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 (12:57 PM)
Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today! We will talk NBA in first half hour and NBA Draft in second half. Let's roll ...
Why do GMs crave making the playoffs only to get swept in the 1st round. Has anybody learned from the mess the ATL Hawks have been for years because they were happy with being average?
Chad Ford (1:03 PM)
It's rarely GMs, it's owners. They hate to lose. Want playoff revenue. GMs know their bosses are unhappy when they lose and they can rarely hang around long enough to see through a rebuilding project, so ... they do what they think will save their jobs. It rarely works out. Everyone is killing Chris Grant right now and he made mistakes. But many of them had to do with pressure that his owner and his coach put on him. He was trying to please them. Don't think he personally wanted Dion Waiters or Anthony Bennett, for example. But caved to internal pressures from Byron Scott, Mike Brown and Dan Gilbert. Happens more than you think. A lot of the big mistakes GMs make, are really ones their owners insisted on them making.
Sean (Massachusetts )
Your pick for coach of the year so far?
Chad Ford (1:04 PM)
Jeff Hornacek in a landslide. No way the Suns should be playing like they are playing with that roster.
Any truth to the rumor that the Bobcats have made an offer of Ben Gordon and a 1st rd pick to the 76ers for ET?
Chad Ford (1:06 PM)
The Charlotte Observer reported that this morning. I don't have specific knowledge of that deal however it fits the parameters of what both teams are looking for. Bobcats want talent that can help them now, the Sixers are looking for assets. Sounds like the Sixers don't want to pull the trigger just yet. Teams typically wait another week to see if better offers arise. But if the Sixers don't get a better offer, I'd be shocked if they didn't make this deal.
John (Canada) [via mobile]
Will Kyle Lowry be a Raptor past the trade deadline?
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
I'd be surprised. They've been aggressive looking for the right deal for him.
Over the last two weeks, Bennett has been much better. He looks in shape and he is making aggressive moves with confidence. His overall length is a spectacle and he seems to have a good nose for rebounding the ball. If he can continue to improve and get more minutes, how does this change things for morale of the team?
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
He has been. He has talent. He was just out of shape and unprepared for the NBA. The Cavs are interesting. They've won three straight since Chris Grant was fired. You see teams go on short winning streaks all the time when a coach is fired. But the GM? That's so interesting. I like their interim GM David Griffin a lot. He's a savvy guy and has good relationships with lots of people in the league. I expect they'll be very active at the trade deadline. I think Kyrie is the only untouchable guy on this roster right now which means they have a ton of different trade options.
Any truth to the Boozer for Okafer trade between Bulls and Suns?
Chad Ford (1:14 PM)
Again, don't know any specifics about this one. But it does fit the parameters of what these teams are looking for. Getting Boozer off the books would be huge for the Bulls going forward. And the Suns seem determined to try to find a veteran big to help them keep their position in the playoff standings.
Do you think Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson or Glen Davishave big chances of getting traded?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
I'd be mildly surprised if all three were still there. Afflalo has the most trade value, but the team is also quite fond of him. They'll need a strong offer to trade him. Nelson and Davis they'd give away.
Who's leading the ROY race right now? Oladipo has had a great few weeks and MCW has regressed.
Chad Ford (1:19 PM)
It's a two-way race right now. But you're right, while Carter-Williams was the best rookie in the first half of the season, Oladipo has really picked up his play. Based on what we've seen so far, it's Carter-Williams. But if Oladipo keeps improving like this, I think he'll win it.
Andrew (Orem, Utah)
Is Durant the runaway MVP? Dude's playing OUT OF HIS MIND.
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
My ballot would be. 1. Durant 2. LeBron 3. CP3 if the voting were today. Durant has been amazing.
If Giannis had to drop out of the NBA right now and reenter the draft, where would be be on your big board?
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
Something like 5 or 6. See Embiid, Wiggins, Parker and Exum ahead of him. That's about it. Maybe Randle.
How can the Pistons mess be fixed? Isn't it time for a change in GM?
Chad Ford (1:26 PM)
I know Joe Dumars has made some costly mistakes, especially in free agency. Virtually all GMs do. But I've known Joe a long time and in my opinion he's one of the most intelligent GMs in the game. He knows the game and he knows talent. If you look back at his whole career, he's gotten more things right than wrong. The mistake he made with Ben Gordon and Charlie V really hampered his team and he's still recovering. He's also struggled to find the right coach. I think he misses having someone as awesome as John Hammond as his right hand man. But I think the team still has the young building blocks to turn things around. I also know this, if Dumars is fired, some other owner will snatch him up. Given the candidates out there right now, not sure many of them will measure up to Joe D.
Thomas (Richmond, VA)
Do the Warriors need to make a move before the trade deadline to have a legit shot in the playoffs?
Chad Ford (1:27 PM)
If they are thinking long-term, they'd probably be better off standing pat. But if this has to be the year, then I think they need a few more pieces. I know they'd love to get an athletic, shot blocking big man.
Steve (Los Angeles)
Gordon to Pistons - Monroe, Stuckey (and maybe Billups) to Pellies. Who says no?
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
Talent wise, that's not really a bad deal for either team. I like the combo of Davis and Monroe. And swapping Gordon for Monroe gives the Pistons some shooting in the backcourt and allows Josh Smith to move to the 4 where he's much more effective. But Gordon's injury history plus his overpriced deal will give the Pistons pause. And are the Pelicans ready to shell out huge dollars for Monroe this summer?
John canada [via mobile]
Is this draft still as good in your opinion as it was before the season?
