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!
Buzzmaster (2:13 PM)
Hang in there folks. John is traveling today, so he might have run into a delay.
John Hollinger (2:16 PM)
Greetings everyone from my home-away-from-home, Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport. Apologies for the late start, but apparently there's a moron convention in town, because they were all going through security at the same time I was.
John Hollinger (2:16 PM)
Before I start, a quick shout-out to Dr. Segall's class at Colgate University, where I'm headed to speak to them tomorrow. That's right, America -- I'm warping our youth, one impressionable mind at a time.
John Hollinger (2:16 PM)
Will there be teams after Greg Oden when he becomes a restricted free agent?
John Hollinger (2:17 PM)
As I wrote in my story today, if Darko Milicic can get a $20 million deal TWICE, I think there's little doubt a market exists for Greg Oden. I think the bigger question is the "restricted" part of your question -- depending on how Portland's season plays out, they may not want to commit an $8.8 million qualifying offer.
MIA #1 in power rankings?!? Scoring margin is important. But are all games equal? Should blowout wins against weak teams be less valued?
John Hollinger (2:18 PM)
Historical data says no. While this runs counter to what our intuition may tell us, in this case intuition has a lot of 'splaining to do.
How many games in a row do the Spurs need to win before the world takes notice? Also, has this win streak affected you W-L projection for them?
John Hollinger (2:19 PM)
San Antonio is taking advantage of a very favorable schedule. They're doing their part by winning the games, so I tip my hat, but as most Spurs fans know their slate gets much tougher every February because they have the long road trip and then a bunch of made-for-ABC games. I pegged 54 Ws for the Spurs before the season and I'll stick with that.
When was the last time your season-ending power rankings correctly predicted the championship?
John Hollinger (2:20 PM)
Boston in 08 and Spurs in 07 were #1. Lakers in 09 were #2
At what point do you start thinking Beasley's greating shooting might be a trend, not a mirage?
John Hollinger (2:21 PM)
It's both. He's a vastly improved shooter, but that's going to affect how opponents cover him, especially on his second run through the schedule. So I'd expect his mid-range % to go down even if his shooting isn't a mirage.
Do you agree with your own rankings? The 7-4 Heat are better than the Lakers, Celtics, et. al?
John Hollinger (2:23 PM)
In a vacuum, I think they're better. I do worry about how they match up against Boston in particular, however. Cs have multiple wing defenders, a PG Miami can't guard, and are probably the strongest help defending team -- all the ingredients you need to compete with Miami.
pudmac (portland, OR)
Are we going to sign Dampier now in Portland and help Camby out?
John Hollinger (2:24 PM)
Doubtful. Przybilla is expected back next week. I do wonder why New Orleans isn't making a stronger push for him, because he'd cure that iffy frontcourt depth situation real quickly.
Wes (The Colony, TX)
Your rankings lose all credibility when they have Miami ahead of Boston, when Boston has a better record and thoroughly beat them in both matchups.
John Hollinger (2:25 PM)
It felt like "thoroughly" to those who watched, but the scoreboard said "barely".
Travis (Salt Lake)
What's your opinion on the Jazz so far? Can they be a legitimate threat out West?
John Hollinger (2:26 PM)
A Dennis Green team -- they are what we thought they were. They're tough, don't take nights off, get very good point guard play; basically, they're a solid mid-tier playoff team that has no chance of beating the Lakers.
Jason Thompson should be the Blazers target. He can be had! Note IT!
John Hollinger (2:27 PM)
I suspect Blazers will shooting for a bigger catch if they do any deals. Thompson doesn't give them anything they don't already have with Przybilla/Camby/Aldridge.
Every Lakers Fan (Everywhere)
WHAT!!!! The Lakers are the defending champs, have size, have plenty of wing defenders and the best coach in history.
John Hollinger (2:29 PM)
And they've played little defense against an easy schedule. We'll see how they look when Bynum comes back, but he asked me what I thought after 11 games. Right now I like Miami a little better... just like I did before the season started when I picked Heat-Lakers in the Finals. Haven't really seen anything to sway my opinion.
Gallinari 16-17 FT last night and averaging 10+ FTs over his last 5. Does he keep this up?
John Hollinger (2:31 PM)
Six of the FTs were when the Kings fouled him on 3s, and plus, well, it's the Kings, but it's nice to see Gallo showing that kind of aggression. No way he keeps up this kind of rate, but he can finish with a very strong TS% if he's supplementing the 3s with a strong free-throw frequency.
Do the Thunder need to seriously think about moving Harden & Green for a better/more consistent player?
John Hollinger (2:33 PM)
What are they gonna get for those two? I'd love to see them start Ibaka at the 5 and keep Green at the 4 -- that's a small team but it's the only way they have enough floor spacing. As for Harden, he's been a total mess this year. I think you have to see if he can get it turned around, because right now they won't be able to get fair value for him.
Huey (Bakersfield, CA)
Thoughts on Eric Bledsoe?
John Hollinger (2:33 PM)
Intrigued. Want to see more. Like that he has such an advanced floater at such a young age. Let me get a few more Clips games under my belt before I say much more.
Will the Nets look to move Troy Murphy prior to the deadline?(whether it's for Carmelo Anthony or not) considering the play of Humphries and Favors?
John Hollinger (2:34 PM)
I thought that would be the plan from Day 1. Humphries is irrelevant to the discussion, but Favors' development should make it easy to move Murphy.
Doug Collins is giving Tony Battie more playing time than Marreese Speights. Is this a sign his vertigo symptoms are worse than previously thought?
John Hollinger (2:35 PM)
Check out some of the rotations he used in Washington. I thought Collins would improve them, but one of my worries was that he'd start slobbering over veteran retreads like Battie and Nocioni. Well, guess what ....
i think the blazers should go after melo and chauncey.. you think thats a possibility?
