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. Same drill as always. I'll take NBA questions in the first half of the chat and then move on to NBA Draft questions in the second half. Let's roll ...
Deven (New York, NY)
How many games will it take for the Lakers to finally mesh together?
Chad Ford (1:03 PM)
Apparently a lot. They don't even look close to a coherent team right now. Adding Nash back into the mix will obviously help ... but that's also an adjustment for everyone else on the floor. I've said this a few times, but I for one, just glossed over some now obvious problems with this team in the pre-season. No athleticism. Kobe getting older and less efficient. Defensive problems everywhere on the floor but at the center position. Can't blame D'Antoni for this. Not sure Phil Jackson would be doing any better.
Deven (New York, NY)
Heard a couple of rumors that Rudy Gay could be on the block? Any chance the Grizzlies trade him?
Chad Ford (1:04 PM)
It was explored this summer ... but now that the Grizzlies are playing the best basketball of any team in the NBA? I don't see it. This team has a legitimate chance to win a NBA title this year. You don't mess with that.
Jay (Tacoma, WA)
Which team do you think is playing most "over their heads" right now? (i.e. which team that is playing well do you expect to struggle as the season goes on)
Chad Ford (1:07 PM)
Charlotte. They are 7-9. Don't expect them to hover around .500 all year. They are playing much harder, but they've had an easy schedule and the talent just isn't there to sustain it. Can't really see Orlando keeping up this clip either.
Al B ((T.O.))
Which team do think is likely to improve their record the most from here on?
Chad Ford (1:09 PM)
The Wizards should be better once John Wall returns. T-Wolves too once they get Ricky Rubio back. Gotta believe the Lakers and Nuggets will both start performing better too. Both have problems, but they have much more talent than their record indicates.
Reece (Huntington, WV)
What team do you envision making the first "big" trade this season?
Chad Ford (1:12 PM)
Everyone is looking at the Jazz right now. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson could really help a veteran team. They are in the last year of their contracts. The Jazz want to clear more time for Derrick Favors. They have all the pieces to make a big deal with someone. Clearly the Lakers are looking in the mirror right now and trying to upgrade their athleticism/defense.
Fito (Milwaukee, WI)
Larry Sanders has played great early on for the Milwaukee Bucks. What do you think his ceiling is?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
He's a monster shot blocker and has been a terrific rebounder this year. That 10 points, 12 rebound, 10 block game against Minnesota was a sight to behold. He's clearly still very raw on offense and still needs to continue to add strength.
Jacque Vaughn! Who knew...
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
One of my five favorite Kansas players of all time. Everywhere he went in the NBA, head coaches loved him. He never had the physical abilities to be a dominant NBA player, but he was always a hard worker and a leader. To me he has the chance to be a very special coach for a long time and he's proving it in Orlando right now. I've not been a fan of most of the moves the Magic have made the past year -- but they got the Jacque Vaughn hire right.
How good can Drummond be? Hes played very well this season in limited minutes.
Chad Ford (1:20 PM)
He could be awesome. An All-Star. He has physical tools that very few NBA players have. For his size, he moves as well laterally as any big I've ever seen. The question, coming into the draft, was about his motor, his passion for the game and his poor production as a freshman at UConn. He's exceeded everyone's expectations in his rookie year. If he keeps up this learning curve, the Pistons will have one of the best front courts in the NBA in a couple of years
Mike (San Antonio)
Do you think Cleveland will trade Varejao while his value is high. Would a Spurs trade involving Leonard, Blair and Bonner be a good deal for both teams?
Chad Ford (1:23 PM)
They're open to it. But it would have to be a very good deal. Varejao is playing as well as any big man in the NBA. There is no reason to trade him unless they are getting back multiple young assets in return. He has a cap friendly contract (based on his performance this year) ... Kawhi Leonard would obviously be attractive to them, but it's going to take more than that to get an All-Star center like Varejao.
Are the Pacers turning it around now? Who is the real Paul George?
Chad Ford (1:27 PM)
Not quite ready to say they are turning it around, but David West has been awesome. They have one of the best defenses in the league. They are awesome on the boards. And when Paul George plays well, he looks like a future All-Star. He's still very inconsistent, but his future looks really bright. The Pacers just need to get a lot better on offense. Roy Hibbert is having a down year, the lack three point shooting and their bench has been pretty bad. When Danny Granger comes back I think they'll still lead the pack in their division, but they were hoping for much more than that.
Adam Hausen (Chicago)
Carmelo Anthony has to be the clear cut favorite for MVP right now am I wrong?
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
He's having a very good season, but he's not in my Top 3 right now. LeBron, Durant and Duncan are all having better years. After those three he's in the mix with CP3 and Kobe.
Is Eric Bledsoe destined to play 10-20 minutes a game all year? Any chance he gets traded, or are the Clippers going to hold onto him as Paul insurance?
