Friday, June 6, 2008
First Cup: Friday
Celtics vs. Lakers
- Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe: "Don't get cocky. Resist the urge to fire off that sarcastic e-mail to your old college roommate currently residing in Reseda. Just appreciate the fact that the championship of the world's greatest basketball league is once again being played in this town and that your Celtics are now one step closer to title No. 17. It may not go down as a great game, but it was plenty recognizable as NBA basketball, and, in particular, 2007-08 Boston Celtics basketball."
- Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: "It's entirely possible the guy will go off for 40 Sunday night. He may go to the hoop more. He may take more than six free throws. He's still Kobe Bryant after all. But after a night in the North End, the guy has got to know that it's not going to be easy for him. The Celtics, who evidently did little to slow Kobe last night, will see to that."
- Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald: "Professional athletes are fond of throwing up their arms, looking into the cameras and shouting, 'Nobody gave us a chance!' But Wyc Grousbeck is not a professional athlete. He does not stoop to cliches. And while it would make for better copy if the managing partner of the Celtics confided that there was a veritable conga line of Boston business leaders, politicians and around-the-town wiseguys who told him Republicans would take over the State House before banner No. 17 would be raised to the Garden rafters, Wyc wants you to know that it just never happened. 'I never felt anyone saying, 'Who are these guys?' Grousbeck said last night. 'I never felt that way. I hope that doesn't sound phony, but it's true."
- Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Daily News: "They couldn't make like a thief, couldn't go stealth and dangerous when the sweet opportunity was present itself. It was right there to be stolen, a game the Lakers could have pinched from the Boston Celtics like some deft pickpocket on the evening train. It was just one game, but a team only gets so many of these opportunities, so many chances to take away the homecourt advantage. This one was right there, in this almost typically odd opener where neither team was playing particularly well, right there for the Lakers to steal. And they couldn't do it."
- Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: "Andrew Bynum's seat is at the end of the Lakers' bench, in a suit. He's making the most of it, trying to soak in his surroundings while hoping to play a more active role in future NBA Finals. 'I would love to be a part of it, obviously, but I'm going to be able to get the experience and the atmosphere, at least, and be ready to come back next year,' Bynum said. "I think it's obvious that you would be kind of upset a little bit, but you've got to deal with that. It is what it is.' Sidelined since Jan. 13, Bynum underwent left knee surgery May 21 and began minor range-of-motion exercises at the team hotel Thursday, the first step in his rehabilitation after having cartilage debris removed and rough spots on the underside of his kneecap smoothed out."
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "When the Los Angeles Lakers met for training camp in Hawaii in October, speculation surrounding Kobe Bryant's trade demand had yet to be resolved. But the team managed to come together anyway because of the intervention of Lamar Odom. Odom hired well-known Hawaiian chef Sam Choy to prepare every meal for the team, and all the players, including Bryant, joined in. 'I knew in my gut it was something we needed,' Odom said of the time the players shared. 'I knew that we could be tighter as a unit, to have that type of camaraderie, because we've got some good guys in that locker room. I thought, I want to take it back to high school, AAU, we did everything together, no matter what. I thought that was important for us this year, because I knew that everyone wanted it.'"
- Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "Some of you are calling Jermaine O'Neal selfish for not opting out. Did you really think O'Neal would walk away from a guaranteed $44 million over the next two seasons? Would you walk away from that much money? What type of person would walk away from that much money? Not me and not you. In fact, I didn't think his decision not to opt out was major news. Everybody should have known that was the route he was going to take a long time ago. We're talking about a player that's been injured quite a bit over the past few seasons."
- Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times: "Baron Davis can't be thrilled to hear that the Warriors now consider player development a priority on par with winning real games. That suggests Nelson and Chris Mullin have touched heads and decided the Warriors are not a finished product. That would be an astute judgment, by the way. The 48 games they won last season would be beyond top-end as expectations go, and even that didn't get them into the postseason. In other words, there isn't much percentage in the status quo. No matter how unassailable the logic, it can't be what a guy who wants to win yesterday wants to hear."
