NBA Chat With Jesse Blancarte 12/28/16

Join Jesse Blancarte, BaskJesse_Blancarte_Chatetball Insiders’ senior NBA editor and writer, for his weekly chat on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. ET. Any and all questions regarding the NBA in general are welcome.

  1. Lucas

    I saw before Bulls vs Spurs Sunday Paxon came out and said the team is what it is. In your opinion what player or type of player would push Bulls to mid to top tier of conference? Also do you think Rondo or Bobby Portis could bring anything in return?

    • Jesse Blancarte

      Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s chat. A lot of interesting things going on in the Association right now, so let’s get into it:


      This team needs shooting. I read part of Paxson’s interview and noted that he mentioned that the team knew that shooting would be problematic entering this season. The team started hot from the three-point line this season but, as well expected, that has regressed quite a bit. Bringing in more shooters, from any position, would be helpful for this team. Adding a wing-defender who can move the ball and knock down shots like Khris Middleton would help, but those sort of players are extremely valuable and not easy to come by. Featuring Nikola Miortic a bit more could help with their spacing issues, but it’s on him to knock down the open shot once he gets it, which he hasn’t always done.

      I don’t think Rondo is getting you much in the market at this point. He has flashes, but overall isn’t the answer to any team’s problems. If he would at least play with as much defensive effort as he used to, I may have a different response here. But that hasn’t been the case for some time. Portis could return a decent amount considering his youth and skill set, but I don’t think the Bulls are interested in moving him, even for good value.

  2. Kevin

    Are the Blazers really serious about acquiring a rim protecting big man during the trading period this season. What options and scenarios do you see possibly playing out for Portland? Thank you!

    • Jesse Blancarte


      I don’t have firsthand knowledge, but you have to imagine they are considering the injury status of Festus Ezeli. The Blazers have a glut of big men but none of them are the sort of rim protector that can improve a team’s defense significantly. The scenario I thought made a lot of sense was waiting for the Mavericks to buyout Andrew Bogut. However, the Mavericks are starting to look like a real NBA team again now that they are getting healthier, so they may be less inclined to move on from Bogut this season. If I were running the Blazers, I would be asking Dallas about Bogut as my first option to bringing in a rim protector.

  3. Deven

    Does George Karl know some stuff we don’t know? Why is he lashing all this out in his book?

    • Jesse Blancarte


      If you turn on an ESPN NBA broadcast you’ll see former players and friends of Karl talking about how confused they are by what Karl has put in his book. Charles Barkley, who generally only has nice things to say about Karl, said that he was confused and disappointed by what Karl had said about some of his former players. I can only guess that Karl is fairly certain that his coaching career in the NBA is over (though he surprisingly said he is looking to coach again) and thus there’s no reason to hold back anymore.

      Karl has been coaching since the early 80s, and has been in and around the NBA for nearly four decades, so he certainly has insights that you and I don’t. I imagine there is at least some truth in most of what he is saying, but from what I’ve read, a lot of it seems sensationalized. I don’t know if the way in which the book is written is meant to be inflammatory in an effort to sell more copies, or if it reflects how Karl really feels about these subjects. What I will say is that whether everything he wrote in the book is rooted in some truth, attacking players’ perceived inadequacies as players, and more importantly as people, based on their upbringings crosses a line in my opinion.

  4. keeweekid

    Do you think the NBA’s relative lack of parity helps, hurts or does not matter to the league in terms of straight $ and cents?

    Cleveland has no challengers in the East and none on the horizon so basically the regular season and playoffs is not much for them.
    In the West, you have the Warriors and maybe a slight change/argument for Spurs/Clippers.

    In essence, each year for the past few years has been a 2-4 team race.
    As a Blazers fan, i follow the day to day goings on of my team, but realistically know they have no chance of competing and little to no chance of competing anytime in the near future unless they go the tank route and pick up the once in a generation type player via the draft.

    • Jesse Blancarte


      The first thing to mention here is that the NBA is doing very well right now as evidenced by the huge cap spike this year. With that in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if fans were more collectively engaged and willing to spend money on TV packages, NBA League Pass and merchandise if they thought their team was a championship contender each season. But that isn’t realistic, even if the league were operating at absolute peak efficiency. Some teams have better management than others, some teams are willing to spend more than others and each team has different internal goals in mind, even if the ultimate goal for each franchise is to win a championship.

