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.
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John Hollinger (12:04 PM)
Greetings everyone. It's Oklahoma City's world, we're just living in it ...
What are the chances some NBA team steals/hires Pacers assistant Brian Shaw? I'd absolutely love to see him back with Vogel, but he's way too good to be just an assistant, right?
John Hollinger (12:05 PM)
Shaw is a good probability to get hired someplace, with Orlando seeming the most likely destination. He won't be an assistant for long, I can assure you that. He and Golden St.'s Mike Malone are probably the league's two most coveted assistant coaches.
What's keeping Miami from playing like they did when they were shredding everyone by 10+ in victories earlier in the year?
John Hollinger (12:06 PM)
Beside the fact that Chris Bosh isn't playing, and the level of the competition has improved dramatically? I don't think taking a team's best stretch of the season is a realistic assessment of what their "normal" should look like.
Alan (Baton Rouge)
When will I be able to buy a Bill Kennedy jersey on NBA.com? If those are sold out, I will settle for a Joey Crawford jersey.
John Hollinger (12:07 PM)
OKC benefited from a couple bad calls, particularly the Westbrook head slap on Leonard that should have been his fourth foul, but they were the better team. Let it go.
Spoelstra looks out of his depth in this series. Will the Heat make a change?
John Hollinger (12:08 PM)
It's easy to look out of your depth when your bench options are James Jones, Mike Miller, Norris Cole, and Joel Anthony and Shane Battier has to start and play 40 minutes. I'd argue that Pat Riley has looked out of his depth in this series.
Does the OKC win prove once and for all that it's a players league not a coaches league as Thorpe loves to say?
John Hollinger (12:09 PM)
Check out the adjustments Brooks made in this series, from switching the screen-rolls on Parker to the pin-down play with Westbrook and Durant. He's vastly improved as a bench coach over the past two years.
Will Spoelstra roll the dice on Bosh's health and play him 25+ minutes?
John Hollinger (12:11 PM)
I think if Bosh is out there he has to play him a lot more than in Game 5. The whole "not fair to Bosh" thing after Game 5 was just bizarre and he deserves the criticism he's received for it; you can say he was hurting or he was killing you on D, but fairness has nothing to do with it at this point. You're trying to win a game, he either helps you do it or he doesn't. Personally, I think he helps.
Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)
SPURS IN FIVE BABY!
John Hollinger (12:12 PM)
News flash: I will make other wrong predictions in the future. Some of them will be even more wrong than this one.
How much are the people in Seattle hating D. Stern right now?
John Hollinger (12:12 PM)
I think H. Schultz and G. Nickels are the targets of their wrath, actually.
Come the start of next season what team is P.Gasol suiting up for?
John Hollinger (12:14 PM)
I still think the Deron Williams sign-and-trade with Brooklyn is a great move for both teams, giving L.A. a point guard and allowing the Nets to save face.
If Rose had not torn his ACL, do you see the Bulls beating Boston and then Miami?
John Hollinger (12:14 PM)
Yes, absolutely. Boston barely beat Philadelphia last round, they certainly weren't beating the Bulls. And without Bosh, I think Chicago gets by the Heat fairly easily too. Such a huge missed opportunity for the Bulls.
Is this the start of a dynasty for OKC? They'll get Maynor back next year and their studs are only going to get better
John Hollinger (12:15 PM)
Today's Per Diem topic. Should be up soon.
Al (Club "Good Effort")
Josh Smith and Korver (last year unguranteed) to Lakers, Noah to Hawks and Gasol to Bulls. Who says no?
John Hollinger (12:17 PM)
Something along these lines is very possible as well. Would be very interested to see a Noah-Horford tandem in the ATL. Now could they trade for Brewer too?
Regardless of the outcome, are you more impressed with what Boston is doing this year than in 2008? They were supposed to win in 2008 but this has come out of nowhere.
John Hollinger (12:18 PM)
Um, Boston wasn't "supposed" to win in 2008 ... the general consensus entering those playoffs was that Cleveland and Orlando were the two best teams in the league. That run was a lot more impressive than navigating through a battered bracket this year.
Kenny (San Francisco)
What's the Blazers best route to getting a point guard?
John Hollinger (12:19 PM)
The most likely scenario to me is that they sign Goran Dragic. But I could also see them taking Damian Lillard at No. 11.
How do you feel about OKC being in the finals as the Thunder and not as the Seattle Sonics where they should be at
John Hollinger (12:21 PM)
Yes, that's the one thing that's horribly wrong about all this. The folks in Oklahoma City have done an amazing job supporting that team (and building up the city in general in the wake of the bombing), but as a Pacific Northwest guy I just can't shake how cool it would be to go to Seattle in June for the Finals.
Frasier Crane (Emerald City)
For some reason my appointment book is filling up like crazy.
John Hollinger (12:22 PM)
Well played. The trophy presentation last night re-opened some old wounds.
boston won 66 games in 08, cleveland won 45. concensus was the cavs were the best team?
