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 2 p.m. ET!
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll be talking NBA Draft all hour! Let's roll ...
Chase (Gettysburg) [via mobile]
What do you think Tyus Jones will do? And, do you believe he neccsarily has to leave now just because he had a great freshman year? If he left it would seem odd because Duke right now doesn't have a point guard recruited next year to replace him.
Chad Ford (2:02 PM)
Tough call. He's played as well as you can possibly play in the biggest game of the season. NBA folks love his basketball IQ and feel for the game. It's special, especially for a freshman. But he has some major weaknesses when it comes to the NBA. If he was two inches taller or a more explosive athlete, I think he'd be a Top 5 pick. But as it stands, he's probably in the 17 to 25 range. The question is whether he could improve his stock by returning to Duke. I don't think so. He has a ceiling because of his physical limitations. So ... if the NBA is his dream, I'm not sure his stock will ever be higher.
Dre Kisch (NYC)
I am starting to think Grayson Allen should declare for the draft. After the game he played against Wisconsin not sure how much higher he could go next year (maybe 10 spots higher?)? If he's a first round pick now, why would he stay? He is going to have really high expectations next year, perhaps unrealistic. Some team will draft him in the first round this year- he can shoot, has decent size for the 2, and has a great motor (plus- he's a bit of an unknown- great risk great reward, which should help him). Thoughts?
Chad Ford (2:06 PM)
I'm not sure what he should do. All I know is that I spoke or texted with dozens of NBA folks yesterday and many of them (though certainly not all) thought he'd be a first rounder if he declared. One GM was particularly interesting. He texted "Yes. My staff and I were just talking about that. Who would you take between Allen and [Devin] Booker? It's a tough call." Booker is taller and probably has a better basketball IQ and feel. Allen is a much better athlete, plays with a stronger motor and many scouts think he can play some point. Both are lights out shooters. If Allen comes back, I think he could be a late lottery to mid-first round pick -- especially if Tyus Jones leaves and he gets to play point guard for Duke next year. If he declares this year, he's more a late first round pick. Somewhere in the 20s to early 30s. So there's incentive to stay. He clearly has talent. I don't think the title game was a fluke (he had 27 points against Wake Forest earlier in the year). And if Jones is leaving, I think the incentive to stay grows even stronger. But if he does leave, he isn't crazy. He'll go a lot higher than many of the other underclassmen who have been declaring.
If Myles Turner clears medical evaluations will he be a fast riser on draft boards? Top 7 perhaps?
Chad Ford (2:08 PM)
Likely. Especially if doctors also believe that the way he runs won't do any long-term damage. Believe it or not, the testing they do for these players is getting that sophisticated. The talent is all there and he was definitely misused a bit at Texas. I think Top 7, 8 if all is good on the medical.
Harrison Twins just left for the draft. Whats the consensus among the scouts on their future?
Chad Ford (2:12 PM)
I don't think that's a surprise to anyone. They seriously considered leaving last year before having a change of heart right before the deadline. This year didn't do them any favors and with Coach Cal already saying this is Tyler Ulis's team next year, the writing was on the wall. Andrew Harrison probably gets drafted. I doubt it's in the first round like Coach Cal believes. If he does, then there are teams out there that have secretly loved him all year and have kept it super quiet. Aaron struggled to shoot it with accuracy all year. It's the only thing he really brings to the table from an NBA standpoint. I think he's second round to undrafted. And after the second half of the title game, when both twins went into hero ball mode, whatever good they did earlier in the tournament was erased. The lasting memory is of airballs and shot clock violations and the inability to get it to Karl Anthony Towns.
Do you think that Winslow will be a better player in the league than Okafor?
Chad Ford (2:15 PM)
I really like Justise Winslow. A lot. I've liked him all year. And I love what he did in the tournament. But let's be real. All of the hate on Okafor is silly. He's huge. He's incredibly skilled in the low post. He's going to command a double-team every night. Few big men in the NBA have his footwork or hands. He needs to get in better shape. He needs to improve defensively. I'm not sure either will ever be a strength for him. But he's going to be so good offensively. To me the only players that you can really justify taking ahead of him are Karl-Anthony Towns and Emmanuel Mudiay. As for Winslow, I love his energy, his toughness, his nose for the ball. I love that he's improved his jumper when he gets his feet set. But over Okafor? Not sure a month of really strong performances justifies that.
