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 noon ET!
John Hollinger (12:11 PM)
Hey everyone, sorry for the delay but I had to get my column done ... we'll get started in a minute here.
Paul (Portland, OR)
What? A deadline is more important than us??!!
John Hollinger (12:18 PM)
Set too ambitious an itinerary this morning -- tried to watch the Mavs-Clips game, do a video with Henry, write my column and this. Nearly got it all done before the chat. Nearly. Good news is that the video with Henry talking about Hack-a-Shaq and my column on the best free-agent deals will both be up this afternoon. OK, let's talk some hoops.
How do we salvage the raps? Tell me someone will want Bargnani.
Is there a danger that the Toronto Bacon is so bad they actually get to keep their draft pick OKC owns?
Jeff (On the Ledge)
Please talk a Raptors fan off the ledge?
John Hollinger (12:21 PM)
Lots of happy people in Toronto today after Bargnani stunk it up in the loss to Sacramento last night and dropped them to 4-15. The good news, such that it is, is that I still think the Raptors are more like the 10th-worst team than where they are now, because their early schedule has been so heavy with road games and they haven't had Lowry for several of them. But I'll get a closer look Saturday in Portland. You're correct that the draft pick implications are very interesting; I picture Sam Presti quietly pumping his fist after each Bargnani brick.
Rob (Portland, OR)
Your thoughts on the "Kobe Assist" article on Grantland.com today?
John Hollinger (12:24 PM)
Still digesting it all, but my initial reaction is that it speaks to the value of shot creators off the dribble, since attacking the rim is much more likely to produce second shots. My other reaction is that Kobe Assists seem to depend heavily on having great offensive rebounders around you, which shouldn't come as a big shock.
Brett (Altoona, Pa)
When Nowitzki was interviewed last night on ESPN, he was asked about what he thought about the addition of Derek Fisher. He followed by stumbling through a very half-hearted answer as to how Fisher would provide "veteran leadership" Is that all Fisher is good for?
John Hollinger (12:25 PM)
I was pretty entertained by that too, but if you've done enough Dirk interviews you'll quickly realize that he can spoon out cliches with the best of them, and his cards nearly always remain well out of sight. Doubt there was any particular intent with this one.
I just looked at Austin Rivers stats so far this year... GAAAAAAAAHHHHHH NOOOOO. What is going on with him?
John Hollinger (12:27 PM)
My big worries about Rivers were that he didn't have the athleticism to cut it in the NBA as a slasher, and that he wasn't a good enough shooter to make up for it. That seems to be the case so far. But that said, keep in mind that there's a long history in this league of rookie guards getting absolutely slaughtered, before emerging in year 2 as a real basketball player.
Has Evan Turner turned the corner?
John Hollinger (12:29 PM)
Gimme a couple more weeks on that one. But yes, an encouraging start to the season for ET, and he's even making some 3s. Perhaps that work with the shooting coach is paying some dividends.
With Lillard producing numbers consistently (for the most part) and Daivs Oft injured. Where do you put his chances at ROY?
John Hollinger (12:30 PM)
Pretty strong. Here's the thing: If Davis comes back and plays 55-60 games, he's gonna win. But Lillard has put himself far ahead of everybody else, to the point that if Davis has any setbacks and only ends up playing half a season or so, he'll probably end up winning.
Pau Gasol will finish the season playing for ______ ?
John Hollinger (12:32 PM)
The Lakers. It's just such a hard contract to make deals with, especially once you get into the tax considerations, and Pau won't be tradable unless he puts the knee thing behind him and shows he can play at his old level.
True or false - Barring major injury, we pretty much know who the eight playoff teams in the east will be?
John Hollinger (12:33 PM)
I say false -- not sure if Milwaukee makes it, but I think they'll stay in the discussion for most of the season. Also, I'm not sure why Philly should be so confident -- their early schedule has been cake-ola.
Dion Waiters playing as well as you expected? What are your initial impressions? Star or solid? Cavs outlook looking brighter? Thanks for your great work.
John Hollinger (12:37 PM)
I really liked what I saw from him in Atlanta. He's like a poor man's Dwyane Wade to me the way he can slash to the rim off pick-and-rolls, but he's still taking some rookie lumps and needs to improve his decisions. Also, his Rebound Rate is embarrassing. Still, players with his kind of quickness and ball skills are rare; I think he's a long-term starter.