John Hollinger (12:23 PM)
Forgive me, I was thinking of their run in 2010, when they were a similar underdog as a No. 4 seed.
Jim (Las Vegas)
Will the Heat still have moments of jogging back on defense tonight?
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
They better not. Miami has shot itself in the foot with its shoddy transition defense, and its best players have been the biggest culprits. Wade in particular has loafed back or stopped to stare at the refs on several occasions, and LeBron has done that too. It's just baffling because Boston isn't a good halfcourt offensive team, but Rondo can pick them apart on the run.
Jake (Oklahoma City)
It is easy to show up for the NBA finals in June. Try showing up for a game in February when your team is 3-29. This is why the team is in OKC, and not Seattle.
John Hollinger (12:26 PM)
Actually Seattle had great fan support, as you can tell by all the bitter jaded former Sonics fans we still hear from. The problem was getting an arena built.
John Malkovich (your mirror)
Has anyone ever told you that you look like me?
John Hollinger (12:27 PM)
Siri tells me all the time.
John, does what is happening to Miami blow holes in the formula of using most of your cap space on a couple superstars and neglecting the supporting cast as opposed to the model of building a team?
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
Here's the thing: Miami didn't do that. They saved money to sign other players last summer. They just did a terrible job of choosing the players.
How heavily favored are OKC in the finals now? Against either team.
John Hollinger (12:28 PM)
Heavy favorites against Boston, even money against Miami. I say that because a fully healthy Bosh would be playing in the Finals.
Zers: Canales is a nice story but c'mon. Lots of candidates out there and Olshey will hire a head coach w/ actual experience, right? Right??
John Hollinger (12:30 PM)
One hopes so. That was a disturbing press conference; if you looked closely you could actually see Warren LeGarie behind a curtain pulling strings. (Olshey and Canales have the same agent). I like the Olshey hire but he has to put his team before his agent and make a real coaching hire.
Andrew (Toronto, ON)
Any chance this off-season is the one where things finally start to look up on this side of the 49th parallel?
John Hollinger (12:31 PM)
I think so, although I'm a little worried that BC is trying to rush the process by signing Nash and trading his draft pick. But I think Valanciunas could be very, very, good, and Casey was an excellent hire on the sideline.
The Spurs are a much better team than either BOS or MIA. Does the Thunder close out their title in 4 games or 5?
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
The set-up of the Finals, with three straight on the road in the middle, is such that six games is almost always the most likely outcome.
Does this playoff run and Doc's extension lead to Ainge bringing back the gang, supplemented by young picks from last year and the upcoming draft?
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
I'm not sure Ray Allen comes back, but if Garnett wants to return he'll certainly be allowed to. Pierce and Rondo already are under contract, so no worries there.
Given how Miami is playing right now, would signing Nash significantly increase their championship odds next year?
John Hollinger (12:34 PM)
Signing Nash might help. Signing somebody under the age of 30 would probaby help more. Riley's lovefest with veteran grinders has been his undoing; he has the two best transition players in the league and they can't run consistently because nobody keeps up with them.
Do teams get any reward for not using the amnesty provision by the time it runs out?
John Hollinger (12:35 PM)
A warm pat on the back from their owner.
Who will win tonights game and why do the refs want the celtics to lose?
John Hollinger (12:36 PM)
Starting early I see.
Do you agree with Barkley's statement last night that Duncan should retire?
John Hollinger (12:37 PM)
He only had 25 and 14. Clearly it's over ...
John (Santa Barbara, CA)
Do you think that Tommy Heinsohns irrational commentary on every celtic foul makes their fans irrational as well? I mean KG sets a moving screen EVERY DARN TIME
John Hollinger (12:38 PM)
I think local announcers in general have not been good for the league in this regard. Too many either don't know the rules or only think they apply when it helps their team. One reason you don't hear officiating controversies in the NFL as much is because every game is nationally televised.
Where do the Spurs go from here? Lay it on me, I can't feel much worse.
John Hollinger (12:40 PM)
How about "try again". They were two games short. They won 20 in a row and fell off at the wrong time, but really, you're gonna break out the dynamite after this year? The three key guys are getting older, but Green, Leonard, Blair, Neal, and Splitter will be back and be better. OKC is obviously the favorite entering next year but the Spurs aren't going away.
Does Harrison Barnes make most sense at #4 for Cleveland and if so, what's his ceiling? I feel like he is vastly overrated.
John Hollinger (12:42 PM)
I share your concern; I think he's a wing jump shooter with size, but I don't think he has great instincts as a scorer or finisher. There are other 3s I like better, particularly Quincy Miller; I think everybody is completely sleeping on that kid.
in your opinion Neil Olshey want to move up in the draft for Bradley Beal?
John Hollinger (12:43 PM)
I don't see the wing as a need for Portland with Batum, Matthews and Williams already there; it's point guard and frontcourt where they need help.
Harrison Barnes reminds me of Rashard Lewis. Fair?
John Hollinger (12:44 PM)
More like Martell Webster to me.
