Chat with Chad Ford
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford will drop by to talk some hoops.
Ford covers the NBA and NBA Draft for ESPN Insider and also makes appearances on ESPN Radio and ESPNEWS.
Send your questions now and join Ford Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chad Ford (12:59 PM)
Aloha everyone and thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll be wrapping up the NBA Draft, looking ahead to the 2014 NBA Draft and talking some free agency as well. Let's roll ...
Deven (New York, NY)
How shocked were you that Anthony Bennett went to the Cavs with the first pick?
Chad Ford (1:02 PM)
A little. We had been reporting the last 24 hours that Bennett was in the mix ... but I thought (just reading the tea leaves) that it was Noel. The Cavs did a great job of keeping everyone in the dark. But if you look at what I was hearing -- that they wanted to go big, get a player with upside, but also wanted to make the playoffs, Bennett made a lot of sense. I would've taken Noel, but don't think Bennett was a bad pick either.
Caleb (Greensboro, NC)
With Nerlens Noel, Alex Len and Ben McLemore still on the board, why did the Bobcats select Cody Zeller?
Chad Ford (1:03 PM)
I'm still trying to figure that out -- especially Noel and McLemore. The Bobcats desperately needed a potential star. Those two guys had a chance. I think Zeller could be a nice player, but I wouldn't put him in the same tier with those guys.
Why did Noel slip so far? Was the knee more of a concern than we all initially thought?
Chad Ford (1:05 PM)
Doesn't sound like from all the intel I can gather. I've talked to a number of teams that passed on him and none mentioned long-term concerns with the knee. I think they WERE worried about drafting a guy who might not play for them next year. Even the GMs that WANT to be bad next year were worried that their jobs might be in jeopardy if they didn't have their top draft pick for the year. That's the sort of short term thinking that put a lot of these teams in the lottery to begin with.
Damon (Mpls, MN)
Jrue Holiday looks to me like a potential stud. Great play maker, more than capable scoring, rebounds well for his size, plays decent D. Philly had one piece to build around and they gave it up one year after he began breaking out. For Noel?? Help me understand.
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
A couple of things. The analytics crowd aren't particularly high on Holiday. Philly's new GM is an analytics guy. Second, if you're going to rebuild (and that's what Philly is doing) the goal is to turn one asset into multiple ones. They did that with Holiday. They get Noel plus the Pelican's 2014 first rounder (top 5 protected). Pair that with their own pick in 2014 (which should be top 5) and they bring in four young players in the matter of a calendar year -- all blue chip type players. That's the way to rebuild. Loved the move for Philly and also liked it for New Orleans. The Pelicans can't afford to keep being bad. They're making a move now toward the playoffs and Holiday was a nice addition.
The Suns REALLY wanted Len. Is there a chance he'll be the best player in the draft?
Chad Ford (1:10 PM)
Maybe. Of the top six players in this draft, we had him rated 6th. But the difference between 1-6 was pretty small. I actually think he's the riskiest pick of the group -- but has a pretty high reward if he learns to play hard and play tough. With Gortat on the way out, I understand why they wanted to anchor the team with a future center -- but again, I would've grabbed Noel or McLemore first.
Ryan (Salt Lake City)
There is a lot of excitement about Trey Burke in Utah. The Jazz need a starting point guard but do you think they could have gotten a better one in free agency? Now it seems they're kind of locked in to having him be the point guard of the future.
Chad Ford (1:12 PM)
Free agency is tough. The agents are in control. Utah is not typically the top destination for guys. And you almost always overspend. I like the Jazz's approach of getting him through the draft. Burke is a good player and I think given the talent around them, they don't need him to be a superstar. Personally, I preferred C.J. McCollum, but Burke was right there and the Jazz were concerned that McCollum wasn't a real PG.
Big Oz (Toronto, On)
What did Ben McLemore do to free fall like he did?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
He was mishandled in the pre-draft process. That's what several NBA GMs told me on why they passed. I wrote a lot about this before the draft. He scared some teams away and given how close the talent was this year, it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. The McLemore story will be used by top NBA agents next year. McLemore chose to screw around with guys who didn't have the experience and it burned him. Cost him a lot of $$$.
Andre (Orlando, FL )
What are your thoughts on the Magic giving Oladipo some time at PG?
