In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have a second opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap, or the NBA draft? Drop me a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com or @EddieScarito on Twitter. Now for this week’s inquiries:
“It’s pretty clear that Dallas will be going hard after LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan, but to me Aldridge seems pretty unlikely. So, how well do you think Jordan would mesh with Dirk Nowitzki and Co.? Better than Tyson Chandler? Also, do you see a scenario where they get both Jordan and Chandler or is that also more of an either/or kind of deal?” — Matt
I think Jordan would mesh with the Mavs rather well. While the Clippers’ big man is certainly more athletic than Chandler is at this stage of his career, the two players’ skill sets are remarkably similar. I think Jordan could step in for Chandler tomorrow and Dallas wouldn’t miss a beat as far as talent and production. Now as far as leadership and chemistry go, that is always an unknown. Jordan has certainly matured as a player and a teammate the last few seasons, but he doesn’t bring with him the intangibles and leadership that Chandler can provide. But Jordan would bring legs that are six years younger than Chandler’s, which is a huge advantage. Dallas could certainly stand to get younger as a team, and adding Jordan would be a nice start.
As for Dallas inking both Jordan and Chandler…why would the franchise want to do that? Neither of the players’ forte is scoring, and both need the ball close to the basket to be effective. Talk about a clogged paint area on offense! Plus, this isn’t the NBA of the 80s and 90s. Big men who hold down the post are are being eschewed in favor of stretch-four types. Having two offensively limited bigs occupying $30MM-$40MM worth of the team’s cap space wouldn’t make it easy to construct a championship caliber roster around them.
“If the Pistons land the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, who do they select?” — Ricky
If the ping-pong balls bounce the right way for Detroit on lottery night and they snag the top pick I don’t think team president Stan Van Gundy would think twice about who to select…it would have to be Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns. With the Pistons almost assuredly going to do what it takes to re-sign guard Reggie Jackson, the team’s two biggest needs will be a starting small forward and a power forward who can stretch the floor. While Jahlil Okafor would be a tempting player to take at the No. 1 spot, I don’t think he would mesh well with Andre Drummond at all. Towns has the higher upside, is more athletic, can shoot it from the outside, and is the far superior defender of the two freshmen. I love the idea of pairing Drummond and Towns together in the frontcourt. So should Van Gundy if given the opportunity.
“What do you think about the Thunder’s hire of Billy Donovan as head coach?” — Vincent
I do think the Thunder needed a change of head coaches, if only to shake things up. As for bringing Donovan in, I think the hire has some interesting possibilities. OKC certainly needs to revamp its offense, which Donovan can certainly do. But it’s a difficult transition for college coaches to jump to the pros. It’s such a different world, and one that most former collegiate coaches haven’t succeeded in. The work Brad Stevens is doing in Boston is changing perceptions around the league, but the OKC job comes with far greater expectations and a marked jump in the level of pressure than Boston’s. I do like that GM Sam Presti brought in a new face and not some coaching retread, but I’m not sure any new coach could go in and meet the level of expectations next season that come with a roster that includes Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
“What are your impressions of [Georgia State guard] R.J. Hunter? Where do you see him being selected?” — Stevie
I like Hunter quite a bit actually. While he had a down season statistically, I think he’ll make a much better pro than a collegiate player. He’s a fearless gunner from deep who can create his own shot, though a little more athleticism and speed would be nice. I’m very interested in seeing how his pre-draft workouts go in this regard. My take is that Hunter should evolve into a solid sixth man in a few short seasons in the league, and he’ll be looked at as a value pick for where he’s likely to be selected.
As for when Hunter can expect to hear his name called, most mock drafts predict him being selected somewhere in the mid-to-late 20s. With a severe lack of outside shooting prospects in this year’s draft, Hunter could move up to a team that is drafting for that specific need. The Rockets are a possibility at No. 18, but that’s as high as I think the Georgia State guard will go. A more likely scenario is Hunter going to the Grizzlies (No. 25), Spurs (No. 26) or Nets (No.29).
That’s all the space I have for this week’s round of inquiries. As always, I appreciate all who took the time to send in their questions. Please keep them coming, and I’ll be back next week with more responses…