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. We'll be talking NBA Draft all hour. Let's roll ...
Flip has always stated he looks "for the home run"...It's why he picked Shabbaz and LaVine. Based on that...why does he seem to favor Okafor over Towns? Especially since Towns plays better D, shoots better from the FT line, can run and spread the floor better, has higher upside....Is Flip just creating drama or is he really torn between the two? Seems like everyone else on the planet has Towns as the consensus #1.
Chad Ford (1:04 PM)
First of all, from July-February, Okafor was the consensus No. 1 guy. So it's not like he can't play. I think Flip see's Okafor as a major post up presence on offense -- a major need of the Wolves. But you're right. Towns has more strengths than Okafor, fewer weaknesses (if any) and I think he's a better fit with Gourgi Dieng and Pekovic. No question Towns can play some four in the NBA and be a nightmare match-up. Let's see what happens when they come in to visit with the team. I don't think the Wolves will get to see them workout together, and both guys are impressive off the court. But we're still three weeks away. Lots of homework going on. I think the Wolves will eventually decide to take him 1, or perhaps swap with the Lakers and try to pick up another asset.
You saw Towns workout on Monday. How good is he?
Chad Ford (1:08 PM)
Crazy, crazy good. Great NBA body. Huge wingspan. Incredible shooting touch from NBA three and mid range. Moves well without the ball. And I really enjoyed spending the afternoon with him. Great personality. Highly intelligent. Humble. He's a hard worker. He's going to be a beast in the NBA. I'll see Okafor and Porzinigs workout in a few weeks, but based on everything I've seen, I think he's the best prospect in the draft. But that doesn't mean I don't think guys like Okafor, D'Angelo Russell, Porzingis or Emmanual Mudiay aren't worthy.
Kevin (Puerto Rico) [via mobile]
Would the Lakers pick Russell over Okafor?
Chad Ford (1:12 PM)
Perhaps. I think Towns is No. 1 on their board. After that, I think they're still figuring this out. Okafor, Russell and Mudiay are all fits. Porzingis is worthy of the pick. And while the Lakers have publicly said their keeping the pick, there's a growing feeling around the league that if they can land a young veteran for the pick, it's available. The Lakers aren't keen on rebuilding if they don't have to. But it would have to take an All-Star caliber young player to make the deal.
Briks (Philly) [via mobile]
If Russell goes at 2, do you think the Sixers might trade down with a team who wants Okafor? Would something like 3 for 7 and the Nuggets 2017 1st make sense?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
No. They have enough future picks. I think that Emmanuel Mudiay or Kristaps Porzingis would get the call if Russell and Towns are off the board. Mudiay fits an obvious need. Porzingis doesn't, necessarily, but I keep hearing that the Sixers are very high on him. And they should be.
Are the Knicks the biggest wildcard at the top of the draft? Feels - most likely - we see Towns, Okafor, Russell and then the Knicks could go Winslow, WCS or Mudiay. Or they could trade back. Or trade the pick.
Chad Ford (1:18 PM)
Well that about sums it up. As I wrote in my Mock Draft 6.0 on Tuesday, the Knicks are looking hard at both WCS and Winslow at 4. WCS has, especially, drawn support in the front office of late and might be the choice if Okafor, Towns and Russell are all off the board. And trade has and will likely be the first option if they can land a young All-Star caliber vet with the pick here. Phil Jackson won't rebuild if he doesn't have to.
Chad, saw the videos you posted on WCS & Towns. How impressive was WCS's shooting? If he can hit that shot in the NBA could he possibly end up being better than Towns even? Do you think that shot can translate to the NBA? If so Knicks should be all over him?
Chad Ford (1:21 PM)
No one is drafting Cauley-Stein because he can shoot. Yes, he showed off an impressive mid-range jumper in the workout. And for those that watched Kentucky practices this year or shoot arounds, they know that's nothing new. He even began hitting a few in games toward the end of the season. But offensively, he's still pretty raw. The appeal is that he might be the best defender to come into the draft in a very long time. Not only is he freakishly athletic for a player his size, he has a great feel for defense. He's very intelligent. And with Phil Jackson saying the team desperately needs defense, I do think he'd be a great fit in New York. Wouldn't shock me at all if he went 4.
