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 (1:01 PM)
Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat. We'll be talking NBA in the first half and NBA Draft in the second half. Let's roll ...
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Chad - Will George Karl be able to turn the Sacremento Kings into playoffs hopefuls, what changes need to be made and how long till they be successful?
Chad Ford (1:06 PM)
He's a great coach. The best coach currently not working. And I think he's a great fit in Sacramento. But my question is the timing. The Kings timing on everything is beyond baffling. Firing Mike Malone made no sense. Then, instead of hiring Karl to make a run at the playoffs, they tap Tyrone Corbin and say he'll be the coach for the rest of the season. Now that they are hopelessly out of the playoffs (but in line for a decent shot at the No. 1 pick), they hire Karl to turn things around. Karl is the right fit, but they should've hired him when they fired Malone. As it stands right now, they would've been better off getting a high pick (even if they don't want another young player it's a valuable asset) and then bringing in Karl over the summer. No one running the Kings right now is giving the impression they know what they are doing long-term.
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
I'll also note that the Kings probably felt their hand was forced once Orlando fired Jacque Vaughn. He was a very viable candidate in Orlando too. But again, they had to know other teams were going to fire their coach and he'd be in the mix. They should pulled the trigger a while ago.
What do you think of the Timberwolves trading for Adrien Payne? Is he worth the gamble, or should he already be written off?
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
I like Payne. And I'm happy for him. He's going to get a lot more minutes in Minnesota. He's athletic, can play the 4 & 5 in the NBA and he can really shoot the basketball. The Wolves are currently in rebuilding mode and getting another big that can shoot the basketball makes sense. Just not sure where this puts Anthony Bennett in the scheme of things. Given the lottery protections on the pick, I think it was a sensible move for the Wolves and given that Payne had no shot of playing anytime soon, a good move for the Hawks who now clear a roster spot to add a veteran for the playoff run.
Martin (Harmony, NC)
Is the Mo Williams trade enough to help get the Hornets into the playoffs or does Cho have to try to make another??
Chad Ford (1:16 PM)
I think it will help. Kemba Walker is expected to be out the next 5 weeks and while Brian Roberts has been good for them, they could use the help. The Hornets want to be a playoff team, there's no consolation for them to fall into the late lottery. So for what they gave up, I think it's a good trade. But it still doesn't mask the disappointment in this team. I thought, and a lot of people thought, they'd be much better than they've been. The fact that they are fighting in a very weak Eastern Conference for a playoff spot is beyond telling that this team still has a long ways to go to become a contender.
Any positive comments about the 76ers? It seems like the team is playing hard and may have found some 2nd rounder keepers to build with
Chad Ford (1:19 PM)
I'm stunned. Stunned that this team doesn't have the worst record in the NBA. It's a testament to how hard the young guys they have play every night and a testament to head coach Brett Brown. The Sixers have no business winning 12 games. As far as their young talent -- I'm still skeptical they have a great building block yet. Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel are maybes. KJ McDaniels and Jerami Grant have been great finds in the second round. Robert Covington was another great find. But none of them look like they're high level starters on a good team in the NBA ... yet. They're young. So maybe it comes. But I still see the Sixers as a long, long ways away from being a playoff team and the fact that the odds of winning the No. 1 pick have dropped from 25 percent down to 15.4 percent, don't help.
Your best guess as to who gets traded at the trade deadline?
Chad Ford (1:23 PM)
1. Reggie Jackson 2. Arron Afflalo 3. Brook Lopez ... my wildcard is Goran Dragic. Tough, tough call for the Suns. They risk losing him for nothing when he hits unrestricted free agency this summer or having to massively overpay to keep him. If they could get a really good piece or two back ... even if it costs them that last playoff seed ... I think they have to consider it.
Thoughts on Charles Barkley's comments?