Chad Ford (1:32 PM)
No. But I say that every February. We've analyzed and over analyzed players and right now it's their weaknesses that are coming to the forefront. But we will hit March and a few of these guys will shine. And then we will get into workouts and teams will start talking themselves into players. But is this draft loaded with transcendent talent? Maybe, but it's no longer the sure thing we thought it would be in July.
Shane (Atlanta, Georgia)
Do you see Marcus Smart falling (because of his play, not this latest "outburst") to that 10-14 range? Wouldn't he be a perfect second 1st round pick for ORL?
Chad Ford (1:36 PM)
I don't. In fact, I spoke with a ton of GMs and veteran scouts following the incident. None of them. I mean none of them actually thought it would hurt his draft stock long-term. Yes, in the current media cycle, he's taking hits. It will come again when he declares for the draft. But that's the media. The NBA guys want talent. Smart has a great reputations minus the past few weeks. No one thinks he's turned into Ron Artest suddenly. He's super competitive and he's been frustrated. The bigger concern is about his jump shot and whether he's a pure point guard. He's struggled on both accounts this year. Some GMs don't like him as a prospect. At all. But that was BEFORE the incident. And even they didn't think it changed their evaluation of him. For the teams that already were in love, none of them felt that this incident warranted dropping him from their boards. I think he goes somewhere between 6 and 10 which is where he's been slotted all year.
Did Smart make a mistake staying in school?
Chad Ford (1:38 PM)
No. Not at all. Because he went back for the right reasons. He knew he's be a Top 2 or 3 pick. He had the correct intel. He wanted to go back because he liked school, liked his teammates, wanted to help OSU win a title and he wanted to work on his game. Some of that hasn't worked out, but no one is a fortune teller. He went back for the right reasons and actually shows you the character of the young man. Basketball was more important to him than money. I think the media narrative about him right now couldn't be more off. Everyone makes mistakes. You have to look at the track record.
Even after Marcus Smart's incident, how would any GM feel comfortable taking Exum over Smart?
Chad Ford (1:38 PM)
Exum was always ahead of Smart on our Big Board. So nothing changes there. I think the bigger question is whether someone chooses Tyler Ennis of Syracuse over Smart.
Is Doug McDermott really a lottery pick? Seems to be Adam Morrison 2.0, who is he going to be able to guard in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:40 PM)
Difference, to me, is that McDermott is a lights out three point shooter. Morrison was just a solid shooter. And no one is projecting McDermott as the No. 3 pick in the draft. Late lottery to mid first round is the right spot for him.
Ben (UT) [via mobile]
Is there any truth to Noah Vonleh being preferred over Julius Randle rumors? Have GM's really soured on Randle's skill set?
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
Some do. Vonleh is bigger and longer and has shown a more advanced perimeter game. But Randle is more of a beast in the paint offensively. Lately Vonleh has been the better rebounder. And he's younger. So yeah, there's an argument to made there. But right now we have Randle higher on the Big Board.
If you threw age out of the equation, who would be big risers/fallers? Gotta think Adreian Payne would be a lot higher.
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
If Payne were 19 he'd be a Top 10 pick.
What are your thoughts on Dario Saric?
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
Super talented. Very skilled. Great passer for a big man. A point power forward. Putting up impressive numbers in Croatia this year. Think he's a Top 10 pick.
If Deandre Kane were younger, where would you have him on your big board?
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
For sure. But he'll be 25 by draft day. That's a major red flag for teams.
Chad, are the sixers still leaning towards Wiggins over Parker?
Chad Ford (1:48 PM)
Yes. As are a lot of teams. Parker is a more polished offensive player, but Wiggins length, athletic ability and upside set him apart. NBA guys aren't really paying attention to the box scores. They are looking for the types of attributes that could make a player dominant at the next level. Wiggins has many. Even his biggest weakness (that he can be passive at times) has started to dissipate. He's been much more aggressive trying to create his own shot off the dribble. He's got to be a better finisher at the rim and continue to improve his three point shooting, but his upside is huge. Parker will also be a great NBA player and is better right now. But in 5 years, most teams are still betting on Wiggins. But remember we still have a few more months before the draft.
Zach Lavine still a lottery pick?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
On talent yes. But his play has been so poor of late, he's dropped out of the Top 14 on our Big Board. Virtually every scout thinks he needs another year at UCLA.
Where do you see Kyle Anderson getting picked?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
Yes. Some teams love him. Some hate him. But enough love him that he's going somewhere in the first.
Could embiid's recent play hurt his chances at the #1 pick?
Chad Ford (1:51 PM)
Not really. He's been banged up. Injured. I haven't heard one NBA scout or GM who seems discouraged by it.
Glenn Robinson - Is he still a 1st Rounder? Seems he has lost a lot of spots since last year
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
He's slid out of our Top 30. He's got athletic talent. But his skill set hasn't caught up.
What have you seen from PJ Hairston in the d-league? Has his stock improved?
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
He's played really well. He'll go somewhere in the second half of the first round. Lots of talent there. It's the off the court stuff he kept getting into at UNC that will limit his stock. If he had no off the court issues, he might be a pick in the 10-14 range.
A lot is being said about Marcus Smart's draft stock sliding, but has anyone been hurt (figuratively) more than Mitch McGary this year?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
If you want to see a mistake, McGary is the guy to look at. Caught lightening in the bottle in the tournament. Moved up 20 spots in a very weak draft. Hurt his back this summer and hasn't been the same. Now he's out of the first round.
Who comes back to Kentucky?
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
Randle and Young look like they're gone. Hearing both the Harrison twins also want to declare (though their current draft stock may scare them back into school). Cauley-Stein and Poythress are both wildcards. Ditto for Dakari Johnson.
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
Have to run a few minutes early today. Enjoy the All-Star game everyone. Huge week coming up for trade rumors. Buckle in!