Join NBA expert Travis Heath for his bi-weekly chat this Tuesday at 4 pm est!
What are some of the pros and cons you like about the Knicks, Travis?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Let’s get rolling…
The Knicks can beat teams a lot of different ways offensively. Carmelo has been Carmelo, but when you have guys like J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton each averaging over 15 per night that really helps. This team has also been much better defensively than people thought they would be. Chandler changes the game defensively at the rim, and a guy like Ronnie Brewer, who often gets very little credit, brings some perimeter defense. Finally, I love the veteran presence of guys like Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas, and Rasheed Wallace. I think people often underestimate the importance of having vets.
Honestly, my only concern for the Knicks right now is the return of Amar’e. I just don’t believe he and Melo fit together very well. I’m not trying to knock Amar’e here, but trying to reintegrate him could be a big challenge for Mike Woodson given how well that team is rolling early.
Who is getting there PT reduced most when Billups and Hill comes back? Clippers have more PT than quality players as it is.
I always say that depth is great to have as long as you’re winning. I think if the Clips win, guys like Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups will sacrifice some minutes for the good of the team. Given their age and injury history, it will also be in their best interests to play less in the regular season. A guy like Lamar Odom is a bit more of wildcard, but he likes being in LA so I think he’ll conform. I think a guy like Willie Green will see his minutes go down quite a bit once guys get healthy. The other “odd man out” will likely be Eric Bledsoe. However, I could see a situation where Billups and Bledsoe are on the floor together in stretches.
Also, remember this whole conversation is based around the notion that everyone will get healthy at some point. That may not become a reality. As such, I think the Clippers are well positioned. All that said, Vinny Del Negro will have a lot to manage in terms of minutes and egos this season. We will learn a lot about him as a coach in the next several months.
Hey Travis thanks for your time! Okay so I’m a hardcore nuggets fan and long for the day when they’ll win a chip or even make out of the first round. Lately the nuggets have not been so hot and many of my fellow bloggers are calling for a Rudy Gay trade involving Gallonari ,Cory Brewer,Timofey mozgov, and a first round pick. Although I like Gay I’d much rather have Josh Smith and my question is do you think it’d be realistic for the nuggets to acquire him and would he fit in and make them a better team?
The Nuggets have enough depth to make a run at either player. The question is whether or not either the Grizzlies or Hawks want to deal. Given that Josh Smith is in a contract year, I certainly think the Hawks could entertain trading him prior to the deadline. I think a lot will depend on how the season unfolds for Atlanta. I don’t believe they would seriously entertain trading him at this point.
As for Rudy Gay, not sure why Memphis would want to move him. The Griz are off to the best start in franchise history and seem to have great chemistry. Moreover, Gay is not in a contract year. Just don’t see what the impetus is for Memphis to trade him.
Hi Travis. After 1998, having homegrown the GPOAT & greatest coach of all time and won 6 titles, the Bulls should be the flagship of the NBA today. What went wrong? Was this ever the plan in the first place? My own suspicion: fans’ high tolerance for losing, conservative management, owner’s lack of passion for winning basketball titles, poor free agency salesmenship, & less desirable city.
I think your comment was fair for the first decade or so after the Jordan era ended, but the Bulls have been willing to spend in the last couple of summers to try and turn that team into a contender. And if Rose didn’t get hurt last season, I firmly believe the Bulls very much would have been in the mix. You can argue whether or not the Bulls always spent wisely (see: Boozer, Carlos), but they have been aggressive in the last few offseasons.
Also, to your final point, I happen to think Chicago is a pretty darned good city. I think most NBA free agents wouldn’t mind going there at all.
Are you surprised by the Bobcats 5-4 start?
Yes and no. I have a long history with Mike Dunlap dating back over a decade and know what a great basketball coach he is. He is one of the most well read and interesting individuals I have encountered in my basketball travels. As such, I had no doubt that Mike would find some level of success. However, I would be lying to you if I said I thought they would be 5-4 after nine games. I will be shocked if the Bobcats finish this season above .500. However, I will also be shocked if Mike doesn’t have those guys in the playoffs again in no less than three seasons. Basketball people have known for a long time how good of a coach Mike is. Fans are going to figure that out in the coming months. This may have been the best move Michael Jordan has ever made as an executive.
