Chat with John Hollinger
Send your questions now and join John in The Show Monday at 3 p.m. ET.
John Hollinger (3:04 PM)
Greetings everyone. About 29 hours to go before we start getting answers to all our questions. In the meantime, I'll try to keep you entertained for 1/29th of the rest of the way.
John, is Chris Mullin going to be dumped by the Warriors?
John Hollinger (3:06 PM)
Sure looks that way, huh? When they're cutting him out of extension talks with the coach and a key player, it's basically like he's already been dumped.
WHOO!!! Can't wait for the season to start. How come you seem to be the only columnist giving the Jazz any respect? In the poll of ESPN columnists you were the only one who seemed to think Utah will do major damage this year, let alone win it all. What's up with that?
John Hollinger (3:07 PM)
I think it's a perception thing -- Utah was sixth in wins last year in the West, and that's what people see -- even though they were only three out of first, and rivaled LA for the best scoring margin, and are still really young. Don't sweat it though -- winning takes care of the respect thing.
Jeff: (Sacramento, CA)
Is there any reason to believe this won't be a vintage early 90's Kings season with Kevin Martin playing the role of Mitch Richmond?
John Hollinger (3:08 PM)
None whatsoever. Maybe they should hire Garry St. Jean to coach these guys just to complete the effect.
Dan (Nutley, NJ)
Help me out John. Nets over or under 27 wins? I have tickets to a bunch of games this year, and I want to have a rooting interest one way or the other. Thanks.
John Hollinger (3:09 PM)
Can't help you on that -- I had them at 27 on the nose. I'd take the over and root for the home team, though, it's a lot more fun that way.
how has d.rose looked to you?
John Hollinger (3:10 PM)
Obviously scoring 30 on Dallas was an eye opener, and I've talked to scouts who have been real impressed so far. But we'll learn a lot more once we see him in regular season.
Nate (Palo Alto, CA)
Nicholas Batum is the opening day starter at SF for the Blazers. I recall that during the pre-draft prep, you said he "can't play". Do you think his place in the lineup is more a function of the injury to Webster or a weakness in your statistical assessment of his European numbers?
John Hollinger (3:11 PM)
Actually, his preseason #s were quite poor aside from the one 20-point outburst. I think this will be short-lived experiment; he's just not going to do enough offensively.
Sandy (Charlottesville, VA)
Bobcats make the playoffs even without a healthy Sean May? Thoughts on Ammo's game and ponytail?
John Hollinger (3:12 PM)
The PF situation is obviously a big worry right now, as May is WAAAYYY out of shape and they have few other options. I have a feeling we'll see a lot of Andre Brown early on, even though he's really not very good.
Have you had a chance to see Gerald Green in the preseason?
John Hollinger (3:13 PM)
That's Mr. Line's department, and he's said Green has sizzled. I can certainly vouch for his numbers; this could end up being a Brandon Bass-esque steal.
Looks like Leon Powe will be first off the bench for the Champs. Does he have a shot at the 6th man award?
John Hollinger (3:14 PM)
I can't see him playing enough minutes, between his high foul rate and Doc's reluctance to play him at the 5 next to KG. But he'll again be a productive and underrated force.
Will Joe Dumars break up the nucleus of the Pistons if they don't win it this year?
John Hollinger (3:15 PM)
I think he'll do it long before then. I expect Detroit to be very active at the trade deadline.
You've been showing up in some fantasy basketball columns recently -- just showing over your mastery of the metrics, or do you actually have a soft spot for us faux GMs?
John Hollinger (3:16 PM)
Had a little free time so I dove in over there, but it won't be a regular thing. Mostly it was just an opportunity to take shots at Philadelphia at Karabell's expense.
Bryan, Xenia OH
Are the Bobcats desperate enough for a PF that they might even consider Boris Diaw in some sort of swap?
John Hollinger (3:17 PM)
Problem is, I don' t know if they're really in a position to add salary, given all the belt-tightening that's been going on over there.
Pahking The Cah (Boston)
Did I miss something? Didn't the Celtics win it all yet all of ESPN loves the Lakers so much and have them winning it all?! Where's the respect for the champs?
John Hollinger (3:18 PM)
Wait -- how many teams have repeated in the past decade? Two? The fact they won last year doesn't automatically mean everybody has to pick them again this year. It's a different season.
Chris , Detroit
Minnesota has looked very good in the preseason and many have picked them as a suprise team out of the west, do you think they can continue their winning ways?
John Hollinger (3:19 PM)
"winning ways" is perhaps overstating things, but if you accept the premise that one of the West's top eight will be unexpectedly ravaged by injuries, then I think the T'wolves have an outside chance to be a stealth playoff team.
Justin (Salem, OR)
What do you honestly think Oden will be? Kinda like Dwight Howard?
John Hollinger (3:20 PM)
Eventually, probably in that territory, yes. Will have a better idea after next week -- I'm seeing him H2H against Yao and Jefferson, which should prove quite enlightening.