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
I love Chuck. My favorite NBA broadcaster. I agree with a lot of the things he says every week. This one, not so much. I think analytics have their place in the NBA. They provide you with solid information and help expose trends that are difficult to perceive with the naked eye. I can't see a responsible GM or coach ignoring them. However, I don't think analytics tell the entire story either. There is still a place for great scouting, team psychologists, and player development too. The best teams do all of it well and don't let things get out of balance. Chuck is right if his critique is that a team would be stupid to JUST rely on the numbers. The problem with Chuck's critique is that I don't know one team in the NBA that just relies on analytics. And the very best teams, all of them, use analytics to help them gain an advantage.
Big Mike (New Jersey)
Who do you think is taking home the Eastern Conference title? Atlanta or Cleveland?
Chad Ford (1:30 PM)
Leaning Atlanta right now. Still not sure the Cavs have it all together, though they've been improving. If the Cavs get the chemistry down ... they'll be better than Atlanta. But I still think it's an if.
Joe (Michigan) [via mobile]
Does Deangelo Russell really have a chance to be the first pick in the draft?
Chad Ford (1:33 PM)
I think Jahlil Okafor is the consensus No. 1 pick right now ... but I do think there will be an argument for Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay and even Karl Anthony-Towns. Russell is a 6-foot-5 point guard who can really shoot the basketball and plays with a high basketball IQ. Those guys don't come along everyday either. Mudiay is an elite athlete who, if he were playing at SMU, would probably be in the discussion for the No. 1 pick. He's that good. And if Towns were getting Okafor's minutes and touches? He might be atop the board. Oh, and I really like Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia too. There is a strong Top 5 in this year's draft.
Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI)
Where do you think Frank Kaminsky gets drafted? I know his age works against him, but he has such a desirable and rare set of skills - 7' tall, shoots threes, and protects the rim. He even has a decent post game. He's never mentioned in the top 10. Is being a senior with a "low ceiling" killing him that much? Otherwise I don't see how his skill set doesn't make him a top 10 pick.
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
The senior thing hurts him -- mostly because of his age. So does the fact that he lacks NBA strength or elite athleticism. But his ability to stretch the floor and his ability to score, rebound and protect the rim make him attractive. He's at No. 15 on our latest Big Board and I could see him going a few spots higher with the right fit. But teams drafting in the Top 10 are looking for major upside and while Kaminsky could be a very good NBA player, the major upside isn't there.
Jake (San Diego) [via mobile]
Just saw you put Malik Pope in your top 30. I've been a big fan of his all year. He reminds me a little of the Greek Freak. Not that many 6'10 guys that can handle the ball in the open court like they can. What do the scouts see as his best comparison?
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
I'm going to write a little more about him for Ford-Pelton later in the week. But for everyone looking for the next Giannis -- I don't think you need to look overseas. Pope is a crazy athlete, has great size for his position, is super skilled. He's just raw because he missed most of his last two seasons of high school basketball because of a broken leg. Watch the Colorado State game (which a lot of scouts have done via Synergy) and it's hard to not walk away saying he's got as much talent as any player in the Top 10 of this draft. Whether he turns it into something is a huge question mark. But it was a similar one for Giannis. I have him at No. 25 -- but it feels low. If he finishes strong the last month of the season, he'll go in the lottery.
Mike (Philly) [via mobile]
Who is a good NBA comparison for Kristaps Porzingis?
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
I keep hearing a combo of Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol. If that's true, why isn't he the No. 1 pick?!? I think a less dramatic comp could be a more athletic version of Bulls rookie Nikola Mirotic. That's high praise without calling him a hybrid of two future Hall of Famers. With that said, I'm a big Porzingis fan. I think he's going to be a very good pro and worthy of being in the discussion with Okafor, Russell, Mudiay and Towns.
Sam Dekker was slowed by an ankle injury to start the season, but has played well the last 15-20 games. Is he still a first round draft choice?
Chad Ford (1:42 PM)
Yes. He goes somewhere between 15 and 25 I think.
