Chat with John Hollinger
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, NBA columnist John Hollinger will stop by to share his thoughts on all of the NBA news.
Send your questions now and join Hollinger Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
John Hollinger (3:03 PM)
Greetings from Hollinger HQ, where it's good to be back after taking some "me" time. Say, where'd all the belligerent Mavs fans go?
Your numbers love Jimmer Fredette -- but hard to think of a successful NBA player with his lack of height and quickness. Any chance he contributes at next level?
John Hollinger (3:04 PM)
PER is but one of many factors that correlate with NBA success. I think Fredette belongs in the league but that's about as far as I'll go just based off his PER ... I'll have to look deeper when I get into my Draft Rater program in the next few weeks.
Professor: You're computers love Utah. Most experts seem to agree, however, that the Jazz are not on the same level as the Nuggets and Mavs, and certainly not the Lakers. So do you side with your objective analysis or the subjective commentators?
John Hollinger (3:06 PM)
The Jazz are clearly better than Dallas, by any objective measure. They've been better than Denver of late too, but the Nuggets have had the better of their head-to-head matchups. Here's the thing: The Jazz have played dramatically better since the midpoint of the season, only nobody seems to realize this because they never had a lengthy winning streak. Right now they're playing as well as any team in basketball, and they've done it despite several injuries.
Spencer (Las Vegas)
You mentioned in an article that the Jazz aren't getting any respect. Can you explain why that is?
John Hollinger (3:07 PM)
Because superficially nothing seems different from a year ago, when they closed with an 8-15 thud and lost in the first round. It's the same players, basically, but the changes are all subtle things -- improvement by players who were already there, better D, etc.
Could you see the Hawks going after Salmons in the offseason if JJ bolts? Johnny has torched us this season...
John Hollinger (3:08 PM)
i believe the Hawks would only have midlevel in that case, which would make it hard to make a run at Salmons; he's not opting out of 5.8 mil to take the MLE.
John: How worried should I be at the idea of the Cavs reacclimating Shaq into the lineup either in the last few games of the season or (gasp) in the first round of the playoffs?
John Hollinger (3:09 PM)
Apparently Shaq is staying in decent shape, and the Cavs' first-round pairing with Toronto should be a walkover, so I wouldn't sweat it too much. Really, he just needs to be reacclimated by the conference finals; Cleveland won't lose before then.
Do you think the Bucks have what it takes to knock Boston out of the playoffs? Atlanta?
John Hollinger (3:10 PM)
I think either would be a very, very tough series. Not ready to proclaim a winner just yet.
How many more 30pt / 10+ assists performances does steph curry have to put in for him to steal the ROY award?
John Hollinger (3:11 PM)
Here's the problem: It's rookie of the YEAR, not Rookie of the Final Two Months. Evans built such a huge lead on him in the first half of the season that the race is probably over.
Hi John, what makes Wayne Ellington a bust at the 28th pick in the draft? He's (I think) 2nd in the league in 3pt percentage since February 1st which is exactly what the Wolves drafted him for. He's been a lone bright spot for the Wolves and has the looks of a decent role player. What more do you want at the end of the first round?
John Hollinger (3:14 PM)
If your comparison point is Sasha Pavlovic, then he's an outstanding pick. If you're using NBA rotation players as the measuring stick, not so much. You're correct that he's made half his 3s since Feb. 1; unfortunately he's also made 41.8% of his 2s and has a negative Pure Point Rating. I'm not sold.
Why do you hate the Mavericks? What did they do to you? All they do is play lazy perimeter shooting basketball with horrible defensive effort. What's not to love about that product?
John Hollinger (3:14 PM)
I actually think their defensive effort is fine; it's just that they can't handle quick point guards and haven't been able to ever since the Harris trade.
What is Ted Leonsis' first move as owner of the Wizards?
John Hollinger (3:16 PM)
He has two important decisions to make right away: Whether he's going to revamp the front office, and what he's going to do about Gilbert Arenas. He's going to have to hit the ground running.
Shannon (ATL, GA)
How many hours/week do you work?
