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 (2:03 PM)
What's up everyone ... All-Star picks coming down the pike later today, trade deadline in three weeks, and no clear front-runner for the title. Other than that, nothing to talk about ... let's get started.
Brent (San Francisco)
Can you give a cavs fan some semblance of hope... Any possible trades for the future? Maybe take a chance on Thabeet?
John Hollinger (2:04 PM)
Wow, if you're talking yourself into Thabeet things really are dire. The only thing I can say for Cleveland is thye may have some opportunities to add future pieces at the trade deadline, either by using their trade exception or (more likely) parting with Jamison and/or Williams.
I've changed my mind on the Bulls shooting guard situation. I want them to keep doing what they're doing. I think any trade that involves moving an integral piece of the current team isn't worth it. What are your thoughts?
John Hollinger (2:05 PM)
I'm all for an upgrade as long as it doesn't cost them any long-term pieces. That's the crux to me -- you can't be dealing Taj Gibson just to get a 2 when you can easily get a passable one in the next draft/free-agent class with a little patience.
Hi John,Who is your favorite to win the NBA title? Your formula suggests that LA is the best team. But my eye test suggest Boston has been the most consistent even with all the injuries. Please elaborate.
John Hollinger (2:07 PM)
This is what I wrote about yesterday. L.A. is "ranked" No. 1, but we effectively have a six-way tie at the top. If I'm a Laker fan, what worries me is that the Lakers are pretty much at their ceiling right now -- everyone's healthy except Barnes -- and they still aren't dominating. The other five teams can make a much more plausible argument that they're capable of playing much better than they are now -- Spurs hardly play their starters, Magic just had the trades, Celtics/Bulls/Heat have had injuries. So if L.A. isn't better than those teams now, how will they be better in May/June?
Is Josh Smith gonna get hosed again this year, while his overpaid teammate gets in?
John Hollinger (2:08 PM)
Actually I think Johnson has had the better year of the two. I still can't fathom why everyone is endorsing Ray Allen for the second guard spot over Johnson; Johnson is better now and has been every year since Allen came East.
Frank Vogel (Indy)
John Hollinger (2:09 PM)
We'll ignore the combined 35-game losing streak of your first two victims while you bask in the glory.
What's stopping the Blazers from trading Andre Miller for Mo Williams. That would allow us to have a shot capable point guard and to use Dre's expiring contract for a good young piece.
John Hollinger (2:10 PM)
I think Portland's worry is that Williams still has two years left on an unfavorable contract. Blazers would like to fill that spot more cheaply given the other guys they're paying.
How is LeBron not the MVP if Miami finishes with the best record and Cleveland finishes with the worst?
John Hollinger (2:11 PM)
I agree that LeBron's MVP argument is very strong, but the Cleveland portion is a piece of heavy artillery that should only be brought out when people try the "look what they'd be without him!" approach.
Are the Blazers pushing their guys out there injured? Sounds like Matthews has trotted out there too hurt to play, injuries with Camby, Oden, Roy, are they not being cautious enough?
John Hollinger (2:14 PM)
Matthews has been playing hurt for a while now, so this is nothing new, although last night's injury was. We'll see how serious it is. As for the other guys ... they could not have been more careful with Oden. Stuff happens. Camby isn't exactly renowned for demanding to play when he's hurt, I don't think that's been an issue. It's basically just Roy that you could argue, and even then I think it's a reach.
Are you ready to call Rose the best PG in the game yet?
John Hollinger (2:15 PM)
Did Chris Paul retire?
With our Boston C's big men finally getting healthy. Is there any statistical evidence J. Oneal should touch the court, even over Semih?
John Hollinger (2:16 PM)
Yes, J. O'Neal was quite good last year when he was healthy. We just don't know what he's going to be able to give them when he comes back, obviously. Also, Shaq seems to have this weird thing going where some nights he's really effective and some night he can't move.
Cleveland gets its own PER Diem and what do the Raptors get? It sucks being SLIGHTLY BETTER than the worst team in the NBA. Do you expect the Raps to be active at the deadline John John?
John Hollinger (2:18 PM)
I think Colangelo will look at everything, particularly unloading Calderon and Reggie Evans, and I suppose it's possible he uses the rest of his trade exception. But really, I'm not sure Toronto has a lot that other people want, and that's gonna make it difficult to make radical changes.
Phil (Chicago )
No, Chris Paul didn't retire but his numbers are down across the board compared to 2 years ago. Live in the present, John.