Will Mudiay work out for teams?
Chad Ford (1:24 PM)
Yes. And he's even willing to work out against D'Angelo Russell (though I doubt that happens). And I think things will begin to change once he starts working out. It's been a year since NBA teams had a good look at him. The last time they did, almost all of them felt like he was one of the two best players in the draft. Unless he regressed terribly in China (and no one is saying that) he's going to be impressive in workouts. I've spoke to several people that have seen him in workouts (I've got him scheduled soon to see first hand) and all rave about him. It feels like he's sliding, but I think several good workouts can change all of that. I remain a strong believer in Mudiay.
I know you tweeted Russell's vertical - any other signs from that workout that he's a better athlete than folks may think?
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
I still don't think he's an explosive or elite athlete. Didn't see that in the workout. But he's not the bad athlete that some NBA scouts claim. The 30.5 inch standing vertical and the 39 inch max vertical are both excellent. And he has such a high IQ that I feel like he maximizes what athleticism he has much like Steph Curry and James Harden does. I'm not overly worried about it. He does everything else well. He has a ton of weapons in his arsenal.
Jason (Manhattan (NY))
Your mocks have been pretty consistent with Kristaps Porzingis to the Magic at 5. How concerned should Magic fans be that either the 76ers ignore their need for PG and take him, or that Orlando continues to take athlete's that can't shoot and go with Willie Cauley-Stein?
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
I continue to hear Porzingis there. He fits a need, is a great shooter and at 5, I think he's a steal. I know Rob Hennigan is a fan. I'd be a bit surprised on Cauley-Stein. They do need rim protection and he's a great fit. But I can't see putting him on the floor with Aaron Gordon and Oladipo. No one could score on them LOL. But I'm not sure they could score either. I actually think if Porzingis isn't there or they don't take him, Myles Turner would be the other guy that would make a lot of sense for them. Turner can really shoot it too.
Eddie [via mobile]
Everytime I watch videos of kristaps porzingis I come up with the same conclusion, how is this guy not the best player in the draft? What do you think about this?
Chad Ford (1:36 PM)
I see that too. Incredibly skilled. Great athlete. High basketball IQ. Great size for position. His only real weakness is his body. He needs to add A LOT of strength. But, his body will get better. They always do in the NBA. And when it does ...? He could end up being the best player in the draft. Personally, he's my second favorite player after Towns. Plenty of NBA folks agree and plenty feel like his thin frame and his lack of aggressiveness (he often gets hit with the "he's too nice" dig) will limit his upside. Not sure he goes before No. 5 to the Magic, but he probably should.
I know our front office is about as disorganized as possible, but have you heard any word on who the main targets are for the Kings at 6?
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
So tough to get a read there. So many voices. And so many voices that think they'll be the voice. At the end of the day, I think Vivek Ranadive decides and honestly, I don't know what he's thinking. I hear Willie Cauley-Stein's name there consistently and I think he's a very good fit. If Mudiay was there, he'd be another great fit. Cameron Payne is a dark horse I'm told. I could also see trades coming. Lots of teams are pursuing DeMarcus Cousins. Vivek has been adamant that he doesn't want to trade him. Let's see if they get an offer that blows them away. I think Vlade, himself, is open to the idea.
Ron (Sacramento) [via mobile]
Doesn't a trade involving Ty Lawson and/or Faried for the Kings pick etc make sense for both teams?Kings want immediate help Nuggets need to blow it up and go young
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
I think there'd be interest in both players for the Kings and George Karl, as you know, coached both of them. And I get the strong impression from Denver that both players are very available. But I doubt they trade both just for the 6th pick in the draft. They'll want, need more. Faried or Lawson for the 6th pick? Sure. But I doubt they'd do both for that. As far as the Nuggets drafting, I think either Hezonja or Winslow would be an obvious pick. If they got a second first rounder, I hear they like Cameron Payne and Tyus Jones. If they move Lawson, they'll want another point guard.
Pistons need a wing. Hezonja, Johnson, Oubre, Dekker...who do they trade, or do they trade back?
