Chat with John Hollinger
Send your questions now and join John in The Show Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.
John Hollinger (3:04 PM)
What's up everyone? Lots of great finishes these past couple days -- Kobe hitting clutch 3s on consecutive nights, Joakim Noah making a huge block on Bosh, and the Warriors and Kings both failing to foul when up by 3 in the final seconds. Good stuff ... let's talk about it.
dunleavy, los angeles, ca
John, am I ever going to have a healthy team this season?
John Hollinger (3:05 PM)
I don't think it really matters at this point -- the season is way too far gone. Though it would be nice to get Baron, Randolph and Kaman back so they have an idea of what they have for next year.
Ryan in Chicago
The Bulls once again look like a team that is between a 7 to 12 seed in the East. They have to make a trade to clear up the back court log jam right? If they do, are they better off just trying to clear space or will they actually try to get better?
John Hollinger (3:07 PM)
here's the basic problem for the Bulls: When you have a couple of great players and a couple of bad ones, it's easy to get better -- you just replace the bad ones with somebody decent. But when everybody is halfway decent and nobody is a star, then what do you do? Everyone on Chi is serviceable, but who on that team is enough of a chip to bring back a genuine upgrade at another position?
Nils (Bloomsburg, PA)
Alright, Mr. John "Stats" Hollinger, how unprecedented is Bargnani's sudden productive output?
John Hollinger (3:09 PM)
It's happened before, when young guys suddenly have a light bulb go on -- in fact, Randy Foye is in the midst of a similar enlightenment right now. What's so amazing about Bargnani is that there wasn't an injury or anything -- it was just all of a sudden in the middle of his third year he figured out how to play. He was just killin' the Bulls last night, they matched up both big and small on him and never had an answer.
GP, San Antonio
How good are my Spurs really? They barely beat the Lakers at home with only one healthy guard (Fisher got hurt before halftime). The Lakers should have not been in the game.
Would you say Spurs have a legit shot at winning the West after last nights game?! After the horrible start they are one of the hottest teams in the league.
John Hollinger (3:11 PM)
Wow, talk about differing perspectives. I tend to agree more with the glass-half-empty view right now. San Anto played a very easy early schedule that is about to get extremely difficult, and L.A. was a weary, injured team. Other than their past history, there is no reason to put the Spurs ahead of any of the other clubs choking on L.A.'s dust right now, let alone on a par with the Lakers. If they make a trade for another quality big, then we'll talk.
With me and Il Mago's recent emergence, and with Gay and Aldridge seeming to have leveled off, has that changed your opinion on who will ultimately be the best of the bunch. I realize Roy is leagues ahead of everyone, but rank those 4 in terms of what you expect in the future.
John Hollinger (3:13 PM)
Sorry, Bargnani has to do this for more than two weeks before we can start comparing him to Gay, Aldridge and especially Roy. It's very, very, VERY encouraging and probably means Jermaine is a goner, but let's not start casting his Hall of Fame plaque just yet.
Where do you see the Nuggets finishing the season? Any hope of getting out of the first round for the first time since 93?
John Hollinger (3:15 PM)
Denver has a great shot at both escaping the first round and at winning the division. Matchups will be key obviously -- with their luck they'll get San Antonio again -- but that's why finishing in the top four is so important for them. Playoff Odds have consistently had them in the 2-3 slot, so if they can survive this little stretch without Melo I think they can pull it off.
Re: casting Bargnani's HOF plauque, why not. Jim Rice is about to get one.
John Hollinger (3:16 PM)
Touche. Isn't it amazing that as great an impact as the stat revolution has had on baseball, it's had absolutely zero impact on voting for the game's highest honor?
To Answer your Bulls question: They have to bite the bullet and move LUOL DENG. I love his game, but aside from Rose -- Deng is their top asset. They should consider moving him for a young scoring and rebounding PF or C. I have to wonder if Riley would trade Beasley for Deng, in combination with him moving Marion to another team. Imagine if the Bulls had drafted LaMarcus Aldridge instead?! They'd be the #5 seed right now. He is exactly what they need.
John Hollinger (3:17 PM)
Deng would be much more movable if they hadn't overpaid him in the summer. But do you want to commit to paying $13 mil in 2014 (my estimate from memory, don't have the book in front of me), for a guy who isn't an All-Star?