What's the word on Tinsley to Denver
John Hollinger (3:22 PM)
Crickets over here. Doesn't mean they aren't still mulling things over, but it doesn't seem like anything is imminent. I almost wonder if Bird isn't pumping up the "we're close to a deal!" angle to get other teams to up their bids.
Is Danny Granger an All Star this year?
John Hollinger (3:23 PM)
Could be, but I doubt it. If the Pacers are over .500 at the break Ford is going to get more of the credit, even if he doesn't play any better, because people always focus on the shiny new toy. So Ford might usurp his spot.
Bynum or Oden?
Sanchez (Santa Barbara, CA)
Assuming both stay reasonably healthy over the next 10 years - who would you pick long-term: Oden or Bynum?
John Hollinger (3:24 PM)
I'd go with Oden, simply because he's likely to have a lot more defensive value than Bynum. Offensively it might end up being pretty close to a wash.
OUTSIDE BOSTON BIAS! OUTSIDE BOSTON BIAS!
John Hollinger (3:25 PM)
Yes. I am biased against every region at the same time. That's the one advantage of being based in Madagascar.
Peter, Cleveland, OH
How many seasons until LeBron averages 40 ppg? It's gotta happen sometime, right?
John Hollinger (3:27 PM)
Considering that Jordan was the greatest scorer of the post-merger era and never averaged 40, and that the game is a bit slower now than it was in Jordan's highest-scoring years, and that LeBron passes more than Jordan did, I would say it will be virtually impossible for him to average 40.
Chris , Detroit
Do you think Al Jefferson will be an all star this year? Considering he should have been last year.... and are there any other wolves that might make it(miller 3pt)?
John Hollinger (3:28 PM)
I expect Jefferson to make the All-Star team, yes, although coaches have been notoriously harsh on players from teams with losing records, especially if they're not perennial picks. OK, I expect him to *play* like an All-Star anyway.
You have the Magic winning fewer games than last year. Almost the whole (young) roster is back, and their point differential suggested last year that they were better than 52 wins. Where are this year's extra losses going to come from?
John Hollinger (3:30 PM)
a) the bench -- Dooling was excellent last year and Arroyo was decent; Johnson is probably a third-stringer at this point. b) health -- it's unlikely the big 3 miss only one of a combined 246 games this year, and c) Hedo -- he was a Fluke Rule guy last year and his numbers should drop a bit.
What's the best thing about Madagascar? I can't decide between the temperate climate and the easy access to fresh monkey brains...
John Hollinger (3:30 PM)
Don't forget the easy flight connections to Mozambique.
Chuck (Los Angeles)
You have the Lakers being #2 in your Western Conference predictions. Best team in the West last year if im not mistaken. Please explain!
John Hollinger (3:31 PM)
Five teams finished within three games of the Lakers, so it wasn't like they ran away with it. I expect L.A. to be about as good, and Utah to be a little better ... that's about it.
Mickey (Hermosa Beach, CA)
I was really surprised to see Carl Landry's PER projection only went down about 1 pt. Do you think he can be a 20 PER guy long-term?
John Hollinger (3:32 PM)
No, I don't, but the PER projections don't know any better. Once I get a system that incorporates college stats that should change.
Paul (Trenton, NJ)
If everything else falls into place, sans outside shooting, do you think Stefanski will be active in trying to acquire a pure shooter by the deadline?
John Hollinger (3:33 PM)
Of course he'll be active; the question is whether he has anything to trade. Willie Green? Reggie Evans? Not sure the pieces are there to pull off a deal unless he wants to unload Andre Miller.
Alan (Houston, TX)
I believe the Spurs' management did very little to get help for Duncan/Parker/Manu. Where do you have them finishing at the end of the season?
John Hollinger (3:35 PM)
It's not that they did very little; it's that the Euro blew up their plans -- once Tiago Splitter opted to stay in Spain, they had to move backcourt dollars to the frontcourt and it was a domino effect ... I think they're going to struggle for half a season while Manu is gone and then make a late charge to make the playoffs, but they're likely to play every postseason round on the road.
Nathan (College Station)
Stefanski can have Luther Head for a 2nd rounder!
John Hollinger (3:36 PM)
He still has to throw in a contract to make it work under the cap; besides, I had my sights set a little higher than that.
Aaron (Beverly Hills)
Every other NBA "expert" thinks the Lakers are going to be a lot better then last year. What makes you think they will not improve?
John Hollinger (3:38 PM)
Basically, I think a few of their perimeter guys may regress to the mean (Vujacic and Fisher especially), and Kobe is a year older. That offsets the return of Bynum, particularly if you think Bynum, Gasol and Odom will either hurt each other's numbers playing together or hurt each other's minutes playing apart.
Ndubi Ebi (D-League)
You really love the Jazz way too much. They are not the best in the west, not even close.
John Hollinger (3:39 PM)
Well, last year they were near the top in point differential, and gave L.A. by far its toughest playoff series, so it isn't a big stretch to move them up to the top spot this time.
Steve - Houston
Come on John, You never take any Rockets questions. What would the rockets have to do to change your mind to see them in the finals? Don't tell me health. Talk about something else.
