Join NBA expert Travis Heath for his bi-weekly chat this Tuesday at 4 pm EST!
Will MJ play at 50?
Ha! I wouldn’t put anything past him. The minds of great players always say they can still do it. It’s always the body that gives out first. Michael is one of the toughest and most competitive players to have ever played, so I have no doubt the mind still thinks it can dominate. The body would likely only cooperate for a couple of trips up the floor, though.
Hi Dr. Heath. I want your honest opinion on Coach Popovich of the Spurs. We all know he’s a great coach and has been running the same system for many years now and many people around the league, maybe even you, have TONS of respect for him.
But what I want to know is, why does Popovich act the way he does, especially during his in-game interviews with reporters? Why does he have to give an attitude?
Popovich is an interesting cat. There are times where he is very playful with the media and other times where he is short and seemingly irritated. I think part of the problem is that NBA coaches are forced to talk at least three times a day on game day. Over the course of an 82-game season that can get old really fast for everyone involved. One thing about Pop is if you ask a stupid question, you’ll get an answer of the same caliber. I have no problem with that. Makes media members step their games up.
All that said, most of what gets said through the media is meaningless drivel anyways. Very rarely is something substantive actually said.
How tough was that Nuggets loss to the Celtics the other night? They had so many opportunities, but couldn’t prevail in the end. Still, it was a great game to watch though!
Awesome game to watch. I actually don’t think the loss was that tough for Denver. They didn’t play all that well and still had multiple chances to win the game. On the second night of a back-to-back in Boston that’s pretty darned good all things considered.
Hey travis, been hearing rumors involving bargnani and ilyasova.
What about the raptors getting ilyasova, gooden and dunleavy in exchange for
Bargnani, fields and ross
I don’t like it for Toronto. Ilysova can do some nice things, but I’m not a fan of either Gooden or Dunleavy. Personally, I would keep Bargnani rather than do this deal. I actually kind of like it a little bit for Milwaukee, though. Ross is an interesting young player and you know what you’re getting with Bargs. From the Raptors perspective, I think they can do better.
Rudy Gay has now scored 20+ points in all 5 games as a Raptor. Seems all the people who cried foul about how “the Raps gave up too much” have suddenly gone silent. Apparently 30 games of Jose “I don’t play any defense” Calderon + an undersized PF (who has seen no minutes in Memphis) was too much to give up for a player with a career scoring average of 17+ a game. Question: How many more games until people officially change their view of the trade and call it a big win for Bryan Colangelo/Toronto? Any other team(s) regret not trying to buy low on Rudy?
Wow. I’m a busy dude and don’t get to read all that much media reaction to things, but I didn’t feel like the Raptors gave up a lot at all in the deal. Perhaps I’m in the minority.
Rudy Gay is a good but not great player. Five games is a very small sample size. I think given Colangelo’s situation, it was a good move. He had to do something this season or he risked being out of a job. However, I am not of the belief that Rudy is a number one option. I think he’s a two or three option on a truly championship caliber ball club. The move certainly represents a step up for the Raptors, but the best Rudy does is potentially make them a playoff contender in the future. He’s not the kind of player that leads his team to multiple series wins in the playoffs.
The new owners of the Memphis Grizzlies are clearly worried about the luxury/repeater tax. So the first two moves they made was to cut costs (Cleveland + Toronto trades).Just thinking out loud, I would be pissed off if I was a Grizzly fan. They started the year with the best record in the NBA and are still top 4 in the West – yet instead of adding someone to push them over the hump – they do the opposite. I can’t but think moves like these will alienate fans, lead to fewer people going to games, and less money for playoff games (as they would have had a chance at the 2nd round). Cumulatively I would almost argue they will lose more money in the long run due to these impacts despite saving the $10 mill in luxury tax. True or False? Over the long run moves like this will cost the Grizz money, not save.
See, I”m not convinced the deal was just about dollars. I think it was more about deciding that the money that was given to Rudy Gay by the last regime was too much and that those dollars can be better allocated elsewhere.
If I was a fan of the Grizzlies I wouldn’t be happy because the move doesn’t make the team better right now. Thing is, that group wasn’t going to win a title. I think their ceiling was the second round of the playoffs or perhaps a lone Western Conference Finals appearance if things broke right. Given that the goal is to win a title, why not create potential flexibility to see what else is out there.
Seems everyone in Toronto wants to ship Andrea Bargnani out of town. This makes little sense to me as the Raptors have used him wrong since the beginning. Bargs is a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki. Yet we force him to play out of position at center, tell him to rebound and block shots downlow, then chirp him when he doesn’t do it well. His game is perimeter oriented. Imagine how well Disco would do playing center in Dallas?? It wouldn’t work. Why do people think Bargs is any different?? Andrea’s ppg average was top 20 last year. Let him play the correct position (PF) next to a rebounding, shotblocking center and see how well he does. Don’t pair him with Amir Johnson/Ed Davis (both undersized) or Aaron Gray (minimum salary center) – then criticize him. Your thoughts of Andrea Bargnani and the way Toronto has used him.
