Check in with Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus to talk about what's happening with hoops.
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I just finished a typically intense episode of Battlestar Galactica and started up my quick mix at Pandora for a little chatting ambiance. Let's talk some hoops!
Chris D (Reno NV): Hey Brad, what sort of case do you think can be made for Deron Williams for MVP? In general what are your thoughts on the Jazz this season?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): So far, Williams has done as much to contribute to his team's success as any player in the NBA. If we were voting for MVP today, he'd get my vote. As for the Jazz in general, I think they need another shooter. I'm also concerned that as in years past, Utah won't be able to get key stops against elite opponents in the postseason. The Jazz have a different mix without Boozer, but I'm seeing the same strengths and weaknesses that mark Utah as a second-tier power.
fatted (Philly): Which lottery pick of this year's draft has been most disappointing? How about most surprising?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): You've seen the most disappointing rookie first hand, fatted, in Evan Turner, mostly because he was picked second. I thought that at the very least his skills as a playmaker would translate but so far, they haven't. Hopefully it's just the way he's being used right now. Athletically, he just doesn't look like anything special. As for most surprising, since Landry Fields wasn't a lottery pick, I'll go with every lottery pick not named John Wall. There just aren't many rookies making an impact so far this season.
notherbert (theone): if you were a head coach, how poor would your transition defense need to be before you'd send your smalls to the offensive glass? do you have any personal philosophy or numbers on risk of gaining possessions versus ability to reduce higher percentage shooting situations?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I'd probably be the type of coach that needs to keep the scoreboard turning, so if I'm struggling to score, then I want my guys crashing the glass. You have to be smart about it. If your point guard penetrates, then somebody's got to recognize that and be ready to sprint to the other end. I don't really believe in sacrificing the offensive glass altogether in order to prevent transition scores, but it's worked for San Antonio and Boston at various times, so who am I to say?
Mario (LA): If kemba walker continues to produce the way he has at the beginning of this season do u see him as a lottery pick? I mean if johnny flynn was a lottery pick kemba definitely should.
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I definitely like him better than Flynn. He's more productive and has been amazingly efficient for a player at his level of usage. I've seen him compared to Tim Hardaway, which is promising. He's got to be a little bit better playmaker. The main thing for a player his size is whether your defense can hold up when he's on the floor.
Bobby (Las Vegas): Would you like to a see "24/7" NBA edition? Do you think David Stern would be for this?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I assume that this is a reference to one many facets of pop culture to which I have never been exposed. If you explain further, perhaps I can weigh in.
Lnodolf (Filmore,ca): Is indians prospect adam miller ever going to pitch again?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I always like a baseball question, even it it's on something for which I have no inside knowledge. I did read that Miller was doing better towards the end of last season and is going to give it a go in spring training. But he was left exposed in the Rule 5 draft a couple of weeks ago and no one took him, which should tell you something about where teams see his prospects for contributing this year.
David (Memphis): In your opinion whats wrong with the pistons? To me they're one of the most talented teams in the leaugue, but they have to many scorers and alot of players with similar skill sets.
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): You're absolutely right in that they have a lot of players with redundant skill sets, which results in John Kuester using rotations that may as well be drawn out of a hat. I don't necessarily agree that Detroit is one of the league's most talented teams though. Their best players are all on the downside and they've paid a lot of money the last couple of years to bring in non-impact talent. I wrote in the book that I can't figure out what Joe Dumars' long-range plan is and with 40 percent of the season gone, I still can't figure him out.
Eli (Brooklyn): Knicks: how far are they from scaring the East's Big 2.5? And how much of this season's success has been a function of easy schedule thus far?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): There is enough firepower for the Knicks to scare anybody on a given night, but they don't play good enough defense to beat an elite team over a long series. The schedule played a big part in the winning streak New York enjoyed earlier this season but I think most of us on the analytical side fell into the trap of over-penalizing the Knicks for their schedule. At the same time, the mainstreamers got a little too excited a little too fast. However, I think this is a solid playoff team, destined to be the strongest six-seed the East has had in a while.
Bobby (Las Vegas): Right now HBO has a series called 24/7: Penguins/Capitals Road to the Winter Classic. The HBO camera's are with the team 24/7 and it's basically an R Rated behind the scenes type of show. The show gives you access to players and situations that aren't usually broadcast.
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Ah, you know I have seen that show listed on my DirecTv menu but haven't watched it. I personally wouldn't get much out of it. I don't really care about anything that's not directly related to what takes place on the court. "The life" of athletes isn't interesting to me, but if the emphasis is more on how the players prepare themselves and on conversations among the coaches and front office, then I could get into that. As far as whether Stern would go for it, I don't see why not. He's never been shy about a little exposure for his product.
Jack (Kentucky): Do u think the bulls should and will make a move to get a shooting guard this season? In my opinion the bulls always had the money to compete with the top teams in the league but they're never willing to spend to get to the next level, minus boozer and noah's contract.