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
Interesting. We certainly didn't see that at Indiana -- but then again we didn't see Cody Zeller used as a stretch four in college either. Reminds me a lot of what the Heat tried to do in Year 1 with Dwyane Wade. It doesn't hurt to try, but I think he's likely to be a two guard in the NBA, if not in name, in the way he plays.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NBA Rookies do you think will be Outstanding in the 2013-2014 Season?
Chad Ford (1:21 PM)
We'll have to wait until free agency plays out to know for sure -- Rookie of the Year races are almost always about playing time. Bennett, Oladipo, Porter & Len could all start the season coming off the bench unless their teams make trades. Zeller is learning a new position. Noel is out for most of the year. McLemore is so raw. I think Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum and maybe Michael Carter-Williams have the best shot of putting up numbers and winning this thing.
Danny Ferry (Atlanta)
There's a difference between tanking and rebuilding.
Chad Ford (1:24 PM)
Agreed, but when you deliberately, before the season change course and decide to be very bad to get a high pick in the draft -- to me the difference is a very fine line. I can live with rebuilding but c'mon, everyone knows that they're gunning for the top pick in the draft. Is there really that big a difference between sitting good players during the season as opposed to dumping good players or not signing good players in the off-season? A little yes, but it is what is ... we're deliberately trying to be bad so that we can get a higher pick in the draft. I guess the difference between rebuilding and tanking then is timing -- when we decided we were going to do it?
You went on a little mini talk on twitter yesterday about more GMs tanking in 2014. Can you elaborate alittle more on that and whom you believe will?
Chad Ford (1:27 PM)
Here's what I said last night on Twitter: I think we may all be UNDERESTIMATING number of teams considering tanking this year. Been flooded with calls from GMs re 2014 draft class. Interest in 2014 draft class is unprecedented. We're going to have a lot of REALLY bad teams this year. We know Suns, Bobcats, Sixers, Celtics & Magic will be REALLY bad. Sources say add Hawks to list. If they don't get DH12, likely to tank (rebuild!). The Raptors also look like they're heading that direction. The Bucks (unintentionally) could be heading that way. I think it's possible the Blazers (if they trade LaMarcus Aldridge) and the Jazz (if they don't resign Al Jefferson or Paul Milsap or another veteran to replace them) are also writing off the playoffs this year in an effort to score another high pick.
You've recently highlighted the enormous tanking problem that is about to hit the NBA. How does the league solve this for the future? Such an embarrassment.
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
I don't think the league can do anything about it. They can't ban a team rebuilding nor can they ban the strategy of intentionally being bad for a year or two to rebuild through the draft. And I'm not totally sure it's an embarrassment. The Cavs got really bad during the 2002-03 season to get a shot at LeBron. I'm sure Cavs fans were miserable that season. But I don't think they were complaining the next year. I also think that this move will make the playoff teams stronger as all the free agent talent gravitates to 16 to 20 teams.
Is Wiggins worth tanking for?
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
Probably. He's an elite athlete. Is very skilled. Has great size for his position. My only issue with Wiggins is that he seems to lack that alpha dog gene that some of the other great ones all had -- he doesn't play with the same drive as Kobe, Durant, etc. He's a little closer to Tracy McGrady in my book. But the talent? Off the charts.
How many players from the 2014 class would have gone #1 in 2013? Wiggins, Randle and...
Chad Ford (1:32 PM)
Wiggins and Julius Randle for sure. Maybe Jabari Parker or Aaron Gordon. I'd say no to Marcus Smart and Andrew Harrison just because the Cavs didn't really need a point guard. But those guys would've gone No. 2 for sure.
Chad Ford (1:33 PM)
In fact, I could go one step further and say those six players I just mentioned would've likely been picks 1-6 in the 2013 NBA draft. Bennett, Olaipo, Porter, Zeller, Len, Noel and McLemore would've been picks 7-13 in some order.
I feel as though people are ONLY talking about Wiggins and not giving Jabari Parker enough respect. Wiggins is a FREAK of nature with his athleticism, but Jabari Parker is extremely skilled and competitive? I think he can be a future NBA All-Star. Why is he overshadowed so much by Wiggins?
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
Because athletic ability matters in the NBA. Parker is a better version of Otto Porter -- a super skilled forward with a super high basketball IQ. But like Porter, he lacks those elite athletic abilities. Parker is probably a better athlete than Porter and certainly more skilled coming out of high school, but his lack of elite explosiveness hurts his stock just a bit. With that said, Parker is a VERY good prospect and likely to be a Top 5 pick.
Any chance Randle beats out Wiggins for the No. 1 pick?
