Chat with John Hollinger
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, NBA columnist John Hollinger will stop by to share his thoughts on the NBA Finals.
Send your questions now and join John to chat Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.
John Hollinger (3:03 PM)
Greetings from swampy Orlando, where no matter how low I set the AC here I can't seem to cool off. We'll see if I can get thru this chat without dripping sweat and shorting out the laptop.
Do you think Pau will get more touches tonight?
John Hollinger (3:04 PM)
I think Pau SHOULD get more touches tonight, but I'm not optimistic that he will. Last time he complained was after Game 4 in Denver; his reward was near-total invisibility in the first half of Game 5.
John nice article on team rankings - my only change would be to switch the Spurs with the Bulls - MJ's intangibles should have been more like 500 as far as I'm concerned.
John Hollinger (3:05 PM)
Obviously the MJ years trump the Duncan years, but the Bulls also had some incredibly bad teams -- other than the Jordan years they had a bottom-five resume. San Antonio has been consistently excellent so they trump Chicago even with fewer titles.
Sasha Vujacic (LA)
John, do you know where my shot went?
John Hollinger (3:06 PM)
Sasha made seven straight free throws at the end of practice yesterday, which was pretty impressive considering his eyes were closed. The Machine seems to be pressing a bit in games though, and he's forcing too many shots. Phil didn't play him in the second half and I'm wondering if he's out of the rotation tonight.
Is Lebron going to fire Mike Brown?
John Hollinger (3:07 PM)
No, that stuff is way overblown by folks looking to make a story. Brown will be coaching on opening day next year; only way Cavs would consider a change is if they started poorly, and even then I think he's got a fairly long leash.
Why did you show no love for Riles by choosing the Lakers coach? Definitely the one that comes to my mind first. What were your criteria?
John Hollinger (3:08 PM)
Riley vs. Jackson was one of the toughest calls I had to make; I should have just wimped out and listed both like I did with Bird vs. Russell. It's hard because Riley is more identified with the Lakers, but Jackson has a stronger track record. You can make a great case either way.
Detroit doesn't make the top 10 teams?
John Hollinger (3:09 PM)
Detroit would be No. 7 if you just looked at the expansion era, but the two decades before killed them -- they were consistently terrible and they had a relocation.
9 finals losses to the celtics and you rank the lakers first, that's a bold move
Oklahoma City should be #30. Seattle should be #12.
John Hollinger (3:13 PM)
Sorry if I opened any wounds recounting the Sonics' history ... no team had anything like 40 years in the same city before moving the way the Sonics did, so you can argue I should have slammed that relocation harder.
John Hollinger (3:14 PM)
Folks, got some new chat software here so apologies if it's going slower ... we'll work it out.
gustavo (coral springs)
In my humble opinion, I think is an outrage you don't have the knicks in the top 10.
John Hollinger (3:15 PM)
For what? Being in New York? They won two titles, the last one coming 36 years ago, and for most of their history they've been near the bottom of the league.
So we're really counting the 5 titles the lakers won in Minn. BEFORE the Shot Clock? Before the lane was widened? I mean they still used peach baskets for the 1949 season! Totally different sport.
John Hollinger (3:17 PM)
If you only count the expansion era the Lakers still come out ahead. I was surprised too, but their overall body of work is much stronger despite having three fewer championships.
Phoenix suns in the top 5 is a joke. Only two finals appearances and no titles. Professional sports is still about winning.
John Hollinger (3:18 PM)
And the Suns have done as much winning as anyone. Just not in June. But even if you only look at playoffs, they're eighth in wins and eight in series wins since they entered the league.
Birdman (GR, MI)
John, not having insider I don't know, but did you deduct 50 or 100 points for the Pistons moving? Ft. Wayne isn't that far from Detroit.
John Hollinger (3:22 PM)
Not exactly a local commute either though -- If I'm docking the Clippers for San Diego-LA I gotta nail the Pistons for this one. I agree that in the case of Ft. Wayne, Syracuse and Rochester the relocation penalty is a little chintzy since those teams were never going to be viable in those cities. But if I lived in Ft. Wayne I still would have been pretty bummed about it.
John, overall, your rankings are pretty good. There does have to be some flaw in it though, maybe in the intangibles side of it because Boston is the greatest basketball franchise. The titles, the hall of famers and the mystique to go with the parquet.
John Hollinger (3:24 PM)
When I started this I thought for sure Boston would be No. 1. I was surprised the Lakers outranked them, but when you look at it, it's obvious they should be first. Boston has three more championships, 17 to 14, but the Lakers have everything else -- more wins, more playoff wins, more superstars, fewer bad years, etc.