I’m no Psychiatrist, by any means…but I firmly plant the blame for the Royce White fiasco on the Rocket’s shoulder’s.
The Rocket’s knew he had anxiety issues when they drafted him? Now they are playing hard-ball. Demanding that he see the Rocket’s DR. He’s not “comfortable” with that right now. He’s ready to walk away from the game?
The Rocket’s probably shouldn’t of drafted him in retrospect? They certainly don’t seem to be equipped to deal with this unique situation?
This is a tough question to answer without knowing everything that is going on with Royce diagnostically. By all accounts, he is a good kid that means well. However, “anxiety issues” is such a broad characterization. Yes, the easy route would have been to not draft him because of this. However, the kid has a very unique skill-set and the Rockets had a number of first round picks. As such, I can see how they came to the conclusion to select him.
As a psychologist, situations like this one are intriguing to me. I’m actually going to write a feature on Royce’s situation next week where I will get into more detail. In short, I agree with you that the Rockets weren’t necessarily equipped to deal with this unique situation. However, I would make the argument that most NBA teams aren’t.
Dr. Heath, I had a question about the impact of playing professional sports on an individual’s psychological development. Specifically, what is the effect of a profession that peaks early in life on subsequent personal and interpersonal relationships? We hear a lot of talk about the physical costs of playing but not as much on the psychological costs (or when we do, it is attributed to individual character flaws, rather than systemic issues). What are your thoughts and any research in this area? Welcome back.
What a fantastic question. I often have conversations with people in professional sports about this very topic. I think it is very hard for most of us to imagine what it would be like to have such a small window of time to participate in the professional endeavor that brings us so much meaning. For example, at 32 years of age I couldn’t imagine having only three to six more years to be a professor, psychologist, and writer. And by the way, that three to six years would put me at an age that most NBA players never make it to professionally.
A lot of fans say things like, “Hey, the guy has all the money in the world, so how could he have any problems.” This is such a shallow statement. It misses the point that money doesn’t create meaning or purpose in our lives. For many of these players, basketball is all they have ever known and they hold it dear to their hearts. When that disappears, they have no idea where to go next.
I would humbly submit that the NBA (and other professional sports leagues, for that matter) don’t do enough to address this issue. I have been working with a couple of my colleagues and a team of research assistants at MSU Denver to try and create a program to address the very issues you brought up in your question. We are currently working with ideas in positive psychology (the science of well being, essentially) and trying to apply this to athletes after retirement. The thing is, waiting until athletes reach the age of retirement is to wait too long. These programs have to start every early on in the athlete’s career to lay a foundation for what is to come later.
Hit me back in the future and I can give you an update on where this work is moving. I could spend all day talking about this, but alas, other questions await.
By the way, if you want to see more on positive psychology there is a great website called authentichappiness.org where anyone can use a lot of the measures we are integrating into our research with athletes.
If you were to arrange the following events that will to happen to the wizards this season, how would you arrange it:
1. j. wall comes back;
2. nene comes back;
3. wizards win their 1st back to back;
4. coach gets fired;
5. team makes a trade for an impact player.
Tricky question. I’m not smart enough to predict the future.
While I love Nene (he is easily one of the best humans I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with in the NBA) “durability” has never been his strength. I would never count on him to play the majority of games in any campaign, especially now given his age.
Unfortunately, Randy Wittman always seems to get jobs that set him up for failure, too. Don’t think he gets fired this season unless this losing steak just gets ridiculous.
If the Wizards do make a trade for an “impact player” I don’t think we will know that player is an impact player at the time he arrives. I think it will come in the form of a draft pick or a young player that later develops into an impact player.
If it makes you feel any better, I still think Wall has a chance to be a really good NBA player.
