Chat with John Hollinger
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, NBA columnist John Hollinger will stop by to share his thoughts on all of the NBA news.
Send your questions now and join Hollinger Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
John Hollinger (12:59 PM)
Greetings from Phoenix everyone. Suns and Spurs will be playing Game 2 tonight ... Have to cut this a bit short but I'll stick around until I leave for shootaround.
If you are Donnie Nelso and Mark Cuban what would be your next move for the Mavs?
John Hollinger (1:00 PM)
I think the Dampier contract is the key ... they have a valuable chip for teams looking to get under the tax line since it's non-guaranteed. The problem for them is that the new cap guidance from the league suggests fewer teams are going to face serious tax issues than we thought -- and as a result Dallas's willingness to take on money others don't wish to spend becomes less of a factor.
John, love the chats. I'm a Spurs fan living in Phx. What are the odds of Tony starting tonight and will it make the difference in the game if he does?
John Hollinger (1:01 PM)
EVERYBODY I talked to expects Parker to start tonight. The big reason to play him is to make Nash work a lot more on D and hopefully distract him from carving up the Spurs at the other end. That said, Hill will still play 30+ minutes and I expect both players to be on the court in the 4th quarter.
Mike (Tempe, Ariz.)
Can you recall the last time a team got involved in an outside political situation as Los Suns have?
John Hollinger (1:02 PM)
I'm sure it's happened, but off the top of my head I can't think of an instance. Sports teams usually try to stay as far away from this stuff as humanly possible...
Are we watching the best Steve Nash Suns team? Watching them recover from the two second half runs from the Spurs makes me think that this version is a better basketball team than the previous incarnations.
John Hollinger (1:04 PM)
Still would like to see what the first team would have done if Johnson had been healthy, and I still think the '07 team with the nose-bleed/suspensions was the best of them all ... but the West isn't quite as strong at the top as it used to be, so this could be the one that breaks through as a conference champion.
Kevin O'Connor (Depressed in Utah)
Are the Jazz an "Evan Turner" away from being a true contender? And why does Sloan insist on playing Fesenko ahead of Koufas?
John Hollinger (1:05 PM)
Fesenko provides a lot more physical resistance than Koufos, so he's needed against the likes of Bynum and Gasol. I know, they're getting crushed up front anyway, but I do think it would be worse with Koufos.
In regards to Parker starting, do you think if Parker does start, they will move Ginobli to the bench? If they both start, they severely limit their bench, and the effectiveness of each player is highest with the ball in their hands. But, if Parker starts and Ginobli sits, then Gentry can put Grant Hill on Parker. So what does Pop do?
John Hollinger (1:06 PM)
There's a decent chance it's Manu and not Hill that goes to the bench, yes, but I suspect it will be Hill for the reason you mentioned -- the whole idea is to make Nash guard somebody.
John, is there any precedent for a coach getting his team to the Eastern Conference semis and then being fired immediately after his team gets swept? Woodson is obviously in way over his head - if the Hawks are serious about ever winning a title with this group he's got to be the first to go, followed shortly by Bibby. Any chance Atlanta has a real coach next season?
John Hollinger (1:07 PM)
When you lose by 43, I don't think coaching is the problem. You're saying if they had just designed better plays coming out of timeouts or used a different rotation, they might have only lost by 37?
does the presence of AK & Okur change the dynamic of the series with Utah and LA, or are the jazz just too small to compete with the Lakers?
John Hollinger (1:09 PM)
I do think it would change things -- Okur forces L.A.'s bigs to guard the 3-point line, which they aren't used to, and AK's ability to block big guys' shots from behind gives Utah another way to limit LA's post players. That's why I had Utah beating LA when I first did my picks, before the injuries.
Mike (Tempe, Ariz.)
Amare signing a max deal (or near-max) to stay in Phoenix is virtual certainty now, right?
John Hollinger (1:10 PM)
Wouldn't say that, no. I think Florida still has a lot of lure for him. And I think if Suns lose in second round they're still going to question the financial risk/reward. If they win the West, then it's a no-brainer.
If Kirilenko comes back, does that move the Stiff Towers to the bench, where they belong?
John Hollinger (1:10 PM)
AK will probably start out coming off the bench and playing 15-20 minutes or so. But I could see him stealing some time at the 4 as the series goes on.
are we Raptors fans the only people who find Bosh's Twitter antics classless?
John Hollinger (1:12 PM)
Bosh has generally handled himself well, but that was one instance where I thought he was a little unprofessional.
You've picked Suns in 7. If the Suns end up playing the Lakers, who's gonna make it? Everyone keeps talking about how big the Lakers are, can the Suns match up?
