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 (1:02 PM)
Aloha,Thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll be talking NBA Draft all hour! Let's roll!
I really want Flip to select Towns, but hear he could go with Okafor. What do you think he'll do? How do you think Okafor would fit with the Wolves young players if he goes that direction? Thanks.
Chad Ford (1:07 PM)
It's a bit early to say anything definitively. They're doing their homework. Okafor seems to be the guy that Flip favors. But that could chance with workouts and interviews. The workouts will be one-on-none. But still, I think it will come down to that for Minnesota ... and it's not just Okafor vs. Towns. I hear D'Angelo Russell in the mix there too.
Latest news surrounding the Lakers and what they will do with the #2 pick?
Chad Ford (1:11 PM)
Same situation. They're digging ... If Towns is there at 2. That's a lock. If it's Okafor, I think it's up in the air between Okafor, Russell and Mudiay. All three in the mix. But not strong feeling right now which guy it would be. I also hear they are digging on Porzingis, though I doubt they have the guts to take him that high.
I'm a hardcore Sixers fan and like to think I'm pretty well educated regarding the NBA/prospects, am I crazy for wanting them to take Mario Hezonja at 3?
Chad Ford (1:15 PM)
No. If D'Angelo Russell is there, I think Philly will take him. They were on Mudiay early, but I think Russell became their guy late. If he's not there Mudiay is a strong option. But Hezonja won't be out of the question there. And on talent, he's close.
Where would Dario Saric rate in this draft if he came out this year instead?
Chad Ford (1:17 PM)
Probably Top 10. But maybe higher based on the NBA's infatuation at the moment with playmaking fours. Everyone wants a Draymond Green right now and Saric is one of the best playmaking fours I've seen in the draft for a while. Zach Lowe did a great story on this yesterday worth reading. But given that criteria, Saric would be very intriguing to teams. I think given the way the NBA is playing right now, he could be a very valuable piece for the Sixers when he decides to come.
If you are Phil Jackson what is your draft day plan for #4?
Chad Ford (1:19 PM)
Be patient. Take whoever falls. I think there are five guys worthy of the No. 1 pick. At four you'll have your choice of two of them. Of the five guys, I don't believe Towns or Russell will be there. But there are scenarios where Okafor, Mudiay or Porzingis will be there. And I hear that Justise Winslow has some strong support in New York. And two different sources today told me the Knicks are also looking strongly at Willie Cauley-Stein. They want a strong defender in New York which explains the Winslow and Cauley-Stein interest. Of course, I also think there's a good chance they just trade this pick if the right veteran comes around. But for me, I think they really should keep it. Lots of talent with long-term potential where they are drafting.
It seems to be a lock for the first 4 picks and then it gets interesting at 5 for Orlando, who do you see them picking??
Chad Ford (1:21 PM)
Porzingis is a good fit and to me personally, a no brainer if he's still on the board. Willie Cauley-Stein is another fit talent wise (they really need a rim protector) but I'm not sure he fits the personality profile that Rob Hennigan has been following. Justise Winslow and Mario Hezonja are other options. Winslow fits the mold -- though I'm not sure adding another guy who isn't a lights out shooter is the move. Hezonja has the talent, but again, I worry about the personality profile. Orlando drafts a very specific type of personality.
Are teams afraid to take Russell ahead of Towns/Okafor just due to size? I think Russell is the best player but seems like bigs always have value even if they bust (see Mozgov and Kanter trades). Also best comp for Russell? Harden? Curry lite?
Chad Ford (1:25 PM)
Big typically rise on draft night. However, given the way the top teams in the NBA are playing right now, it's actually an argument for a player like Russell. He fits the James Harden, Steph Curry mold as a player (I'm not saying he's as good as either guy, just plays that style of basketball). However, perhaps the NBA is moving that direction because there's just a dearth of dominant bigs. Towns or Okafor could change that and give teams mismatches. The league goes in cycles and teams adapt to the available talent. But I still think there's a place for a dominant low post player. They just have to be really good. Towns and Okafor are both really good.
Could Mudiay fall to the Kings at #6?
