Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Draft buzz: Kanter at No. 2? Kemba sliding?
By Andy Katz
NEW YORK -- After a full day of reporting, here are a few draft-related quick hitters from multiple sources within the NBA who have direct knowledge on the situations at hand:
• Cleveland won't make an official decision about selecting Duke's Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick over Arizona's Derrick Williams until Thursday, when the basketball operations staff meets with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.
However, Cleveland is satisfied with the health of Irving's right toe, which had ligament damage that kept him out of all but 11 games in his freshman season.
• The Cavs are still seriously considering drafting Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas at No. 4, even though he may not be able to come to Cleveland until the 2012-13 season because of complications with the buyout of his contract with his current team. Kentucky's Enes Kanter is also a viable alternative at No. 4 if he's still available.
Cleveland is actively pursuing multiple picks deeper in the first round, as are Portland, Houston and Charlotte.
• Minnesota had serious discussions Tuesday night about taking Kanter over Williams at No. 2, assuming Irving is off the board. As of late Tuesday, the Timberwolves had Williams slightly ahead of Kanter.
Minnesota has heard multiple offers for the No. 2 pick, but the plan as of Tuesday is to keep the pick unless a genuine offer arises.
• There is legitimate concern that UConn's Kemba Walker could slide deep into the lottery or even out of it altogether if Sacramento passes on him at No. 7. However, Walker's representation isn't worried about the number as much as the fit. Walker initially was comfortable that he would be going to Toronto (No. 5), Sacramento (7) or Detroit (8). But the Raptors and Pistons have cooled a bit, and a number of teams slotted after the Pistons are actively discussing that he might be on the board when they select.
• Utah is deciding among four players at No. 3 with two of them likely not within its reach. If Irving and Williams are indeed gone by the time they come on the clock, the Jazz are leaning toward Kanter over Brandon Knight of Kentucky, but that remains a fluid discussion for management.
• Toronto was impressed with the workout of Congo forward Bismack Biyombo Monday in New York, particularly his athleticism and raw skill. But his lack of basketball experience could be a negative in the decision process. The Raptors also remain extremely high on Jan Vesely of Partizan (Serbia) and Knight if the Kentucky point guard remains on the board.
• Jimmer Fredette is still in play at No. 7 to the Kings, but it's more likely that Fredette will be on the board at No. 12 for the Jazz to make a decision. Phoenix is still mulling a possible Fredette selection at No. 13 with Georgia Tech's Iman Shumpert, surprisingly also a legitimate possibility.
Indiana remains a stopgap for Fredette at No. 15, meaning the New York Knicks would need to move up from the No. 17 spot to get him. Fredette's representation is convinced that he won't last until No. 12, but there are a few scenarios where that occurs outside of a Kings selection or a trade where the Knicks were to move up before No. 12.
• Despite a consensus to the contrary, Washington State's Klay Thompson is not locked in to and has not received a promise from Milwaukee at No. 10. The Bucks, like many teams, may have multiple choices that weren’t originally considered at this spot.
San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard withdrew from a workout at Milwaukee, leading to increased speculation that Leonard will land at either Toronto (5), Sacramento (7) or Detroit (8).
• Boston College's Reggie Jackson hasn't worked out or even interviewed for any team because of a knee injury (jumper's knee). Miami at No. 31 appears to be his stopgap, but that won't preclude a number of teams from possibly selecting Jackson, including Portland (21), Oklahoma City (24), Boston (25) and Dallas (26).
• Boston brought back Marquette's Jimmy Butler for a second workout within a week, putting Butler in the mix at No. 25. The Celtics are also considering Jeremy Tyler, who played in Israel and Japan recently, among other places. Cleveland State's Norris Cole also has been tabbed as a favorite among some circles in the organization. Cole has interest in teams like Sacramento if the Kings don't get a point guard in the lottery.
• Florida's Chandler Parsons has worked out well, and his representation is convinced that he will go higher than projected. But where Parsons lands is still a mystery.
• More teams in the lottery than maybe any other year were unsure about whom they would select less than 48 hours before the draft. But the consensus among teams is that Colorado's Alec Burks, Florida State's Chris Singleton, Thompson, Morris, Markieff Morris, Texas' Jordan Hamilton and Morehead State's Kenneth Faried will be gone by the 20th pick.