John Hollinger (3:17 PM)
My friends would argue zero -- "you call this work?" -- but a lot of the time I don't spend writing is spent either watching games (on TV or in person) or cooking up stats ...
In complete honesty, how far do YOU see the Jazz going in the playoffs (not your computer rankings)? Do you see them securing up the 2nd seed by the playoffs?
John Hollinger (3:19 PM)
I think they'll be the No. 2 seed and make the conference finals ... probably. A couple of the match-ups along the way (OKC, Denver) scare me a bit based on what happened in the regular season, so that's my only caveat -- I think match-ups will matter.
Sloan takes the Jazz from being 5 back of a very good Denver team, to all of the sudden tied and a very good chance to take the division and second spot in the West. What more does the guy have to do to earn COY?
John Hollinger (3:19 PM)
Unfortunately this year's coach of the year will definitely be named Scott. I have Skiles as a slight favorite over Brooks.
Your numbers say the Jazz have a 20% chance of winning the title this year. Can they really win with their lack of size down low?
John Hollinger (3:21 PM)
Last I checked they had a 6-11 widebody at center, two seven footers off the bench and about the league's biggest wing players. Interior defense could be a problem, but size won't be.
what did you think of the Dallas blazers game last night , Do you think that the blazers are a dangerous team to meet in the playoffs?
John Hollinger (3:22 PM)
Understand that I think the Mavs have been wildly overrated, so the Blazers beating them at home didn't really change my impression of them any.
Prof H - Thoughts on the Bobs possibly making round 2? They seem to have some legit match up problems for people with their flexibility and have a typical LB team (gritty, defensive etc).
John Hollinger (3:23 PM)
I like their odds a lot better if they can hold off Miami for No. 6 and avoid playing Orlando; in that case I think they have a fighting chance against Boston/Atlanta. By the way, if Charlotte draws Atlanta, Rick Kamla can just book his hotel room now for the seven times this series will get pushed to NBATV.
Russell (Ashburn, Virginia)
What do you think the Redskins have to do to be playoff contenders?
John Hollinger (3:24 PM)
Biggest thing is the O-line needs to stay healthy. Not really enthralled about a Grossman-Campbell competition at QB, but teams have won with worse.
If you were Bryan Colangelo and you had to orchestrate a sign and trade deal around Chris bosh, what positions would you try to bolster with the deal?
John Hollinger (3:26 PM)
I think it's pretty obvious they need a big man who can defend the paint; second biggest need is a wing who can defend. So basically, anyone who can defend.
Why would Pure Point Rating have any effect on determining Ellington as a bust? You're just reaching and using stats that have little to do with the player. Typical ESPN employee
John Hollinger (3:29 PM)
He's a spot up shooter -- he should hardly have any TOs. The fact he makes so many mistakes on his rare ballhandling forays is an eye-opener. But fine, let's ignore the stats. Subjectively, every time I watch the T'wolves he's terrible. That better?
Bosh to the Bulls for Noah and a first rounder?
John Hollinger (3:30 PM)
Here's the problem with that scenario -- why would Chicago do that when they could just sign Bosh (or perhaps Joe Johnson or Boozer) straight away for free?
Not ready to proclaim a winner yet between the Bucks and Hawks/Celtics? There's only two weeks in the season left. When are you going to be ready?
John Hollinger (3:31 PM)
Gotta see how they close, what injuries happen, etc.... also working on a little side project that hopefully will help me with forecasting playoff series.
Ariel (Albany, NY)
David lee is almost sure to be off the Knicks next year. If your are Donnie Walsh, do you let him walk or try to do a difficult sign and trade with another team like Toronto?
John Hollinger (3:32 PM)
Again, I'm not sure the S&T is really necessary -- he could just sign Bosh straight away without it, so the motivation for sign-and-trade isn't clear to me. Although it would be entertaining just to watch the Lee-Bargnani frontcourt attempt to play defense.
Mongo (Akron, OH)
How do you suppress your hometown bias during your writing - when most ESPNY writers wear theirs on their sleeves?
John Hollinger (3:33 PM)
It's easy -- I don't live in an NBA city. I live in Atlanta.