What teams in the West have no shot of making the playoffs next year? Doesn't it seem like a high number could compete for the 8 seed?
John Hollinger (12:46 PM)
Yes, the West is looking crazy competitive next season, especially if Portland opts for "re-arm" over "re-build", as it appears they may, and double especially if Phoenix's gambit to get Deron Williams works out. And which of the top eight is going to fall out?
Kareem (Plainfield, NJ)
What happened to that bye week?
John Hollinger (12:47 PM)
Ha, yes, Celtics have been better than I thought, and I think we got duped by how well Miami played without Bosh for three games against Indy. After watching seven games of Boston-Philly series I didn't think there was any way the survivor would advance in the next round.
Are you a fan of the shortened NBA season?
John Hollinger (12:48 PM)
No, I was bored silly in October and November and then drank out of the firehose for the last six months. Bring back 82 and a normal pace, please.
Will or can Perk play much in the finals? No marchups on either team, no centres!
John Hollinger (12:49 PM)
Perk will play a lot if it's Boston, to match up against Garnett. If it's Miami I'd expect to see a lot more of Nick Collison, who excels against pick-and-roll.
Charlie (Chicago, IL)
Fair to say that Kobe's massive contract is pretty much a death sentence for Laker titles hopes, as long as his current deal lasts? Doesnt seem like they have any financial flexibility with that on their books
John Hollinger (12:51 PM)
I think that's a fair assessment, yes. Lakers will need great fortune in draft or scrap-heap finds to make up for one player taking up nearly half their cap, and the worst part is they can't trade or amnesty him because their fans will revolt.
Dave (Dallas, TX)
Why do you keep talking about Deron going to the Lakers or Suns? No one else sees those as even decent possibilities....you must hate the idea of him going home to the Mavs.
John Hollinger (12:52 PM)
No, the Mavs are the obvious odds-on favorite to get him. But Phoenix thinks they have a shot because Williams lives in San Diego in the offseason and is a golf fanatic, plus their system is obviously very point-guard friendly.
John (Santa Barbara, CA)
Why do you, and everyone at ESPN hate my favorite team?
John Hollinger (12:54 PM)
What is people's obsession with the "clutch." While not being afraid of the pressure at the end of games has value, if LeBron played the entire game the way Pierce did the other night Miami wouldn't even have been close enough for it to be a "clutch" situation. The whole game matters people!
John Hollinger (12:55 PM)
DWill would be better of staying in Brooklyn than going to Phoenix. That is a terrible situation. He's going to Dallas, LA or staying in Brooklyn.
John Hollinger (12:56 PM)
I disagree -- He can lose in much more pleasant surroundings in Phoenix than in Brooklyn. Suns are a long shot, but I don't think he stays in Brooklyn unless the Nets pull off the Howard deal.
Which of the teams already eliminated in the east, barring the Bulls obviously, has the best shot at competing for a title next year?
John Hollinger (12:59 PM)
I'd say San Antonio, because they were really close to beating OKC this year and would have been favored in the Finals, and Memphis, because if they get the 2011 Zach Randolph back they're going to be very, very good. Others depend on offseason moves -- for instance a Dallas team with D-Will or an Indiana team with Eric Gordon would obviously be very dangerous, but those are speculative.
Is Spolestra's job really on the line if the Heat fail to win a championship?
John Hollinger (1:00 PM)
I doubt it. He's Riley's guy, and a Heat guy through and through. If Riley fires him he basically has to go outside the family for a replacement, and I'm not sure he's willing to do that.
Memphis wins that Clippers series seven times out of ten, right? I can't help but think four of the best five teams in the league are in the West.
John Hollinger (1:01 PM)
A valid point, especially since Rose is likely to miss nearly all of next season. I still think Memphis had the better team, but Clipper fans obviously can say "scoreboard!" and disagree.
Can the Heat pry Howard from the Magic with a package built around Chris Bosh?
John Hollinger (1:03 PM)
I think the more interesting question is whether either side would consider a Wade-for-Howard swap. It would make Miami's pieces fit together much more neatly, and solve the Howard dilemma in Orlando for Miami.
How does your draft rater view MKG? Everyone says "winner" I see "Corey Brewer" or maybe "Morris Peterson"
John Hollinger (1:04 PM)
I'm in the winner camp. Very strong season statistically for a college freshman, and his intangibles are all off the charts.
Ryan (New York)
If N'awlins keeps the #10, who would you take to complement Anthony Davis and Gordon?
John Hollinger (1:06 PM)
Biggest need is some decent wing players, and there should be a couple available (like my guy Miller). Hornets may also trade this pick, perhaps as part of a salary dump with Ariza or Okafor.
Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)
Before the chat ends I just want to say GOOD JOB AND GOOD EFFORT JOHN!
John Hollinger (1:07 PM)
We're out of time but thanks for all the great questions, everyone. We'll do this again at the same time next week heading into Game 2 of the Finals. Meanwhile, you can find today's Per Diem at http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2012/story/_/page/PERDiem-120607/nba-playoffs-future-bright-thunder