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 (1:03 PM)
Hey everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. Mock Draft 2.0 is out today. In honor of that going to do NBA Draft chat all hour today. Let's roll ...
Kurt (Aberdeen, WA)
Why do so many analysts have Joel Embiid ranked so high, even some as No. 1? Does his limited experience playing the game of basketball raise concerns long-term?
Chad Ford (1:07 PM)
No. In fact it's the opposite. If he's THIS good playing only for a few years of basketball ... how good is he going to be in a few years. Doesn't hurt his draft stock, helps him. He ranks second in college PER among our Top 30 prospects. Pretty remarkable for someone supposedly so "raw" Truth is Embiid looks more polished than most big men we see at his age
Nick (Milwaukee, WI)
I've been hearing rumors circulating around that the Milwaukee Bucks have a lot of interest in Marcus Smart in this year's draft class. What do you think the chances are that the Bucks take Marcus Smart if they land the number one overall pick?
Chad Ford (1:10 PM)
They could. I think he'd be an upgrade over Brandon Knight. As most of my readers know, I'm a huge Marcus Smart fan. If I were doing the mocks completely based on what I thought -- he'd be much higher. But I try to base them on what NBA teams think and while some teams love him, others are concerned about the lack of a jumper and his feel as a point guard. With that said, I doubt the Bucks would take him over say -- Embiid or Parker or Wiggins. But if they did, I probably don't complain as much as most.
You have the magic taking Wiggins and Mcdermott. Wiggins and Oladipo is great, but could a front court of Vucevic, Harris, and Mcdermott stop anybody?
Chad Ford (1:12 PM)
Defensively they would be elite in the backcourt. But the front court would have issues. But even with this line-up, of course the Magic would still have a lot of work to do. McDermott would give them an absolute lethal shooter. I don't think he'll be a 20 ppg scorer in the NBA like he was in college. But his 3 point shooting will keep him in the league a long time.
I think the critiques of Andrew Wiggins have been too harsh. The kid is only 18 and being asked to carry much of the load on a very young team. Do you see his low shooting% to be a result of bad mechanics or just a slump?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
Wiggins is having a very good freshman season. It's just that he hasn't lived up to some very extreme expectations. He needs to keep working on his jump shot. His mechanics are OK. But he's not where he needs to be. He needs to tighten up his handle. He needs to hunt for his shot a little more than he does -- a little less unselfishness. But they are all fixable things. What he brings to the table in athleticism, length, basketball IQ, willingness to defend and play a team game are much harder (and in some cases impossible) to teach. I don't know many credible scouts or GMs with strong track records in the draft who don't have him in their Top 3. I know a few who don't, but they are typically the types that only want to draft guys with zero risk and zero upside.
Jordan (New York, NY)
You have Jabari going to the Sixers at number 3, is he the best fit among the top prospects for them going forward? MCW-Exum back court could be lethal
Chad Ford (1:21 PM)
Exum will be a real possibility there. They like him and you're right, that would be a great backcourt. What I keep hearing from Philly, however is that Wiggins and Parker are 1-2 on their board.
It's obvious that Danny Ainge loves Jabari Parker. For much more than basketball reasons (and those are very great). If the Celtics land the 1st pick, do you see them drafting Jabari on a team that rather deep at the forward position, or fill a HUGE need at center and draft Embiid?
Chad Ford (1:26 PM)
Great question. You are right, the Celtics love Jabari (as do most teams) and we've had him as the No. 1 pick for them. But Embiid fits more of a need and has a bigger upside. Ainge has drafted on upside in the past but last year I know he loved Giannis Antetokoumnpo but didn't pull the trigger on him and instead took the much safer Kelly Olynyk. So maybe Ainge isn't quite the gambler we make him out to be.
Janelle (South Jordan, Utah)
You have the Jazz as a virtual lock to take Jabari Parker given the chance. I understand the appeal. I wonder, however, is there anyone else that you believe would be an even better fit for this young Jazz team, or is Parker, in fact, the right pick?
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
Sorry, having intermittent power outages here today. Parker fits a need as a go to scorer for this club. He also is a fit in that, he could become a huge star, but his connection to the Mormon community in Salt Lake dramatically increases the chance that he doesn't leave in free agency for a bigger market. I think both of those things are in his favor as the No. 1 pick for the Jazz.
