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 (1:03 PM)
Aloha everyone. Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll talk playoff races, Future Power Rankings & NBA Draft/NCAA Tourney! Let's roll ...
The Knicks seem to be either world beaters or stink to high heaven. Which is it and what's going on?
Chad Ford (1:06 PM)
It's tough to mesh two new players into a system overnight. That's why coaches typically don't like mid-season trades -- especially when adding two players of the magnitude of Carmelo and Chauncey. I also think Knicks fans are getting a bit of a sneak peek into why some of us were a bit skeptical about Melo. Great individual player, but struggles a bit more in the team concept.
Future Power Rankings: the Knicks seem a bit high. Yes they do have 2 really good players on offense but they're soaking up a massive part of the cap not to mention Amare's contract isn't insured. Also ownership is a mess and they unloaded draft picks. What gives?
Chad Ford (1:09 PM)
Despite what I just wrote, John Hollinger and I are still high on the Knicks future for a couple of reasons. One, they've brought the sizzle back to the NY market, which should make it a premier free agent recruiting destination. Second, in the summer of 2012 they'll have more money to play with. I don't think they have the cash to land a max player like Chris Paul. But they should be able to add some significant fire power to the team. Right now they look like a 47 to 50 win team. But in 2012, they could take another big step.
Chris (Los Angeles)
The Bulls are downright scary. They're already on top of the East with a 22 year old superstar. A suffocating defense that was just put in place this season. A rookie head coach and a season full of injuries. If they ever get solid starting 2 guard, this team should be the favorites for the next decade.
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
That essential explains why we put them No. 1 on the Future Power Rankings. The Thunder are a close second ... but we feel like the Bulls are legit contenders right now for a Championship, still have room for their young players to get better and should have the flexibility to add a two guard to the roster down the road via trade, free agency that makes them one of the most complete teams in the league. It's very hard not to be high on the Bulls' future right now. If they stay healthy, they could have a long, long run in them.
What moves do you see the HEAT making to fill out that roster and give them beyond the 4 NBA players they currently employ?
Chad Ford (1:13 PM)
It's going to be a challenge. They can always snag aging veterans who are willing to play for the veteran minimum to get a shot at winning a championship. If the mid-level exception stays around (it's one of the things owners are asking to be eliminated in the new CBA) the Heat will likely have first dibs on players willing to play for that. And they may ultimately have to trade Chris Bosh and try to replace him with two or three players that give them more depth. I could see the Heat exploring that this summer if they stumble in the playoffs.
Hollinger had an onslaught of Rose for MVP questions yesterday. But Dwight has had a better season. His offense is more diverse than in the past. His defense is still stifling. He kept the defense solid while SVG incorporated 4 new players (well, 3 if you exclude Turk).
Chad Ford (1:16 PM)
Howard is having a great year too and deserves to be in the MVP conversation. I think the difference is the play of their teams on the court. The Bulls have been better and they've been better despite significant injuries during the year to the second and third best players. I think Rose is going to walk away with the award, especially if the Bulls hang onto the No. 1 seed in the East.
Why don't the HEAT have a better future than the Bulls? When James, Wade, and Bosh start clicking more and they add a couple more complimentary pieces wouldn't they probably be the best team?
Chad Ford (1:19 PM)
Heat do have a better starting 3, but the Bulls three of Rose, Noah and Boozer isn't too shabby. Bulls have a stronger supporting cast. We think the Bulls have a better head coach. Think they're equally strong in markets and the Bulls have a little more flexibility both financially and going forward in the draft.
Willie Cedillo (San Antonio)
You have to be a Spurs fan, I see it in you Chad! How far do you see them going?
Chad Ford (1:21 PM)
They're right there with the Lakers in the West. I think they'll be battling for the Western Conference crown and if they move on, they have a great chance to win it all.
Dave (Gastonia, NC)
Is there anything worth saying about the Bobcats?
Chad Ford (1:23 PM)
Once again they ended up dead last in our Future Power Rankings, though they closed the gap a bit (thanks to dumping Gerald Wallace's) contract with the 29th place team -- the Cavs.
With the Nuggets sporting an 8-2 record since the trade, while the Knicks are 6-6, is it too early to say that the Nuggets are better since trading Melo? Do the Nuggets have a shot to make noise in the playoffs?
