Mike Downey of The Chicago Tribune: "I know kids will be kids. I know Beasley has a frisky exuberance and humor. I know he and Derrick Rose are both mere lambs of 19. Unless you feel strongly that Beasley can turn out to be a superhuman scorer, ultimate warrior and otherworldly Space-Jammer like that 'other' Michael you used to run around a court with, John, I think that you better avoid the unnecessary risk and stick with Rose. If you go with the other guy, he better develop into Air Beasley, believe me, or else the bull will hit the fan."
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "No sooner had the Heat exited the May 20 NBA Draft lottery with the No. 2 overall selection, then Pat Riley said he would attempt to 'leverage' the pick. Now, with the NBA Draft mere hours away, Riley seems to have leveraged an entire league. Unlike other team executives who are openly bemoaning the abject confusion or simmering about the draft's lack of clarity, Riley has remained mum on the Heat intentions for weeks. That silence has reached the point where Memphis point guard Derrick Rose said Wednesday he has not had contact with Riley since the late-May NBA draft camp."
Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post: "They are 'chips' in the parlance of Heat President Pat Riley, and, oh, how he loves them. Those, by Riley's definition, are attractive commodities in the NBA trade market. Now, he holds two of the precious items -- the No. 2 pick in tonight's draft and forward Shawn Marion and his expiring monster contract. The guess here is that Riley won't be able to resist dealing one or the other, or perhaps even both. It's precisely the kind of circumstance that makes Riley such an intriguing figure."
David Moore of The Dallas Morning News: "Did you really believe Pat Riley would stay in the shadows and allow the Minnesota Timberwolves to dictate the top of the draft? Did you actually think Riley would accept whomever falls to No. 2 rather than take an aggressive approach to alter an underachieving Miami roster? Riley is no longer the coach of the Heat. The mind games he once employed on his players are now focused on his counterparts around the league."
Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "I believe that if assistant general manager Fred Hoiberg is a good salesman and if the Wolves don't make a trade, they will take Southern California guard O.J. Mayo. Hoiberg played for Southern California coach Tim Floyd at Iowa State, and they are close. Floyd also coached in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls from 1999-2002, so he has a good idea how Mayo will fit in as a pro player. I believe Floyd has sold Hoiberg on Mayo. ... I believe Kevin McHale, the Wolves' vice president of basketball operations, favors Kevin Love because the UCLA center/forward would make Wolves center/forward Al Jefferson that much better. But Hoiberg likes Love, too."
Eric D. Williams of The News Tribune: "So who do the Sonics want with their first pick? Only Presti knows for sure, and the tight-lopped Sonics executive hasn't given any clues, saying only that the Sonics will add a player that will help in the team's progression from a franchise-worst 20-62 record to a consistent winner."
Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal: "Good morning, Memphis Grizzlies fans! Hello? HELLO? Yoooo hoooo! Uh, anyone out there? No? Nobody? Maybe we should try this again. Good morning, former Memphis Grizzlies fans! Today is the day. The day that might, possibly, begin to create a hint of a smidge of interest in the local NBA franchise. 'The draft is critical to any franchise,' said Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace. Especially one that has been -- excuse the technical basketball term -- totally stinko."
Ian O'Connor of The Record: "The first shots in this newfangled turf war will be fired tonight at the NBA draft, where the Knicks hold the sixth pick, and the Nets hold the 10th and 21st. Neither team made the playoffs in the spring, and neither will be in position to contend for a title next year. But the stakes have been raised on both sides of the Hudson, especially on the Jersey side, where the end of the Jason Kidd era brought the end of a six-year postseason run. The Nets were hemorrhaging money and suffering through an identity crisis with Kidd; they're a few bad moves away from slipping back into complete irrelevance without him. That wouldn't be a good thing with the Knicks finally presenting a competent front in the form of Donnie Walsh, a worthy adversary for Thorn. Of more consequence, it wouldn't be a good thing with LeBron James expected to be a free agent in two summers, and with half the league believing James' decision will come down to -- you guessed it -- the Knicks and the Nets."
Broderick Turner of The Press-Enterprise: "The Clippers apparently really like Bayless but fear he'll be gone by the time they select. They think that Augustin, closer to 5-foot-10 than 6-foot, is too small, that Gordon shoots first and passes second, and that Westbrook is not ready to be a starting point guard. 'There are several guys in the draft I think have big-time potential but aren't going to be ready for a couple of years,' Mike Dunleavy said. 'If that's the case, I don't think that would be a guy for us. We want a guy with upside, but who can give us some minutes right away. You'd like to draft in this position a guy that potentially could be a starter for you somewhere down the road.'"
Rob Schultz of The Capital Times: "Recent history shows that players selected at the No. 8 spot of the first round, which is the Milwaukee Bucks' pick during tonight's National Basketball Association draft, have about a 50-50 chance at becoming a solid performer. Memphis forward Rudy Gay, New York guard Jamal Crawford, Philadelphia guard Andre Miller and Chicago guard Larry Hughes -- all of whom are former No. 8 picks -- are among the most notable successe
s over the past 12 years."
