Roundtable: Which lottery team has best chance for 2011 playoffs?'s NBA writers analyze the latest news and address hot topics from around the league each week. (All stats and records are through April 12.)

1. Which lottery-bound team is most likely to rebound to make the playoffs next season?

Ian Thomsen: If Yao Ming is healthy for most of next season, then the Rockets should be out of the lottery a year from now. If Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are healthy, then the Hornets and Clippers, respectively, could make a run at the playoffs too. If you're asking about a team that could jump into the playoffs with an acquisition of fresh talent, then it has to be the Knicks, who are going to wind up with at least one good player this summer and need only 40 or so wins to make the Eastern postseason.

Jack McCallum: That's asking us, in effect, to crystal-ball this exciting free-agent summer. Having said that, I'm going to pick New York. The Knicks found some keepers (Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas) in this dismal season; they have proven leaders in president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni;they can bring in two near-maximum-salary players this summer, or acquire one max player while retaining free agent David Lee; and they are in the East, where it is easier to rise.

Frank Hughes: A lot depends on what happens this summer. If the Knicks get two marquee players, then they should be competitive in the East, especially if Toronto, which is contending for the No. 8 seed now, falls off. If Yao is back and healthy in Houston, the Rockets could be a playoff team. And if Memphis retains Rudy Gay and learns how to win the games it is supposed to win, then the Grizzles have a promising chance to make it through.

Chris Mannix: I don't like this game. (Last year, I was sure Washington would rebound and it submitted one of the most disappointing seasons in league history.) That said, New York and New Jersey, of course, could jump into the East race with strong offseasons. But I really like Houston's chances at regaining a spot among the West's elite. Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin and Luis Scola should open up wide gaps for a returning Yao to work in, GM Daryl Morey has a handful of draft picks to dangle in a trade and Rick Adelman is one of the most underrated coaches in the NBA.

2. John Calipari, who has seen four Kentucky freshmen declare for the NBA draft, said recently that he'd a) allow players to enter the draft straight out of high school, and b) if players can't do that, they should have to stay in college for more than one year. What's your view of the one-and-done rule?

Thomsen: I don't have a strong feeling either way because all the back-and-forth arguments make sense. I see the NBA's side when GMs complain about the immaturity of players; I also know the NBA benefits from the publicity earned when the likes of John Wall and Evan Turner spend time in college, which enables them to enter the draft with a much higher profile than if they had entered the NBA out of high school. I also understand the players' complaints about having to attend college when they have no interest in going to class, and I see very clearly why educators are offended by that (apart from the college presidents, whose schools profit from the hypocrisy).

I would also point out that, despite all of the NBA's complaints about immaturity, many of the players who went pro straight out of high school turned out to be some of the league's biggest stars, including LeBron, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. The reason I don't care too much either way is that neither the owners nor the players view it as a frontline issue. There will be several major concerns to be negotiated in the next collective bargaining agreement before commissioner David Stern and union chief Billy Hunter ever get around to discussing the one-and-done rule. Neither side will be interested in giving away big money in exchange for an amendment to the current eligibility requirements.

McCallum: Isn't it nice that we have a man like Calipari to keep us on the proper moral course? But he's right. What happened with Kentucky this season, with four first-year players apparently heading for the NBA, makes a mockery of the idea that big-time athletes are in college to get an education. If you're good enough to go pro after high school -- need we make the you're-old-enough-to-go-to-war argument? -- then go. And if you commit to college, then stay for at least two years. It's going to be interesting to see if Stern can make that part of the next collective bargaining agreement.

Hughes: First of all, what Calipari is probably really saying is that he wants to make his job easier; he doesn't want to spend the energy recruiting players who are going to leave, and if he does, he wants to make it worthwhile. Secondly, I have absolutely no compassion for the NCAA. It exploits the athletes, the coaches get paid a handsome salary on top of lucrative endorsement deals and incentive bonuses, then complain that they are being treated unfairly. Why is it OK for Calipari to pursue whichever job he wants to the detriment of his recruits, but the recruits can't make the choice about which profession they want to pursue and when? College basketball's hypocrisy is sickening.