John Hollinger (2:19 PM)
Which numbers? Turnovers? Missed shots? Paul is second in the NBA in PER ... he's become the master of efficiency.
In the event of a lockout, who do you think will go play in Europe? Any U.S. born players? Any U.S. born all-stars? Thanks.
John Hollinger (2:21 PM)
FIBA isn't going to clear anyone who is under contract, so Dirk and Rudy and a couple of other guys who talked about playing in Europe aren't going to be able to. The ones who may are the free agents.
Sam (The S.L.C.)
The Jazz. Where do they go from here? I believe panic is starting to set in in Jazz nation.
John Hollinger (2:23 PM)
With reason. They just aren't that good. Al Jefferson is a poor fit with Millsap, Raja's been a a bust, and they only have one good bench player. You've seen the last few games how much they depend on Williams. They may look a lot harder at making a deal to get under the tax, because their best-case scenario is losing in the first round anyway.
I know you love PER, but it's YOUR made up stat. Why should fans trust it when clearly our eyes can tell us that D Rose is playing way better than Paul and when PER doesn't account for how a player has to play when teammates are hurt?
John Hollinger (2:24 PM)
I trust you reached this eye test after watching all the Hornets' games too?
John - Youre my go to guy when it comes to the Hawks..... Any hint at what they are thinking approaching the trade deadline?
John Hollinger (2:25 PM)
48 wins! cool! We'll take it!
John Hollinger (2:25 PM)
Seriously, I'd love to see them make a move for a real point guard, but I think they're way too content to merely be good and happy to ride this core for as long as they can.
No.1 Rule of chats: Don't say anything but Derrick is best player alive!!
John Hollinger (2:26 PM)
I think he's actually surpassed Kobe when it comes to the Army of Unreasonably Enthusiastic Supporters.
Do you think Lamarcus Aldridge makes it to the Allstar game? Should he change his last name to Allstar?
John Hollinger (2:27 PM)
I think he's going to just miss, even after the commissioner makes his pick. My guesses are that the coaches pick Duncan, Ginobili, Nowitzki, Gasol, Westbrook, DWilliams and David West, and that the commish picks Blake Griffin. If Griffin gets in I think the commish will pick Kevin Love over West and Aldridge, although he could also go Nash or Zach Randolph. Lots of good choices out West.
Paul > D. Williams > Nash > Rose
John Hollinger (2:29 PM)
I'd put Rose ahead of Nash in that hierarchy just because he's a better defender, but otherwise I think you've got it spot on. Also, Westbrook has to be in there somewhere. I'd put him between Williams and Rose ... he's harder on the eyes than Rose but at the moment he's the more effective player.
Adam (Depressed Cleveland)
Why is Rondo not in there at all?
John Hollinger (2:32 PM)
Rondo is amazing to watch ... but he can't score, and we can't pretend that doesn't matter. Think of it this way: Even with all the other weapons Boston isn't exactly a dominant offensive team.
Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia, PA)
First career triple double at 20...Give me a few years and I'll be first on that list...as long as management can find me a Center who can dunk.
John Hollinger (2:33 PM)
I'd be a little more enthusiastic if it wasn't the pathetic 11-10-10 variety of triple-double. I agree that The Jruth is one of the league's most promising young guards, but let's not cue up the Jason Kidd comparisons just yet.
Jared (Atlanta, GA)
John, could you please say something - ANYTHING - about Zach Randolph and how much butt he's kicking right now? I'm not even a Griz fan, I just think his season deserves some recognition. I don't think I've ever seen a player dominate so much in complete anonymity...
John Hollinger (2:34 PM)
Zach is kicking butt, and after a slow start the year he's been kicking more butt than ever the past few weeks. Nobody seems to have considered him for All-Star, but he's a very worthy choice and I'd argue he has a stronger resume than Aldridge or West.
Mikey (San Francisco)
Tell Mike from Chicago that Chris Paul has had to deal with a whole lot of injured teammates.
John Hollinger (2:34 PM)
NOBODY HAS GONE THROUGH WHAT DERRICK ROSE HAS
John Hollinger (2:34 PM)
Sorry, just seeing what it felt like to play the fanboy card. Carry on...
When are the Suns gonna trade Nash to a contender? I need to see my boy get a ring.
John Hollinger (2:36 PM)
Unfortunately, they still are sticking to their guns that they want to keep him and go 37-45 rather than get assets that could help rebuild the team. I don't think any team has had a more disastrous nine months than the Suns have. Starting from Kobe's airball being in mid-air at the end of Game 5 and imagining all the possibilities from there, this is pretty much worse than the worst-case scenario we could have envisioned, isn't it?