2008 NBA Draft
- Eric Koreen of the National Post: "Not only does Brandon Rush's wingspan, beyond seven feet, give the crafty Douglas-Roberts fits, Rush also has some good trash-talk ammunition. His Kansas Jayhawks beat Douglas-Roberts' Memphis Tigers in April's NCAA championship game. ... But Douglas-Roberts will likely have to hear about that game some more. The two swingmen, projected to go somewhere in the latter half of the first round on June 26, will be working out against each other often as the NBA draft nears. It happened on Wednesday in Orlando. It happened Thursday in Toronto. On Thursday, it appeared Rush got the better of his counterpart. Neither is a terrific shooter, but Rush's defensive ability looked to separate the two."
- Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: "Jim Kelly, Toronto's director of player personnel, came away feeling better about both players after seeing them up close. 'I liked the composure of Rush on the floor, I liked the competitiveness of Douglas-Roberts,' said Kelly. The workouts were another ch
ance for Toronto to gain more information on two possible picks. Douglas-Roberts and Rush worked out alongside Bill Walker of Kansas State yesterday and all are on the radar if Toronto keeps its first pick in the June 28 draft."
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "The Heat next heads out on the road for a workout of lottery prospect O.J. Mayo in Chicago. The Southern Cal guard has been working at the same Chicago gym as Wade. Following the Mayo workout, the Heat's scouting staff leaves for the west coast, where it will meet with possible No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose, the freshman guard from Memphis, and then scout a large open workout of players expected to go in the middle to the end of the first round, with that session hosted by the Warriors."
- Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "The Sonics have begun their pre-draft workouts and it began with UCLA's Kevin Love, who was one of four guys to participate today at Furtado Center. Love was joined by North Carolina State's J.J. Hickson, Ohio State's Kosta Koufos and Austrailian prospect Nathan Jawai. ... On Saturday, the Sonics will work out Georgetown's Roy Hibbert, IUPUI's George Hill, Illinois Shaun Pruitt and UCLA's Russell Westbrook."
- Steve Rivera if the Tucson Citizen: "Many mock drafts have Bayless going to Gary Payton's longtime team, Seattle. Bayless said he keeps in contact with Sonics player Kevin Durant. 'We just talked about the opportunity of us playing together,'' Bayless said. 'I have known Kevin since my freshman year of high school. We just talked about playing together and what kind of combo that could be if that did happen.' Payton asked Bayless about his potential impact on the league. 'If I am put in the right situation, I think I can do some things,' Bayless said. 'I think the main thing for me is to get into the right situation and a coach that maybe runs a couple things for me.'"
- Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal: "The Griz began draft workouts Thursday with an emphasis on their 28th pick. Israeli forward Omri Casspi, USC's Davon Jefferson and Mississippi State's Charles Rhodes participated in a spirited session. 'I was staring at the Memphis Grizzlies (logo) in the middle of the court,' Rhodes said. 'It would be a dream come true. But I've got a lot of workouts to do. I'm trying to stay focused.'"
- Fred Kerber of the New York Post: "Among the six hopefuls at the New Jersey Nets draft workouts yesterday were a pair of projected first round 7-foot centers -- JaVale McGee of Nevada and Stanford's Robin Lopez, whose twin brother Brook is seen as a lottery pick. 'We had some guys who were very talented, big, long, very impressive athletically,' said Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe. ... Today's group has Brandon Rush of NCAA champ Kansas, Arizona forward Chase Budinger, Florida power forward Marreese Speights, and forward Joey Dorsey of Memphis."
- Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "Courtney Lee, who played at Western Kentucky, made the first of 15 scheduled stops with teams Thursday when he worked out for the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse. He then flew to Boston for a workout with the Celtics. 'I'm sure it's going to catch up with me,' Lee said. 'All the flying and traveling. I want to stay off my feet as much as possible and get a lot of rest and drink a lot of fluids.' Notre Dame's Rob Kurz, Alabama's Richard Hendrix and North Carolina's Wayne Ellington also worked out at the fieldhouse Thursday."