I love the mock lotto and the draft generator when it comes out. Isn't Cleveland hard to predict if not top 3? Would the Cavs really take another tweener like Gordon?
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
We had a miscommunication last night on the mock which means the Cavs pick isn't correct. Given the size of the mock, I sent it in last night before the games had ended. The Kings actually dropped two spots from 6 to 8 after their win. But I had filed as if the Kings had the 6th pick. The editors decided to just move Smart to 8 and move Gordon (who I had going to the Cavs at 8) to 6. We are fixing now. I believe the Cavs would actually take Marcus Smart ahead of Aaron Gordon with the No. 6 pick. They need defense (which is why Gordon would've been a good fit) but I don't think there's any way they pass on Smart if he's there. He too brings a great defensive presence to the table and I think an Irving-Smart backcourt would be devastating. But given the trajectory of the Cavs, I think by the end of the season they'll more likely be drafting in the 8 to 11 range.
Is Aaron Gordon really the next Blake Griffin? He's a very unique player, similar to BG, but I don't think he can be as good as him.
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
He's not as big as Blake. That's why he's trying to make the transition to small forward. I think the better comp is Andrei Kirilenko. I actually thin Gordon, right now, is a better, more committed defender than Griffin is or ever was. Griffin was more gifted offensively. The comp is more because they are both such powerful athletes. But they're different and I think Gordon goes somewhere between 6 and 8 on draft night.
Do you see Jerami Grant eventually breaking into the top 10 in this draft? I think with the minutes increase and a big post season he can.
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
He has that talent. Athletically, he's an elite prospect. But he's a bit of a tweener. He needs to figure out that jump shot. He's not a three point shooter, and his mid range game is solid, but still needs work. If he were a few inches taller he'd be in the Top 10 for sure.
Al (Charleston, SC)
More and more there as been buzz about some of this great freshman class staying in college for another year. Which prospects could you see really staying? And who do you think would actually benefit the most from another year in college?
Chad Ford (1:47 PM)
I think Embiid and Parker are the most likely to stay another year. Embiid doesn't think he's quite ready, Parker is loving college and knows the NBA will always be there for him. Both could pull a Marcus Smart and wait a year, they both have the personality for it, but typically, when you are ranked this high, you come.
ryan (living room)
if you were embiid, parker or wiggins, which team would you be HOPING to pick you (aside for monetary reasons)? Which lottery bound team would allow each player to flourish their skills???
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
Celtics for Embiid. He'd have a real point guard in Rondo and my favorite young head coach in the league, Brad Stevens, to work with him. Jazz for Parker. He's a fit, he'll be a cultural hero overnight there and I think the Jazz with Parker are a dangerous team next year. So much young talent. Sixers for Andrew Wiggins. He'd have a real point guard to set him up for easy shots and that team is going to run, run, run with all of those athletes and Wiggins is great in the open floor.
What's the league's take on Gary Harris? He's so clutch and all-around talented for a 2-guard... just a couple inches too short. Is he bound for a Randy Foye type of career, or can he be an all-star level 2-guard in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
I think teams see him as a step above Foye. I really like him. The size thing is an issue. He's also struggled a bit from three this year which concerns me a bit (he shot it great as a freshman). But he's the rare two guard who is a true two way player, he gets it done on both ends. Think he'll go 10-15.
Vonleh has been looking great lately for IU, I know it is really early but what are you hearing about him and leaving after one year when he could possibly go higher next year
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
I'm falling in love. Been watching him a lot lately. He's been shooting the three lately and his stroke looks really pure. With his size and athletic ability, he becomes a very interesting prospect. In some ways, and Kevin Pelton and I were emailing about this a bit last night, I think there's an argument to make that he might be a better long-term power forward prospect than Julius Randle. Most scouts don't agree with that yet, but I think there's some upside there that there might not be with Randle. He's a for sure Top 10 pick and might be the one guy who cracks into the Top 5.
What do you think about Iowa State DeAndre Kane's game and his stock in the NBA draft?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
Great player, but the fact that he'll be 25 on draft night really hurts his stock. He's a man playing amongst boys out there.
Andy (Lake Forest)
Better prospect-Saric or Mirotic?
Chad Ford (1:57 PM)
Tough one. Have to say Mirotic right now. But Saric is right there. Mirotic would be a Top 6 pick in this draft. He have Saric at No. 8 on our Big Board.
Chad Ford (1:59 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Have fun with Mock Draft 2.0 today. See you next week.