If Portland ends up seventh, meaning they'd be matched up with the Jazz, PDX front office might as well start evaluating Pritchard now since the Blazers have no chance.
John Hollinger (3:34 PM)
I think Blazers need to really hope they draw Dallas or Denver and not Utah/LA in round 1. They have a fighting chance against Denver and a great shot against Dallas, but you're correct -- I think they're absolutely roadkill vs. Utah, who owned them in the regular season.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
Can you see Tony Parker being traded? George Hill obviously isn't as good as Parker, but could he be a good enough PG provided the Spurs can get a quality big or SF in return for Parker? Seems like the Spurs need to put everything on the table at this point.
John Hollinger (3:35 PM)
Interesting idea. I think Hill is more of a third guard or even a full-time 2, but if he's going to play as a scoring 1 then trading Parker for a wing player makes all kinds of sense ... particularly if they don't bring Manu back.
Can you talk a little bit about the Spurs? They're not exactly hot right now, but they are starting to round into form and should get Tony Parker back in time for the playoffs. I know it's a long shot, but since no one has a true stranglehold on the West, is there a chance we could see them in the Finals?
John Hollinger (3:37 PM)
I talked about this yesterday, San Antonio indeed has been playing better of late even with Parker still sidelined. My issue with them now is that Duncan has really slowed down since his torrid start, so it's tough for me to endorse the Spurs as a finalist. They can win a round, maybe even two if the match-ups are just right, but that's as far as I'll go.
You are hanging with the wrong crowd. A lot of folks in ATL love basketball and the NBA. The Hawks have only recently given them a product to work with.
John Hollinger (3:38 PM)
I'm sure a lot of Atlantans love the NBA. I'm equally sure that in most cities outside the South, a much larger portion of the population follows the league.
from before, you said Utah had "about the league's biggest wing players..." Are we talking about the same Jazz team? I can think of a lot better groups of wing players. Can you defend yourself with some stats Mr. Stat Guy???
John Hollinger (3:40 PM)
I said "big", not "good". AK is 6-9 with elastic arms, Korver 6-7, Miles 6-6, Matthews is 6-5 but strong.
What odds do you put on the results of a Cavs-Magic ECF?
John Hollinger (3:41 PM)
I'm conflicted about whom to pick in this one. I'll say this though: I think the winner will take the championship. Nobody out west playing nearly as well as these two.
Why don't you rank and discuss the worst starting players at every position? Since those bad players have almost as much to do with wins/losses as the great players. At least come out with an all Fisher team. The 5 worst starting players in the NBA. I would read that Per Diem! Who is your bad 5?
John Hollinger (3:42 PM)
The problem is that bad starters don't tend to keep their jobs, so the list is in a constant state of flux. All-Fisher team? Sounds like somebody has chosen her starting point guard on this squad already.
OKC the one West team no one wants to meet in the playoffs?
John Hollinger (3:43 PM)
I don't think teams will be excited about facing them, but given the other options for the first round I don't think they'll be too disappointed either. OKC has leveled off a bit the past few weeks and their lack of experience could be an issue in Round 1.
Does Dallas have some kind of a tiebreaker over Utah? Utah won the season series, but the standings today put them above us even though we are tied.
John Hollinger (3:44 PM)
If season ended today, Denver would win division over Utah. Because Utah isn't a division winner, Dallas would automatically win tie-break even though Jazz have head-to-head advantage. So that's why current standings list Utah as the No. 4 seed.
Do you think that people are sleeping on the Suns come playoff time? If I'm any team in the west I don't want to play them.
John Hollinger (3:45 PM)
I think they are, yes. Phoenix will be very dangerous in the 4-5 position; it's even possible, given the current struggles of Denver and Dallas, that they can move up to No. 3. One thing about Suns though: they need Nash's back to get right to make serious noise in the playoffs.
You've said in the past that teams with good benches tend to do worse in the playoffs than teams with poor benches. Which teams this year will have the biggest disparity in play because of shortened benches during the postseason?
John Hollinger (3:47 PM)
I'd say it hurts Orlando, Portland and Utah and helps the Lakers and Celtics.
Do you think its the coaches fault that the Raptors don't seem to care about being a joke right now. I really think when Triano put Jose back in the starting line, it upset lots of players.