J.J.C. (Spring Lake, NC)
I couldn't help but notice that Bernie is listed over Larry as the Bobcats' best coach in your latest article. I'll agree that Bernie was certainly no slouch, but better than Brown? I even noticed that Larry appears as the best coach in a few other teams. What made you go with Bickerstaff?
John Hollinger (3:26 PM)
Given the rarity of Bobcats questions in here thought I'd take this one ... thought about Larry but Bernie was universally praised for his work there and, as one scout put to me, "if Larry's such a genius how'd he only win three games more than Sam Vincent."
Laker fan (LA, CA)
Hey, I heard you're a crazed Kobe hater. Don't you know that he's the greatest 'closer' because he has a mature 'killer instinct'? How dare you troll in facts!
John Hollinger (3:28 PM)
He wants this. He really wants this. He wants this so bad. Look at those teeth!
So how does the list change if you take out intangibles?
So you subtracted 100 points from the Rockets overall point total because of the franchise relocation several years in? Seems completely irrelevant now. If I'm totaling this correctly, they jump up to #7 without the deduction.
John Hollinger (3:32 PM)
Houston moves up two spots without the deduction, past Indiana (who they only trail by .02) and Portland. Three spots if you count Utah, who also has a relocation penalty.
Why is it ok to make fun of how much Bryant wants this because he shows his teeth, but Garnett acting like a slightly tipsy fan with Tourette Syndrome is laughed at as "what he does"? I mean, Kobe gets raked across the coals for grimacing, Garnett acts like a spoiled, foul-mouthed child sitting on the bench and everyone defends him because, "he's the engine that drives the team".
John Hollinger (3:34 PM)
I think Garnett has taken plenty of shots from all corners for his antics this year, at least on these pages. Crawling on all fours to menace Jerryd Bayless is a pretty distorted way to show "leadership."
Mark (Portland, OR)
Little Blazer talk perhaps? Any idea what way they're leaning this summer? Moving up in the draft, moving out and clearing as much cap space as possible for a FA like Kidd, Miller or Hedo? Making a big trade? Or just standing pat?
John Hollinger (3:36 PM)
Blazers will be active, we just don't know in what way yet. I still think there's a good chance that Blake or Outlaw moves on draft day to a team looking to cut money (their deals aren't guaranteed for next year yet, though the Blazers say they won't cut them). Hedo would be a great fit for how they play, but Blazers might be outbid by Detroit.
because Kobe's scowl is so contrived and disingenious that every smart NBA fan outside of L.A. can see right through it....KG has been a nutjob his whole career...it's not something he started doing in the 2009 playoffs
Why don't you change your profile picture, you look like a serial killer
John Hollinger (3:38 PM)
Keeps the critical fan mail down, so it's been a useful ploy. Next year my photo will have me holding a bloody ax.
Totally digging the Suns-Cubs comparison since I've pondered that before as well, but how come there was no mention of Sarver and what he did to the franchise in their section? Or would that be just another aspect of the "Chicago Cubs, NBA version" curse?
John Hollinger (3:40 PM)
I left out Sarver because that chapter is still being written.. it's too early to call the last two years part of some grand historic trend. We suspect it won't be as good as the Colangelo years, but we don't know that to be true yet.
Eric C. (Clovis, CA)
Why hasn't more been made in hindsight of the Szerbiak non-trade? Except Simmons, I haven't heard anybody else mention it.
John Hollinger (3:41 PM)
Because realistically Shaq was only going to help them against one team, and that wasn't the team they had their eye on. Cleveland matched up great against Boston without Shaq, and with the trade deadline being right after Nelson went out I don't think they seriously considered the possibility of facing Orlando in the conference finals.
John, why are people giving Kobe the title of best closer? He chocked badly in the final minutes of the last two games with a blocked shot in game 3 and a missed free thrown and a turnover in game 4. Im the best player, closer.. whatever you wanna call it right now.
John Hollinger (3:42 PM)
We need to make a distinction -- Kobe is good in fourth quarters and tends to score a big chunk of his points then, but he is not particularly good in last shot situations -- actually Carmelo Anthony is probably the league's most dangerous player at those times.
Michael Jordan (Chicago)
How dare you put my Bulls at 4, I can understand Boston and LA ahead of us, but the Spurs, are you serious? Well then again you wrote articles comparing Lebron and Kobe to me, even insisting Lebron is better. You're not a true historian, all you think about is what i have done for you lately.
