The past couple of years it hasn't been Detroit or Indy winning. It's been Rick Carlisle. Isn't it amazing how one man not named Phil Jackson can turn around teams so fast? How is this guy SO under the radar?
Marc Stein: (5:04 PM ET ) Carlisle is truly underrated. Always gets more from less from his teams. Can't agree with you totally, because it looksd as though the Pistons and Larry Brown are starting to feel each other, but Carlisle has instilled discipline rather quickly with a team that badly needed it.
Christian ( Hawthorne, CA): my friend and I are having a little argument of who is the best big man in the East. I said Jermaine O'neal(20.7ppg 10.6.rebs 2.76blks) while he said Ben Wallace(9.8ppg 13.0rebs 3.08blks) Now what is your take?
Marc Stein: (5:18 PM ET ) Jermaine does it at both ends. He's not the defender Wallace is, but he's obviously more complete.
Walton makes a case both for and against the Pacers winning the championship, but is unwilling to committ to an unambiguous prediction for their future this season. Now that you have given the Pacers an implicit vote of confidence by promoting them to the number 1 slot on your Power Rankings, do you care to make a bold prediction as to whether they have any chance of winning it all?
Marc Stein: (5:19 PM ET ) A chance? Sure. If they get that far, they'll have a chance. But if everyone's at full strength -- and none of the West powers really is yet -- I'm picking the West team.
If you had to pick one guy to defend Kobe Bryant for a potentially game winning shot, who would you pick? Artest? Christie? Bowen? Kidd?
Marc Stein: (5:25 PM ET ) Bowen. But I might be a tad biased on that one. Shoot me.
Hey Marc, I know everyone likes to call the East the "JV League," but Indy and Detroit have held their own against the West as of late. Do you think their recent success is a fluke, or do you think the East is beginning to grow up? Also, in what year would you project an Eastern team to finally win it all?
Marc Stein: (5:44 PM ET ) It's not a fluke, but it's still only in one-game bursts. If the West powers get healthy, almost any of them will be favorites against the East finalist. The East, as a whole, is still a mess and will remain so until some of the bigger guys start moving East. But at the top of the conference, you have to like Indy and Detroit and I'm not ready to write the Nets off, either.
OK Marc. I'm no whiner. I try to stay balanced when looking at the NBA and my team. But really...leaving the Kings at #2 based on defensive FG? Isn't that a bit petty? Let's face it. The Kings competition hasn't been of the highest caliber yet. However, they have been winning the games that they are supposed to win, they currently have the best record in the NBA, and they have several potential All-Stars. As for the FG%...let's face it...when a team scores as many points as the Kings do, the other teams are going to have more opportunities to make baskets. Granted, the Kings should play less ole' type defense, allowing layups and such. Yet, that shouldn't distract from the fact that AS OF NOW...they are dominating the opposition. Isn't that what you said your Power Rankings are all about? Who is the top team as of this week? Thanks for hearing me out.
Marc Stein: (5:52 PM ET ) The defensive FG stat is relevant because it's another indication that the Kings are not as dominant without Webber as their record suggests. The Kings were just as committed to scoring points last season and led the league in that category. Indy, by contrast, has routinely beaten West teams at home, carries the best road record in the league and recently went into Dallas (in my presence) and discombobulated the Mavs before then nearly sweeping the Spurs. I don't think a No. 2 ranking is dissing the Kings in any way, but that's as high as I can put them today, The Pacers, at the minute, are more worthy of No. 1 in my rankings. The Kings are going on the road now, so they will have their shot to rack up some wins that truly catch the eye.
Just because the Pacers went into San Antonio and beat the Spurs does not push the Pacers above the Kings in the Power Rankings. Indiana may be the best team in the Eastern Conference, but they can't hold a candle to the Western Conference, let alone the West's "jock". Wake up Stein and give the Kings their propers. You epitomize the east coast bias. Get you head out of Bristol.
Marc Stein: (5:53 PM ET ) Uh, James, since the age of eight I've lived in a Western Conference city for all but one year.