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): I don't think money has ever been the issue with the Bulls. Mismanagement since Jordan retired has been the issue. Not being able to acquire foundation players or to identify those types once they're in hand (Artest, Brand) or has been the problem. The foundation is now in place, though, and I don't think there will be any restrictions about filling out the roster as needed. I do think they'll acquire another two-guard to play with the first unit and they need to. I like Ronnie Brewer's game but he can't space the floor. Keith Bogans is a cipher and the Bulls consistently get outscored while he's on the court. Kyle Korver either can't defend adequately or, perhaps even more importantly, can't convince others that he can. If Chicago comes up with the right answer at two, this can be a really special team.
bruno7481 (Indiana): Do you see the Pacers ever becoming relevant again?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): They're borderline relevant now. The Pacers have a really nice group of young talent. As Kevin Pelton wrote recently, having a collection of young talent doesn't ensure anything, but it is a starting point. What Indiana needs is for Danny Granger to become a legit No. 1 player on a championship level team. I don't know that he has that kind of ceiling, but if he doesn't do it, I don't see how Indiana is going to come up with that kind of player. I'm starting to sour on Jim O'Brien as well. I've always liked him as a coach, but the guy strikes me as overwhelmingly negative. It's damn near impossible to get the guy to say something good about his own players. Indy needs guys that can get the city excited about its team again.
jason (Colorado): Do u think memphis will eventually trade oj mayo?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Yes and it'll be good for Mayo. He's become the odd man out with not enough shots to go around between him, Conley, Gay, Gasol and Randolph. Memphis has contract decisions looming on Gasol and Randolph. Unloading Mayo and turning his job over to Xavier Henry would be the cost-effective way to go. Mayo needs to prove that he can be a supporting player, though, because he's not good enough right now to be a top-three player on a good team. He has the talent to be that someday, but he's got to remake his game and show some enthusiasm while doing it.
Marissa (Vancouver): The NBA will return to Vancouver within the next 15 years, True or False?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Things didn't go too well there the first time and I can't see the league going back there any time soon. I don't want to say never because you can't really anticipate where the demographics of our fine continent will go, but right now, there are at least 15 markets more likely to get a relocated or expansion team.
Steve (Indiana): How highly sought after would Eric Gordon be if he decides to leave the Clips after his first contract?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Gordon is on the path towards becoming a max-contract type player, which means the chances of him remaining with the Clippers long term are remote. He's a super-efficient, high-usage wing player that can make plays for others in the pick-and-roll. You can build great teams around that skill set. He may present Brandon Roy-like problems in terms of finding the right fit in a backcourt partner, but that won't be enough to keep teams from throwing wads of cash in his direction.
Ty (South Jersey): How disappointed should I be when the Nets inevitably trade Favors, Troy Murphy, and picks for Melo?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): If it happens, I would choose to be excited about it. Melo has impact player ability. Favors and Murphy do not. When I say "impact player" I'm talking about championship-level ability. I've been among those that have criticized his game for its inefficiency and his approach for its intermittent aloofness. If I was Billy King or that Russian billionaire playboy that owns the team, I'd be hesitant to invest a max contract in the guy. But if I'm a fan of the team that gets 'Melo, I'd choose to be excited until it you know whether it's going to work out. Why start off disappointed? Look at the Knicks, where Amar'e Stoudemire has proved to be much more of game-changer on and off the court than I would have thought he could be. Melo would give the Nets the rallying point they currently lack.
Bill Simmon (LA): Am I the only person that is stunned the Celtics have the 2nd best record in the league right now? The majority of the core is very old but we've only lost 5 games so far.
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): The Celtics started off 23-5 last year, so I'm not surprised. We've seen how great this mix of talent can be over the last three years. The key is keeping the old core healthy and productive to maintain the high seed and still get ready for the playoffs. It's a tricky proposition. Glen Davis has been a revelation this season, but I'm concerned about how much of his improvement may be due to unsustainable shooting percentages. He's shooting 73 percent at the rim. No way he keeps that up.
Jack (Dallas): DO you thi k Rudy Gay has the pontential to become a top5 player is this league and will he become that?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Top 5? No. He doesn't make enough plays for others. His defense has gotten better and I think he could even be a good defender in the right system. But Rudy Gay's offensive game is too much about Rudy Gay. Ideally, on a top five team, he'd be the third guy.
Judence (Ohio): Will we ever see a female player in the NBA?
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): Ever is long time, so I'll say yes. It seems the way that evolution is flowing. But evolution is a slow process. I don't think there are any female players around right now that can play in the league, but I'd love to be proven wrong.
Bradford Doolittle (Basketball): And the queue is empty and we're 70 minutes in, so let's call it a chat. Thanks to everybody for stopping by today. Have a happy New Year and be safe.