Why are the Bucks trading Sessions, and why are they giving up on Alexander? I know he missed the game-winner last night, but the "kid" had a good outing. Thoughts?
John Hollinger (3:19 PM)
I think it's more that they like Conley ... at least I hope that's what it is. He would probably be a lot better in a system like Milwaukee's, where the PG is a traditional penetrate-and-kick guy, than in Memphis where he has to spot up in the corner half the time.
Re: "It's very, very, VERY encouraging and probably means Jermaine is a goner" What's the best case scenario for trading him? Just getting cap space or something tangible.
John Hollinger (3:21 PM)
Something tangible is probably more doable than cap space, I can't see somebody giving up $20 mil worth of expirings for Jermaine. And since the Raps entered this year with a goal of making the second round, and since keeping Bosh in 2010 is still looming in the back of everyone's minds, and since Toronto isn't an A-list free-agent destination anyway, there's three more reasons why trading him for tangible assets (i.e., wing players with a pulse) is a far more palatable option.
John, Charlottesville VA
You must admit, Roger Mason Jr. was a great pick up for 7M dollar over 2 years. Who knew this guy was such a great shooter.
John Hollinger (3:23 PM)
You mean Roger Mason the Wahoo from UVA? The one whose stepfather is all-time great Redskin blocking back Otis Wonsley? You won't see me disagreeing. Now go into Stein's next chat and remind him that Mason is better than Bobby Brown.
Jonny (San Diego, CA)
Bottom line, is Danny Granger going to be an all star this year when its all said and done?
John Hollinger (3:23 PM)
Yes, he'll make it. Even with their win-loss record, he's been too good not to be there.
Jay (San Francisco)
What are the odds the Warriors lose to the Kings in 3OT because Maggette goes 4-12 from the line?
John Hollinger (3:24 PM)
Better yet, what are the odds that one team fails to foul when up by 3 in the final seconds in the first overtime, then the other team does the exact same thing in the second overtime? It was like the sports version of Dumb and Dumber.
Doesn't Oneal for Deng and Hinrich make sense. It gives the bulls cap space/expiring contract, plus a low post presence.
John Hollinger (3:25 PM)
I could see how Toronto might like that, but O'Neal doesn't expire until 2010 and the talent equation tilts pretty heavily toward the Raps.
What do you think of the Cavs making a move for Gerald Wallace? Significant addition for them?
John Hollinger (3:26 PM)
Last I checked the Cavs were pretty set at small forward. Besides, what Cleveland needs are spacers, not slashers -- having all the shooting around LeBron is what's propelled them forward this year.
chris (brooklyn, ny)
Would you trade David Lee if you were Donnie Walsh?
John Hollinger (3:28 PM)
If the Knicks intend to follow through on their stated ambition to get two max-level free agents in 2010, then they have no choice. Even if they can move Curry (which I wouldn't attempt without a forklift), the cap math won't work if they're paying Lee market value.
What are your thoughts on Nick Young? Sure, the Wizards are horrible, but he's been putting up some nice numbers recently.
John Hollinger (3:30 PM)
He's been going bananas scoring, but he's still totally one-dimensional -- in his last four games he has 103 points and five assists. Dude needs to round out his game a little, otherwise he's just a less efficient, jump-shooting version of Corey Maggette.
Gerardo (Tempe, AZ)
"which I wouldn't attempt without a forklift". John, you made pizza and soda come out of my nose!
John Hollinger (3:30 PM)
What was it doing in there in the first place?
Becky (LA )
What are your thoughts on Mardy Collins? Sure, the Clippers are horrible, but he's been putting up some nice numbers recently.
John Hollinger (3:33 PM)
I've always thought he was an absolutely atrocious offensive player, but he seems to have found his footing these past couple weeks. He's not a great shooter and he's a horrific finisher around the basket, but he's big, he defends and he can handle the ball a little, and as you say he's played well lately. Big picture I can't imagine him being more than a combo guard off the bench, but that's a big step up from what I thought his ceiling was a month ago.
When are you going to be on Simmons' podcast? He dissed your rankings in a column a few weeks back because they didn't have the C's No. 1. Drop the gauntlet!