Tom Sorensen of The Charlotte Observer: "The Charlotte Bobcats have a tough assignment tonight. They have to become relevant. How do they become relevant? They acquire a player who will help push them into the playoffs. The Bobcats have so much working against them that the only way they can become a factor in this town is to make the postseason. The more they win, the more distant their various misdeeds become."
Richard Walker of Gaston Gazette: "With veteran coach Larry Brown at the helm and owners Michael Jordan and Bob Johnson eager for returns on their investments, many around the league are intrigued by what the Bobcats may do. Some consider this a desperate franchise that could do anything tonight."
Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "Will their two first-round picks greatly improve the franchise next season? Probably not, but president Larry Bird expects the players to help the franchise end their two-year skid of missing the playoffs. The Pacers have glaring holes at point guard and in the post. Which direction they go -- big or small -- is uncertain. Bird, in typical fashion, isn't tipping his hand, though he said he knows who he wants. 'We have four guys (we like) and we'll really have a chance at two of them,' he said."
Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee: "Two developments during the past 12 hours have made the order of today's NBA Draft selection even more interesting, particularly as it pertains to the Kings. First, the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors reportedly agreed to a trade that would send Pacers center Jermaine O'Neal to the Raps in a deal for point guard T.J. Ford. Though reports out of Indianapolis suggest the Pacers still plan to draft diminutive point guard D.J. Augustin at No.11, one spot ahead of the Kings, I have to believe that Kings personnel director Jerry Reynolds is leaning on his longtime buddy (and fellow French Lick native) Larry Bird for some kind of arrangement that would leave the Texas star available for the Kings. From what I'm hearing, the Kings execs are unanimous: if available, they absolutely want Augustin."
Jason Quick of The Oregonian: "The Blazers have the 13th and 27th overall picks (and three second-round picks) in a deep, yet unspectacular draft. The widespread theory is that Kevin Pritchard will trade his top pick, in small part because the Blazers need experience more than another young player, and in large part because of Pritchard's track record. Before today, Pritchard had executed 10 draft-day deals since taking over the Blazers' draft two years ago. All of the deals have turned out decidedly in the Blazers' favor, helping change a once-wayward team into a promising collection of talent and character. ... So what has made Pritchard so successful on draft day? Owner Paul Allen says Pritchard has the 'Golden Gut' -- the ability to correctly identify elite players."
Janny Hu of the San Francisco Chronicle: "At No. 14, the Warriors were sitting six spots higher than the playoff-swept Nuggets, who nudged Golden State out of a postseason berth and ended up trading out of the draft. And at that spot, the Warriors believe there will be a talented player to join an already successful core. 'I don't know any year where you (have a) 48-win team with the prospect of the 14th pick,' Warriors vice president Chris Mullin said. 'Right now, we're in a position of looking for depth.' That's assuming Golden State stays there, of course. The Warriors have been active in trade talks leading up to the draft, especially with their $10 million trade exception set to expire Monday."
Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "Between rumors and how often Kerr and Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin are on the phone, it just might seem like there have been 100 proposed deals. The only transaction that appears poised to happen for the Suns is that they will make their selection tonight with the 15th overall pick, where an immediate contributor likely would be preferred."
Joe Juliano of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Starting next week, the Sixers, with about $11 million to play with under the salary cap, will begin negotiating with high-caliber free agents in the hopes of finding a big man with the ability to score in the low post. At best, he will impact a team that made the playoffs last season. At worst, he will become a significant member of the rotation. With a proven veteran commodity expected in South Philadelphia next season, either via free agency or trade, the Sixers probably wouldn't mind drafting any one of a half dozen big-man projects -- power forwards and centers -- most of whom have been in for a look."
Ivan Carter of The Washington Post: "The Washington Wizards took one last up-close look at prospects for the NBA draft yesterday when they hosted forwards Darrell Arthur (Kansas) and Novica Velickovic (Serbia). The Wizards hold the 18th and 47th selections in tonight's draft."
Mary Schmitt Boyer Of The Plain Dealer: "If the Cavaliers use the No. 19 pick in tonight's NBA draft, chances are it is as a last resort. This is not to disparage any individual who might be available at that point, for it's possible they'll be able to get someone who will develop into a solid NBA player, as Cavs General Manager Danny Ferry likes to say. But the fact of the matter is, the Cavaliers don't have time to wait for a player to develop. They are a team one year removed from the finals that came within one quarter of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals and a chance to reach the finals for the second straight season."
Chris Tomasson of the Rocky Mountain News: "The Nuggets are well in excess of the luxury tax, but Warkentien denied the move was made with money a consideration. 'Tough roster to make if you look at a you
ng guy coming in,' Warkentien said. 'It's tough finding minutes for young guys.' Warkentien said the Bobcats are in a better position for young players. Georgetown center Roy Hibbert is one player they are said to be targeting at No. 20. In lieu of a rookie, vice president of player personnel Rex Chapman said the Nuggets would be better served with a more experienced player."