Mannix: The one-and-done rule has made an impact to the degree that it has been a filter keeping overhyped high school prospects out of the draft. But it's far from perfect, and Calipari's argument has merit. One-year college players are little more than mercenaries for top programs. I'd support a two-year minimum, but as a trade-off, I'd also support changes that benefit the players, like a bigger stipend from the school or the NCAA paying for big insurance policies that protect them in the event of a debilitating injury. As much as I support keeping players in college as long as possible, there has to be some kind of protection for them -- many of whom are poor and eager to get to the NBA to take care of their families -- for staying put. I would not, however, under any circumstances dump the one-and-done rule to let high school seniors back into the draft. The rule does keep underprepared teenagers out.

3. Assuming the injured Chris Bosh doesn't return this season even if the Raptors get into the playoffs and make a deep run, has the impending free agent played his last game with Toronto?

Thomsen: I would think he won't be back. He isn't going to return to Toronto based on the promise of contending for a championship, because there is little reason to believe next season will play out any better than this year. Let's be fair: The Raptors may have their own doubts about investing a max contract in Bosh after going 35-35 with him (not including his two-minute appearance in Cleveland last week before he suffered a displaced nasal fracture). Teams with major cap space -- including New York, Miami and Chicago -- would undoubtedly love to sign Bosh to a max deal, and it's going to be hard for him to say no.

McCallum: The question leads me to ponder how well the prime free agents (LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Bosh) have kept their real feelings secret this season. It's been easier for James because his Cavaliers are actually having a good season, but neither Wade nor Bosh has tipped his hand. So this is purely a gut feeling: I think he's going to leave, probably after a sign-and-trade agreement.

Hughes: All signs point to Bosh's departing. From the logistical difficulties of living in a Canadian city while working for an American company to the frustration that he has endured with this team and ultimately vented, I'd say he is the max free agent most likely to leave his current team. Getting injured at the end of a frustrating season can't make him feel good about re-signing. The Raptors say they have a contingency plan in place, but losing Bosh is going to set that organization back years.

Mannix: Ask any GM about which of the big pieces is most likely to move this summer and Bosh's name is at the top of the list. Making the playoffs can't hurt the Raptors' cause and it will give Toronto fans a chance to plead with Bosh to stay, but it's probably falling on deaf ears. Bosh can't be happy with the mediocre team the Raptors have assembled and how they don't have much flexibility to improve over the next few years. Bryan Colangelo won't let Bosh go for nothing -- expect a sign-and-trade that makes Bosh a few more bucks and sends something back to Toronto -- but I believe he will have to let him go.

4.IfBrandon Roy, who was found to have a torn meniscus, sits out the playoffs, how far can the Blazers expect to go? And if he decides to play through the pain, how will that affect their chances?

Thomsen: Roy has shown leadership by guiding Portland through a variety of injuries, but this is asking too much of him. Without him, the Blazers have zero chance, and even if he's available he'll be limited by that injury -- some nights he may be able to play through it, other games he may have no lift. Roy is one of the league's smartest stars and he's able to contribute in several ways, but the Blazers were going to need big scoring performances from him to position themselves for an upset.

McCallum: The loss of Roy would be fatal to the Blazers' chances of advancing. And a half-useful Roy would probably be fatal, too. It's a devastating injury for a franchise that has already gone through so much with Greg Oden, among other injuries. It's most unfortunate, but it's the kind of injury that will probably have little impact on Roy's future. So, with or without a healthy Oden, Portland will be a force next season.

Hughes: As the likely sixth seed, I thought the Blazers would have a pretty decent chance in a potential matchup with Denver, Utah or Phoenix. But losing Roy obviously makes that much more difficult. It would be like the Nuggets losing Carmelo Anthony or the Jazz losing Carlos Boozer. Denver has actually had a bit of success with Anthony out of the lineup this year, but a seven-game series is a different animal. This is really unfortunate for the Blazers because they have already overcome so much this year.

Mannix: A source told me late Monday night that the Blazers were not optimistic about having Roy in the postseason. And with Roy not planning to do anything until the day before Portland's first playoff game, I'm not expecting much, if anything, from him this round. The Blazers dealt with a variety of devastating injuries this season, but Roy is the most indispensable player on the roster. Without him, or even with a limited version, they are likely one-and-done.

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