Is Frank Kaminsky a significantly better prospect than Kelly Olynyk?
Chad Ford (2:18 PM)
I hope so given how high NBA folks have rated him. I confess that personally, I'm not in love with him as a pro player. I think many scouts are in the same camp that I am. But he's converted a lot of people this year and given how well he tests out analytically, I think he's a lock for the lottery in the 10 to 15 range.
Eric (Erie, PA)
Sam Dekker had a huge tournament but had a poor championship game. Did his performance improve his stock significantly or did it play into his inconsistent reputation and hurt him.
Chad Ford (2:21 PM)
Overall, the tournament helped him. No question. The title game did bring give ammunition to many scouts who felt that he was being overrated based on some hot shooting in the tournament. What we saw in the title game, we've seen before from Dekker. When he plays with swagger and he's hitting his jumpers, he looks like a Top 10 pick. But there are times when he doesn't do either -- too many times. He's closer to a 32 percent three point shooter than a 50 percent one. And his annoying tendency to go entire games without getting to the line has scouts worried. But his size, toughness and potential were also on full display and at the end of the day, I think he moved from a 17 to 25 guy up to a 13 to 20 guy. Not a huge bump, but a bump nonetheless.
Chris (Albany, NY) [via mobile]
Am I crazy for thinking D'Angelo Russell should be drafted before Emmanuel Mudiay? I think Russell will be the best pro out of this class, not named Towns or Okafor.
Chad Ford (2:25 PM)
I think you, like most of us, haven't seen Emmanuel Mudiay enough to really know the answer to that. High school games, the Nike Hoop Summit, and a dozen games in China make it tough to have an accurate projection. However, based on what I've seen (and the advice of pro scouts) I think his athleticism and NBA type body give him the edge over Russell. Russell is clearly a more creative passer and a better shooter, but I think he was exposed a bit against Arizona. When elite, athletic defenders dig into him, he has problems getting good shots. That doesn't mean I don't like Russell, I do. But on potential, I think Mudiay has the edge. And so does Kristaps Porzingis and even Justise Winslow in my mind. But Russell probably goes ahead of both players.
Andrew (South Bend, Indiana)
Can Jerian Grant be a viable starting PG in the league or is he better used as a key bench piece of a championship caliber team. Also if Demetrius Jackson came out this year, would he be a first rounder?
Chad Ford (2:27 PM)
Yes ... I think Grant could be a starting PG in the NBA. An elite one? Not sure. But a good one? Yes. As for Jackson, I do think he likely slips into the late first round. I've been a big fan all year. But it's getting crowded as far as point guards go. With Cameron Payne, Jerian Grant, Terry Rozier and Delon Wright already in. And with Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones possibly in, lots of guys fighting for spots between 15 and 30. He might be better off returning to Notre Dame, getting the keys to this team and potentially being a lottery pick in 2016.
Kyron (Houston) [via mobile]
Any chance Justice Winslow goes before Russell at #4?
Chad Ford (2:28 PM)
Yes. He's ahead of him on a couple of NBA boards.
Kyron (Houston) [via mobile]
Best fit for Cauley Stein?
Chad Ford (2:29 PM)
A couple of teams that could really use some rim protection -- Sacramento and Orlando come immediately to mind. I think he'd be a very good fit next to Demarcus Cousins or Nikola Vucevic -- two dominant offensive bigs that don't really block shots.
Kentucky is projected to lose five to seven players. Who do you think should stay to increase their draft stock, and who will leave.
Chad Ford (2:32 PM)
I think we know Towns and Cauley-Stein are leaving. Towns goes 1 or 2. Cauley-Stein goes 6 to 10. The Harrison twins, according to numerous reports are in. I think Lyles comes as well and he goes 13 to 20. Booker? He's more on the fence. He's in that same 13 to 20 range. The question is whether he improves his stock by staying. I'm not sure he does. His lack of elite athleticism puts a ceiling on him. Dakari Johnson is probably an early second rounder. I really think he could improve his stock by staying however. Pair him in the front court with incoming freshman big Skal Labissiere at the four and I think they both would be great fits together. Ulis is staying and I think it's a good call. He would've gotten drafted, but it would've been as a second rounder. I do believe both Poythress and Marcus Lee would be better off staying as well. Both have such elite athletic talent, it would help them to do some more skill development at the college level.
