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!
Buzzmaster (9:33 AM)
Hey everyone, Chad is flying today, but that won't keep him away from chatting. He's going to try and join us from the air...let's just cross our fingers that his wifi connection is strong!
Chad Ford (12:59 PM)
Aloha everyone. I'm chatting LIVE on a United flight from 32,000 feet. Let's hope the Wi-Fi holds. We'll talk NBA 1st half, NBA Draft 2nd. Let's fly ...
Tony (New lenox, IL)
Warriors are looking amazing, Steph Curry and Klay Thompsan have been going beast mode to say the least. See the warriors and splash brothers in company maybe being able to take on the likes of the spurs and or clippers in the playoffs?
Chad Ford (1:01 PM)
For sure. Thunder are struggling with injuries. The Spurs will be fine, but it's going to be hard to replicate what they did last year. The Clippers are talented, but something feels missing right now. Grizzlies are a sleeper. If they stay healthy they are a handful. But based on what I've seen in the early season (and it's very early), I like the Warriors coming out of the West right now.
What would you do if you were the Knicks now? There is both a good case for trying to get to respectability but also an excellent case to keep themselves in the conversation for a top 5 pick...
Chad Ford (1:04 PM)
They desperately need some young talent. I think a Top 5 pick would be a godsend for them right now and even for Carmelo. Yes, we are learning that elite draft prospects are typically ready to go in Year One, but elite talents can make a pretty big impact by year 3. Gotta believe Jahlil Okafor or Emmanuel Mudiay would instantly make the Knicks more credible.
Nathan (Colorado Springs)
What do you make of the Celtics? Should they be gunning for a playoff spot or try to trade Rondo?
Chad Ford (1:09 PM)
It depends. The Celtics are in an interesting spot. I think Danny Ainge is an opportunist. If someone offers him a great asset for Rajon Rondo ... I think he'll trade him. If there aren't any great deals, he'll hold onto him. Ainge isn't doing a firesale and I don't think he'll tank just to get a high pick. He's going to let things play out and I think it's what makes him one of the best GMs in the league. He doesn't force things. Rondo is a unique talent. There's no reason to just give him away ... at the same time, if he's got a great asset being offered, it probably makes sense to trade him and recharge the rebuilding. I think that's why it seems, at times, like Ainge is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. It really does depend on what he can get.
Tony (New lenox, IL)
Hey chad hope your flight is going well, but quick question. Lakers are sitting at 2-9.. But yesterday they had a pretty good looking win against a decent hawks team. Swaggy P didn't look to shabby as well. Do you see them maybe picking it up and gelling a little better as a team and maybe going .500 by Christmas?
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
No. I think, with everyone healthy, they'll be better than what we've seen in the first few weeks of the season. Having Nick Young back, for instance, really helps. But I don't think there's anyway this team is a .500 team or a playoff team in the West. And, of course, all of this is fairly bad news for Lakers fans. Probably the worst case scenario is to be a 30 to 35 win team that misses the playoffs, but doesn't land a Top 5 pick (if the Lakers pick falls below five they have to send it to the Suns). It's going to be a long season Lakers fans.
Much to my surprise (and disappointment), it looks like the Bucks are going to be fighting for the playoffs. In order to combat this, do you see them trading away a couple pieces such as Ersan and OJ Mayo, and go with the young guys down the stretch? Any other trade chips?
Chad Ford (1:14 PM)
Nothing to be disappointed about in Milwaukee. Giannis is looking more and more like a future superstar. Jabari is up and down but he's going to be fine. Brandon Knight is having his moments. Trust me, this is a much better situation than what Sixers fans are going through. And the good news is that if Ilyasova and Mayo keep playing well ... there will be a trade market for both of them and the Bucks can pick up more assets. But I don't think they'll do it to intentionally tank. They'll only move those guys if they get an asset that adds to the future of the team. Who would've thought a year ago that the Bucks would have a brighter future than the Sixers -- but I actually think they do.
Chad, are the Sixers becoming TOO EMBARASSING for the league not to do anything about? They have to consider changing the rules because it's so obvious that they are tanking.. How can they deny it?
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
Adam Silver tried a form of lottery reform and owners voted it down. Yes, the league is concerned and owners don't like what the Sixers are doing. But I think the feeling is that you don't change the whole system based off of one team. Everything the Sixers are doing is legal. I don't think they deny anything. If tanking means that a player or coach intentionally tries to throw a game --- the Sixers aren't doing that. They compete. If tanking means that the front office deliberately puts a poor roster on the floor -- there's no way to deny they are doing that. But that's not illegal. It's just awful, awful basketball. And, as a rebuilding strategy? Let's see. I was on board early, but I'm beginning to have my doubts.. They are sooooooo far away.
Do you think Quin Snyder will eventually give Dante Exum the nod to start at point guard given the occasional flashes of brilliance he's shown so far? I would love to see a Dane Exum-Alec Burks back court at some point this season.
