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Thursday, June 17, 2010
Interesting foursome get a Mavs workout

By Jeff Caplan

Day 3 of NBA draft-prospect workouts at the American Airlines Center is easily the most intriguing so far. The Mavericks bring in four more players and each has an interesting story.

Like most of the prospects the Mavs have brought in this week, these four are projected as late-second picks, if that. Without a first-round pick in the June 24 NBA draft, the Mavs will wait until the 50th of 60 pick rolls around to make selection.

Here's a look at today's group:

Elijah Millsap, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound junior out of Alabama-Birmingham. The small forward averaged 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds in one season for the Blazers after transferring from Louisiana-Lafayette. He's taking a risk by coming out, but he has the length and powerful frame that will get some NBA teams excited. He's a confident player who makes good use of his solid frame slashing and finishing at the rim.

He's also seen what it takes to get the job done in the Association. His big brother is Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap.

Another 6-6, 210-pounder with a brother playing in the NBA is swingman Ryan Thompson, who averaged 17.2 points and 5.0 rebounds as a senior at Rider. That's where his brother, Sacramento Kings center Jason Thompson, starred and became the suprise 12th overall pick two years ago.

Ryan Thompson opened some eyes at the Portsmouth Invitational in April, leading the tournament in scoring while showing diversity to his game. Scouting reports say he's not a dynamic athlete, but he shot the ball extremely well from beyond the 3-point arc in Portsmouth, which he did not do as a senior, and he demonstrated excellent court savvy.

One of the better stories coming out of the college game last season was resilient Harvard point guard Jeremy Lin. Lin is of Asian descent and grew up in the Bay Area. His game often gets the obligatory comparisons to Steve Nash or Jason Kidd, which is pretty good considering growing up he was mostly told he was too skinny or too short or he simply wasn't taken seriously as a basketball player.

Lin averaged 16.4 points, 4.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds as a senior. He had Harvard on track to make its first NCAA Tournament since 1947 until late-season losses ended that dream.

The final prospect is Amarillo's own Justin Mason, who finished a four-year career at Texas as one of the Longhorns' top leaders.

The 6-2 guard doesn't bring a lot of scoring, but he'll earn a spot on someone's summer-league team through heart and hustle.