Chad Ford (1:29 PM)
Yes. I think his spots are Lakers at 2, Philly at 3, Knicks at 4 or Kings at 6. I've had a few teams suggest to me he could slide further, but I think that's being planted as more of a scare tactic to get him to workout more places. The one hesitation on the Kings. Who is making the decisions there with this pick? Pete D'Alessandro? Vlade Divac? George Karl? Every time I talk to someone there I get a slightly different story. And I had someone from the Kings pass along this nugget in Chicago. That the front office wanted to take Elfrid Payton at No. 8. last year but were overruled by ownership, who wanted Nik Stauskas. Now, that could be classic CYA from the front office. Payton was who they should've taken and now, a year later, they're making the case. But if that's true, than Vivek may be the person who is ultimately deciding who they draft. In short, it's really hard to have a good feel what's happening in Sacramento. So many voices.
Do you see the Nuggets dealing either Lawson or Faried on draft night, or both even? Lawson to Sacramento for the #6 pick seems like it would make sense for both sides, with Denver taking on a contract or 2.
Chad Ford (1:32 PM)
Yes I could see them dealing one or both players -- especially Lawson. And a Lawson to Sacramento deal does make some sense for both teams. Kings are in a win now mode and Lawson is big upgrade at the point. The Nuggets are treading water. Adding two lottery picks may help jump start a rebuild. As far as draft goes, I hear Denver's in the ... let's just see who falls to us. Winslow? Mudiay? Hezonja? They clean up the scraps.
Aaron Henry (Orchard Lake, MI)
Which player would get the Pistons phones ringing the loudest if he was still available at 8? Cauley-Stein? Porzingis? Could see them working something out with Indiana or Boston
Chad Ford (1:35 PM)
That's the way to be thinking. Again, while I don't think it's a forgone conclusion that the Pistons trade the pick, they'll be very open to it for the right offer. The problem is that young players just aren't really equipped to help in Year One. Caldwell-Pope can't really help them win games. Even Andre Drummond, as talented as he is and will be, is still not good enough to propel them to the playoffs. Adding another rookie with a three year learning curve until they're truly productive doesn't make a lot of sense on a team that is hungry for the playoffs next year. And you absolutely have teams like Indiana (who is chasing Willie Cauley-Stein) or Boston that would love to move up. To me the bigger question is -- what are they offering that Stan Van Gundy really wants. I'm not sure either team has a player Van Gundy will really covet.
Alex from CA [via mobile]
What are you hearing from GMs about Kelly Oubre Jr.? Really liked how he measured out at the combine. Also pro comp would be cool too.
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
He's a five tool player. Has athleticism, length, can shoot it, can make plays, can defend. Enormous potential. But the question is -- will he get it. Will he work hard? Will he play the way he needs to play? The physical tools and raw skills are all there. I think Charlotte looks at him hard. Ditto for Indiana. The good news is the it appears he's been working really hard the past six weeks. I saw definite progress. Drew Hanlen, his trainer, did wonders for Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. Could be a steal.
Who are the main Heat targets at 10?
Chad Ford (1:39 PM)
Sounds like Stanley Johnson, Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker.
What do you think the Pacers do at 11? I see Kaminksy and Turner often mentioned. It seems like Kaminsky is more polished but Turner has greater upside. They have to go with a big, right?
Chad Ford (1:42 PM)
Both are options. They like both of them. Cauley-Stein won't likely be there, but if he is, that would be their guy. Oubre is an option as well. Devin Booker is another. And I think there's a strong possibility that Cameron Payne could get the nod there. They really like him. I wrote this in Chicago and nothing's changed. If Cauley-Stein is gone and especially if Myles Turner is gone, I think Payne might be there guy.
I'm surprised that I haven't seen any mention of the Suns taking Looney at 13. He seems like the kind of upside pick that McDonough would like, especially with their need at backup PF and need for rebounding. Do you think he is too raw for where their team is at right now?
Chad Ford (1:43 PM)
Probably. Looney has enormous upside, but the learning curve scares teams right now. He hasn't quite figured out what he is. And it could take time. Not sure the Suns will have that sort of patience. Especially with players like Kaminsky, Devin Booker, Bobby Portis that could help right now.