Adam (NY) [via mobile]
who would win in a cage match you, bill simmons and Jay Bilas?
Chad Ford (2:33 PM)
Jay Bilas. No question.
If a healthy Joel Embiid was in this year's draft class where would you have him projected at?
Chad Ford (2:34 PM)
1 or 2
Scott (Portland, OR)
Nike Hoop Summit: Who wins? Who steals the show? What food truck does Chad overindulge in?
Chad Ford (2:39 PM)
Like the International Team a lot this year. Think they'll take it. Interested to see Zhou Qi, who is in our Top 30 this year. Incredibly skilled and incredibly long (7-6 wing, 9-6 standing reach) -- just super skinny. Nedim Buza and George Lucas de Paula also are interesting and could sneak into the late first of this year's draft on the international team. And then for next year -- the likely top 3 picks in the 2016 draft Ben Simmons, Jaylen Brown and Skal Labissiere will all play. Plus two other guys I'm really intrigued with Thon Maker and Brandon Ingram. It's loaded with talent. I'll be there Thursday-Saturday. And finally, Nong's Khao Man Gai here I come.
Rick (New Orleans)
What were Jarell Martin & Jordan Mikey thinking? Seems like a huge mistake for them to enter the draft ...
Chad Ford (2:43 PM)
I have no idea. Martin might go in the first. Mikey might go in the second. But had they returned, with the addition of Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney along with the return of Tim Quarterman -- they would've been in the running for a National Championship and both would've seen their draft stock rise if they played well. Huge missed opportunity for both players. I wish they'd reconsider. Would've loved to see LSU and Kentucky going head-to-head in the SEC next year.
Tom Hill (Esondido, CA)
What do you think of Malik Pope's chances of declaring fro the draft? Who in the NBA most reminds you of his game?
Chad Ford (2:44 PM)
He's waiting for a response from the NBA underclassmen committee on where he's likely to be drafted. If he think he's a guaranteed lottery pick, he's probably going to enter. If not, he'll return. He's right on the bubble according to scouts I spoke with. Some NBA teams have him in that late lottery range. Others have him in the mid to late first round. If he stays, I think he'll be a Top 10 pick, maybe Top 5 in 2016.
Ben Las Vegas [via mobile]
Are you hearing anything about Christian Wood declaring?
Chad Ford (2:46 PM)
He's definitely out there gathering info. Not sure which way he's leaning. Would be in the 20 to 40 range this year. Could definitely improve his stock if he returned. But lots of upside there.
Thoughts on Cam Payne?
Chad Ford (2:47 PM)
Think he could be special. Needs to get stronger, but has a great balance between scoring the basketball and getting others involved. Great basketball IQ. A real sleeper. He's at 23 on the Big Board, but if he went 13 or 14, I wouldn't be shocked. Some teams really like him. Others are on the fence.
Diamond Stone a potential first round pick in 2016?
Chad Ford (2:48 PM)
For sure. Potential Top 10 pick actually.
What about Levert?
Chad Ford (2:48 PM)
He should return. His draft stock was trending down before he was injured. Not sure he'd be a first rounder if he declared. He'd need excellent workouts.
Do you think that Kentucky will still have elite talent next year?
Chad Ford (2:49 PM)
Kentucky has elite talent every year. Right now the have the No. 1 rated recruiting class according to our ESPN high school scouting gurus.
Why would Stanley Johnson NOT enter the draft? How many consensus Top 10 picks choose not to forego?
Chad Ford (2:51 PM)
He's not quite as high as I think the media had him rated. He's closer to 8 to 12 than the 5 to 7 range many have had him. I think he wants to go high and I think he feels another year could improve it. Especially when you consider that this incoming high school class isn't particularly strong. But it's tough to turn down a lottery pick and i do think Johnson is a lock to go in the mid to late lottery.
Chad Ford (2:52 PM)
Folks I have to end the chat a little early today. I'm heading to Portland for the Nike Hoop Summit. Will have a full report early next week and will keep you abreast of everything via Twitter this weekend!