John Hollinger (2:36 PM)
I can't see Melo because he won't re-sign. It's the same reason they didn't trade for Bosh last year, which I'm told they could have. As for Chauncey, that's more realistic, but Denver would have to blow it up first.
David Kahn (Minneapolis)
I told you so.
John Hollinger (2:37 PM)
That two-point home win over the Clippers changes everything. Thanks for stopping by.
Anthony (New York)
How did statistical analysis project Landry Fields as a pro?
John Hollinger (2:38 PM)
Not good. He's been a real surprise. He rated as "not a good enough athlete, and not a good enough shooter to make up for it." Instead, it's more like "just athletic enough and just good enough a shooter to take advantage of his great feel and smarts."
Brandon Roy, the next T-Mac? will he ever be as dominant as he once was?
John Hollinger (2:38 PM)
T-Mac, unfortunately, is probably as good a parallel as any.
Should we be questioning the training staff in Portland after this? Seems to be an awful lot of knee injuries in a relatively short period of time.
John Hollinger (2:40 PM)
Wasn't aware there was a manual out on preventing knee ligaments from tearing. If they were missing diagnoses or having re-injuries to the same spot I'd be worried. What happened to Roy, Oden, etc., unfortunately, still looks like flat-out bad luck.
Do you see the Spurs as a legitimate threat to knock off the Lakers?
John Hollinger (2:41 PM)
I think the Spurs have to be taken seriously as a threat, but I'd still take L.A. That's about as much as I can say after a dozen games.
Do you think Rockets can fight back to be a lower seeded playoff team in this crowded western conference?
John Hollinger (2:42 PM)
Can they? Sure? Will they? I'd put it at less than 50-50. If they were in the East I'd say they get in no problem, but Houston will probably land right around .500 again and I can't see that landing in the top 8 out West.
Can we put to rest the conventional wisdom that you have to draft a big man if given the opportunity? Aren't they like HS pitchers? Some pan out, but the majority don't.
John Hollinger (2:43 PM)
Just got off the phone with Michael Olowokandi, and he concurs. This isn't 1972; you can win with guards now.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Wesley Matthews played well in Roy's absence the other day. But will Portland still make the playoffs if Roy is out an extended period of time because of his knee problems.
John Hollinger (2:44 PM)
If they did it would be as one of the bottom two seeds. Matthews and Rudy are solid reserves, but we're still talking about a major dropoff from Roy, even compared to the diminished Roy we saw at the start of this season.
Randy (St. Paul)
Does Kahn end up making the best (Beasley) and worst (Darko) moves of last offseason?
John Hollinger (2:45 PM)
You left out Luke Ridnour. And yes.
Do you say Golden State's good start is real or a mirage and once they get Lee back do you expect them to fight for a playoff spot?
John Hollinger (2:46 PM)
Golden State has a very soft schedule for the first three months or so and must take advantage. They're better than I expected, especially Monta Ellis, but I still think they'll end up a few games under .500 when it's all over.
Should the Blazer just blow it up and build through the draft. Has a small market team ever been successful other than building through the draft?
John Hollinger (2:47 PM)
Um, have you looked at their roster? It's pretty much all guys they drafted. The "problem" now is that the Blazers can't get bad enough to do that again successfully, so they'll have to try trades.
David Kahn (MN)
You can win with guards? I knew it!
John Hollinger (2:48 PM)
I walked right into that one.
If the Blazers make the $8.8 mil qualifying offer to Oden and no one else signs him to an offer sheet, do the Blazers have the option of negotiating a deal for less annually then the qualifying offer?
John Hollinger (2:49 PM)
Yes. He can either take the QO, negotiate a deal with the Blazers for any other amount/years, or sign an offer sheet with another team.
Norm Van Lier (Chicago)
How will Boozer help the Bulls? Thoughts on Omer?
John Hollinger (2:50 PM)
Boozer will help their spacing with his mid-range J, he'll make the Bulls beastly on the offensive glass with Noah, and he'll add some variety to the All-Rose-all-the-time offense. Looking forward to seeing how he and Rose mesh. As for Omer Asik, I liked what I saw in Houston the other night. He's still making a ton of mistakes, but he can impact games because he's long and quite mobile for his size.
Why didn't a team like Houston take a chance on Beasley? At this point it's looking very likely that the reason for his subpar play in Miami was more due to his coach (Beasley was given the Love treatment while there).
John Hollinger (2:52 PM)
I don't think Erik Spoelstra was the reason Beasley showed up in much better shape and started making all his jumpers. That strikes me as a serious reach. Everyone knew Beasley was talented, but we also knew that he wasn't completely dialed in with the Heat.
I know Presti gets a lot of deserved credit, but taking Harden over Curry is already bad and is eventually going to be historically bad, right?
John Hollinger (2:53 PM)
That one isn't looking good, no. Harden is better than he's played this year, however, so this might not look quite so bad in another year or two. Also, if a game is ever decided by a beard-off, he's the only player in the league who can match up with Baron Davis.
Donnie Walsh (NY)
How would you assess my offseason performance in light of these first 12 games...?
John Hollinger (2:55 PM)
One reason I liked New York to sneak into the playoffs was that I thought Anthony Randolph could really help them. So far he's given them nothing. The rest of the team? Meh.... Felton is about what I expected in D'Antoni's system, he's average at best in screen-and-roll. And while Mozgov might eventually be useful, right now he's not. So I can't say Donnie's marks are real high just yet. But let's try not to overreact to a dozen games.
John Hollinger (2:55 PM)
Folks I've gotta a plane to catch but thanks again for the great questions. No chat next week due to Turkey Day, but we'll do this again in two weeks.