Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chatting Up Chad Ford

Here Are Some Belated Knicks-Related Excerpts From a "Chat" with the ESPN hoops maven. My reactions are included in italics

Jonny (LA): I know there is lots of volatility right now, but please give me your prediction for the Knicks next coach and GM. Thanks.

Chad Ford: Coach? It won't be Isiah. I think Mark Jackson will get a shot. I don't think Rick Carlisle will. As for GM? If he can get his right hand man in Indiana, David Morway, that would be the most obvious choice (though Morway may choose to stay in Indiana with Larry Bird instead). It's interesting that more people haven't talked about Morway ... a guy who many in the league think is GM material on his own. If it's not Morway ... Billy King is a possibility. I'm told there's no way it will be Mark Warkentein.

WWOD?: First of all, I'm glad that both the question and answer take for granted that Isiah Thomas is gone. Nice. Secondly, I LOVE that Mark Jackson will get a shot. Just because it shows that there is an understanding of team history. Isiah has always ignored the Knickerbocker history because it is not his own and he has done this to his own detriment. That being said, Rick Carlisle also donned a Knicks uniform for a few seasons and I don't like to hear that any high-caliber person won't even be considered. I think we've leave all options open. We've got to realize that this team is still years from being good and that the coach we hire now won't necesarily be the one take us to the mountaintop. Or, even the satelite parking lot where those hoping to go hiking in the state park where the mountain is located. So, we don't need our dream coach right now. We need the guy to turn this thing around and demand accountability in the meantime.

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Doug (NY): Chad, how realistic is it that Donnie Walsh will be able to free up enough cap space by 2010 to lure LeBron or Wade to the Knicks?

Chad Ford: If he let's Stephon Marbury's contract expire and then finds a trade for either Zach Randolph or Eddy Curry that gets back contracts that expire by the summer of 2010 ... the Knicks will be far enough under the cap to make a run at a serious free agent like LeBron or Wade. All it really requires is a little patience. Make a great draft pick this year and next year ... develop young players like David Lee ... and the Knicks could be in very good position in the summer of 2010.

WWOD?: I'd like to believe Chad here. I think the key is really Marbury's contract. We've got to let it come off the books rather than trading it for more contracts, that likely go past next season.

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MRL the Pearl (Owings Mills): Isiah Thomas. Will he ever work in the NBA again?

Chad Ford: I doubt it. Maybe as a coach. Never again as a GM or team president.

WWOD?:One can only hope that this is the case. Perhaps if he took a job coaching in college or a D-League team he could rehabilitate his image as coach enough to come back to an NBA sideline. It seems implausible but there are so many retreads in the coaching ranks that nothing should surprise too much.

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Doris Bullet (Fort Lee): If both the Knicks and Nets are going to be able to fit lebron in 2010 which team do you think Lebron would choose?

Chad Ford: The Nets.

WWOD?:Everyone seems to think that Lebron-to-the-Nets is a foregone conclusion. I guess so, but I hope that this move happened soon enough that the Knicks might be able to force their way into the picture. If Marbury's contract is allowed to die of natural causes and either Randolph or Curry is traded then the Knicks will be rebuilt before the Nets are since Vince Carter isn't going anywhere.

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Matt (CT): Do you think Donnie is looking for a true point in the draft? hopefully the balls bounce the Knicks way so they can get Rose!

Chad Ford: Yeah, Derrick Rose should be at the very top of their list -- ahead of Michael Beasley. He's a huge point guard, with excellent athleticism and great floor vision. He's a leader and a superstar in the making. He reminds me of a 6-foot-4 version of LeBron. Very few players have that combination of quickness and power at his size.

Chris (Boston): Hey chad, can you see a situation where Beasley isnt drafted 1st overall??

WWOD?:Yeah, if any team were to turn their draft board over to me. At this point, there are only five teams that don't take Rose with the No. 1 overall pick: New Orleans, Utah,

Chad Ford: Yes. I think the Knicks would take Rose No. 1. Ditto for the Pacers. I think Miami would have to look very closely at Rose vs. Beasley. And I think Seattle would as well.

Jack (Toronto): You don't think Donnie Walsh got enough of me-first players in Indiana? No way Mayo goes to the Knicks.

Chad Ford: I don't think that's totally fair for Mayo. He's been a team player at USC this year.

