NBA with Tom Haberstroh
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN Insider NBA writer and contributor to the "Heat Index" Tom Haberstroh stops by to chat about the NBA Finals.
Haberstroh started at ESPN in 2008 following his graduation from Wake Forest. He's contributed to ESPN.com's NBA coverage since 2010.
Send your questions now and join Haberstroh Monday at noon ET!
Tom HaberstrohHeat go up 2-1 in the series and are two wins away from netting LeBron's first title. Hm, where have we heard that before? Lots to talk about, let's get right to it.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)Will the Heat beat the Thunder in the Next 2 Games to be the 2011-2012 NBA Champions?
Tom HaberstrohI guess it's possible, but have we learned nothing from last year? The Heat are two wins away from winning the title, but that's when everything unraveled for the Heat in 2011. I'm not sure it's a good idea to doubt the Thunder after what they did against the Spurs down 0-2. This Thunder team is too good to lay down for four straight losses, no matter who has home court.
Jeremy H (Minneapolis)Westbrook is not a PG. Why do people refer to him as such?
Tom HaberstrohGood question. A couple years ago, I had an exec tell me that the Thunder should trade for Steve Nash and slide Russell Westbrook to the 2 where he's more suited to play. Nash is a free agent and the Thunder have young assets that the Suns would covet in a rebuild. Do I smell a sign-and-trade if the Thunder lose in the Finals? Alas, we're getting way ahead of ourselves, but I'm with you: Westbrook plays like a 2 and may be there long-term.
quincy, fl [via mobile]Who should the miami heat get in the upcoming draft?
Tom HaberstrohFab Melo if he falls that far. Doubt he'll slide to late first-round where the Heat are, though.
Deven (Miami, FL)On a scale of 1-10, what's the likelihood that Steve Nash joins the Heat?
Tom HaberstrohI'll say a 3. Just my opinion though.
Deven (Miami, FL)What are the chances Miami amnesties Mike Miller? And how come he can never stay healthy?
Tom HaberstrohLooked into this last week. Amnestying Miller wouldn't really help them. Sure, it would save them tax money, but it wouldn't get them get under the tax threshold where they could get a bigger mid-level exception. So, you'd essentially cut Miller and still have to pay him, but it wouldn't free up money to land a bigger fish. Not as likely as it seems given how broken his body looks (and probably is).
Sean (Colorado)Who would you put Durant on for defense if you were Brooks so he can avoid foul trouble? I was thinking Bosh.
Tom HaberstrohDefinitely not Bosh -- he's one of the most talented whistle-drawers in the game. Hide him on Battier all day, throw Thabo on LeBron.
Tom (Houston)The narrative after Game 3 seems to largely be: 'this series is just about over.'; 'LeBron just won't be denied this year.'; 'OKC are too inexperienced.'; 'Heat have learnt from last year and just want it more.' But if OKC win on Tuesday, it's 2-2, and then the pressure is all back on the Heat. Miami has the edge, certainly, but it's far from over.
Tom HaberstrohAmen, Tom. Alike names think alike.
Oscar (Hialeah, FL)What is going on with M.Chalmers game? Besides his 12 point game in game 1. He's been 2-15 with 5 pts in the last 2 games. Is Westbrook getting to his head???
Tom HaberstrohA two game sample? Shooting slump, probably.
Kevin (Cincinnati)Any change to your original prediction for the finals?
Tom HaberstrohPicked Heat in 7 and I see no reason to change that. The Thunder will be back. James Harden isn't this bad.
J (Boston)do you think the NBA will do anything to deter Spo from coming onto the court? the Westbrook 3 was particularly egregious. I know Doug Collins has complained in the past...
Tom HaberstrohI didn't happen to see this in real-time but looking at it on the replay, the Heat had 6 defenders on the floor. I don't think the NBA needs to step in; that's what the referees are for. Give him a technical foul and I'm sure he'll watch his step.
David (Minneapolis, MN)From these past 3 games, it just seems that Miami is more set to win an NBA Title than OKC this year.
Tom HaberstrohWhy do you say that? Is it because they're up 2-1?
Jon (NJ)How big of a factor is the work LeBron's doing off the ball (particularly on the baseline)?
Tom HaberstrohEnormous. He was doing all the right things on the court and saying all the right things off the court. No one wants to hear all the sacrifice that LeBron had to give when he came to the Heat, but he had to completely transform his game compared to his iso/Pick-and-roll ball in Cleveland. He's owned up to being like a big man in the post, cutting like a shooting guard on the wing and defending fives like a center. He's embracing his unprecedented combination of talent, speed and size. Not much else he can do out there.
Jose Diaz (Puerto Rico )How come every time Lebron leaves the floor, the Heat loose the lead? Wade and Bosh are superstars, how come they cant keep the lead?
Tom HaberstrohShort answer: Because LeBron's pretty good at basketball. Longer answer: LeBron does so many things on the floor for the Heat (see last answer) and Wade/Bosh aren't fully healthy.
Steve (Spain)Will Wade need surgery in the off season?
Tom HaberstrohI'm not Dr. Haberstroh, but I would imagine so. I also wouldn't bet that he's an Olympian this year either. That knee needs more than a draining I presume.
Jorden Baumblit (NY)In your personal opinion, is Lebron James the best player in the NBA?
Tom HaberstrohYes. And I don't think it's close given the work he does on both ends of the floor. Many coaches/execs believe he's the Defensive Player of the Year. And he's averaging 31 points and 5 assists here in the playoffs. Who else has that resume?
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