John Hollinger (3:35 PM)
Ha ... the karma gods already smote him with a Celtic skid that began within hours of his writing that. Actually he was saying what every other Celtic fan was emailing me at the time, because the 27-2 of Boston looked superficially so much more impressive than the 26-4 of Cleveland. In hindsight, we know the difference in records was inconsequential, but one of the hardest things to explain to people is why Team X is playing better than Team Y even though Team Y has a better record.
Hey John! Is there a trade out there that you think would work for the Blazers to mix up the west this year in the playoffs???
John Hollinger (3:36 PM)
I think the lure of adding a point guard just went up several notches with Blake's injury last night. But it can't just be a middling Raymond Felton type, it has to be somebody who really takes them up another level for it to be appealing for Portland.
How about Deng + Noc for JO? The Raps get two pretty bad salary (the latter of which is horrible) but win on talent. The Bulls get a low post presence and a much friendlier contract. Plus, JO might help Noah, Thomas, etc. like he helped Bargnani.
John Hollinger (3:39 PM)
It's plausible. There's been a lot of hot air circulating about Nocioni to Toronto scenarios, but the contracts are hard to work unless it's in the context of a JO deal, which makes it a pretty monstrous trade once you start balancing the cap for everyone, and I'm not sure there's anything of that scope which satisfies both sides.
Steve - Houston
Hey John, I really enjoyed your daily dime about the Rockets the other day. I thought they played a great game against the Lakers. My question is do you think the Rockets need to make a trade or should they count on Artest and T-Mac getting healthy? I think, if healthy, they can make a serious run at beating the Lakers. They might be the only team that could match with them in the West. Your thoughts?
John Hollinger (3:41 PM)
Here's what you have to remember: What trade is out there for them that can put them on the Lakers' level? Rockets' best asset is Tracy's 2010 expiring, but the only way they really scare anyone is if a healthy Tracy and Ron are out there with a healthy Yao. So they're probably better off waiting it out and seeing where they land this year, and then if they want to make a deal dangle Tracy's massive expiring contract over the summer.
Brian (Orlando, FL)
Do the Magic have a legitimate title run in them relying so much on the 3-point shot? They can't really expect to consistently go 60% in the playoffs, right?
John Hollinger (3:43 PM)
Announcers are fond of saying you can't count on the 3, which is somewhat true -- we should expect a team like Orlando to have larger offensive performance swings from game to game given that they use a high-risk, high-reward shot more often. But remember, all you have to do is win four times out of seven -- so if they have two games where they shoot 6-for-27 out there, it's not the end of the world. If there was a rule that you had to win four out of four, then they might in trouble ...
Despite the power rankings and playoff odds, do you think the Nets hold onto a playoff spot?
John Hollinger (3:45 PM)
I really don't. Schedule has been highly favorable to Jersey and they've won an unusual number of close games, just as it was in the first half of last season when they were in virtually the same position.
Do you feel vindicated now that the Cavs destroyed the Celtics and justified your power ranking? Good job.
John Hollinger (3:47 PM)
It's nice, but we have to keep in mind the randomness of one-game results. It"s not like I had Cleveland being 18 points better (or whatever the final margin was), and besides, if the Celtics had won I still would have had Cleveland ahead of them based on the full body of work for the season.
Given the number of rookies(10) with PER >15 who are playing >20 minutes per game is it safe to say this is the best rookie crop top to bottom in several years
John Hollinger (3:48 PM)
Yes. I can't ever remember a rookie crop anywhere NEAR this deep. I'm not sure there's a LeBron or CP in the bunch, but in terms of top to bottom quality this has been an unbelievable group.
how long is it going to take michael curry to realize moving AI to the bench would benefit everyone on the pistons, including AI himself?
John Hollinger (3:50 PM)
I think Hamilton is the one who needs to go on the bench. It's much easier for AI to cross-match on D with Stuckey, and they can alternate initiating offense since neither is really a true point. By the way, if we're going to kill Golden State for extending Stephen Jackson, why aren't more people talking about that three-year, $34 mil extension Detroit gave Rip?
Joel (Philly via Youngstown)
Why is Wade getting any MVP consideration playing for a .500 team? Isn't this why Lebron never had a chance last season despite his far superior numbers to Kobe?