John Denton of Florida Today: "International man of mystery Fran Vazquez, the 2005 pick, spurned the Magic to remain in Spain, 2006 pick J.J. Redick has failed to crack the rotation and last year's No. 15 pick went to the Pistons, who wisely chose Stuckey. Those draft-night debacles have ratcheted up the pressure on the Magic to score a hit tonight when they pick 22nd in the first round of the NBA Draft. Shooting guard and point guard are areas of great need for Orlando because of the impending free agency of Keyon Dooling, Maurice Evans and Carlos Arroyo. Also, power forward is a position where the Magic could use more bulk after getting pushed around physically in the playoffs by the Pistons."
Ross Siler of The Salt Lake Tribune: "With the Jazz owning the No. 23 pick in the first round, the team decided not to host a draft party for fans this year. Instead, the front office and coaching staff will be in more comfortable surroundings as they decide what to do with a most confusing pick. Once again drafting late in the first round, the Jazz have little in the way of expectations for how much any player they select would play next season. 'Is he going to help us this year? Probably not,' said Walt Perrin, the Jazz's vice president of player personnel. 'So we've got to look and see what he will do for us in the future. Can he be a starter or can he be a rotational player in two to three years down the road?'"
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "For weeks, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey spoke of the grim probabilities and the odds stacked against a player taken as late in the NBA draft as Houston's pick will be tonight. With the 25th selection, Morey lived those realities with each day's studies of draft prospects. Then, on the eve of the draft, he found optimism. 'We're most focused on two things: Get an impact player in the draft if we can do it, whether it be now or in the future. And two, how do we get better next year?' Morey said. 'How does this pick fit into that? We do think there are pretty good players at 25.'"
John Reid of Times-Picayune: "With a desire to obtain veteran help to improve their bench, the Hornets are awaiting league approval today for a trade deal that would send their 27th pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for cash considerations. In his explanation of why the Hornets decided to get involved in trade discussions, General Manager Jeff Bower said it usually takes up to three years for a low first-round draft pick to make an impact. 'I think that's rare that you find that type of (immediate) contribution, particularly in the rookie year,' Bower said. 'We have to make the judgment to where we can get the quickest help, whether it's from the draft or looking at other avenues.'"
Jeff McDonald of San Antonio Express-News: "One of the Spurs' favorite draft-day ploys has been to take a foreign-born player with lottery talent and an overseas contract, and then stashing him in Europe until he's ready for the NBA. High-profile struggles in getting draft picks Luis Scola and, more recently, Tiago Splitter into a Spurs jersey apparently have not made the team skittish about going that route again. 'It's better to have someone baking in the oven than to take somebody who you know can't play,' Gregg Popovich said."
Chris McCosky of The Detroit News: "Here's the thing about the Pistons and late first-round picks -- they don't generally throw them away. In the past few years they have plucked Arron Afflalo (27th), Jason Maxiell (26th), Carlos Delfino (25th) and Tayshaun Prince (23rd) out of the back end of the draft. So with the 29th pick tonight in the NBA draft, the Pistons are expecting to get another useful player. 'No question, the goal is to get value, get the best player regardless of where you pick them,' Scott Perry, Pistons vice president of basketball, said."
Marc J. Spears of The Boston Globe: "Assuming they don't trade the pick, the Celtics are hoping to get a surprise talent with the 30th selection in the first round tonight. Boston also has the 60th and final pick. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said his staff has narrowed its list to 23 prospects categorized by position and readiness to play in the league. 'It always is a crapshoot,' Ainge said. 'When you're drafting 30, the success rate of that pick is that less than 5 percent end up being a [consistent] starter in the NBA. Tony Parker was a great draft pick. Josh Howard was a great draft pick. Like anybody, you make good or bad ones.'"
Sekou Smith of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "This is new for the Hawks -- the NBA draft as a spectator sport. After four straight years of being knee-deep in the mix on draft night with high lottery picks, the Hawks will spend tonight watching. The Hawks don't have a pick in the first or second round. The Hawks will gather at their downtown headquarters tonight, monitor what goes on and keep the phone lines open. There may be an offer they can't refuse, but most likely they will go to sleep with the same roster."
David Waldstein of The Star-Ledger: "NBA scouts and personnel directors aren't known to hang around places such as Rider College's Alumni Gym, but once every six decades or so a special player compels them to rent a car, click on Mapquest and get over to Lawrenceville. Jason Thompson, whose stock has risen faster than oil futures in the past year, is one such player. Tonight, when the NBA's annual draft is held at Madison Square Garden, Thompson is expected to be a first-round pick. 'He'll be chosen higher than people think,' Knicks president Donnie Walsh said. 'He's a good player.'"