Is it smart for Joel Embiid to stay in school, or should he declare for the draft as the likely number 1 pick?
No right answer here. You obviously can’t fault a guy for trying to get better and develop his skills (remember, he has barely played basketball). On the other hand, there is that looming risk of injury. I’m sure Bill Self will make a determination and let his guy know whether this is the right move for him.- WJ
I understand his thinking, that most great centers of the recent past (Shaq, David Robinson, Hakeem, Duncan, etc) have spent years maturing and honing their skills at the collegiate level, however we are in a different day and age of basketball. He would be misguided to pass on being one of the top picks in the draft where, at the NBA level, he will have the opportunity to focus solely on his basketball game. It’s a difficult decision to become a professional and give up the college lifestyle, but for the money he is set to make, it seems to be a no brainer. -AL
Joel Embiid could be the number one pick in the draft next year with a starting salary of $4.4 million a year. This would probably make him one of the wealthier people in his native Cameroon. If he comes back to school he could get hurt and make nothing. Doesn’t seem like much of a decision to me. -EJ
If Phoenix acquires Pau Gasol, are they a serious contender?
Depends. Any time you can get rid of the corpse of Emeka Okafor‘s expiring contract, you have to do it. The other big factor is father time. He’s still undefeated. Despite the Suns being this year’s biggest surprise, they are not legitimate contenders. With the return of Bledsoe next year, they are better, but Pau is also one year older. Don’t see it. – WJ
I’m buying this, I really like this team. They would suddenly have excellent front court depth and skill with Gasol, Mason Plumlee, Channing Frye and the Morris twins to go along with a rapidly improving Alex Len. The big caveat here, is that they would certainly need a healthy Eric Bledsoe to truly compete, but as that looks likely, I’ll buy. Nobody wants to face a team with this level of offensive balance, and with Gasol, the ability to dominate the half court game. -AL
After acquiring Gasol the Suns would be much improved. However, their defense still won’t be good enough to contend with the upper echelon teams (even with Gasol using his trademark travel motion defense seen above). If they can trade for Pau, re-sign him for next year, add him and a healthy Eric Bledsoe to the Suns roster then they could contend in 2015. -EJ
Thunder or Pacers, who is the NBA’s best right now?
Thunder. KD is the league’s best player right now and his team is doing this without arguably the best point guard in the league. The Pacers are dealing with Lance Stephenson‘s injury and Paul George‘s umm..issue. -WJ
The Thunder. They are playing like the best team in the NBA right now without Russell Westbrook. Once he returns he will tip the scales in OKC’s favor for the rest of the season. Reggie Jackson, and Jeremy Lamb are examples of the Thunder’s excellent player development, which is why they should remain good for a long time. -EJ
Detroit needs to make a move, possible trades?
They need to blow this team up and leave Andre Drummond as the only remaining piece. The next task would be to build complementary pieces. Treat Drummond like Dwight Howard was treated in Orlando and surround him with low-priced shooters and slashers. Moral of the story: trade everyone. -WJ
Josh Smith is untradeable, let me say that right off the bat. If they could, they would move him, but that’s not going to happen. What they need to do is look to trade Greg Monroe and possibly Brandon Jennings (who is also a difficult trade) to try and boost their backcourt. Josh Smith will play closer to his contract status if he moves to the power forward spot. Joe Dumars made some awful moves, putting a shoot first point guard at the helm of this star driven lineup and signed a player for too much money to play out of position. The only plausible fix is to move Monroe for assets ASAP. -AL
Detroit needs to make at least one of the following moves: 1. Trade Josh Smith. 2. Trade Greg Monroe. 3. Fire Maurice Cheeks 4. Fire Joe Dumars. This is a mismanaged roster, with a coach unqualified to sort it out. This once proud franchise needs a complete overhaul. Watch out for Charlotte or Phoenix as trade partners for the Pistons two most movable assets. -EJ
How good are these Grizzlies?
Not that good. Sure, Marc Gasol‘s return has sparked this team, but their ceiling isn’t very high. A lot of “ifs” need to happen before I see this team as a contender. Now if they get matched up against GSW and LAC, this can be a different story. -WJ
They are just outside the top tier of the Western Conference, however I do take them seriously now that Marc Gasol is healthy. I think they pose upset potential in the first round, but I don’t see them making enough noise to make the WCF this season. -AL
They are just outside of the championship contending group (Miami, OKC, Indiana, San Antonio) smack dab in the middle of the second tier (Portland, Houston, LA Clippers, Golden State). They might be the best defensive team in the league, but can they score enough in the half court to get by the elites? Not likely. -EJ
Let us know if there are any topics you want discussed in future Round Tables. Also, if you haven’t read our first round table check it out here