Chad Ford (1:37 PM)
Sure. In any other draft, he'd be the consensus No. 1 pick. He's a beast of a low post player -- blessed with strength, athleticism, and a very polished inside/outside game. As long as Calapari can convince him not to fall in love with his jump shot, he's got a chance to be the most dominant big man in the country. Teams always covet players like Randle and if Wiggins stumbles, they'll jump.
Is Jabari Parker a 3 or a 4? What about Aaron Gordon?
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
Parker is more of a 3 than a 4. Gordon more of a 4 than a 3. Gordon is the sleeper of this class. He's got a lot of similarities to Blake Griffin. He's just a little smaller and is trying to make the move to the 3 at Arizona this year. If he can make the transition, he'll be a Top 3 pick. If not, he'll still go Top 6. Another crazy athlete with a great, great motor.
Marcus Smart or Andrew Harrison for best PG in 2014?
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
Probably Smart. Both are big point guards who can play the 1 or the 2. Harrison is probably a better shooter. But Smart is a better leader and has coaches in love with his character. Harrison has a rep of being a bit selfish. If Calapari can beat that out him, they probably both go Top 5. But I think Smart is the better prospect right now.
Early thoughts: Will this Kentucky team be as good as the title winner team?
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
Not sure if they have the same character -- Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were both as high of quality people as you can have on a team. But his year's squad has *gulp* SEVEN players in our Top 30. That's just crazy.
The consensus seems to be that the Rockets are the best landing spot for Howard, given the youth, talent and cap space; however, we know that's never simple. Based off of what you know about him and hear about him, what does Howard end up doing?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
Hard to predict what a guy who changes his mind every 15 minutes is going to do. Yesterday, just about everyone I spoke with thought he was heading back to the Lakers. I think it's LA or Houston. If the Rockets could find a way to get Josh Smith too, it might seal the deal for them, but while not impossible, it's close to it. My money is on the Lakers, but again, the wind could shift tomorrow and he could end up somewhere else.
mike b (Houston)
What is Houston's best plan if Howard doesn't come? Please don't say Bynum.
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
If you want a Top 3 center -- I do think Bynum is probably the guy. Incredible risk, but especially for a team like Dallas, what else are you going to do? Houston could stay pat. Atlanta can just go into full tank mode. Not sure Dallas can do that. I think Rockets much more likely to add another wing or try to pry away LaMarcus Aldridge from the Blazers or Al Horford from the Hawks.
Julio Soto (Dominican Republic)
What the lakers should do if Howard doesn't resign?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
If Howard really does decide on the Rockets, I think a sign-and-trade that needs the Omer Asik is probably the best they can do. Besides, that's really how Kobe wanted Howard to play anyway -- as his 7 foot personal rebounder.
Free Agent Question: What do you make of the Kings offering and then pulling there 4 yr - $52 million offer sheet to Andre Igudola?
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
Hated both moves. Paradox.
Do the Wizards make the playoffs? If not, how close do they get?
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
If they stay healthy? Probably a 6th seed in the East next year.
Miles (Fayetteville, AR)
What is the best case for the Pistons? I am hearing a lot about the possibility of Rudy Gay being shipped to Detroit, Josh Smith signing etc. From what you have been hearing, who do you think will end up in Detroit once everything settles in free agency and sign and trades?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
Sounds like the Raptors are gonna want a lot more for Rudy Gay than what Detroit offered (Stuckey and Villanueva). Josh Smith sounds like he'd prefer to be in Houston. Iguodala sounds like he'd prefer to be in Denver. And to me ... all of that is probably good for Detroit. The Rudy Gay fit was OK. Didn't like the Josh Smith fit at all. I really like Iguodala, but the Pistons probably had to REALLY overpay to get him. If there's one lesson we've learned from Detroit the past few years -- don't spend your cap money just because you can.
How do you feel about the Bargnani trade? From Raptors perspective and Knicks perspective?
Chad Ford (1:57 PM)
Great move for Raptors. Didn't like it at all for the Knicks.
Ben (Orlando, FL)
What are the chances the Miami Heat complete the 3peat?
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
It gets so much harder from here -- physically and emotionally. They barely scrapped by this year. But as long as LeBron James is on this team, I'm going to struggle to bet against them.
Chad Ford (2:01 PM)
I've got run everyone. This is my last chat for a while. Going to take a little break, re-introduce myself to my family and ??? Enjoyed the chats all year. Grateful to all of you that come to ESPN. I have a great job and so happy to get to chat with you each week. Thanks again.