WWOD?:Anyone who reads this site or who has talked to me for more than five minutes in the past five weeks knows that I want Derrick Rose on my team more than A-Rod wants to be well-liked. I want him to be our next point guard really badly. And, I'm setting myself up to utterly devastated if we don't land him. Which is stupid. Because there are other good point guards out there. Eric Gordon is strong and young and can score. O.J. Mayo ended up having a much better season than it seems (I agree with Ford's defense of Mayo on this point), even if he was upstaged by a few our diaper dandies. Still, Rose is the prize and to me the rest are thorns.

Tuesday's Starting Five

1. Patrick Ewing. The Big Fella was formaly named into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame yesterday. He was a first-ballot inductee along with Akeem the Dream and Pat Riley. The induction ceremony will be at the Hall (in Springfield, MA) in September. I'll be there. And, there will be more to come on Patrick's selection. But in the meantime here's what my Captain had to say:

2. The Kansas Jayhawks. They won. They are the champions. My friend. They were the deepest team all year. They were ranked #4 in the preseason, rising as high as #2 and falling (for one week) as far as #6 before entering the tournament back in the 4 spot. They were darn good all year long even if they were uninspiring at times. you can't It was a weird game watching experience, for me. I went in feeling mostly neutral but slightly leaning towards Memphis because of my infatuation with Derrick Rose. I hadn't bet on the winner of the game and had only taken some props, the under (at 148), that less than 15 players would score, that more than 6.5 players would score 10 points or more and that Rose would make 5 or more free throws. And, it was that last bet that proved to be my only loss on the night as well as the most telling stat perhaps of the game. Although Rose only missed one free-throw (going 3 for 4) and wouldn't have won my bet had he hit it, it was that single miss that opened the door for Chalmers' miraculous OT-forcing three-pointer at the end of regulation. It was a great shot. One that seems destined for highlight packages that we'll see for the rest of our lives. Still, the ending seemed almost anticlimactic, given the way Kansas rolled in the extra session.

3. Bill Self. Going to the box-and-one when it became clear that Rose was not a threat was the best way to stop Douglas-Roberts and it was a savvy move by Self. Not only did he have to recognize, in the heat of the shining moment, that Rose wasn't himself but he also had to have the confidence in that belief to gear his whole defense with no concern for the best player on the floor. It worked. He won. Even though Rose eventually woke up and shot the Jayhawks out of that scheme. With the title won and his obligation to fans in Lawrence nominally fulfilled, does he head to Stillwater, OK? Does he leave on a high note and take the gazillion million dollars from his alma matter?

4. Derrick Rose. In a losing effort he still shone brighter than everyone else on the court. In spite of stretch's of fearful, timid play he still looked most fearless at stretches. It was actually amazing to watch him learn how to play against Kansas as the game went on. Early in the second half he was passing on his shot and he was letting Robinson and Chalmers get their paws on the ball almost as soon as he crossed the equator. And, then it sort of clicked for him that he was light years faster than everyone else. He started darting past them, either heading to the rim or, more likely, dishing the ball to an open teammate. Once he realized that this was really just another game (for those actually on the floor) he went back to the dribble-drive offense that he suits him perfectly and started delivering the ball to open Tigers once the triple-team came. He should have hit the front free throw to ice the game. He should have. But he was still the best player in the game. And the only player fueled only by Gummy Bears and Fun Dip. He's just got to be in a Knicks uniform next year.

5. Chris Paul. It feels like the wider world has realized that CP3 is the Most Valuable Player of the 2007-2008 NBA season. Lebron is out of the picture. KG seems to have lost some of the spotlight since Paul Pierce may actually be the best (but not most valuable) player on that team. So, we're down to Kobe and Chris. And, Chris is doing more (winning conference) with less (Gasol and Bynum > Chandler and West). CP3 put up another triple-double on Sunday against Golden State and has his team 1.5 games clear of both San Antonio and Los Angeles. We're getting to the point where I'd almost be more surprised if he didn't win.

Benched. College b-ball referees. I've got to say that I thought the whistles tilted heavily in Kansas' favor last night. I'd like to think that this is an honest appraisal and not just the opinion of someone who was pulling for Memphis by the midpoint of the second half. But, I'm not 100% sure about that. In any case, it seemed to me that the Tigers were not getting the benefit of any away from the ball calls and were not even getting anything called in their favor that wasn't a blatant Kansas foul on a scoring-chance. And, while Kansas wasn't parading to the charity stripe they seemed to have much more protection on the ball and on the glass from the zebras. I think that Memphis and Coach Cal have such an unlikeable reputation that they don't get the benefit of the doubt. Of course, this comes at the end of a season when myriad officiating blunders occurred and generally occurred in the favor of more well-liked teams, see UCLA.