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "Competitive workouts begin today with a group featuring Texas point guard D.J. Augustin, who could last until No. 15. Today's group also will feature potential first-round picks in Kansas point guard Mario Chalmers and North Carolina State power forward J.J. Hickson. With teams now allowed to work out six players, Michigan State point guard Drew Neitzel, Memphis small forward Robert Dozier and French point guard Rodrigue Beaubois also are in today's group. Neitzel was a standout at last week's predraft camp. Dozier is likely to return to Memphis. Beaubois is one of three Frenchmen whom Phoenix will see, along with projected first-round shooting guard Nicolas Batum and center Alexis Ajinca."
- Brian Hendrickson of The Columbian: "The words selected sounded honest and contrite. C.J. Giles admitted he made mistakes. He was young, he said. He made bad choices. But Giles insists the bad rap the former Kansas and Oregon State forward has received is not the complete picture of his personality and character. Now Giles is hoping an NBA team will look beyond the picture his reputation paints. He hopes they will focus on his potential and believe in his talent over his mistakes. And the skills he possesses are so rare that he is almost certain to receive a second chance. His third second chance."
- Ivan Carter of The Washington Post: "The Washington Wizards held the first of several pre-draft workouts at Verizon Center yesterday morning. The team hosted center C.J. Giles (Oregon State), guard Lester Hudson (Tennessee-Martin), forward Darnell Jackson (Kansas), guard Jeremy Pargo (Gonzaga), forward-center Marreese Speights (Florida) and forward Jason Thompson (Rider). ... Today, the team will have workouts for six more prospects: forward-center Frank Elegar (Drexel), forward-center Jeff Ferguson (Wayne State), guard Stefhon Hannah (Missouri), forward Michael Lee (St. Bonaventure) forward Quan Powell (Auburn) and guard Jason Rich (Florida State). Workouts will continue Monday, when guard Ty Lawson (North Carolina) and forward D.J. White (Indiana) are scheduled to visit, along with four other prospects."
- Mike Fratto of The Washington Times: 'I tried to show my versatility, shooting and establishing a post game as well,' Jason Thompson said. 'Obviously, if I come here as a rookie I'm going to do whatever it takes to help the team, whether it's to get some rebounds, shoot from the outside, stop some big men out that are slower than I am or establish a post. I'll do whatever it takes.' One negative for Thompson is he has yet to prove himself against elite competition, because he played at a mid-major. But he is confident his skills will shine through and he can be an example that all NBA-ready players are not found at major programs. 'Being from a small school, I have to prove myself ev
erywhere,' Thompson said. 'But I use that as motivation, and if I get my name called on draft day it can encourage guys to not go to a big school just for the name. You can play anywhere and still get looked at by NBA teams and scouts.'"
- Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post: "On the third day of the pre-draft camp, Richard Roby broke the second metacarpal in his right hand -- his shooting hand. The break, which is expected to take six to eight weeks to heal, ended his camp and, more important, will keep him from showcasing his skills in workouts for NBA teams in advance of the June 26 draft. Roby said he doesn't expect to play in the NBA summer league July 11-20, which is often considered a critical step for young players looking to make a professional roster. 'I've just got to stay positive,' said Roby, who had so many problems with the same hand during his senior season it required an X-ray. 'At the end of the day, it's a minor injury. It's just bad timing, more than anything else. Teams have seen me play for four years, so they know what I'm capable of doing.' He then quipped, 'I got a left hand, so I'll work on that.'"
- Mike McGraw of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald: "The Bulls began hosting players for predraft workouts this week. Only two players are being considered for the No. 1 pick in the June 26 draft, but the Bulls also have the No. 39 overall selection in the second round. Among the players to visit Thursday was 6-foot-2 point guard Mike Taylor, who may be the first D-League player drafted into the NBA."