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
I mentioned this last week and feel even stronger about it this week after talking to sources close to the Jazz. They know Exum is going to be amazing and quite possibly their franchise player. He's not ready yet. He has to get stronger to handle all the contact he gets. But he's got the tools, has the basketball IQ, has the work ethic to be GREAT. And his jump shot is dramatically improving. Fast forward two years and he's likely Utah's No. 1 option. But it's early and I think they are erroring on the side of patience right now. He doesn't need to be, nor is he ready to be THE guy right now. I think Burke might start the whole season. But by next year, or the year after, this will be Exum's team to run.
Everybody thought Flip Saunders was a little aggressive in saying the T-Wolves would compete this year, but with Rubio's injury and now talk that Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin are on the block, are the Wolves just basically tanking it from here on out?
Chad Ford (1:24 PM)
Tanking. Rebuilding. Giving the young guys a chance. Without Rubio they don't have a chance in the West (I doubt they did with him) ... but it does give Flip an opportunity to give players like Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine lots of minutes. I think in the long-run, it will be great for their development when Rubio returns. In the short run, they are now likely the worst team in the West and in line for another very high draft prospect next year. Their future looks bright if you can be patient for another year or two.
Any chance the Suns trade Goran Dragic considering the 3 pg rotation has been uneven at best and his future is unclear with free agency looming?
Chad Ford (1:27 PM)
Anything is possible. The Suns can offer him the most money in free agency and while it's not a guarantee that Dragic re-signs, it helps. So I don't think there's any panic in the Suns organization that his agent leaked that Dragic is interested in playing for other teams next year. That's just a negotiation strategy. However, if the Suns got a real asset for him that they thought better situated them for the future ... then sure, it could happen. But don't read much into the report that he'll play the field this summer. That's Agent 101.
Jayme from the land of Oz [via mobile]
You're starting a team, who would you take out of a 21 year old LeBron or Anthony Davis?
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
Wow. So hard. I'd lean LeBron just because we've all seen what he has become ... but Davis could be just as special. Everytime I watch him I think he may be the best player in the NBA right now. Impacts the game on both ends of the floor. It's just scary what he could be in a couple of more years. He could be an All-Time Top 10, maybe Top 5 player.
Tony (New lenox, IL)
Jabari Parker was the favorite to win rookie of the year when the season started, but there's defiantly been some pep in Andrew Wiggin's step so far. See him winning it and parker coming in a close 2nd?
Chad Ford (1:33 PM)
They've had very similar starts, which I think bodes well for Wiggins. We knew Jabari was one of the more NBA ready rookies, but Wiggins has been solid. Neither is setting the NBA on fire yet, but it's very early. Bojan Bogdanovic is the darkhorse right now. He's starting to find his stride in Brooklyn. And I think Dante Exum, in more limited minutes, is having a bigger impact than anyone thought he would. He may yet turn out to be the best player in this draft class. He ahs that potential.
Rick (New Orleans)
Who do you think is the MVP at this point?
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
1. Anthony Davis 2. Steph Curry 3. DeMarcus Cousins
I know its much too early to tell, but number 1 pick in the 2015 draft is......
Chad Ford (1:38 PM)
Jahlil Okafor has been No. 1 on our Big Board since July and after what he's done in his first three games, he's hold on the top pick is even stronger. I was sitting with a number of GMs and scouts last night during the Duke-Michigan State game. They love him. He's big and physical, however he was quick feet and a soft touch around the basket. He's a legit, old school big man who is just so poised right now. Emmanuel Mudiay and possibly Karl Towns and Kristaps Porzingis will make a run, but it's Okafor's to lose. Of the 30 guys I spoke with last night and polled, all of them had Okafor a top their board.
Jayme from the land of Oz [via mobile]
If the draft wad today and Philly hag the first pick do you think they pick Okafor or Mudiay?
Chad Ford (1:40 PM)
That's the question. With Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric coming ... the last thing the Sixers need is a big man. And, Emmanuel Mudiay continues to play great in China and is probably a better fit for the Sixers. With that said, I don't know if Philly, who strongly believes in collecting the best asset, really passes on Okafor. If they stay to form, they won't and they'll figure out how to play four bigs (see Kentucky! maybe the Sixers can platoon) or trade one of them for a wing.
Brian DeLuca (Philly)
You are currently the only draft expert with kevon Looney in the top 10 prospects. What am I missing? He seems to have top 3 talent. What is his ceiling?
Chad Ford (1:42 PM)
I don't really look at other draft boards. That surprises me. Scouts and GMs have routinely praised him as a Top 10 pick since late summer to me. The more I watched the tape, the more I saw a guy who I thought could be very special. He's been at No. 8 on our Board since August and I think it's likely he'll move up to No. 5 when we do our next Big Board after Thanksgiving. He's been very solid so far for UCLA. Very versatile. I love him.