John Hollinger (1:13 PM)
I think the Suns can match up, for a few reasons -- first, LA's bigs will struggle just as much to guard Amare, second, they don't want to chase Fry out to the 3-point line, and third, their bench is going to blow LA's out of the water. If they can get Lopez back by the WCF, so much the better.
Matt (State College)
How much money do you think Joe Johnson is dropping by playing like trash in the playoffs? Or does it even matter?
John Hollinger (1:15 PM)
I doubt it matters. With all the cash out there this summer, somebody will offer him the max. I'm just not sure if that team is the Hawks.
Andy (Seoul, S. Korea)
If the Lakers can finish off Utah, and the Suns advance, it seems like a pretty easy trip to the finals for them.
John Hollinger (1:16 PM)
Totally disagree. Suns are 33-9 in their past 42 games. LA's home-court advantage would be helpful, but Suns have a great shot at winning that series.
jafar and roba (atlanta)
do you think the hawks should trade away marvin for hedo or prince or someone else that can fit the hawks cause the marvin doing nothing
John Hollinger (1:16 PM)
So trade him for somebody else who's doing even less? I'm disappointed in Marvin too but I'm not sure trading him for an equally overpaid player with less upside is the answer.
do you still like the chances of the cavs advancing?I predicted cavs in 5 but i changed my mind in 6 games for the cavs..
John Hollinger (1:18 PM)
Historically, road teams have lost Game 1 and won Game 2 of the second round 42 times. You know how many times they advanced? Would you believe ... 12? So yes, I still like Cleveland's chances.
Where do the Nuggets go from here? J.R.'s gone, right? Do you blow the whole thing up or win another 50 or so games next year and hope to make the 2nd round?
John Hollinger (1:19 PM)
Not sure where they go from here. Nuggets' biggest issue is that they're going to be near or above the luxury tax with just the salaries of their top six players. So they're probably not going to be using their exceptions, again, and it's tough for them to make deals to upgrade the roster from what it currently is. Nene is probably the most tradeable commodity, but his contract and injuries will scare some people off, and besides, you'd need a center when you were done.
MC Welk (SLC)
Who should Jazz draft at #9: size or a swingman?
John Hollinger (1:20 PM)
Three words: Best player available. That's the strategy that nearly always works best. Utah also has to look at trading the pick, perhaps in a salary dump with Okur.
Kirk Gyllenskog (South Weber, UT)
Has Bynum, Odom or Gasol ever committed a foul? Also, do you find it strange that TV never shows a replay when Kobe is "fouled"?
John Hollinger (1:22 PM)
It's all part of the conspiracy. Quick note on officiating: The mics that the TV folks put in for these games reveal that Carlos Boozer is officially the basketball equivalent of Chicken Little. The guy screams at the top of his lungs every single time he shoots. Dude, mix it up a little ... scream when you actually might have been hit and you might get more calls.
Chances Woodson is back next year?
John Hollinger (1:23 PM)
I'm right at 50-50. If Hawks win a game or two the debacle in the opener will be quickly forgotten. If they get swept, though, that leaves the door open for management to make a change.
Should I go back to Europe or stay in Minny? What do you think about me starting over Love?
John Hollinger (1:24 PM)
Sounds like he wants to stay in Minnesota. I think the T'wolves have the right idea splitting the Jefferson/Love combo because defensively they just can't stop anybody when those two play together. I do wonder if they'll trade Love at some point.
Do you expect to see some of the elite FA's getting moved via a sign and trade? That would allow players to get a 6th year and the teams wouldn't lose them for nothing. If so, which teams have the most desirable assets?
John Hollinger (1:26 PM)
I expect to see a few players move that way, yes, most notably Chris Bosh. It also wouldn't shock me if Boozer, Amare and/or Joe Johnson landed with new teams that way ... their old clubs could get something back in the exchange and it really opens the market up for the players far beyond just the teams with cap space.
Ryan (Los Angeles)
John, what do you see the Bulls doing this summer? Do you agree they should focus on adding Joe Johnson in a sign and trade for Kirk Hinrich, then focusing on adding a guy like David Lee? Let the other teams jockey for the stars!
John Hollinger (1:26 PM)
I think they'll hold a lot of meetings, dither, nearly sign a guy, dither some more, watch everybody else make their moves, and then in September explain how this was the plan all along.
Over/under on the Hawks reaching 65% capacity for attendance at the first game in Atlanta?
John Hollinger (1:27 PM)
I'll take the over. Hawks have usually drawn well for playoffs. Not sure if they sell out but they'll have a respectable gathering inside Philips.