John Hollinger (3:44 PM)
Name one significant accomplishment by the Bulls before 1989 or after 1999. Just one. Remember, it's the ENTIRE history of the franchise we're looking at, not just the years you remember the most fondly.
Blake (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Any thoughts on the Evan - Kapono trade? Does this hunt that a Bosh trade is more or less likely?
John Hollinger (3:45 PM)
Neither, it was basically a salary-neutral trade that gave Philadelphia a need (shooting) and Toronto a need (physical frontcourt player). No implications whatsoever for Bosh, more just a case of addressing a hole in the roster.
Fan (Phoenix, Utah, Milwaukee, Portland, Indiana, OKC)
I would be happy to trade my teams franchise history for Detroit's!
John Hollinger (3:46 PM)
I'm gonna disagree. The Pistons have three championships, yes, but they've had a LOT of down years in between. Go back to 1950 and count all the years they were one of the five worst teams in the league ... you'll end up in the high teens or low 20s.
Jeremy (Des Moines)
Come on, Boston beat LA how many times in the finals? Like 9 out of 11 or something? That right there should be BIG bonus points.
John Hollinger (3:49 PM)
So it's LA's fault that when they had Shaq and Kobe they couldn't play Boston in the Finals because the Celtics weren't good enough to get there?
John, I have two major problems with your franchise ranking. 1) The Lakers have a 150 intangibles rating, the Celtics just a 502) If you count playoff series wins, and overall wins, doesn't counting playoff wins seem redundant? Playoff wins count 3 times in your system..once in overall, once in playoff wins, and once in series wins. What does it look like without it?
John Hollinger (3:52 PM)
To clarify, playoff wins don't also count as a regular season-win, so they're not being double counted there. The reason I count individual playoff wins is because a 4-3 series loss is different from a 4-0 series loss -- the 4-3 could have produced a lot of excitement, the 4-0 only shame and anguish. By the way, if you remove the intangibles LA still beats out Boston pretty comfortably.
Chris (Los Angeles)
How was the Kapono trade made so early? Don't you have to at least wait till the season is over? Same with draft day trades?
John Hollinger (3:55 PM)
It's rare, but it can be done if neither player is a potential free-agent for the summer and the cap math works. More advantageous for Toronto to do the deal now since it gives the Raps slightly more cap space this summer -- Raps can have $10 mil if they renounce Marion, Delfino and a couple other guys.
So, do I get to see a Suns Championship in my lifetime? Already invested 30 years...
John Hollinger (3:57 PM)
Unfortunately, in a 30-team league your chances of a championship in any given time frame are pretty low. It's one of the reasons I focused more on the building blocks (wins, playoff wins, series wins, etc.) in doing this, because for most teams in most seasons winning the title is a pipe dream.
Jason (San Diego)
How often do you ESPN dudes hang out together?
John Hollinger (3:58 PM)
Plenty at events like these -- just went out with Sheridan, Abbott, Stein and Thorpe last night. Almost never the rest of the year though, because we're scattered all over the country.
Mark (Los Angeles, Ca)
In your team ranking, how can one (S.A) team have a 0.5 win?
John Hollinger (4:00 PM)
For folks who didn't read the entire intro, I counted ABA playoff accomplishments as half, so for example Indiana got credit for 1.5 championships.
Jay (San Francisco)
The best Lakers squad is the 85 team that beat the classic Bird/Parish/McHale Celts (that you call the greatest celts team the following year). First Laker win over the Celtics, Kareem averaging a mindblowing 30/11/7/2 at the age of 37, the bounce back from the Memorial Day Massacre... those blow away beating a good but not historically great Clyde Frasier Knicks squad.
I'm glad to see you have the sixers 6th, other than the lakers, does any other franchise have as many superstars as we have?
Joe Bob (The rational world)
Did you worry about your credibility at all when you gave points to the lakers for their fans? Mind you, these are fans who go not to cheer their team (as evidence by the majority of poor nights they have cheering wise) but to be "it"
John Hollinger (4:09 PM)
Going to a Laker game is an event, in a way that no other arena can match. But the main reason I gave the Lakers points was for the unmatched procession of superstars they've had through their whole history.
John Hollinger (4:10 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have and sorry we couldn't get to nearly as many questions as I'd hoped ... we'll do this again next week before Game 6 or Game 7 and hopefully we'll got some of the kinks worked out. Thanks again for all the great questions.