is going to win. Now, you can make the argument that there is some deep-seeded sentiment in a guy’s spirit that would make him unable to make an objective call… But I really don’t think that’s the case.
When you simply look at the Western Conference and realize that six playoff spots are pretty much already taken and consider who the Mavericks will be battling for one of those last two spots, I think it’s quite easy to pick them to be on the outside looking in. I’m sorry to say, but that’s a valid opinion and I have no reason to be a Mavericks hater. I love the city of Dallas and I think Mark Cuban is one of the best owners in all of sports.
Today, in a surprise move, the Knicks hired former management staffer: Steve Mills as GM, current GM Glen Grunwald demoted to ‘advisor’; the timing is ‘weird’ to me (day before NBA media day?). Also Knicks under Grunwald were a ‘righted ship’, solidly back in playoff contention (NOT the case under?/with? Mills earlier years). All of this is very confusing to a non-close follower of the Knicks; What is your very early take on this? Had you detected Dolan displeasure with Grunwald enough prior to this to see it coming at some point? If Knicks ‘disappoint’ this season, who’s fault: Glen, Steve, (or Dolan?).
For someone who doesn’t follow the Knicks “closely,” I would say you pretty much nailed it on the head.
It is simply befuddling to me that Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas both ran the Knicks for more years that Donnie Walsh and Glen Grunwald. I’ve gone on the record multiple times as saying that I think most of Grunwald’s moves were great. The one I can think of that I did not like was the Marcus Camby acquisition. But yes, he certainly seemed to be doing right by the franchise. I mean, on his watch, they won their first division title since 1994!
Personally, I did not see this move coming and it was a complete shock to me, especially because I had heard that Steve Mills was close to being named as Billy Hunter’s full-time successor as the Executive Director of the Players Union.
If the Knicks fail, it all starts and ends with ownership. Knicks fans, unfortunately, cannot fire their owner. But yes, his decision making (Dolan) has been questionable, to say the least.
What’s good Moke, great work by the way..
Help me grasp my head around another “Dolan”
Bite! I asked you last week about Woodsen being on the
Hot Seat, how do you feel about it now? With Grunwald out
And a New GM in has to be tough for him now don’t you think?
Hi Tito. Thanks for the love, my friend. Thanks for the question, as well.
Most people would tell you that Mike Woodson is on the hot seat now and that’s just like in the NBA. We have seen head coaches become so disposable that anytime there is a general manager change, the coach is believed to be on his way out.
To be honest with you, Yes, I agree in this case. I think Mike Woodson will be given an opportunity to do what he can with the Knicks this season, but unless they manage to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals (which is possible, though very tough), I think he will be ousted.
I don’t see a change happening anytime in the near future but after covering the Knicks for two years, I have learned to expect the unexpected, so I suppose we will see. But yes, I would not want to be Woodson right now.
Word on the street, for what it’s worth, is that Dolan likes Woodson, though, so that’s a plus for the coach.
How bad is Trey Burke going to be this year? He struggled mightily during Summer League. Yet has supreme confidence, talking about how successful he is going to be this year (ROY). Utah only has Ian Clark and John Lucas 3rd as back-ups.Is this position going to be what holds the Jazz back this year.
Funny you ask that question, Charlie. I actually picked Burke as my Rookie of the Year. He did struggle in the summer league, but here’s something important to consider… A guy like Burke does not have much at stake in the summer league. What is his motivation for performing? Why risk getting hurt? Most highly drafted players like to hang out and put in some work, but I would never, ever put any stock in how a guy plays in a summer league, and I say that whether he tears it up or stinks it out.
Give Burke 15 regular season games. I think by then, you will have seen at least a few flashes, especially playing with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. I will be watching that team closely this year, that’s for sure.
In your opinion, which team will win more regular season next year and why: Detroit Pistons or Cleveland Cavaliers
Hey Frank. That’s a great question. I’m on record as saying the Cavaliers. I like their pieces and I am a big believer in Kyrie Irving. That’s all there is to it for me.
I think Brandon Jennings has a lot of potential and I think he can learn a lot from Maurice Cheeks and Chauncey Billups. He also has some good big men to play with. Imagine if Kyrie and Andre Drummond were on the same team? Wow.