B. Colon Jello (Toronto)
Do the Raptors have too many Euros?
John Hollinger (1:28 PM)
No, they have too many overpaid players who don't defend, several of whom happen to be European.
John's Common Sense (Limbo, CA)
Suns 33-9 at the end of the season. One of those losses at home to the Lakers. 1-3 against them in the regular season. Suffer the same height issues as the Jazz are struggling against. Artest vs Richardson. And you're picking them to give the Lakers fits WHY?
John Hollinger (1:31 PM)
Watch the shots Richardson gets -- they're not in 1-on-1 D. Artest is a help defender against screen and roll, the Suns get Richardson free in transition or by swinging ball when teams try to take away the Nash-Amare screen-and-roll. Disagree on the size too. Boozer is 6-9 and Millsap 6-8; Amare is 6-10, Frye and Collins 6-11, Lopez 7-0, plus the wings (JRich 6-6, Dudley 6-7, Hill 6-8) are big. Between all the floor spacing and the better size, it's a very different match-up for L.A.
Don't forget that Channing Frye was suspended for that game against the Lakers...which might not seem like much except for the fact that it plays in to the exact strategy the Hollinger was talking about.
John Hollinger (1:32 PM)
Had completely forgotten about that, but yes, he was.
If the Jazz might have to move Okur in a salary dump, then why would they do a sign and trade for Boozer, why not just let him come off the books and then keep Okur? I suppose they could do both...
John Hollinger (1:32 PM)
Because Boozer is the only one of the two with a functioning Achilles tendon at the moment.
Everyone knows that when the Lakers top 5-6 players are in, they're a way tougher team. Could a lot of their measures be deflated by how awful the bench is and therefore we should expect them to play better depending on how long the starters can go?
John Hollinger (1:34 PM)
You're correct that both LA and Boston will punch above their regular-season weight because their strong starting fives will see more minutes in the postseason and their weak benches will see less. We're only talking a few minutes a game in most cases, but occasionally it will matter.
john (las vegas)
the fact that you threw in COLLINS into the mix of reasons why the lakers will struggle against the suns size is laughable. Everyone wants to knock the Lakers, but you really think a team like the suns is gonna go to the finals?????
John Hollinger (1:36 PM)
Watch Collins tonight. He does one thing well, and only one thing -- defend the post. (That's also why ATL brought his twin brother in to defend Howard last night). That will make him useful for short stretches against L.A.
If Millsap is 6'8", Gasol is 7'5"
Robert Horry (Retirement )
How many games do you think it will take before this series gets a bit chippy with out me? I personally don't expect any shots as hard as my hipcheck to Nash during the series, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a little blood before this series went back to San Antonio...
John Hollinger (1:39 PM)
Here's the funny thing -- the fans here just hate the Spurs, hate, hate, hate them, yell awful, vile things at Ginobili the whole game and, when I was there in April, actually cheered when he went down with a brief injury. But the players? Just a whole lot of respect both ways. Last time I was here Nash and Pop were playfully trash-talking each other before the game (Pop -- "we're going under every screen!"); Pop and Gentry are good friends and in general the players on the two sides have built up a healthy mutual respect.
The last two series showed me that Okur , despite his atricious help defense and foot speed, is a very good post defender. He actually knows how to use his body and hide his weaknesses. How much of a factor Mehmet could have been in this series ? He had found his game, rhythm before playoffs and had expanded his game vastly.
John Hollinger (1:40 PM)
I'll agree with you there -- he proved that to me with his work against Yao in the Houston series three years ago.
Kobe's Image (The OC)
Should I fire my management team?
John Hollinger (1:41 PM)
Unless his post-career plans involve guest-hosting "Sprockets", probably the right way to go. (For those who missed it, Kobe had a photo shoot in a magazine this week that's ... well ... Google it and you'll see what I mean).
will the mavs keep nowitzki?
John Hollinger (1:41 PM)
99% yes. I think Dirk was just frustrated after the Spurs series.
Trevor (SLC, Utah)
I dont think the Jazz should bother re-signing Korver after what he has (not) done in the playoffs so far, his 3-pt record notwithstanding. What do you think?
John Hollinger (1:42 PM)
I'm not sure they can afford to in any event. Re-signing Booz will put them well into the tax so they have to cut some place else. "Second wing off the bench" seems like a good place to start.
John Hollinger (1:43 PM)
Folks, I have to go to shootaround so I'm going to have to cut this short, but thanks again for all the great questions and check out my missives from Game 2 tonight.