Chat with John Hollinger
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, NBA columnist John Hollinger will stop by to share his thoughts on all of the NBA news.
Send your questions now and join Hollinger Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
John Hollinger (2:04 PM)
Greetings everyone and welcome. Witnessed a rather unexpected drubbing of the Hawks by Milwaukee last night, and now preparing for this year's masters of the unexpected, the Utah Jazz, to visit tomorrow. What's on your mind?
Patrick (San Antonio)
What is your take on the Spurs start? I am a Spurs fan but a realist, they look like they have yet to find defensive consistency but have played better the last few games. I actually understand why they were rated so low on your power rankings. Where do you see them finishing if they stay healthy?
John Hollinger (2:07 PM)
It's about what I expected. As you probably know, San Antonio typically plays a much more difficult schedule over the final 30 games and this year appears to be no exception. So it's important to bank some wins early, even if they don't typically play their best til later in the season.
Peat (Radford, Va)
A lot has been made of Utah's third straight comeback after being down by 18 or more in the third. I'm more interested in WHY they're down by so much in the first place.
John Hollinger (2:07 PM)
I was kinda wondering the same thing. I can't find any credible reason why their offense is so awful in first quarters, because the same guys are going gangbusters in the fourth.
John (Dallas, TX)
What do you think of the elevated number of possessions at the start of the season? If it keeps up this could be one of the highest scoring seasons since the early nineties.
John Hollinger (2:08 PM)
Definitely a trend to watch, and something I'm hoping sticks throughout the season. It's a reinforcing trend too -- as teams run more they can get away with playing smaller, which tend to make them run more, which tends to mean they can go even smaller, etc.
AC (Simi Valley, Ca.)
John, Should'nt your rankings take more into account win/loss records since a 5-3 team is ranked ahead of an 8-0 team?
John Hollinger (2:11 PM)
Actually, virtually every time the rankings have correctly flown in the face of conventional wisdom is precisely because they ignored W-L. L.A. has looked great so I'm not going to disparage them, but they haven't played the same caliber of opposition -- six home games against a .464 win %.
Junior J (Los Angeles )
Mr. Hollinger, read your stuff on B. Roy. Good stuff. Question: What happens when he gets healthy and needs the ball in his hands again?
John Hollinger (2:12 PM)
I think he may discover playing off the ball isn't as burdensome as he thinks. He's really good shooting the ball off of pin-downs and kick-outs but rarely gets to right now.
AtlKnicksFan (NY / Atl)
Professori - Have you thus far seen any reason to believe the Knicks are better than a .500 team ?
John Hollinger (2:13 PM)
No, but I haven't seen any evidence they're any worse than a .500 team either. I'd have to think a 41-41 season and, say, a 7 seed in the playoffs would be considered a huge success for New York.
Do you see the Rockets making the playoffs? I hope the're not as bad as their record.
John Hollinger (2:15 PM)
They're not as bad as their record, but with no Aaron Brooks, no Yao Ming, and too much Kyle Lowry (in the belly area, in particular), it's going to be a real tough next 3-4 weeks for them. If they can hold it together for the next month they can stay close enough to .500 to make a playoff run later in the year.
I realize la have had weaker opposition. miami has been exposed significantly by teams like hornets, celtics n jazz. how can u still have them at # 1. bosh has looked horrible so far .
John Hollinger (2:17 PM)
Exposed significantly? They lost by 8, 3, and 2. But I agree Bosh has underwhelmed.
Can you put into perspective how flukey the Jazz win over the Heat was?
John Hollinger (2:18 PM)
A fluke with a capital P-H -- they made five straight 3s with some of their worst 3-point shooters taking them. That said, Miami should still be disappointed that a) they punted a huge lead in regulation, b) they gave up the put-back at the buzzer for the tie, and c) they lost in OT because they had no answer for the combination of Ronnie Price and Francisco Elson.