Joey (SLC, UT)
As of right now, do you think Jakob Poeltl of the Utah Runnin' Utes will declare for the draft this year? He still looks good, but of course he's very, very raw in a lot of ways. He could certainly use another year of college to hone his skills and to improve his draft stock...and Ute fans would CERTAINLY welcome him back for another year or three!
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
From all the info I can gather, it looks like he's strongly leaning toward returning for his sophomore year. However, things can change when the season ends and agents get in his ear. Obviously another year could help. He needs to add a lot of strength to play his game in the NBA. He isn't ready. But that won't stop teams from drafting him in the late lottery to mid first round if he declares. He's got tremendous upside.
Sean [via mobile]
Who do you see as the better wing prospect, Mario Hezonja or Stanley Johnson?
Chad Ford (1:47 PM)
Right now I have Hezonja ranked slightly ahead of Johnson on the latest Big Board. But the truth is there's a pretty big scrum between Hezonja, Johnson, Kelly Oubre and Justise Winslow. Every scout has a slightly different take. They are all different players and depending on the team and scheme you put them in, they all have a chance to be super successful in the pros. Hezonja is really coming on of late. Oubre has been struggling again lately. Winslow, after struggling with some injuries, is playing well again. Johnson has probably been the most consistent of the four. I'll have a better read as we get closer to the draft, but all four are in the 5 to 12 range.
Who good can Myles Turner be?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
If you haven't read Myron Medcalf's story on ESPN.com today about Turner you really should. He's been frustratingly inconsistent this year, but understanding his back story really helps explain much of that. I love the anecdote about Turner's shoe sizing growing from 14 to 17 in two weeks. That's crazy. The point is that he's gone through all of these major body changes and is still adjusting to life as a 7 footer instead of a 6-foot-4 guard. He oozes talent. It's not all baked yet. But teams will be willing to gamble on him I bet in the 5 to 12 range as long as his knees check out OK.
John (Maryland) [via mobile]
Better prospect, Willie Cauley Stein or Myles Turner?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
Turner better offensively. Cauley-Stein better defensively. Right now Cauley-Stein has the slight edge on our Big Board -- but much of this will come down to team need. Personally, I lean Turner. But it's close.
Is Tyus Jones a one and done? He seems to have the cold-bloodedness and leadership qualities of an NBA point guard. But will his lack of athleticism hold him back in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
Lots of mixed opinions from scouts. He's clearly an elite college point guard who sees the floor, makes great decisions and exhibits all the leadership qualities you look for in a point guard. He's even been shooting the ball well lately. His lack of elite size, strength and athleticism are the major question marks about him. That's why he's ranked in the 20s instead of in the lottery. My friend, Kevin Pelton, has him ranked No. 2 on his analytics board, however. So the numbers are clearly working in his favor.
Why is Terry Rozier ranked so low on your board?
Chad Ford (1:57 PM)
He's in the Top 30. He's played great this year. Love his toughness and I'm personally a little higher on him than scouts seem to be right now. The big question marks: Is he really a point guard? And will he shoot the ball well enough at the next level. If he has a big NCAA tournament, he'll shoot right back up into the teens where he started the season.
Is it me or is there a lack of great international players in this draft after Porzingis and Hezonja.
Chad Ford (2:02 PM)
Yeah, it's top heavy this year. Mudiay (if you count him), Porzingis and Hezonja are all top 10 picks. But it's hard to find another guy who seems like a first round lock. I keep hearing various names from scouts, but then other scouts shoot them down. Fran Frascilla did a nice job today talking about the Top 10 international prospects, but half of Fran's list are too young to be eligible for this year's draft. One name Fran mentioned that's worth looking closely at is Zhou Qi a 7-foot-1 skilled big man from China. He's painfully skinny, but also super skilled. I've had a couple of scouts tell me in the last week that he'd get serious consideration from them late in the first as a draft and stash candidate if he declares. Same holds true for Turkey's Egeman Guven.
Chad Ford (2:02 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat this week. We'll do it again next week!