Peter (Portland (OR))
Why would the Blazers trade for Mo Williams? Is he really an upgrade over Miller?
John Hollinger (2:37 PM)
He's not a better player, no, and I would assume something else would be coming back besides just Mo Williams. He is arguably a better fit, however, because his shooting spaces the floor for the other guys.
Lots of People (Los Angeles)
How dare you John!! How dare you say Derrick Rose has more unreasonably enthusiastic fans than Kobe! We don't care what the stats say! Nobody has more than Kobe! Kobe is the best! If it's the last five minutes of a game, and you need unreasonably enthusiastic fans, Kobe is your man! Argument ended. Period. QED.
Adam (Depressed Cleveland)
And why would the Cavs trade for Miller? Do we want him back 10 years later?
John Hollinger (2:39 PM)
His contract isn't guaranteed for next year so he could be waived for cap relief, but the more likely scenario would be a three-way deal that saw Miller immediately sent to a contender for picks/expirings/etc.
Cameron Symlar (University of Memphis)
Do you think the Grizzlies will jump the Trail Blazers and make the playoffs?
John Hollinger (2:40 PM)
For the first time in a long time, today I'm projecting that the last spot won't come down to Memphis and Portland but rather Portland and Utah -- that's how far the Jazz have fallen. Memphis has a very favorable schedule the rest of the way and if the Nuggets trade Melo, the Grizzlies could easily end up with the No. 6 seed.
Who you got tonight? Your #1 Lakers or #2 Spurs?
John Hollinger (2:41 PM)
When in doubt, bet on home court. I'll go with Lakers in a close one.
Boston shoots .499% from the field. 26 points higher than then next team! Yeah they aren't dominant.
John Hollinger (2:42 PM)
Way to cherry-pick the stats. They're 11th in Offensive Efficiency and have the fourth-highest turnover rate.
jonearly (rockville centre)
now that the grizz are over 500 who should they bring in to make a playoff push
John Hollinger (2:43 PM)
Ideally, they would bring in a nearly-finished 30-something point guard who wore it his welcome in his last stint with the team. Wait ... you mean they already did that?
Can you give me a few names you would like to see running the point in ATL? Youre not allowed to trade Josh Smith though!
John Hollinger (2:44 PM)
The "what would they trade?" issue is a problematic one, yes. Marvin Williams, obviously, but I'm not sure anybody really wants him these days. So a first-tier point guard would probably cost them Josh, and that would just open another hole. But we can always hope ....
Hey John, Instead of class I'm in sweatpants eating a pizza and reading this chat. Can I get a shout out for all the people snowed in by the "Snowpocalypse"?
John Hollinger (2:45 PM)
Good luck to all you digging out, and a special shout out to any of you stuck in an airport terminal or any other form of transportation hell.
We all know Tim Duncan WILL be an all-star, either by vote or appointment by commish. Should he be?
John Hollinger (2:47 PM)
I think he pretty clearly has NOT been one of the 12 best players in the West this year, let's put it that way. If you're putting him on the team, you're basically relying on a different agenda than having an All-Star Game.
Mikey (San Francisco)
Now that Derrick Rose's MVP stock has peaked too early, whom do you see making a push in the second half for the award?
John Hollinger (2:48 PM)
Interesting counter-argument, but I'm not sure it works that way. Most of the worst MVP awards (Iverson, Nash, Barkley, the Kidd near-disaster) got a full head of steam by Christmas and never looked back ...
Justin Bieber (LA)
Are you coming to watch me at the ALL Star Celebrity game? I have mad skills.
John Hollinger (2:49 PM)
The only temptation would be to heckle Sportsguy about his rotations and timeout usage. But I think I'm going to the Rookie-Soph game at roughly the same time, so no.
John - I know that PER is your baby, but Westbrook can't be ranked ahead of Rose. His shooting percentages are lower then Rose's across the board and the assists and rebounds are nearly identical.
John Hollinger (2:51 PM)
"nearly", but not "exactly." Westbrook is barely ahead of Rose in PER (half a point, which can change with a really good night or a really bad one), but the difference right now is his superior Rebound Rate.
Who would you want with the ball in the closing seconds of a game, Rose or Paul?
John Hollinger (2:52 PM)
CP. Watch the end of the Memphis game.
Who gets the 8th seed in West? Blazers or Grizz?
John Hollinger (2:53 PM)
I think there's a decent chance both get in, but I have to take one Memphis has a much stronger chance because the schedule is strongly in their favor the rest of the way. BTW, Grizzlies and Blazers play on the second-to-last day of the season in Portland and the winner also gets the tie-break -- that could be the decider.
