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 (1:00 PM)
Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. I'll be talking NBA in the first half and NBA Draft in the second. Let's roll ..
What the heck is wrong with the Mavs?
Chad Ford (1:03 PM)
It's tough to make a major deal in the middle of the season. Sometimes it's a boon, sometimes it messes with your chemistry. With Rondo, it was going to be one or the other, and I think it's been the latter. The Mavs took a big risk when they traded for him ... and right now, it doesn't look like it's paid off. But remember, there's still a lot of time left for them to get it together and Rondo, historically, steps it up during playoff time. I wouldn't write the Mavs off yet.
Sean (New York)
your pick for the western conference finals matchup and who will win ?
Chad Ford (1:05 PM)
Golden State v. Memphis. I still like the Warriors a lot. They'll live or die by the three ... but man, they can really shoot the three.
So who do you have winning the East?
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
I think it will be Hawks v Cavs. I really like the Bulls, but until I see Derrick Rose back and 100 percent, I can't pick them. Hawks v. Cavs is a very tough one for me, but I'd lean Cavs right now.
Do you think Indiana could threaten Cleveland in the playoffs if the Cavs end up the 2 seed and Indiana 7th?
Chad Ford (1:09 PM)
Depends on how rusty Paul George is. If he's Paul George of last year's playoffs ... yeah, the Pacers will give the Cavs all they can handle. But that's a big, big if right now.
Have any teams played themselves out of a good draft pick? The Celtics maybe?
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
Celtics and Jazz definitely. Both have been playing really well lately. Have killed their chances of getting a top 3 pick. On the flip side, it's great to see their young guys taking the next step. It's not veterans who are leading the charge, it's their young players. Ultimately this is what every GM wants to see.
whois your MVP at this point in the season?
Chad Ford (1:12 PM)
He won't win it, but Anthony Davis is the best player in the NBA. 30 out of 30 GMs, if they were starting from scratch, would select him first. After him it's between Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry for me. Both players just wow you night in and night out and they do it in very different ways.
Zach Lavine Minneapolis [via mobile]
Any rookies that have surprised you by any chance?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
A few. I really liked Andrew Wiggins, Nikola Mirotic, Elfrid Payton and Nerlens Noel, so no surprises there. I didn't see Jusuf Nurkic being this good this early. The Lakers Jordan Clarkson is having a really nice season -- didn't see that coming. The Knicks Langston Galloway too.
What are your thoughts on Nerlens Noel's progress since the All-Star Break? Do you think his defensive play has nudged him into the conversation as a legit ROY candidate?
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
He has a chance to be special defensively and he's showing that right now. Elite special. But I think Andrew Wiggins will run away with the ROY award. His closest competition is Mirotic, who's been putting up some big games for the Bulls lately. He's going to be so good.
Any chance of Lebron getting his 5th MVP this season ?
Chad Ford (1:18 PM)
I love LeBron and he's having a good season. But Davis, Westbrook, Curry, Harden and Chris Paul would all get the nod before LeBron this season. But give it another month. LeBron could still change my mind.
What do you think of the recent play of Oladipo and Payton? Oladipo is looking like he can score in all ways, and Payton's vision and control of the offense, including high assist to TO ratio, is pretty amazing for a rookie. And not to mention their stellar defense. Looks like they can be a pretty special backcourt in the near future, especially if Payton can greatly improve his shooting.
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
yeah, I really like the Magic's backcourt. Both Oladipo and Payton have a real chance to be great together. Shooting is the biggest issue and they'll need to figure out how to address that along with some more rim protection this summer. I'd love to see the Magic get Karl Anthony Towns. He'd be a great fit for them.
I know it is early days, but are the 76ers looking like the winners of the MCW trade?
Chad Ford (1:22 PM)
Ask me in 3 years ... which is my answer to virtually every question about the 76ers. Is Sam Hinkie a genius? Ask me in 3 years? Is Hinkie nuts? Ask me in 3 years. Will Joel Embiid be a stud? Ask me in 3 years. What about Dario Saric? You get the picture.
Keeb (Tampa) [via mobile]
Your thoughts on Reggie Jackson and his future with the Detroit Pistons?
Chad Ford (1:24 PM)
He hasn't been great there and last night I thought he was awful. But again, it takes time for a player to adjust to a new team, new role, etc. You can't write him off yet. But the Pistons despite some real talent on the roster, are still a mess.
A Thibodeau-Bulls split seems inevitable. Where do you think his next job is, and who ideally replaces him?
Chad Ford (1:26 PM)
I'm not sure about inevitable, but it seems to be heading that way ...yes. I think the Bulls have their eye on Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State's head coach. He's the most coveted young coaching name out there. As for Thibodeau? There will be a long line. He's sooooo good. Even if he's tough to live with, any contender would have to take a long look at him. There will be a lot of good head coaches sweating if he comes on the market. GMs can be ruthless when it comes to upgrades.
How many Kentucky players do you currently see being drafted in the 1st round?
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
4 for sure: Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles. All four could even end up in the lottery. A fifth, Dakari Johnson, is on the first round bubble. Lots of teams like Tyler Ulis as well, but I think most everyone feels he won't declare. The Harrison twins, Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee are second rounders to undrafted right now.