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
I think those are the guys. I'd add Devin Booker to that mix. He's in there. And if they're convinced they are losing Greg Monroe, a bit like Myles Turner or Trey Lyles could end up at 8. And as far as trades go, yes, they are very open. Stan Van Gundy wants the playoffs next year.
Can you rank the wings for me? They all seem to be bunched together
Chad Ford (1:47 PM)
They are. Every team has a little different. On our Big Board right now it goes: 1. Winslow 2. Hezonja 3. Johnson 4. Booker 5. Dekker 6. Oubre. However, a new Big Board is coming soon and I think Oubre will be moving up. Teams are talking themselves back into him because of his upside. As for my personal take? Right now it's either Hezonja or Winslow 1, but I lean Hezonja. Oubre is 3rd for me. And I'm actually a R.J. Hunter fan. I think he'd be 4th if I was drafting.
Charlie (Fairbanks, AK)
Any word on the Hornets?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
Shooting -- so Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre and maybe Stanley Johnson. Or a back-up point -- Cameron Payne is getting some love there.
I see you have the Pacers taking Payne now based on Bird's praise of him. I've seen Turner, Payne, Oubre, and Kaminsky all possible, any dark horses?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
Yes, we had the Pacers take Payne at 11 in Mock 6.0. I think he goes there or to the Thunder at 14. If he's gone, Turner and Kaminsky will both get strong looks there. Stanley Johnson too.
Charlie (Fairbanks, AK)
Is Cameron Payne a legitimate top 10 pick?
Chad Ford (1:51 PM)
There are probably 10 guys I like better just on pure talent, but I do think Payne is the third best point guard in the draft and someone may take him just based on need. I think his range is 7 to 14. He's quick, makes good decisions with the ball, is long and he can score. He's a good player, just not sold he's a star.
In your most recent mock draft you had Myles Turner to the Jazz. As a Jazz fan, I think that would be AMAZING! Do you really think he could be there at 12? A front court of Favors/Gobert/Turner could be fearsome in 2 years!
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
Yes. He could be there. I don't think he SHOULD be there. I think he's one of the top 10 talents in this draft, but may fall there just based on teams drafting for need. The Jazz should jump all over that if he's there. That front court would be awesome and Turner's ability to stretch the floor will be valuable. I also think a wing shooter -- someone like Devin Booker or Kelly Oubre would be a good -- though I don't think they love Oubre. Not sure he's a personality fit with the Jazz. I like R.J. Hunter here too, though it might be a little high for him. Trey Lyles and Bobby Portis are other options. Portis would be a fan favorite. Guy plays his butt off. Lyles brings a lot of what Carlos Boozer brings to the table. And I can't leave out Frank Kaminsky. He too can stretch the floor. In other words, lots of good options for the Jazz at 12.
Daniel A [via mobile]
Do the Heat have any pieces to trade up a spot or two if they feel that their guy will go a couple spots higher?
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
I think they're comfortable where they are at. I think it will be Stanley Johnson, Frank Kaminsky or maybe Sam Dekker there. Those are the three they seem to be locked in on.
Dan (phx) [via mobile]
What direction do the Suns go? A big or shooting at wing?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
Could use both. Depends on who slides. Kaminsky, Turner, Bobby Portis are all good options up front. Booker, Oubre, Stanley Johnson could all be good options at the wing.
I know you were saying that the Thunder had their eye on Payne, then had Oubre as the next man up due to news that Payne was moving up on draft boards. Are there any other wing prospects that you've heard rumblings about for the Thunder at 14?
Chad Ford (1:57 PM)
Devin Booker. R.J. Hunter. Rashad Vaughn. All good options at the wing if Oubre and Payne are gone. Jerian Grant as a combo guard would work too. And don't count out Delon Wright. They like him a lot too.
Whats the extent of Cliff Alexander injury?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
Mild sprain of his MCL. He hurt it in the Lakers workout yesterday. He should only miss 3 to 5 days. Luckily it wasn't serious. Guy's been through a lot.
Chad Ford (1:59 PM)
Gotta run everyone. We'll do this again next week. Look for a profile on D'Angelo Russell later this week along with a Ford-Pelton debating the top wings. New Big Board coming next week along with more workout reports.