John Hollinger (3:41 PM)
In other words "please ignore the elephant in the corner and just discuss the rest of the room." Sorry, health of the big 3 is THE story for the Rocks. If there's a #2 item, it's point guard play -- it's a big stretch for a contending team to be getting 35 minutes of Rafer every night.
The Boston Celtics
uh..... I think it was us who gave the lakers their toughest series
John Hollinger (3:42 PM)
I mean among Western teams, if that wasn't clear. Sheesh.
The Atlanta Hawks
And we gave the Celtics their toughest series. Which means what? I say not much...
John Hollinger (3:45 PM)
No, Cleveland did. The Hawks got pummeled four times and were lucky as heck that it went seven. Cleveland outscored Boston over the seven games and very nearly won the finale ... no comparison whatsoever. I'd argue the LA and Detroit series were tougher too, even though they ended sooner.
How much does Olympic hoops engage you, being so engrained in NBA ball? I know it's Sheridan's gig, but you must be a fan to some extent....
John Hollinger (3:47 PM)
It's fun, I actually really get into it, especially since those tournaments are right when the basketball withdrawal symptoms are at their worst.
Rakoto (Antananarivo, Madagascar)
Are you really in Madagascar ? If so, is this the first ESPN live chat from there? Stephen Fry is coming here tomorrow, we should get together and discuss the impact of the movie on the actual country :) Cheers,
John Hollinger (3:49 PM)
Um, no, actually I'm in Atlanta. But Madagascar sounded more exotic. I guess it's not so exotic that you can't participate in ESPN chat from there, however.
Chris , Detroit
Who do you think the ROY will be this year, does Love have a shot?
John Hollinger (3:49 PM)
Far outside shot. I'd say it's an Oden-Beasley race with Rose running third and Love in the "others receiving votes" category.
Everyone is picking the Celtics this year, but losing Posey, the big 3 collectively regressing with age, and a weaker bench, will make them a much worse team. The Cavs, on the other hand, are on the up and up (except for Z). Your thoughts?
John Hollinger (3:50 PM)
I think Cleveland could beat Boston in a playoff series, but not in the regular season. Celtics are much better suited for an 82-game grind, so they'll have home court, which will make it problematic for the Cavs come May.
Tim (Boston, MA)
So is Hedo your favorite for biggest reduction in PER?
John Hollinger (3:51 PM)
Actually my favorite was Brendan Haywood, but he's already checked out. Hedo and Brad Miller are the other two fluke rule guys; Andre Miller is also a strong bet to regress.
Mike (Las Vegas)
Do you think Don Nelson really doesn't want to be coach and GM? It seems like he is just supporting Mully because he loves the guy and obviously doesn't want to come out and say he will take the Gm Job. John..we need a prediction, next year at this time, who is Gm of the Golden State Warriors?
John Hollinger (3:52 PM)
Its gotta be Rowell, right? Isn't this all just a coup d'etat?
Hey Josh, you were good but you wont be missed we have a bench
John Hollinger (3:53 PM)
Get back to me in January on that one ... Childress was WAY underrated.
Paul (Toledo, OH)
If Yao and/or T-Mac are hurt for a portion of the year and the Rockets go on another win streak like last year, will Adelman get COY considerations?
John Hollinger (3:53 PM)
Yes, but if Utah is as good as I think the sentiment to vote Jerry Sloan will be overwhelming.
Greg (San Diego)
I will be sure to remind you when Vujacic doesn't regress...
John Hollinger (3:54 PM)
How come nobody volunteers to remind me if I'm right?
The Heat's roster seemed to be filled with a bunch of forwards and no Center and no Point Guard. Do you think there is any chance they can move Shawn Marion or Udonis Haslem for a starter at one of those spots?
John Hollinger (3:55 PM)
Yes, and I expect them to be active on that front between now and February. Although most likely nothing happens until the trade deadline.
Mel (Pittsfield, MA)
Might as well pick the opening games?
John Hollinger (3:58 PM)
What the heck. Bulls beat Milwaukee by 11 as Skiles looks longingly at opposite bench; Celtics hold off Cavs by five despite 43 from LeBron; and Lakers emerge with a ragged seven-point win over Portland when Jordan Farmar takes over early in the fourth quarter.
What's the deal with your's and Chad's Hawks diversion? You guys go out of the way to insult the organization and its fans. Bad batch grits at the Waffle House? what?
John Hollinger (3:59 PM)
When have I insulted the Hawks fans? The only comments I've made have been to their quantity, which is visibly less than for most other teams, not their quality. As far as hating the Hawks, I think you'll find exactly one national correspendent picked them to make the playoffs last year. I'm not as sold on this year's bunch.
..."Jordan Farmar takes over early in the fourth quarter." Oh, man, that was rich!
John Hollinger (4:00 PM)
Gotta roll the dice a little -- but seriously, I have a major man-crush on Farmar, I think he's going to be very good. Just not sure if it's this year.
John Hollinger (4:01 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks for all the great questions. I'll be coming to you next week at the same time from Orlando, where I'll be getting a first-hand look at Mr. Rose.