The Nets HAVE to stop with the music during play. Sounds ridiculous. Is ridiculous.
John Hollinger (12:38 PM)
The Hawks are bad with this too, but apparently Brooklyn has taken it to another level. I haven't been to the new arena yet but I'll have to bring some earplugs and check it out.
With Nikola Vucevic posting some really nice numbers, how much are the Sixers regretting the Bynum trade?
John Hollinger (12:41 PM)
I don't think their regrets are Vucevic-based, let me put it that way. Vuc is a solid player and may eventually be a starter, plus you have to respect that he was born in Switzerland. Still, Philly's big regret here would be giving up a productive Iguodala.
Jake (Palo Alto)
With Vucevic playing well and Orlando being surprisingly competent, they've gotta be kicking themselves over letting Anderson go, right? Especially since Ayon-sanity has yet to do anything of note.
John Hollinger (12:43 PM)
Never understood why Orlando did that deal and then kept Jameer for basically the same annual money. Plus, if they had Anderson we wouldn't have to watch Glen Davis keep going for Kobe Assists.
How enraged should Jazz fans be that Corbin refuses to play Burks?
John Hollinger (12:45 PM)
On my list of Ty Corbin puzzles, I'd rank that one pretty low. Foye is playing well and Burks' inability to shoot crowds the floor even more than usual... and unfortunately the time to usually play him is when somebody like Watson or Tinsley is also out there.
Have you had a look at Andrew Wiggins? Do you think Canada can win silver in Brazil?
John Hollinger (12:46 PM)
Saw Wiggins at the Hoop Summit last year and he is absolutely, positively the real deal. The scouts were salivating so much it was warping the wood. As for Canada's chances at silver, unless they have a pair of bearded All-Star 7-foot brothers they plan on unearthing, I'd say that's still Spain's to lose.
When Hill and Billups come back, how would you set up the Clips rotation?
John Hollinger (12:48 PM)
Actually I wouldn't change too much. I'd try Billups as a starter and move Willie Green out of the rotation, but I'd keep an open mind depending on how he plays (not 100% clear to me he comes back as the guy he was before). I'm not sure if there's much room for Hill unless he plays dramatically better than he did a year ago - Barnes has done well and Bledsoe/Crawford are killing.
Kwame (Queens, NY)
Remember when people debated if having Gallo/Chandler/Mozgof was better than having Melo?
John Hollinger (12:52 PM)
You left out Felton, who circled back to NY .. and Brewer (effectively), and the draft picks, and the cap space, and the last two seasons. But yes, the Melo trade is looking as good now as it has for some time. Chandler is injured, Gallo has been up and down, and Mozgov is still Mozgov.
Do you know hoe the Houston poison-pill contract guys contracts work in trades? Is the cap hit the $8 mil number on their new team, or is it the actual salary?
John Hollinger (12:53 PM)
It's the $8 mil number (actually $8,374,646) for the team that signs the offer sheet, so in Houston's case yes. But if the Knicks had matched it would have been the actual dollars that go on their cap.
Can the Grizz stay at the top of the NBA heap or will they come back to reality and end up as a middling playoff seed?
John Hollinger (12:57 PM)
At this point it's very unlikely Griz end up outside top 4 in the West. Lakers are already seven back in the loss column and not exactly poised to make up ground at the moment, so the only teams that could realistically pass them, barring serious calamities, are the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers.
Debating the Melo trade leaves out 1 important thing. That NY would have been so much better off had Melo just signed with them as a free agent in the summer.
John Hollinger (12:57 PM)
This was my argument at the time, and I believe it was Donny Walsh's too. But James Dolan needed to win that press conference.
What do the Jazz do with their cap space after this season when Jefferson and Millsap come off the books? Is Utah still not a desirable destination for free agents?
John Hollinger (1:04 PM)
Correct on the last point, and that's why I think Utah will be looking to trade into that space rather than sign a player outright. It would be similar to what they did with the trade for Jefferson, although in that case it was using a trade exception rather than cap space.
Azeem (New Jersey)
Melo would've gone to the Nets, the CBA was going to expire that summer. He could've lost a lot money
John Hollinger (1:05 PM)
True to a point about the Nets in a trade, but the Knicks already had enough on the table to have a better offer... they ended up bidding against themselves.
John Hollinger (1:05 PM)
Folks I'm having some tech issues so I'm going to shut this down, but thanks again for the great questions and we'll do this again soon.