Chad Ford (1:25 PM)
The theory of addition by subtraction seems to be at play here. Melo and Chauncey are better players than the ones the Nuggets got back. But Melo wanted out, Chauncey was distracted from all of the trade talk -- the chemistry just wasn't there. Now you have a bunch of young players out there that want to prove themselves, a veteran coach and you're seeing some guys step up. I don't think they're a serious threat in the West, but I think the move is looking better and better every day.
Future Power Rankings: How can you put the aging Celtics ahead of the young and extremely talented Clippers ? Obviously organization wise, there is a huge gap, but based on young talent, it seems the Clips would be higher.
Chad Ford (1:28 PM)
The numbers should spell it out. We ranked the Clippers roster as the sixth best going forward (Celtics were 12th). So if the rankings were based just on talent, the Clippers win. The Clippers also have more money to spend in free agency and they'll have better draft picks (despite sending their No. 1 this year to Cleveland). But the Celtics make up in a big way because of ownership/GM/coach and also in market. If the Clippers had a real owner instead of a punchline, they'd probably be ranked No. 4 in our FPR instead of No. 8.
Is there anything to the Nets' recent stretch of wins? Do they actually have a solid future with Deron?
Chad Ford (1:31 PM)
A great point guard makes everyone better and you're seeing some of that in NJ. But they're going to need more talent this summer to convince him to stay. I'm not sure they'll get him, but I could see them making a big run at a guy like David West in free agency. We have them 12th in our Future Power Rankings, but we lowered their Players score and management score because we're unsure about Williams' future. If he re-signs, their number would go up pretty dramatically.
How do you feel about the BLazers future? Not long ago we were the Bulls.
Chad Ford (1:34 PM)
Yes, you were. If Brandon Roy and Greg Oden weren't struggling with long-term injury issues you'd still be. Remarkably, the Blazers have had staying power. LaMarcus Aldridge has stepped up. Wes Matthews has played well. Gerald Wallace was a solid addition. Nate McMillan continues to impress as a head coach. We both think Rich Cho has a bright future as a GM. If Roy can prove he can stay healthy in the long term (he's been playing well lately) and Oden can ever come back (that's a MUCH bigger if) they'll bounce back up. Their No. 10 right now, which isn't too shabby.
Saw Indiana at number 7 on the future rankings. I love the 4 young guys George, Collison, Hansbrough, and Hibbert, but I still see Hansbrough becoming a Carl Landry type best served as a 6th man. With that in mind, what are the chances the Pacers draft a power forward and how likely is Danny Granger to be dealt this summer?
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
I think Hollinger and I were both a bit surprised they ended up so high -- 7th for a .400 team is a bit unusual. But it speaks to a couple of things. The Pacers have managed their cap better than just about anyone (thus their No. 1 rank in the money category). They have no bad contracts on the books. Second, they've drafted well relative to where they've been picking in the draft. It's not easy to find good young starters in the late lottery and mid first round. But last night they started Danny Granger (17th pick), Roy Hibbert (17th pick), Darren Collison (21st pick), Tyler Hansbrough (13th pick) and Paul George (10th pick). All of those players are good, most better than what you typically get at that position. Hansbrough is breaking out right now (25 ppg in last 5) and long-term we think George could be a star. If they can add the right pieces via free agency and trade, we think their future is very bright.
In the Simmons podcast, you compared Kenneth Faried to Dennis Rodman and stated that Faried could sneak into the lottery. (I agree with this assessment). As a GM, if you knew that Faried would be the next Dennis Rodman (i.e. a perenniel rebounding leader), would you pick him No. 1 overall considering that this class is not top heavy? I think an argument could be made that it wouldn't be a bad pick.
Chad Ford (1:44 PM)
He's not going No. 1 overall. Rightly or wrongly, NBA GMs won't take a guy No. 1 just based on defensive ability (this isn't the NFL). In the high lottery, they really want guys who can excel at both ends. But I'm a huge Faried fan. Have been for the last two years. His rebounding numbers are extraordinary. But it's his motor, length and athleticism combined with his rebounding ability that make him special. I'm not sure he'll be a good offensive player in the NBA, but he can help a lot of teams. I'd take him in the lottery, most NBA GMs have him in the mid to late first.