Fair (State College)
John, do you agree that Kobe looks really fresh after being injured nearly all of last year?
John Hollinger (2:19 PM)
He looks great ... and he might not even be the best player on his own team! Gasol has arguably been even more fantastic. I thought the regular season would be a real grind for L.A. this year. Now it looks like they'll breeze to the top seed with a win total in the low-mid 60s while there's an 11-way tie at 45-37 behind them.
Billy, OKC OK [via mobile]
I like the Mavs signifigantly more without Butler! You have any numbers or formulas to prove me right so I can email Mark, Donnie and Rick!?
John Hollinger (2:22 PM)
Let's not overreact to last night - DeShawn Stevenson doesn't typically make those shots. But the Mavs had a nice energy to them and that was a strong road win against a pretty good team. While we're on the topic, Rudy Gay played some of the laziest D you'll ever see in that game.
John, does LaMarcus Aldridge make the All-Star game this year?
John Hollinger (2:23 PM)
I think there's a strong chance if the Blazers are in West's top 4, although making it as a PF in the West is always a crapshoot because there are so many good bigs. Ironically, this is the first time in three years he came to training camp not talking about making the All-Star team as a goal.
Jared (Atlanta, GA)
any reason to believe this Hawks team is any better than they were last season? I still can't see them sniffing the Eastern Conference Finals...
John Hollinger (2:25 PM)
Uh, you saw the game last night, right? Hawks may win a round if they get the right match-up, but they aren't doing anything more than that.
Can John Wall QB the Skins? He's got to be better than the alternatives right?
John Hollinger (2:26 PM)
Plus, he has the stamina to run the two-minute drill! I like it!
Warriros thoughts? Monta making the All-Star game? Are they as good as their record tells, or are we going to be a .500 team beating the bad teams and losing to the good ones?
John Hollinger (2:27 PM)
Monta may become the first player in history to win most improved twice. He's playing much smarter basketball this year. Warriors have a very easy early schedule so it's important to bank wins for lster in the year, but so far they're doing it. Will still be tough to break though into West's top 8, but .500 seems very possible.
Lakers the best team in the league right? can LO make the All-Star team?
John Hollinger (2:28 PM)
It's LA or Miami. Odom would be an All-Star if we chose teams today, but I think it's unlikely his percentages will still be this lofty when they chose the teams in early Feb.
Is Portland really surprised by Roy's recent knee injuries? I mean what was their medical staff thinking last year allowing him to come back from surgery in his meniscus after just 8 days when it usually takes 4-6 weeks to heal?!
John Hollinger (2:30 PM)
He couldn't do any more damage to the knee last year. Everyone with any knowledge of the case is in agreement on this. The only issue was that he wasn't healed enough and played terrible. Also, the injury now is to his OTHER knee, the left one, which he last had operated on a couple years ago.
Justin (Boulder, CO)
John, I enjoy your power rankings and I'd wager you have quite the affinity for them, too. But posting them seven games into the season? Is the idea just to antagonize the uninformed?
John Hollinger (2:32 PM)
If it was, it's working brilliantly. Actually, even after seven games we can glean some important info from the PRs -- that Oklahoma City is in a bit more danger than people realize, that New Orleans is probably for real, etc.
How can people still think Deron Williams is better than CP3 (I'm looking at you Ric Bucher)?
John Hollinger (2:34 PM)
Everyone discounted CP last year because of the injuries and the fact we weren't totally sure how strong he'd come back. Well, he's back. Right now he's a no-brainer MVP pick.
Miami better than Boston....that's funny. Too soft down low John...you'll get it sooner or later.
John Hollinger (2:34 PM)
Miami is No. 1 in Defensive Efficiency and completely annihilated the team with the league's best center. Let's not get carried away.
What have been the keys to the Hornets success? And if they make the right move at the trade deadline with Peja's expiring, can they become a legit contender?