Ricky Ledo (Providence, RI)
Without knowing what type of run Providence College could go on in the NCAA Tournament (Which could propel Kris Dunn's stock) do you think he should leave PC like I did for the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
He moved up to No. 22 on our Big Board this week and looks like a solid candidate to be a first round pick. It's probably the right move -- especially if he plays well in the NCAA Tourney.
Have we gotten to the dog days of draft analysis where Jahlil Okafor is actually being *underrated*, especially defensively?
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
LOL. He's not very sexy anymore is he. He's so good offensively, we just take it for granted and start to pick apart the other parts of his game. Welcome to NBA scouting. He's still No. 1 on our new Big Board we released this morning, but he's no longer an unanimous No. 1. Just under half of the GMs and scouts I polled now have Karl-Anthony Towns No. 1. I can make the argument for both players, though personally, I lean toward Towns at the moment. I just think his ability to be an elite rim protector AND a good offensive player give him the edge.
Danny (Ohio) [via mobile]
IF Russell leads Ohio State on a Napier/Kemba type run, will he move up to number one?
Chad Ford (1:34 PM)
Theoretically yes. But it's tough for a guard to grab the No. 1 spot when there are two elite 7 footers in the draft. Size rises on draft night. Even last year, with Wiggins on the board, I believe Joel Embiid would've been the No. 1 pick for the Cavs had he not been injured. Ditto for Nerlens Noel in 2013.
which top 5 lottery team (NY, Min, Phi, Orl, LAL) will be most willing to trade their pick?
Chad Ford (1:37 PM)
Knicks and Lakers for sure. Both want to win sooner rather than later. I could see the Knicks, especially, make a deal like that. And if you're a Knicks fan, you should storm MSG with a pitchfork and torches if it happens. What the Knicks really need is an Okafor or Towns or Mudiay or Russell.
Could the Sixers get 2 top 4 picks? Would a team like Magic take Lakers pick at 6 (assume post lottery) and Dario Saric if both big men are gone?
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
Nope. Best case scenario right now is they get 1, 6 (via the Lakers .. the pick is top 5 protected) and 11 or 12 (via the Heat... the pick is top 10 protected). But that would be awesome for them. I'd love to see them with Mudiay, Mario Hezonja and Malik Pope. That would be a crazy good haul to add to Noel, Embiid and Saric.
Taylor (Missoula, MT)
Hi Chad, If he leaves, would Gary Payton II out of Oregon State be a first rounder? Same for Sabonis from Gonzaga.
Chad Ford (1:42 PM)
Sabonis is in our Top 30. I believe he would be a first rounder. He's an ideal draft and stash candidate too for a team that wants to send him to Europe for more development. Payton has a shot at the first round too. The analytics folks, especially, really like him.
Chad- What midmajor prospects can propel themselves into the first round with a good showing at the tourney?
Chad Ford (1:46 PM)
R.J. Hunter of Georgia State could still work his way into the lottery if they can win the Sun Belt tournament. Cameron Payne of Murray State could sneak into the first round (if the Racers get a NCAA bid). And lots of teams intrigued by Tyler Harvey of Eastern Washington. They'll have to win the Big Sky to get into the tournament, but he'll be a big draw if they do. The guy is a crazy shooter.
Scott (Portland, OR)
I'll be at the Nike Hoop Summit this year. Tell us who we should be watching on the world side, besides Ben Simmons.
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
Three prospects playing at the Hoop Summit are in our 2015 Top 100 (most aren't eligible until the 2016 draft including Simmons). Zhou Qi of China is in our Top 30 now. Super skilled big man who also happens to be a good athlete. Just skinny, but putting up impressive numbers in China for a 19 year old. Nedim Buza, a wing from Bosnia, is a bubble first rounder. He's got the shooting stroke and athleticism to stick in the NBA. And some scouts are cautiously optimistic about Brazilian point guard George de Paula. He's a strong physical guard in the mold of Emmanuel Mudiay, but he's not the elite athlete that Mudiay is which raises some red flags among scouts.
Kyle L. (Westmont)
Am I crazy for thinking that Robert Upshaw will be drafted in Round 1?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
No. He has first round talent. Maybe late lottery talent. Just major second round to undrafted baggage following him around. It will be interesting to see how much those character issues come back to haunt him. He's now been kicked off both of the college teams he's played for.
Jason [via mobile]
any chance that dekker is drafted before kaminsky this year?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
No. Kaminsky has moved into the late lottery conversation. The 10-15 range. I think Dekker is in the 20-35 range right now. Nigel Hayes, by the way, is also in that first round conversation now. He's a bubble first rounder.
david (new york city)
If you had to choose today, all things being equal, do you go towns or okafor at #1?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
Depends on the team. But disregarding team needs? Towns. By 1 percent, over Okafor. However, as of today, after interviewing a number of scouts and GMs, I think they have it the opposite way -- Okafor, by 1 percent or so, over Towns. That's why Okafor remains No. 1 on our Big Board.
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
I've got to run a few minutes early everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. Excited for March Madness next week. We will have a full breakdown of every NBA prospect in the tournament next week. This week, be sure to check out our new Big Board, updated Top 100 and and updated Lottery Mock Draft. All of them were updated this morning!