It’s tough to call, especially considering the Cavs’ injury concerns but I’m inclined to say I’ll go with whichever of the point guards have a better season, and at this point, I am picking Irving… so I guess I am picking the Cavs.
The New Orleans Hornets seem to have a stacked backcourt with Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordan, Tyreke Evans, and Austin Rivers. Are they planning on continue to play Rivers at back-up PG? And in your opinion, is their frontcourt too thin for them to be true playoff contenders.
Hornets? Did someone say Hornets? Dennis… You owe me $2.
The PELICANS have done a nice job this summer. Austin Rivers seems to be a forgotten man. I saw him in Miami during the Finals and he looked great. During the Summer, he spoke with HOOPSWORLD and is focused on being the best Sixth Man he can possibly be, so for now, I would say that he is under the impression that he will be a backup combo guard, perhaps a bit like Jarrett Jack.
I think the Pelicans are a few years away from making serious noise in the Western Conference. Yes, I think they are too thin up front. Slap Nikola Pekovic or Al Jefferson on that team and it’s another story… But for now, give them some time to gel, they’ll be great. But personally? I don’t see playoffs this year for them, though I know some other minds differ.
How much is Kendrick Perkins going to hurt OKC? He seems older and slow and some even discussed using the amnesty clause on him due to his diminishing skill level. Will he stop them from being #1 seed in the West. And what do you think of the back-up centers: Stevens Adams and Hasheem Thabeet.
It’s true that Perkins was woefully bad last season… I think the major question is whether or not the Thunder would actually be better off without him. Who do you replace him with if you amnesty him?
As for Thabeet, he may be a lost cause. He is entering his seventh year in the league and he just hasn’t shown much, in my opinion. Adams may leapfrog him in the rotation, and I don’t think anyone would be the least bit surprised about that.
Unfortunately for Thunder fans, I actually think the team is regressing quite badly. If they’re going to sniff another NBA Finals, they’re going to need Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb to be amazingly good.
I read Russell Westbrook has not yet been cleared to play. Do you expect him to play opening day this season? Do you think the injury will impact him or should be expect the same old Russell.
Smitty, I know Westbrook WANTS to play on opening day, but he also wants to be fully healthy. It’s a balance and I really don’t know the answer. As for the injury… A meniscus tear is something NBA players experience rather frequently and I don’t think it’s permanently debilitating. At this point, I believe that we will eventually see the same player, but after not playing hoops for a few months, it will take him some time to regain his explosiveness. I think by January, he should be back at 100 percent.
But, obviously, I’m not doctor. I only play one on HOOPSWORLD.
Marcin Gortat in a contract year, which often leads to huge stats due to the extra motivation (surprise, surprise). With a fairly mediocre starting line-up, where Goran Dragic and Gortat seem to be the only veteran contributors, do you expect a big year from Macin? What is a reasonable stat line for Phoenix fans to expect?
Honestly, Cricket… I think Gortat is one of the more underrated centers in the NBA. His numbers were down a bit last season as compared to his 2011-12 season, but that was probably the Steve Nash effect. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’d expect his numbers to jump significantly this season. Playing with Eric Bledsoe might help him, but Gortat will turn 30 years old during this season. By the time he hits the market on July 1, he will be closing in on his 31st birthday. I’d peg his fair market value, based on his production, somewhere in the $9 million per year range. I think that’s what he ultimately gets from someone.
Is Pau Gasol poised for a breakout year now that he’s back to his natural center position? How do you think the Kaman / Gasol pairing will work out this year? Do their skill sets compliment each another?
Ricky, for a long time, I thought Pau Gasol was one of the best centers in the NBA. He can literally do EVERYTHING on the floor. I think he can play with any other center in the league, honestly… He just needs a coach and a gameplan to bring it all together. I’m not sure if I would call it a “breakout” more than a revival. I think he will be better off sure, but I think Mike D’Antoni has to help him, as well.
If healthy, he is definitely a part of the solution. Gasol, that is.
Looking at their roster, San Antonio seems very thin in the frontcourt after Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter. They lost Duan Blair (major contributor during regular season) didn’t replace him. And have Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner (neither are young showstoppers). Would you agree they are thin in the frontcourt? And would you be concerned about their depth at the 4-5 spots if you were a Spurs fan?