To be honest, I agree with basically everything you wrote. Bargs is a four and not a five. Playing out of position is doing him and the team a disservice, but I think it speaks to the general lack of talent in Toronto over the last several seasons. Leaves Casey with many options, few of them good.
With that noted, let’s not get too crazy on Bargnani. He’s a good player who can stretch a defense at the four position. You said he’s a poor man’s Dirk. I would say he’s a very poor man’s Dirk. Solid at what he does when utilized correctly, but he will never be a great player.
Name the stupidest trade proposal that you have ever heard. I heard a (bandwagon) Heat fan say: Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, and a 2nd round pick for Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and a 1st round pick. There are so many things wrong with that trade, so I wanted to know if you ever heard a stupider one.
The proposals that come in from Lakers’ fans every time a star is on the market always rank right up there. Thing is, the Lakers have ended up getting stars in seemingly one-sided deals a number of times so it makes it harder to laugh at all of the proposals because in the back of my mind I’m always wondering if it’s so dumb that it might just happen… if that makes sense.
DeMarcus Cousins…in my opinion the Center that the Lakers need. I see him having the same hunger, passion, emotion as Kobe does. I can see him leading that team and maturing under Kobe’s mentoring. Your opinion?
Interesting idea. Cousins is the kind of player I would be taking a long look at if I were running things in LA. A head case but one with elite-level talent.
I’m not sure how “hungry” or “passionate” Cousins is. Sometimes his actions look hungry, other times they look selfish, immature and stupid. Not sure what impact Kobe would have on him. I could see a situation where Kobe brings out the best in him, but I could also see a situation where he breaks him much like we’ve seen with Dwight Howard in LA. The way things are going in LA right now though, I would roll the dice if the opportunity presented itself.
Is the last 10 (or 11) games for the San Antonio Spurs a good sample size to make a case for Tony Parker as the 2nd best PG in the league right now? (His numbers for his last 10 games are: 25.6 PPG, 9.3 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG, .603 FG% in 33.9 MPG.)
Because it is during these times that he is tasked to lead a team without the help of the other stars on his team. People say that he was just playing with Timmy that’s why he had great success and they can’t put him higher on any PG rankings.
My point is THIS is what he’s gonna do without the help of Tim and Manu. As you see, he lead a team whose 2nd best player is a young Kawhi to a 9-1 stretch (of course coached by the great Pop).
My case is; as a POINT GUARD (just the position itself), he should be 2nd on rankings (behind CP3), he is a complete PG: can pass, make good plays, score, run, defend, lead, has good basketball IQ and clutch.
I see him at #4 behind Westbrook and Rondo, but I believe he is ahead of them.
Your thoughts, please?! Thanks!
I think you make a good case. What I’ll say is that making the case Parker is playing like the second best point guard in the league right now is different than saying he is the second best point guard in the league. There’s no question he’s a top-ten point guard and has been for a number of years, but if Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo were healthy those are two players I think are better than Parker. It doesn’t mean they always play better than Tony, but overall they are better players. I think Westbrook is in the discussion too, but it’s hard to compare his style with Tony’s as they are very different. Deron Williams is having a down year, but I believe he was consistently better than Parker for a multiple-year stretch.
So in summary, I think Parker probably is playing like the second best point guard in the league right now. However, that doesn’t mean he is the second best point guard.
I can see that athleticism nowadays is a big factor in determining who the better player is. Why is that? Thanks!
Mainly because you cannot touch anyone on the perimeter these days. As such, great athletes can get to the basket at will. In the ’90′s hand-to-hand combat took place on the perimeter making it harder for these same kind of athletes to get in the paint.
Dr. Heath, at what point does PTLD begin to re-think its strategy for the season? No team should try to lose, but at the same time, Coach Stotts is overplaying his starts (38 minutes each), the team needs to give time to Meyers and see who else factors in long term, their draft pick is a dependent on getting a 12 or lower pick (or they lose it), and they may need to cash out JJ (whom I don’t see as a good long-term fit). Thoughts?
Portland is two games from the 8th seed. Is this a championship contending team? Of course not. But I’m of the belief that when you are in the playoff hunt you shouldn’t start giving aways assets. Now if they can move Hickson in a deal that makes sense, it should absolutely be considered for the very reasons you noted.
Portland is stuck in NBA “no man’s land.” They are not good enough to compete for a title and not bad enough to get a high lottery pick. This is always a tricky spot in which to operate in the NBA.
Rondo is a cancer. With a PG like him, he demands the ball. I dont feel its just ball movement, its also the fact that whenever there is a potential break off of a steal or long rebound, he always comes back to the ball to bring it up instead of letting someone else push the ball up the court….. it stunts the break. This must cost the celtics a lot of key points once the buzzer sounds. My opinion, Rondo, massively overrated. He is indeed a great passer but he racks up assists for the sake of racking up assists. Agree? Disagree? Please give me your thought I respect your opinion. Love the articles thanks
I tend to disagree. I think you’re right in that sometimes Rondo is overly ball dominant. However, so many good things happen with the ball in his hands that I think it outweighs the bad. He also does so many things. He’s a very good defensive player, a good rebounder for his position and really doesn’t turn the ball over that much considering how frequently the ball is in his hands. He does seem to have a salty attitude at times and that likely makes him a challenge to coach, but I would take him on my team without thinking twice. The pros outweigh the cons in my mind.