End this argument once and for all. Should have Kobe won the MVP in 06 instead of Nash?
John Hollinger (2:57 PM)
I'll put it this way: There were four players with roughly equal cases that year -- Kobe, Wade, LeBron and Dirk -- plus a fifth (Billups) who had the best PER among PGs and won 64 games. Those should have been 1 through 5 on every ballot. Lots of arguments can be made as to the exact order, but Kobe was definitely among the shaftees. Ironically, CP then was shafted two years later as a make-up call for Kobe.
Shaqsbirdrights (cavalier hell)
John, what're your opinions on the Cavs' youth movement? Specifically, Manny Harris and Christian Eyenga? Are they just flashes in the pan or can they become legit starters?
John Hollinger (2:58 PM)
I think Eyenga has some serious potential as a defensive player -- few players get off the player like he can, so if he can just become marginally decent offensively he'll be a starter. Harris I think is a career backup. He's a "1.5" and he's not enough of an athlete or shooter to make up for it.
Do you have a team of poor little elves keying in data for you night in and night out, or is it all just calculated automatically off the databases? How in the world are you able to process so much information on a daily basis?
John Hollinger (2:59 PM)
It's all automated so it's up on the site by the time I wake up. However, we do also employ several elves.
Ryan (DC) (DC)
Nick Young: Most Improved Player of the Year? Or Most Improved Player EVER?
John Hollinger (3:00 PM)
He's an MIP contender, definitely, but let's calm down here -- he's still amazingly one-dimensional.
Andrew Gold (Des Moines)
Nick Young v. Black Hole, More likely to pass a basketball back?
John Hollinger (3:00 PM)
Jonathan (Cambridge, MA)
Speaking of NBA MVP shafts - can you please say it - Pau Gasol was shafted in the Finals MVP vote in 2009.One time, please.
John Hollinger (3:02 PM)
Disagree. There were six games played before the last one and they all counted just as much; Kobe was clearly the best player across those six, by a wide margin. The Game 7 brickfest subtracted from the overall body of work, but it doesn't mean Gasol was the MVP of the *series*.
John, Paul over Rose at the end of the game for the final shot because of a college game? (facepalm) live in the present john!!! stop living in the past!!!
John Hollinger (3:04 PM)
Wrong Memphis. They have an NBA team too.
Mikey (San Francisco)
I think Jonathan from Cambridge asked about 2009, not 2010...
John Hollinger (3:05 PM)
I just assumed he meant 2010 since there wasn't even a dilemma in '09 -- Kobe was great in Game 1 and solid 2 through 5.
What about Paul's injury. He doesnt look 100% and wonder if that knee will hold
John Hollinger (3:07 PM)
I agree that's a huge concern going forward, and it's amazing that he's been able to adjust his game and play with the knee clearly bothering him even now. He's itching to get that knee brace off but told me the trainers want him to keep it on for a while longer ... I do think the longer rest in the playoffs will help him, much as it did Kobe a year ago, so that will be an advantage for the Hornets.
Ahmad (Chi Town)
If you ask every GM in the league do you seriously think they pick Westbrook over Rose?
John Hollinger (3:08 PM)
If you're asking "for the future", all of them take Rose (and so do I). If you're asking, "to win a game today," I think you get a much more even split.
GarPaxDorf (Berto Center)
I tend to discount the rebounding from the PG position. It's not that Westbrook doesn't get those boards, it's that the Bulls have the other position getting those boards so Rose doesn't have to. Since that's the biggest difference between Rose and Westbrook, is it not fair to look at the PER difference in that context?
John Hollinger (3:11 PM)
Except that Westbrook's advantage is entirely on the offensive glass ... where what you said doesn't apply. I'll add that while OKC's bigs aren't Chicago's they aren't exactly chopped liver either -- team is No. 9 in Rebound Rate.
This Derrick Rose topic has infested every ESPN chat like a plague for the last few weeks. Look people, he's an incredible player and a prime MVP candidate, but this is just surreal. A few months of stellar play has not made him the best player nor the best PG of the planet. He might get there, but you'll need to be patient.
John Hollinger (3:12 PM)
I probably should have just said that at the start of the chat. Maybe you can write my next Rose column. Meanwhile, I'm out of time. Be sure to check my missives from Portland on Monday, when I watch a certain point guard from a certain team in a city that borders Lake Michigan take on the Blazers. We'll do this again next Thursday.