Chris (Salt Lake City)
You knew this was coming..... Jazz? Who? Please not Frank the Tank
Chad Ford (1:45 PM)
He's in the mix. So is Myles Turner, Trey Lyles, Cameron Payne, Sam Dekker, Kelly Oubre. I think Lyles makes a lot of sense for them on a number of fronts.
Eric W (court house) [via mobile]
What's a good way to get out of jury duty? Also, what do you think the Thunder will with their picks? Thank you.
Chad Ford (1:47 PM)
Don't get out of jury duty. It's awesome. Trust me, if you were ever a defendant, you want the type of people on the jury that feel their too busy to actually be on a jury. As for the Thunder, since late last week there's been a lot of buzz among rival GMs that the Thunder promised Cameron Payne they'd take him at 14. I don't know how much of that is smoke, but he is a great fit at 14 and talent wise he may be the best pure point guard in the draft.
Who do the Hawks target at 15? Assuming they resign Millsap and DMC and bring over Edy Tavares, do they go after a wing (Dekker, Booker, Oubre) or a big (Lyles, Turner, Portis)?
Chad Ford (1:50 PM)
As Kevin Pelton rightly noted, the Hawks definitely seem in need of size. However, given that they are a contender, I'm not sure they really use the draft to fill that need. Portis would be interesting in that he's more NBA ready than many and plays with the sort of all out motor that should quickly endear him to a head coach. I also like Dekker a lot here.
Trevor [via mobile]
Is Jerian Grant the most versatile PG in the draft. Size, can play either position. Score, set up others...
Chad Ford (1:52 PM)
He is ... teams just want to be sure he can shoot. He's not a bad shooter, but it's becoming harder and harder for guards that can't shoot to be high picks.
More likely that Celtics trade up or stay put?
Chad Ford (1:53 PM)
Danny Ainge is trying everything, like he always does. Trade up, trade down, stay pat. He's an opportunist. Instead of having a set game plan, he looks for the best deal and follows it where it take him.
Holden (San Diego) [via mobile]
Has the recent play of Tristan Thompson effected the draft stock of players like Kevon Looney who is has the potential to be an elite offensive rebounder?
Chad Ford (1:56 PM)
It should. Guys that do one thing well (and Looney is a very good offensive rebounder) shouldn't be overlooked. Especially because rebounding translates.
Will R.J. Hunter be a viable option for the Bucks?
Chad Ford (1:58 PM)
For sure. Shooting is the hot thing right now. Especially shooters that are also playmakers. Hunter averaged 3.6 apg this year and plays with a high basketball IQ. Teams question his toughness. But if he can answer that in workouts, I could see him rising.
You just wrote "it's becoming harder and harder for guards that can't shoot to be high picks." Doesn't that suggest Mudiay's not really a top 4 pick?
Chad Ford (1:59 PM)
I wouldn't call Mudiay a non-shooter. That part of his game has gotten better. He's not Rajon Rondo. And his elite size and quickness for his size (his ability to penetrate and make plays) make up for a lot of that. He'll be tough to stay in front of.
Pat (New York)
Really hoping that the conclusion of your Looney analysis may be that he falls to the Wiz at 19. What are the chances?
Chad Ford (2:00 PM)
He could be there and the Wizards like him. I think they like Portis and Lyles a little more and would take they if they were there. But if they're off the board, I think that's Looney's floor.
I see you are much higher on Rashad Vaughn lately? Why has his stock risen? I was hoping he would be available at #35 for the Sixers.
Chad Ford (2:04 PM)
Teams were worried about some off the court stuff. But I think they feel better after interviews and I saw him shoot the lights out in workouts in Santa Monica last weekend in front of 150 scouts. He was awesome. Moved him up to No. 23 after the Combine and probably will move him up again. There are only a few guys in the draft that are true shot getters. He's one of them. I could see him in the teens by draft night.
Chad Ford (2:04 PM)
Gotta run everyone, thanks for coming to the chat today. We'll do it again next week.