Let’s say the celtics do sign Martin….will it be a good idea cuz he isn’t gonna play a lot…he did complain about his lack of playing time with the clippers
I actually think Kenyon Martin would fit perfectly into what the Celtics want to do. He’s an outstanding on-the-ball defender and a great team defender. They would be signing him to the veteran’s minimum if they signed him, so there’s really nothing to lose. If he doesn’t fit the culture, release him. The league picks up most of the tab on vet minimum deals, anyway. The idea of Kenyon being a “cancer” is overrated. Not saying he’s the easiest guy to coach, but he’s far from the worst in the NBA.
Mr. Heath I’ve never seen you before around here, welcome aboard. Lets start you off with a Laker question. With Kobe efficiency through the roof and for the sake of argument, lets say he sustains it for the entire season. Can we give him a well deserved 2nd reg season MVP please?
The Lakers are going to have to start winning a lot more ballgames for Kobe to get the MVP. It’s early, so there’s time for that to happen. However, I don’t see any way LeBron doesn’t get MVP. Dude is far and away the best basketball player in the game and it’s not close. The numbers he will put up in every major category and the general impact he has on the game will be hard to ignore when it comes time to vote.
Can we now say that Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving are the next elite point guards in the NBA? Kyrie has been playing great, but Kemba has impressed me more. Even though Kyrie is the better player and his stats are better, Kemba is leading the Bobcats and they are now 5-4. Kemba isn’t afraid to take the last shot, and he has been a monster on defense. He is second in the NBA in steals per game! He is taking good shots and he is creating for others. I think that in 3-4 years, Kemba and Kyrie will be top 8 points guards no doubt!
Through the first nine games of this season, absolutely. Both guys have been fantastic. However, it’s a small sample size. Ask me again in February. I will say that both guys have the skill-sets to be big time guards in the NBA with the rules the way they are. I would like to see Kemba shoot the ball better from beyond the arc and become a bit more of a playmaker. I would like to see both guys turn the ball over less than they have so far this season, but that’s par for the course with young point guards.
It’s too bad that Irving is going to be out for awhile with the broken finger, but I think both guys have a bright future. Elite is a strong word, but both guys have the talent to get there.
Hey Travis! Welcome back. Do you think its’ too early to blow up the Kings’ roster? Or fire Petrie? Fire the Magoofs?
Yes, I do think it’s too early to start making those kind of decisions with a young team like the one they have in Sacramento. I actually like a lot of the talent on that roster, I’m just not sure how it all fits together. Tyreke Evans has been disappointing. In terms of raw ability, I see D-Wade like potential. However, he has looked out of sorts when I’ve seen him play so far this season. I love Cousins’ game, but he always looks two seconds away from doing something crazy. Jimmer has potential, but he so often looks tentative to me. All that said, let’s give it some time before we start advocating pulling the plug. It’s dangerous to do that too soon with a young team because you will often later come to regret it.
Wassup vet?my bad for calling u a new guy last time.. anyways,d12 orlando issue was one of the biggest hoopla lately,some say worst than the lebron parade and saying they will win more than one.im surprise theres no boos for d12, is it because he is a laker? What could have been the scenario if he was. Net? Thanks
Interesting question. I think Dwight Howard unquestionably behaved like a prima donna last season. That said, he’s much more likeable than a guy like LeBron because of the fun-loving persona Dwight advances for public consumption. And let’s cut right to it, Howard also didn’t stage some kind of 30-minutes special to burn his hometown team. Now, I think one could construct an argument that the way Howard handled things last season was actually more detrimental to his team in terms of the distraction it caused as opposed to LeBron who simply said he wouldn’t talk about it during his last season in Cleveland. Ultimately, Howard didn’t publicly give the middle finger to the fans in the same overt way that LeBron did. People didn’t like that, and hence the boos.
All that said, I’m quite certain Howard will get boo’d when he returns to Orlando!
Whats your take on the jlin interview by saying guys dont want to be emabarrased by an asian basketballer player. I feel like he couldve angered players in the league. Yao for an instanced never said this stuff when he was playin.