What makes Tyus Jones an NBA prospect? I don't see it. He's small and slow and doesn't look able to turn the corner on defenders or change direction with his dribble.
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
Yeah, there was a lot of debate among scouts about him last night. After a poor first half (he had zero points), many were strongly questioning whether he'd be a first round pick. Then he went off in the second, scored 17 points and showed a little of everything. His lack of size and elite athletic ability is a problem. He sometimes gets compared to Tyler Ennis. But Ennis was a little bigger, a little better athlete and had a very strong freshman season. I love the way Jones sees the floor and competes, but I think he's really going to struggle to crack the lottery or be an elite NBA prospect.
Zak Irvin (Michigan)
What are scouts saying about my hot start?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
Could be a breakout year for Irvin. If it is, he's a first round pick. Somewhere my guy Kevin Pelton is smiling. His numbers said Irvin, not Caris LeVert, was the guy to watch in Ann Arbor this year. It's two games in, so let's take the foot off the gas for a bit. It's a long season and LeVert almost had a triple double his first game.
With sort of slow starts, do you think Alexander and Oubre will be considered top 10 NBA picks by the end of the season?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
They are both so physically talented. Alexander was overmatched last night. But he's not a center. He was playing against guys that were four to five inches taller than him. But he did compete. Scouts have always worried a bit about Alexander's basketball IQ, and it showed, but he did go out there and compete. Oubre is clearly talented offensively, but was absolutely clueless defensively which may be why Bill Self is struggling to find him minutes. I don't think either guy helped his draft stock last night. They probably hurt it, a little. But again, there was no permanent damage. Lots of good players are going to have tough nights against Kentucky.
Do you see Dakari Johnson starting by March? He seems to be more talented than Cauley-Stein. What's Johnson's draft potential?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
Dakari is a better offensive player. Cauley-Stein is better defensively. I like what Cal is doing. He's pairing Cauley-Stein with a talented offensive big in Towns. And pairing Johnson with a talented defensive big in Lee. I think the balance is there on both platoons. I will say that Dakari continues to help his draft stock. Looks like a first rounder to me, though I'm not sure there's enough talent there for him to crack the lottery.
Rah-Steam (Hackensack, N.J.)
Am I the only one who thinks Wisconsin's Frank Kamisky is a 1st rounder with rotational big man potential?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
No, Lots of teams like him as a potential stretch four or stetch five in the league. He didn't have a great summer, but has looked good in the Badgers first few games. If he has a strong season, he's a lock for the first round.
Did Justice Winslow help is stock last night? What are scouts saying about him?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
I have more detail in a Stock Watch column that I filed from the game. But yes. Winslow has played great for Duke. I said in July he reminded me a lot of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and so far, you see a lot of that in the way he's playing for Duke. The good news is that he's shooting the ball better the MKG did. He'll battle Oubre, Stanley Johnson and Mario Hezonja to be the first wing off the board. But if he plays this way all year, he's a likely Top 10 pick
Outlook on all of the UK guys? Will 'platooning' hurt their draft status?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
I don't think so. Spoke to a lot of scouts about this last night. They get it. They love how unselfish everyone on Kentucky is playing. They are trying to win basketball games, not climb the Big Board ladder and scouts and GMs really respect that. I think all of them could benefit from what Cal's doing. Only guy on UK that scouts were disappointed with last night was Poythress. Sooooooo much physical potential, but still no real way to create offense for himself.
Arvydas Sabonis (Lithuania)
What do you think of my son?
Chad Ford (1:57 PM)
REally impressed. Gonzaga got a steal. A potential first rounder down the road. But not sure he's a one-and-done.
Steve (Indy) [via mobile]
Trey Lyles seems very skilled and mobile for 6-10. Is he Kentucky's second best prospect after Towns?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Might be. Kentucky is soooo big, Lyles looked like a wing out there on the court. Crazy. He wasn't great last night, but you see the high basketball IQ and while he's not a great athlete, he looks athletic enough. Wouldn't shock me if he was the second Wildcat off the board after Towns. Cauley-Stein will be his main competition.
Rah-Steam (Hackensack, N.J.)
Hey Chad what does Kentucky's destroying of Kansas say in the big scheme of things? They looked like they are gonna run the table to me... Im just saying.....
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
They're crazy good. And yes, they have that potential. But remember, teams like Kansas will get better. They weren't ready for Kentucky and it was a very bad match-up for them personnel wise. We know in college basketball, on any given night, anything can happen. If a team starts shooting the lights out from three and plays an effective zone against Kentucky's big, they'll have a chance. But ... yeah ... what UK did last night was one of the most dominant performances I've seen against a Top 5 team.
Chad Ford (2:02 PM)
My time is up everyone. Great chatting with you. Look for my latest Draft Stock Watch, that breaks down all the players in last night's Champions Classic. We will do this again next week ...