On with the links…
· Speaking of the No. 1 pick, Jason Quick of The Oregonian was on hand for a surprise workout involving Durant and Oden in which they were “jaw-dropping.” Everyone seems to think it’s a foregone conclusion that the Blazers will select Oden, but Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune and some guys he knows think Portland is still undecided. If Portland is confident they can get a good deal for Zach Randolph, Oden should be the choice. But if they aren’t getting the feedback they want for Randolph (and who wouldn’t want an overweight, oft-lazy delinquent once accused of sexually assaulting a stripper), they should take a long look at Durant. A lineup of Jarrett Jack, Brandon Roy, Kevin Durant, Zach Randolph and Lamarcus Aldridge would a pretty solid foundation. The one thing Hughes brings up that kills me is the idea that Seattle is better off because they don’t have to make a choice and can’t be criticized. I know this is the team that took Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan, but if an NBA GM is this insecure, he shouldn’t be allowed out of the house, let alone in an NBA front office.
· Oden has been all over the place lately, whether it be Orlando, ESPN or a Topps trading card, and Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News provides yet another feature on him. Not to be outdone, Kevin Durant has his fair share of pub, notably this Jason Quick piece and a Gary Washburn piece in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which reveals Ray Allen’s excitement for the possibility of playing with Durant and Rashard Lewis. No word on Allen’s reaction to the NBA’s dismissal of his new proposal that would allow the Sonics to play with four basketballs at once.
· This edition’s winner of the Slow News Day Award goes to John Canzano, also of The Oregonian, for this column, suggesting the Blazers should be allowed to design new uniforms to ring in the Oden or Durant era.
stuff in this Adrian
Wojnarowski notebook. He takes a look at the possibility of Portland making
a deal to acquire Mike Conley, a rumor that has been passed around for a few
weeks but holds little bearing. But what
horrified interested me was his
pre-draft camp notes that included the rumor that New Jersey might promise the
No. 17 pick to Josh McRoberts. Not only would this move NOT make the Nets soft
interior any tougher, it would certainly force Jay-Z to sell his stake in the
franchise. Josh McRoberts certainly does not pimp big enough for Hova. He also
writes that the Pistons are considering Rodney “Flip Murray II” Stuckey at No.
15. If you were questioning the potential impact of this year’s draft consider
this: It’s only June 4 and GMs around the league are already putting their jobs
· Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution continues to be all over the draft and turns in this well-done feature on Mike Conley Jr. Conley appears to have the same reaction as most college basketball fans in regards to him being picked at No. 3: shock. I highly doubt anyone would be making those projections if the Hawks didn’t have such a terrible history with point guards, but I still think the Hawks should/will opt for a big man. But as the old draft proverb goes, “Who knows, it’s the Hawks.”
· A lot of people joke around about Chad Ford and his affinity for international players, but he is still probably the pre-eminent NBA Draft guy on the Web. His wrap-up of the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp — Insiders only, you must be privileged to gain access to Chad Ford’s brain — confirmed what most had already expected: NBA GMs would rather watch guys dribble through cones than actual basketball. I figured Daequan Cook would be the best guy actually playing at the camp and apparently he was. Looks like three Buckeye freshmen will go in the first round. If anyone wants a wrap-up of the camp (and I feel sorry for anyone who does), here’s the Orlando Sentinel’s coverage.
· Interesting item in this Ian Thomsen notebook on SI.com. Fans and writers have always joked about David Stern rigging the lottery, but apparently during the latest competition committee meeting actual NBA executives and coaches are questioning the lottery’s integrity. That seems completely impossible to me. Also, Tony Barone of the Memphis Grizzlies apparently got animated when the subject of tanking came up. It’s like they held an intervention for an alcoholic and he started getting defensive. David Stern is the best.
· Oh, and remember when Roy Hibbert decided to go back to school and Jeff Green said he was staying in the draft? Well, in true Unsubstantiated Speculation form, he’s not so sure. Even though he said he would stay in, he still hasn’t hired an agent and if his workouts don’t go as planned he could still withdraw. In other news, a suspicious figure, seemingly between 18 and 22 years old was seen outside the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp with some rope and a tire iron. Here is the police sketch.
· As if the Pacific Northwest doesn’t own this draft already, Percy Allen of the Seattle Times points out that, for whatever reason, there are a lot of players from Seattle in this draft (meanwhile in Philly, we have cheesesteaks and Curtis Sumpter).
· A lot of college standouts participated in the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp, here’s some reports on a bunch of them:
· DeVon Hardin is probably goin’ back to Cali.
· Jared Jordan continues to surprise people (mostly people who have never seen him play).
· Stephane Lasme should find a spot somewhere for his defense.
· Most underclassmen without an agent will only stay in the draft if they are guaranteed a spot in the first round. Not Marcellus Kemp.
· DJ Strawberry showed some offense in Orlando.
· Remember when Marcus Williams was seen as a lottery pick? Yeah, well he still thinks he is and didn’t play in Orlando (for the record, he is going to be a huge steal for someone in the low-20s).
· One of the more obnoxious college players in recent memory, Jared Dudley, might not have much to growl about on draft day.