I do think so, Julian, and they are in big, big trouble if Tim Duncan gets hurt. I believe they only have 14 guys under contract for now, though, so they may be looking to address that issue.
Should Paul George be thanking Danny Granger for his new massive contract extension. If Danny doesn’t have that knee injury, George does not get the role and minutes to put up the numbers he did last year. It seems whenever there is an injury in the NBA, the back-up or surrounding players step up to the mike and take advantage. Not usually to this extent (give George his due), but I don’t think he sees $100 million if it weren’t for Danny Granger’s injury. Agree or Disagree and why.
Absolutely. One thing you hear NBA player say ALL the time is that “you have to stay ready because you never know when someone might get hurt,” and that’s absolutely true. I’d hope that with a fat extension, Danny Granger would get something more along the lines of a Bentley, though… A simple “thank you” doesn’t seem to fully suffice.
Richard Hamilton stated over 50 games for Chicago last year. He is a veteran with championship experience and yet still has no job? Is the shooting guard that deep in the NBA where a guy like this is not needed? Questions: How much does Rip have left in the tank. And give me your top 2-3 teams you think could use him the most?
I think he lands somewhere, Randy. How much he has left, I don’t know… But I can tell you that the perception is that he does not have very much left. That is why he does not have a job. The Houston Rockets may be a good fit, they need one or two more shooters to play with Howard and Asik, I think. The Pacers may not be a bad fit, either.
Steven Adams was drafted over Kelly Olynynk this year by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sam Presti always seems to get the draft right. But after watching both in Summer League, one seems head and shoulders above the other. Do you think Presti would change his selection if given the option today? What do you think of each player? This selection may come back to haunt them as they only have Kendrick Perkins and Hasheem Thabeet at the center spots other than the rook. Your thoughts.
Honestly, LayHee, as I said earlier, I don’t think we can put too much stock into summer league. It’s nice to see guys do well out there, but the level of competition is nowhere near what it’s like in the NBA. I’m not sure if Presti would do it over, but the Thunder do need help on the interior, that’s for sure. I like both Olynyk and Adams. Can’t wait to see them play some real games.
Looking at the Clippers line-up, it doesn’t appear they improved much from this year to last (other than their coach). They traded one of the premier back-up PG’s in Eric Bledsoe and I’m not seeing the huge improvement at the other 4 spots. Is Jarred Dudley that much better than Caron Bulter? Is Reddick / Crawford really that much better than their SG rotation last year? Did you personally like the value they got for Bledsoe? And do you see a big improvement (in terms of players) from this year to last?
Losing Bledsoe hurts, for sure, but I think Darren Collison can fill in quite nicely. Honestly, Corey, I think I like this year’s team better. Antawn Jamison probably has more left in the tank than Lamar Odom. You may lose a bit with Caron Butler, but Jared Dudley is the kind of glue guy that can probably excel with Chris Paul. Basically, what the Clippers needed to do was get players that Paul and Doc Rivers would be able to win with and I like this group.
I think another division title is in the bag, but won’t go much further than that. The West is going to be a dogfight, but I like the Clippers top 10 players. Paul, Griffin, Jordan, Redick, Crawford, Dudley, Collison, Barnes, Mullens and Jamison? That’s a nice rotation.
Brooklyn Nets seem very stacked and deep this year except at the point guard spot. Shaun “I always have an injury” Livingston and Tyshawn Taylor (2nd round pick last year) does not seem very safe if Deron Williams ever went down with an injury. Questions: Would back-up point guard be a big concern to you if you were a Nets fan? And can Jason Terry play the 1 if the team was in a pinch?
While I think the Nets may be the most talented team in the East on paper, I think the team’s biggest weakness is its reserve guard unit. I know Tyshawn personally and he’s a great kid and has a good work ethic but I’m not sure if he’s ready to take the next step just yet.
As for Terry, he wasn’t that great last season with the Celtics and he is 36 years old. I’m not sure how much he has left in the tank. So yes, if I am a Nets fan, I am concerned about our guard depth. Up front, they’re totally fine.
Thanks a lot for joining me this week, that’s all the time we have. What a great session! Talk to you all next week!
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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
After Five Weeks, the New York Knicks have hit rock bottom, the Indiana Pacers make history and Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo are nearing their returns.
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