      Growing up, I rooted for a team that had no chance of contending each and every season, and I knew it. I still watches as many games as possible, read articles about the team, and followed its players. I started watching NCAA games and read about European players to see which players entering the draft could be a difference-maker for my team and taught myself the league’s rules to get a better understanding of what moves they could realistically make to improve. I would say that I was as involved in the NBA as I am now, at a time in which the team I rooted for actually is quite competitive.

      Long answer short, the NBA can always improve, but I don’t think the league is hurting itself too much by having only a handful of teams that can realistically contend in any given season.

  5. keeweekid

    George Karl in his book brings up allegations of players using PED’s, trips to Germany for the newest and latest “rehab”.

    In baseball, after steroids were brought into the limelight, there seemed to be a decent amount of articles from journalists saying how there was a lot of suspicion among writers but nothing ever actually written about.

    Is there the same amongst NBA writers?
    Suspicion but nothing written about or is about the most we see is perhaps written innuendos such as “he has always been a fast healer”…

    • Jesse Blancarte

      I can’t speak for all NBA writers, but I would say I’ve talked to some who have simply said they wouldn’t be shocked if we discovered that some players are at least pushing the lines of what is within in the league’s rules. If there was a big story here, I think one of the many talented writers covering the NBA would have already pursued it and produced a written story about it. I saw Karl’s excerpts regarding this issue and don’t give it much weight. He presents only circumstantial evidence that players are intentionally using illegal PEDs but doesn’t say anything based on personal conversations or interactions with players. Perhaps when the book comes out we’ll see that he has more insights on the issue, but as of right now I consider it to just be conjecture.

  6. super jeepney

    whats your take on the lakers young core and who is your favorite?

    • Jesse Blancarte

      super jeepney,

      I’m a fan. I like that the Lakers have finally shifted away from mixing together aging veterans and are now committed towards a long term development. As of now, I like Ingram most as a prospect. I think he has a longggg way to go in terms of his development, but his potential is through the roof. I am especially encourage by his abilities as a playmaker. I have always liked Randle and think he has come a long way in a short time. His ability to finish through contact is pretty amazing considering his age and relative lack of experience. Nance Jr is a great athlete and I love his upside as a role player. Russell probably has the best chance of becoming a star among this group, but there are some maturity issues there that I think need to be addressed. I think he too has come a long way both on the court and off the court in his short time in the NBA.

  7. super jeepney

    do the cavs need a back up center?

    any rumors on trades lately in the nba?

    • Jesse Blancarte

      I don’t think the Cavs necessarily need a backup center right now, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a decent rim protector off the bench considering they are ranked 14th in defensive rating. Getting a competent backup big man isn’t quite so easy though, so they either have to get creative or hope that one of them is bought out at some point this season and looks to join a contender.

      As for rumors, the most notable things to come up recently are whether Goran Dragic actually wants to remain with the Miami HEAT and the Lakers working out Donatas Motiejunas. The trade market has been relatively quiet with the CBA being negotiated, but with that now taken care of and with the new year coming, I anticipate we will start seeing more rumors coming out soon.

  8. super jeepney

    if you are tge pelicans gm, how will u help the brow win? happy new year to all of u guys!

    • Jesse Blancarte

      This question deserves a full length article. The issues here go beyond injuries and giving out bad contracts. Too often we hear about other issues, like the team’s training staff not being up to the standards of other NBA teams. Take former Pelican Eric Gordon’s recent comment as an example:

      “It was definitely time for me to leave,” Gordon said. “Coming here in coach D’Antoni’s system and I’ve been familiar with a lot of the guys that are here. I just thought it was going to be good for me — a good organization, a good training staff. I just thought they had the whole package for me and all I had to do is just play and not worry about injuries and put that stuff in the past and just revive myself.”

      It’s not often a player references a training staff (unless we’re talking about the Phoenix Suns) when discussing the benefits to switching teams. At this point in time, teams shouldn’t be lacking in areas like a training staff. Things like this tell me the Pelicans have to look at themselves at every level, from top to bottom, to figure out how to turn this team around. Also, not giving out oversized contracts to role players would be helpful as well.

      Happy New Year to you as well!

    • Jesse Blancarte

      That’s all the time I have for today. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and submitting your questions. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@JBlancarteNBA) and ask any questions you may have before next week’s chat there. Happy New Years everyone!