John Hollinger (2:38 PM)
1) Surprising bench, 2) Health, 3) Recommitted on D after taking last year off, 4) CP is awesome. Please don't get your hopes up with Peja's expiring. Every team in the league has a large expiring contract and somehow the local writers all become convinced they own this incredibly fantastic trade asset. Draft picks and young players are still the currencies needed to complete deals in this league.
Rashard Lewis (Lost in ORL)
What's wrong with me so far this season? Too much playing time at the 3?
John Hollinger (2:38 PM)
Lewis wasn't good last year either. At this point you have to wonder if maybe he's just not that good.
Joe (New Orleans)
what's a realistic win total for the Hornets this season? 50? 55?
John Hollinger (2:41 PM)
It's totally health dependent, because I still don't trust the frontcourt depth and they're so dependent on CP. If CP, West and Okafor combine for 230 games, I suspect they'll get to 50.
How can you be a stat guy and say that CP3 is better than D-Will? D-Will better in points, assists, etc. Explain yourself!
John Hollinger (2:42 PM)
you mean in the seven games this year? Adjust for the huge minutes disparity, factor in that Deron has more than twice as many turnovers, and then see what answer you end up with.
Do you know why the Heat are not playing Mario Chalmers? It seems that he is an obvious improvement over Arroyo, even if only for his ability to hit open 3s.
John Hollinger (2:43 PM)
He's still coming back from a bad ankle sprain. I expect to see him claim a big chunk of minutes at some point this year, but it might not be for a while.
What's going to be more fun to watch this season? The Heat backpeddling in the standings or ESPN analysts backpeddling on their predictions?
John Hollinger (2:46 PM)
1) It's not backpeddling unless we're selling spines from cadavers on the black market, 2) The best indicator of future success is scoring margin and Miami is still dominant (+11.2) in that respect.
MC Welk (SLC)
Deron's turnovers will come down and his rebounds have come up. And his last two second halves will never be replicated by Paul.
John Hollinger (2:46 PM)
Neither will his last two first halves.
Time for the Thunder to go all in with their assets? They clearly need a big and more/better 3-pt shooting. Who could they get for their assets? Marcin Gortat from ORL?
John Hollinger (2:48 PM)
I think the Thunder are at a really interesting point in their evolution because we're now seeing the limitations of the current group. Some of this is probably temporary -- James Harden, for instance, can't possibly be as terrible as he's looked in these first two weeks. But the lack of shooting/spacing is a real problem and it's not going away unless they change the roster.
Chad (Auburn Hills)
Have Jazz fans overtaken Lakers fans as the most whiny?
John Hollinger (2:51 PM)
It's hard to compare. The Lakers have a lot of quasi-fan bandwagoneers that pollute the ranks, much like the Yankees/Cowboys/Manchester United, so it's tough to tell what's coming from the rank and file and what's just coming from random idiots. With Utah it's more the small-market paranoia that nobody will ever give them any respect, mixed in with a few decades of not winning the championship.
John I know you get asked a lot. But why isn't Miami taking a loop at Dampier? I'm no basketball pro, but it just seems like it would be a helpful pickup.
John Hollinger (2:52 PM)
I think Dampier would really help them, and not just with the post defense. He's a tremendous offensive rebounder and the Heat have been mysteriously awful in that department so far.
1996 Chicago Bulls (History)
We would destroy the 2010 Miami Heat...
John Hollinger (2:53 PM)
And every other team that has ever played.
Are we basically finding out that Paul Millsap is as good as Carlos Boozer which, by extension, means the Jazz added Al Jefferson to Carlos Boozer in their frontcourt?
John Hollinger (2:55 PM)
Let's not go there yet. Millsap had a stretch like this two years ago but ran out of gas halfway through the season; that never happened with Booz. Also, you left out one little detali: Instead of having Paul Millsap as the third frontcourt player, you now have Fes. Wee bit of a dropoff there.