Hey Chad, I heard you and Bill Simmons talk about how much you love Kemba, but I didn't catch a prediction as to where in the draft he'll fall. You mentioned Charlotte as a possible destination, but what's Walker's potential range?
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
Tough one. Lots of pros and cons with Kemba. He's so tough and has a huge heart and he has NBA level quickness. He's undersized, not a pure point guard and still needs to keep improving his jumper. I'd say he goes somewhere between 7-13.
Drew (Wichita, KS)
With 2-3 solid tournament games, do you see Brandon Knight as a lottery pick? It seems like he would lean towards leaving anyway since its a weak draft, and arguably the best HS PG is coming to UK next season...
Chad Ford (1:48 PM)
Knight has had an interesting journey. Scouts were high on him coming out of high school, cooled off a bit early when he struggled to really run the team. Lately he's been better and in the past week I've heard scouts refer to him as a potential lottery pick again. He's a tweener, but his size, shooting ability and defense have scouts convinced he could probably play both positions at the next level. Probably goes somewhere between 10 and 20.
Could this be the first time in NBA history where a hurt player gets picked #1 overall (Kyle Irving)?
Chad Ford (1:49 PM)
Considering Coach K is actually thinking of playing Irving on Friday, that may no longer be the case. His toe injury isn't the type of thing that will scare off NBA teams. There are no long-term ramifications with it I'm told. If a team like the Cavs, Kings, Wolves or Raptors get the top pick, I think Irving will be the guy going No. 1.
Do you see Kawhi Leonard being a solid pro?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
Yes. He has a little Shawn Marion in him. Great athlete. Good rebounder. Huge hands. Can play some on the perimeter. Intangibles are there. He's a lottery pick.
Is Perry Jones a better or worse prospect than Paul George from last year?
Chad Ford (1:51 PM)
He's rated higher because of his size. But George fit more neatly into a real position at the next level. Not sure where Jones fits yet or whether he wants it bad enough.
Where do you see Enes Kanter going in the draft? top 5?
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
Top 6. He'll battle Sullinger as the best big man in the draft. You can expect those guys to go head-to-head a lot in workouts.
Of the Jayhawks pro prospects, who do you think leaves after this year and who stays. I think probably just the Morris twins go this year.
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
Morris twins are the most likely to bolt -- especially Marcus. But it's not out of the question that Josh Selby, Tyshawn Taylor and even Thomas Robinson go as well. I think it would be a huge mistake for Selby and Taylor. Another year at KU could help their stock. Robinson on the other hand is above both Marcus and Markieff on our Big Board. He's clearly not as polished, but his physical tools make him a better pro prospect.
Will the Jazz have Jimmer fever come draft day? It just seems like a match made in heaven if he winds up falling to them at 13 or 14.
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
Not sure Jimmer falls that far, but if he does, I think there's a good chance the Jazz would take him there depending on what they do with that first pick they're getting from the Nets. I know the Jazz believe he's a legit NBA player. Not every team does, but he'd gotten a lot of fans this year.
Hypothetically, Harrison Barnes leads UNC deep in the tourny (Elite 8 or perhaps even Final 4) and plays well while doing it. Do you think he has a chance to go number 1 overall? Really love watching him play the second half of the season and definitely see the Paul Pierce comparison.
Chad Ford (1:57 PM)
It's possible. Most scouts still love him and never really got off the bandwagon. There are questions about his athleticism and ability to take it to the basket, but Pierce is a solid comp for his ceiling. Luol Deng is another one I've heard lately.
Ciaran (Gloucester, UK)
Let's talk draft! To what extent is Alec Burks only in your Top 25 because he is the ONLY SG prospect? Also, what do you see the Bulls doing with their two late first-rounders?
Chad Ford (1:59 PM)
He's a great athlete. His lack of a consistent jumper is the thing holding him back. Bulls need a 2 guard but I think they need someone who could stretch the floor. That's not Burks' strength.
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
Gotta run everyone. Make sure you check out our Future Power Rankings today. Also, later today we'll have more draft prospect reports for the NCAA tournament. Have a great week!