Chad Ford (1:30 PM)
Clippers can't trade him until they know CP3 is going to stay with them for the long haul. There is a lot of interest in Bledsoe. But Clippers hands are tied.
If the Lakers lose in the first round of playoffs, do you think Dwight leaves--and if so, would Dallas or Atlanta be his top choice?
Chad Ford (1:32 PM)
So hard to predict what Dwight Howard is going to do. He seemingly changed his mind every week last season. LA is just a great market for him. He's going to get healthier. The keys to this team will be his soon. He still would prefer Brooklyn. He's made that clear. But right now there is now clear path for him to get there. Dallas and Atlanta are both options, but not sure either team can offer him all of the non salary benefits the Lakers can.
The Pelicans...? This has to be a smokescreen, right?
Chad Ford (1:34 PM)
Sure hope so. Might replace the Bobcats as the worst team name in the NBA.
Best PG in this year's draft?
Chad Ford (1:37 PM)
Tough call. Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Arkansas's B.J. Young and Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams are all making a strong case. None of the three are pure point guards -- they're all hybrid combo guards. But in the NBA, that doesn't seem to be a big deal these days. Best pure point guard prospect. Texas' Myck Kabongo has his fans. So does Michigan's Trey Burke. Also, some scouts see Lehigh's C.J. McCollum as a point guard. He's also having a terrific year.
Is CJ McCollum another Damian Lillard?
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
Could be. I think he's more of a two than Lillard was. But scouts are really warming up to him. He's in the teens right now on our Big Board, but could rise by the end of the season. With so few pure point guards out there ... teams are looking for guys who could theoretically play the position. I, for one, am a pretty big fan.
Whats the ceiling for Isaiah Austin?
Chad Ford (1:40 PM)
Struggling with that one right now. Have watched Baylor play 3 or 4 times. I'm not overly impressed yet. Just not sure what he does well at the next level. He can get that shot off against anyone ... so maybe he's a huge three or a stretch four.
Thoughts on Archie Goodwin? Who is his NBA comparison?
Chad Ford (1:41 PM)
Calapri has been comparing him to a young Russell Westbrook. I think it's a pretty strong comparison. Great athlete, size for position. More of a combo guard than a pure point. Incredible finisher around the basket. Jump shot is shaky. So is his shot selection.
Mike Jensen (Utah)
Your favorite big out of Len? Gobert? Austin? and why?
Chad Ford (1:42 PM)
Alex Len. He has NBA center written all over him. 7-1. Skilled offensive player both inside and outside. Good defender. He could fail ... lots of dominant college big men do. But I think he has the chance to be a very good starting NBA center. I still believe he has an outside shot at being the No. 1 pick if he dominants in conference play.
Tom (Akron, OH)
How good is Otto Porter at Georgetown?
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
Really, really good. So versatile. Plays hard. Can play anywhere. Does all the little things you want in a player. Has improved his jump shot. Humble guy. I've had a few older scouts tell me he reminds them a lot of a young Scottie Pippen. He's No. 7 on our Big Board right now, but I think he could move up into the Top 5 on draft night.
Kurt (Durham, NC)
Who has a higher ceiling in the NBA, Mason Plumlee or Cody Zeller?
Chad Ford (1:47 PM)
Zeller, who's considered a candidate for the No. 1 pick, is the obvious choice here. He's clearly a more polished offensive player and the way he runs the floor is special. But Plumlee might be a more obvious fit. He's bigger, a better athlete, a better rebounder and a better defender. I think Plumlee's game has an easier translation ... but it's hard for me to imagine he goes ahead of Zeller on draft night.
Can Oladipo be a Tony Allen type player in the NBA?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
I could see that. I'm really intrigued by him. Tom Crean went on Twitter the other night to point out that Oladipo had 20 deflections versus Coppin State. The last time he coached a player that had 20 or more was Dwyane Wade in 2003 against Tulane.
What can you tell us about Tony Mitchell?
Chad Ford (1:51 PM)
So much talent. Can really do just about everything. Pathetic performance so far for both him and this team this year. Not sure if he's the issue or the team, but it's hurting his draft stock right now.
Do NBA scouts and GMs view Poythress as a PF or SF? Is he another tweener like Derrick Williams?
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
That's the question. I think he's better right now as a four, but many scouts think, because of his size, he needs to be a 3. In the NBA these days, I'm not sure it totally matters. The similarities between the two are there, but I think Poythress is a better athlete and has a better motor than Williams. His biggest problem right now is that he lacks confidence. He doesn't always assert himself offensively the way he's capable of.
Better prospect for 2014... Wiggins or Parker?
Chad Ford (1:54 PM)
Wiggins. He'd be the No. 1 pick in 2013 if he were eligible ... hands down. Many scouts feel he's a once or twice a decade type prospect . Gonna be a lot of team jockeying for the No. 1 pick next year.
Chad Ford (1:55 PM)
Gotta run a few minutes early today everyone. We'll do this again next week. Mahalo