Oscar (Los Angeles)
While I agree that CP3 is the MVP as of today, don't you have to agree that Pau Gasol is right there with him?
John Hollinger (2:57 PM)
Yes. Best stretch of his career, I dare say. At least the part where he didn't have "Espana" on his uniform.
Justin (Portland, OR)
Is Dwight Howard's post game for real? His moves are fluid, and he's hitting Tim Duncan bank-shots. He has blown away his career high usage rate. 29!
John Hollinger (2:57 PM)
Not sure yet. I'm digging the bank shots but I want to see more of him before I go to hog wild on this.
Hi John! Even though that Houston is a little bit down this year, do you think Luis Scola (his numbers are impressive, I guess) deserves to be an all-star this year?
John Hollinger (2:58 PM)
Scola has the #s to make it (as does Kevin Martin, actually) but the coaches have consistently refused to put in players from losing teams unless it was overwhelmingly obvious that they belonged. So he'll be shut out if the Rockets don't start winning more.
Larry (New York)
If Bosh/Wade/Lebron fail to win even 1 championship in Miami will it go down as the biggest failure ever?
John Hollinger (3:01 PM)
"Biggest failure ever"? Boy, that's a big standard. It would be a huge disappointment if they didn't win one, but I gotta think a few other failures would rank higher -- say, the Herschel Walker trade for instance.
John - Forget last night. LD's new offense has looked unstoppable at times this season for the Hawks...... P.S. - Al Horford doesnt miss from 15 - 18 feet.
John Hollinger (3:03 PM)
Hawks are No. 2 in Offensive Efficiency even after last night's disaster, and Horford indeed has been money on those mid-range Js from the high post. If Hawks can move past LA to the No. 1 spot, it will be the second year in a row that the league's top offense has prominently featured a Collins twin.
Justin (Portland, OR)
If Orlando only lost Jameer Nelson, Gortat and one of their wings for Chris Paul, would they become the best team in the league?
John Hollinger (3:05 PM)
The "best team" bar has been set pretty high right now, but if Orlando landed CP, almost regardless of what they gave up, they'd at the very least make it a three-team conversation. CP and Howard would be perfect together, especially with all those shooters.
do the blazers trade for love? nash? any big name?
John Hollinger (3:06 PM)
I do see a trade in Portland's future, but I think they're going to wait a little longer and see exactly what they have with this group.
Who has a brighter future? Gallinari or Nicola Batum?
John Hollinger (3:06 PM)
Batum. Might be the most underrated player in the league right now. Really blossoming into a fantastic two-way threat.
Derreck (Veneta, OR)
John Hollinger (3:07 PM)
Not as bad as you think, especially since Collins realized Meeks is a better alternative than Kapono if he needs shooting. Now if we can just get him to play Speights instead of Hawes and Battie. Still think Sixers make the top 8 in the East.
How much upside does Ibaka have?
John Hollinger (3:08 PM)
Defensively, he can be a monster. Dude just erased Aldridge from the game in the second half last Thursday, and the same thing happened in the OKC game last spring. Offensively? He can hit from 15 and finish at the rim, but he fumbles passes and has poor instincts. Not sure he'll ever be more than a secondary scorer.
Re: Batum - He's only underrated outside PDX. Blazer fans think he's the next Pippen.
John Hollinger (3:09 PM)
Actually, this is correct. He's simultaneously underrated and overrated at the same time.
Jake Erdahl (Minnesota)
Not one mention of Beasley's domination last night?! Come on fellas!
John Hollinger (3:10 PM)
Have had several questions about it but I didn't see the game, sorry. Can't say I'm really surprised -- Kings don't play any D and we've all known Beasley had potentially to be a big-time scorer. Now the question is whether he'll follow it up with a four-point mail-in or if he can maintain some consistency.
John Hollinger (3:11 PM)
Folks, that's all the time I have, but thanks again for all the great questions and we'll do this again next week.