Travis, how often do you see Avery Bradley play? His jumper looks pretty nice, but he misses a lot of shots. What do you think of his jump shot? I realize that his shoulder surgery held back his offensive progress, but how good (on offense) do you think he can be? He sort of reminds me of Chauncey Billups.
From a pure aesthetic standpoint, I can see the comparison to Chauncey. However, Bradley doesn’t have nearly the command of the game Chauncey does. In fairness though, this often takes time to develop and Bradley is still a young player. The other thing Bradley lacks is what I call the “clutch gene.” This is something I believe guys either have or don’t have. Chauncey has always had it.
What’s up with old man Andre Miller? He’s continually making public comments about how unhappy he is to not be starting, how the Nuggets can’t content without a superstar, and then a few days borderline intentionally blows the Nugget’s 9 game winning streak with 2 tres at the end of regulation and 3OT. Is he trying to prove something? Sure makes me miss Chauncey.
I understand that Nuggets fans are frustrated with Andre, but to say he is continually making public comments about how he is unhappy is an overstatement. He did it once last season, and so far to the best of my knowledge, once this season. I know Dre personally and he’s a quirky guy. He doesn’t talk much to the media, but every now and again says something that happens to be really honest. And by the way, let’s not forget that what he said is true. The Nuggets, or any other team for that matter, won’t win a title without an elite player. Fans might not want to hear that, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
As for the shot in the third overtime in Boston, that was truly befuddling. Like I said, Dre is quirky so I’m it’s hard to get in his head and know what he was thinking. To me, it looked like a guy who was tired and said, “I’m throwing this shot up and we’re going home one way or the other.” I don’t like that he did it, but I’m not sure it was this passive-aggressive message that so many fans seem to think it was.
With Roy Hibbert struggling and then coming out and saying after the 76ers game that he didn’t just get paid and quit working, in order to make that statement it must have crossed his mind to defend himself when not even asked. Is Hibbert struggling from a mental standpoint more than anything?
Yes, I think it’s primarily mental with Roy. The psychology of getting a big contract is interesting and highly unpredictable. To me, it doesn’t look like Roy has shut it down and doesn’t care. In fact, it seems to be quite the opposite. I actually see him pressing too hard to prove to everyone that he’s worth all the money he was paid. Truth is, he’s not. You have to a pay a premium for bigs in the NBA, and Roy was the beneficiary of that. If you look back throughout the history of big NBA contracts that teams end up regretting, the vast majority were given to big guys (see Foyle, Adonal). That will likely be true forever in the NBA because a talent post player can fundamentally change the direction of your franchise. As such, teams will always overpay for bigs hoping in pays off but knowing that it often doesn’t. All the pressure Roy feels is rooted in a very long history that came long before he got paid.
What is the mentality of a player embroiled in trade rumors? Is there any empirical evidence that shows it affects their on the court performance, or do guys at this level have the mental toughness/focus to ignore distractions for 48 minutes at a time?
I’m not aware of any specific research addressing this. However, there is an abundance of research that looks at how difficult it is for people to compartmentalize and focus on a given task when there is psychological turmoil going on in their lives. NBA players are human. To act as though they aren’t affected by the possibility of being uprooted from their current existence is naive, no matter how much they may deny it through the media. Some players compartmentalize better than others, but it’s reasonable to believe that is has a fairly significant impact on most players.
This was a great question. You’ve piqued my interest. I very well may right my next column on this very topic. Thanks!
You’re the GM of the Lakers. Your team is 6 games behind for the 8th and final spot in the Western Conference Playoff picture. It looks doubtful you pass HOU in the standings. What do you do? Make a Howard trade, or stay pat?
I would shop Howard (and other players on the roster) hard before the deadline to see what kind of market exists. If there’s a deal that returns a viable center and picks, or some other combination of assets to build around I would pull the trigger on it. Howard looks miserable in LA. His non-verbals are awful. The PR influenced words coming out of his mouth in no way match his body language or the tone of what he’s saying. It’s clear he wants out. And if we’ve learned anything about Dwight it’s that he’s very unpredictable. Given that unpredictability, I don’t think the Lakers can take the risk of letting him walk this summer.
Am I better than Presti yet?
No. You’ve certainly taken some nice steps in your first couple of seasons on the job in Denver, but Sam Presti has built a team that has already made a Finals appearance. Of course, Presti has the added advantage of having the best scorer in the game in Kevin Durant on his roster and he got him by default since the Blazers chose Oden. Still, Presti’s done a tremendous job building a culture in OKC. Ujiri could very well do the same in Denver. What I’ll say about Masai is that the team has gotten better every year he’s been on the job. If they continue that trend, he’ll be in the same class as Presti. That said, the hardest jump to make in the NBA is from playoff team to championship contender. In fact, most teams never make that jump.
That’s it for me this week. Thanks for playing along. Hit me up on Twitter @DrTravisHeath if you want to chat further.
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 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