John Hollinger (3:50 PM)
I have to seriously question why the Raps have been so loyal to Triano when it's so obvious he can't get them to give any effort whatsoever on D. They don't have a ton of defensive talent, but they shouldn't be worst in the league either.
JH -- Do you think that this year's Lakers are on the short list of biggest underachievers in history? They have by far the best team on paper and just seem to continually dissapoint. I can even see them losing early in the playoffs to Portland or OKC. Thoughts?
John Hollinger (3:52 PM)
I don't think they'll lose to either of those teams, but you have to understand the Lakers are getting zilch from the bench and from Fisher at starting PG. They could really use Luke Walton, actually.
Do you think Al Jefferson's defense is too atrocious to make his brilliant low-post scoring worthwhile?
John Hollinger (3:52 PM)
This season, yes. I would hope that next year, another year removed from the ACL injury, he's a bit more mobile. Hopefully a bit more interested too.
So why are you giving Denver any hope in the playoffs?
John Hollinger (3:53 PM)
I'm uncertain about when Martin comes back and in what state. Prognosis doesn't sound good but if he can play and be reasonably effective the Nuggies' chances improve quite a bit. I'm also presuming George will be back coaching by then, but obviously that part is uncertain too.
Rick Carlisle (Dallas)
How atrocious was the officiating in last night's game?
John Hollinger (3:55 PM)
Not enough to swing the game a dozen points, certainly.
Shawn (Paramus, NJ)
NJ native John Hollinger, since the the jazz are pretty much doomed for a first or second round exit this year, and have the Knicks next year's pick, wouldnt it be "statistically smart" for them to tank their games their remaining few games against the Wizards, Pacers, and Detroit so that those teams end up higher on the standings than the Knicks (who have a pretty similar record) in order to win the lottery?
John Hollinger (3:56 PM)
Wow, pretty harsh outlook for a team that's 28-8 over the past three months, isn't it? Jazz would do far more damage to their own playoff seeding with that approach than anything to improve their lotto odds.
Do you like Arroyo's play in Miami.? He does not blow my mind with his numbers, but the team seems to play better with him in the lineup. Agree?
John Hollinger (3:58 PM)
Yes, but only because we're using Rafer Alston as the comparison. I have no idea why the Heat were so gung-ho on bringing him back after he'd been so awful in New Jersey.
Bill (Long Island)
Looking at the Nets' remaining schedule, I seriously don't see any games left that they can win, unless the other team just doesn't show up. Can you?
John Hollinger (4:00 PM)
Back to back against two reeling teams this weekend in Detroit and Chicago -- they might pass the Sixers by Monday. If not, they still have Wizards and another game vs. Bulls. Playoff Odds say they'll win three, which might be optimistic, but I think they get at least two.
Mavs Fan (Dallas)
WAAAAHHHHHH WAAAAHHH WAAAHH
John Hollinger (4:05 PM)
What bothered me most about the entire Dallas thing was how Mavs nation instinctively shot the messenger rather than evaluate the message. You would not believe some of the vile, hateful stuff people were sending me because I pointed out that I wasn't impressed by a string of close wins at home against bad teams. Unfortunately some of their media went fanboy during the streak and started pouring gas on the flames, which wasn't helpful. Can't remember the last time I was this disappointed in a fan base.
What do you think about Camby coming back to Portland next year? Makes sense since Pryzbilla is going to be out for a while.
John Hollinger (4:05 PM)
I think if the Clips get a prominent FA with their cap space he'll go back to LA; Portland might be a decent fall back for him, but I'd say Denver or New York could say the same thing.
Do the Jazz miss Ronnie Brewer or do the Jazz know they have something special with Wesley Matthews?
John Hollinger (4:07 PM)
I think once Korver returned and Miles started emerging Brewer became a bit redundant, especially since Matthews is a much better defender. You'd rather have him than not have him, but it doesn't really change Utah's outlook much.
John Hollinger (4:08 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for all the great questions. I'll be at Nuggets-Magic on Sunday and have a full report, and we'll do this again next week at our regular time on Thursday.