I haven’t read the interview. If he did indeed say that, what I will say in response is that I think there’s probably some truth to such a notion. Sometimes people act as if stereotypes don’t exist in the NBA or other professional sports leagues, which is a joke. I think Lin was saying publicly what a lot of people were probably thinking privately. You have to be very careful about doing that in today’s society, though, or the PC police will incarcerate you. We say we want athletes and coaches to be honest, but then we bury them when they are. Can’t have it both ways.
hi travis is there any chance spurs trade one of there many guards to get a big man to help tim ducan thanks
Sure, I think there’s a chance. However, good bigs are only available at a premium in this league, so don’t count on it. Most every team is looking to add frontline help. It’s analogous to good MLB teams wanting to add left-handed relievers prior to the trade deadline. Every team wants to do it but only a few are successful.
Whats a gd comparison for kidd gilchrist?
nd are the lakers b
Best case scenario for Kidd-Gilchrist is Scottie Pippen. The current player I see a little bit in him is Gerald Wallace, but that’s not a perfect comparison.
As for the Lakers and D’Antoni, yes, I believe they are better with D’Antoni than they were with Mike Brown. However, I think the best coach for that job was Phil Jackson. Anyone telling you otherwise is likely spinning. The Lakers will certainly be more fun to watch now, and I don’t believe that point is arguable.
I am a first time fantasy hoops player and it seems to me to be a little flawed. I am in a points league where they dont count fg, ft or 3 pointers and it just seems that if you dont have a top 4 pick you pretty much are not going to win. It also appears that if you just play more games in a given week you are going to win also. What are your thoughts?
Ask Tommy Beer. He’s the resident fantasy hoops guru. I only deal with “reality basketball.”
Hey Travis, good to see you back on hoopsworld.com, as a Nuggets fan I’m pretty concerned with Ty Lawson right now. His assists are up from last year but, his scoring and shooting numbers are down, plus he seems to bee too hesitant on offense. What do you think is wrong with Ty right now and If he continues to play this poorly, does Denver maybe trade him for a guy like Brandon Jennings or say Kyle Lowry. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones man.
I’m a big fan of Ty Lawson’s game and have been since his days at Carolina. However, one thing I’ve always said about Ty is that I don’t see him as having the kind of personality necessary to truly run a team and dominate an opponent. In other words, he doesn’t have the mentality of a guy like Chris Paul. As a result, I think he will always be a good but not great point guard. Ty needs to be the number two or three option on a team for him to be at his best.
It’s sort of like when Pau Gasol went to Los Angeles. When Pau was asked to be the alpha the Grizzlies never made it out of the first round of the playoffs. You put him next to a player with the mentality of a Kobe Bryant and now he makes important contributions on a championship team.
I think the Nuggets should keep Ty unless an offer too good to turn down surfaces. The Nuggets fundamental problem is not Ty Lawson. Their fundamental problem is that they have a number of second and third-tier players in a league that demands at least one top-tier player to win a title.
hey travis. What is up with Javale averaging 20 minutes a game? He has the highest PER on the team. He is beasting when he is out there and Karl treats him like a bench guy.
I have been saying on Twitter for some time that I believe JaVale should be getting more minutes. I have been aware since he was in college that he has asthma. It is interesting that some in the Denver fan base and media are just being clued into that now. Some have suggested that his asthma is the reason he hasn’t been playing bigger minutes. If that’s true, that’s fine as I always believe a player’s health comes before anything else. However, if it’s because of some other reason than it’s inexcusable.
To be honest, I think McGee should start. I know that George likes using Andre Miller and JaVale together off the bench, and I can see definite merit in that. However, I absolutely believe JaVale should be playing between 26-32 minutes per night assuming his health allows him to do so. If his health doesn’t allow him to play starter’s minutes, that’s a major problem and should have been considered before doling out the cash they did for him.
Okay, that does it for me. If you would like to chat NBA during the week you can hit me up on Twitter @DrTravisHeath … And for you folks in Denver, I’m on Mile Sports Radio AM1510 or FM93.7 from 6-8pm MST on Monday-Thursday evenings. Our lone show this holiday week will be tonight. You can also listen to the show online or with our Mile High Sports App. Have a great Thanksgiving!
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Join NBA expert Dr. Travis Heath for his weekly chat this Wednesday at Noon EST!
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