John Hollinger (3:51 PM)
Pretty much. Wade has arguably been the second-best player in the league to this point, but if a ballot were held today I'm not sure he'd finish in the top five.
I just dont think the undersized duo of Josh Smith and Al Horford is viable in the long run. Shouldn't the Hawks explore moving Smoove for a more legit big man (preferably with low-post offense)? What's your opinion on this one?
John Hollinger (3:52 PM)
Actually, it looks all kinds of viable to me. Hawks biggest problem is the lack of depth behind them -- as witnessed by their recent slump with Horford on the shelf.
Brian (Orlando, FL)
To follow-up on my previous question, do you SEE Orlando as a significant title contender? What team would give them the most trouble in the playoffs?
John Hollinger (3:55 PM)
Yes, absolutely. I don't how anyone could not take them seriously after how they've played in the first half. The biggest obstacles that I see are health -- they've been amazingly fortunate that their four best players haven't missed any time for 120 games now -- and the ability to defend the perimeter one-on-one. Oh, and the fact that LeBron James doesn't play for them.
Magic vs. Lakers Friday night... Who ya got?
John Hollinger (3:56 PM)
Gotta go with the odds and take the Lakers in that one, simply because it's in their building. But I'm very interested to see how Courney Lee does against Kobe.
Steve - Houston
Can the Rockets beat the Lakers if all their players are healthy? I believe they can.
John Hollinger (3:57 PM)
Let me put it this way -- we don't know for certain that they *can't*. And until we see that group together, it's premature for Houston to reach for the dynamite.
Why is PER Diem so hard to find on the page?
John Hollinger (3:57 PM)
It is virtually always in the scrolling thingy right below the lead story, if that helps.
Hi Johnny! LOVE your chats!! should sefolisha get a trade for more regular playing time??
John Hollinger (3:59 PM)
A message from the motherland! Outstanding! I think Thabo could definitely use a change of scenery, the Bulls' system just doesn't seem to be designed for a defender/slasher like him. Now go into Marc Stein's next chat and remind him that Switzerland has a player in the NBA and Israel doesn't.
Byron (new orleans)
What am I doing with my rotation? Why haven't I given guys like Peterson and Wright a chance when my current bench is horribly inconsistent? Also, what kind of move do we need to make to become legit title contenders?
John Hollinger (4:00 PM)
Peterson had his chances and, frankly, didn't do much with them. As for Wright, I think he needs a change of scenery -- Hornets are set up to surround CP with floor spacers, and Wright can't shoot. But he can do a lot of other things, and he's the asset the Hornets would dangle to get the frontcourt depth they so obviously need.
Would Portland still considering trading with Memphis after the Miles deal?
John Hollinger (4:01 PM)
You only have a finite number of trading partners in this league, so grudges tend to disappear remarkably quickly.
Brian (Fort Worth, TX)
Mavs stink. But, Is Dirk having a great season on a bad team or is their more to his scoring numbers than I see? Also, trade Kidd or keep him around and try and sign him next year?
John Hollinger (4:04 PM)
Dirk isn't an MVP-caliber player anymore but he's still having a fantastic season -- a second-team All-NBA caliber-season, let's say. As the Mavs careen toward the No. 9 spot I think the idea of trading Kidd has to be looked at more seriously; I just wonder if the Mavs can look in the mirror and say they screwed up with the Harris deal and it's time to pick up the pieces.
Jason (Asheville NC)
You are going to look like a genius when Charlotte nabs the 8th seed.
John Hollinger (4:04 PM)
And you are going to look like a crack addict when I post this comment.
John Hollinger (4:05 PM)
Yes, the Cats have played better since the trade and Larry's start-slow finish-fast pattern has to be reckoned with, but I believe there's too much ground to make up, too many teams to pass, and not enough bench support for the Bobs to make my preseason pick come true.
Is it too early for the Clippers to retire Marcus Camby's jersey? I don't know if his outstanding play and hustle are the result of professionalism or just a desire to increase his trade value so that the Clippers have no choice but to take a good offer, but he is the only reason I haven't burned the remaining season tickets.
John Hollinger (4:07 PM)
A fitting note to end on. Camby has played like an All-Star and it's to his credit that he's competed so gamely in such a hopeless situation. If only everybody could handle unpleasant situations with such class.