Wednesday, June 25, 2008
First Cup: Wednesday
- Tim Buckley of the Deseret News: "It's called The Comparison Game, aka The Name Game, and it's played by virtually everyone around the league from Internet draft prognosticators to scouts and front-office executives to prospects themselves. Even Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor admits as much. ... 'If he doesn't remind you of anybody, maybe you're in trouble ... He's got to remind you of somebody,' O'Connor said. 'Now, you can argue about who that guy is.' For Jazz player personnel vice president Walt Perrin, the game is as money as Monopoly -- and sure beats the heck out of Sudoku. 'When we look at players,' he said, 'we always say, 'Who is he compared to, or who does he play like that's been in the league?' 'It gives you a frame of reference, in terms of, 'OK, what can he be at best-case scenario and what can he be at worst-case scenario?"'"
- Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald: "If the Heat thinks this draft decision isn't obvious -- and many league executives believe it is -- then Pat Riley's challenges get only tougher from here as he tries to find a high-quality point guard, smooth over the Shawn Marion situation and maximize the mid-level exception in what one league official calls an 'awful' free agent class. 'The Heat is over-thinking this,' said an executive with another lottery team who has spoken to the Heat and wonders why Miami has considered moving down from No. 2. 'Michael Beasley is the most talented player in this draft.'"
- Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune on the 18th pick of the 1993 NBA draft, Luther Wright: "He never got into shape and, in a long-ago interview, admitted to being a regular marijuana user while in Utah. He ended up playing in small parts of 15 games before hitting rock bottom. In January at Houston, Wright skipped a portion of pregame warm-ups to do a solo on a set of drums belonging to a band located at courtside. Earlier in the day, Wright had gone to a local pet store and bought a puppy, which he smuggled aboard the team bus for the flight home. 'Man,' said Corbin. 'When we saw the puppy, everybody just kind of looked at each other. Nobody knew what to do because that had never happened before.' At 4 a.m. the next day, police found Wright at a rest stop along Interstate 80 west of Salt Lake. He was banging on garbage cans and smashing windshields with a 5-foot stick. Wright was taken to a psychiatric hospital where, after a two-month stay, he was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. Before the 1994-95 season, the Jazz waived Wright and bought out his contract by agreeing to convert the rest of his original five-year, $5 million contract into an annuity that will continue to pay him $158,000 annually for another 10 years."
- Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "In an attempt to convince NBA teams that he is nimble and athletic enough, [Kevin] Love has lost 15 pounds since the college basketball season by changing his diet and forsaking what he calls his 'chocolate-milk fetish.' Even more disturbing to long-suffering Timberwolves fans might be Love's old-school game nurtured by his father and ancient NBA game videotapes that he hopes McHale -- the Basketball Hall of Fame player and unpopular Wolves executive -- sees as his 'mirror image.' A comparison to one of the greatest big men who ever played shouldn't be a bad thing, but given McHale's standing among the team's fan base ..."
- Don Seeholzer of The Pioneer Press: "To this point, the Wolves don't have any offers that would cause them to move out of the third spot, where they could have the opportunity to draft Southern California guard O.J. Mayo, but that could change by Thursday. If they do trade down, there are limits to how far they would go. ... GM Jim Stack said the Wolves have yet to reach a consensus on which player they would take at No. 3 if they keep the pick, but Mayo is considered the leading candidate, with UCLA power forward/center Kevin Love next in line."
- Percy Allen of The Seattle Times: Morale may be low at the Sonics' downtown headquarters, but general manager Sam Presti said coaches and scouts are focused on Thursday's NBA draft and are undeterred by the city of Seattle's lawsuit against the team. ... 'Is it strange? I wouldn't necessarily call it strange,' Presti said Tuesday at a news conference. 'It's just part of the situation that we're in. Again we're human. It's not as if we don't know that's going on or pretend that's not going on. We understand that it's there, but as professionals and as leaders we have to be doing our job every day that we're here -- to try and improve and get better as a basketball team. That is really what our focus has been. If we allow it to deter us, it puts us back from a competitive standpoint and we can't allow that to happen.'"
- Chris Herrington of The The Memphis Flyer: "The Grizzlies can go three different ways with the #5 pick -- combine it with other assets in a bid to move up for Michael Beasley, stay put and select a player to keep at #5, or deal down or out of the lottery completely. Based on the panorama of rumors out there as well as my own contacts with team personnel, it seems clear that all three options are quite possible."
- Ramona Shelburne of the Los Angeles Daily News: "Not surprisingly, most of the high-profile players the Clippers worked out over the past couple of weeks were guards. The list includes USC's O.J. Mayo, UCLA's Russell Westbrook, Texas' D.J. Augustin, Indiana's Eric Gordon and Arizona's Jerryd Bayless. But that doesn't necessarily mean the Clippers will draft a guard. 'We've got to come away from this with something good,' Dunleavy said. 'When you're picking seventh, you better go for the best guy available. If you draft just for need, you're liable to take yourself down a couple notches. You may get someone that's serviceable, but long-term, you'll be regretting it.'"
- Dave D'Alessandro of The Star-Ledger: "After months of scouting, preparation, consultation, film study, workouts, interviews and rumination, the Nets have come to grips with their true place in the 2008 NBA Draft as hopeful, yet helpless, bystanders. Put simply, they are on auto pilot -- flying solo, and blind as a bat. 'It depends on who's there. Tell me who's going to be there,' team president Rod Thorn pleaded yesterday, when asked how his team is leaning with the No. 10 selection in tomorrow night's drawing. And that's pretty much all he can say right now. The Nets have identified the 10 most viable players in this draft, but how the nine teams ahead of them are leaning is impossible to predict."
- Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "The thought of the Indiana Pacers drafting on potential can be thrown out with this morning's trash. Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird said Tuesday he is looking for impact players, not projects. 'We have to get a player that can help us move this franchise forward,' Bird said. 'You would like to get a player that can help you this year, and he's going to get better and better so that gives you more options on players if you want to move them.'"
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "The draft choice the Suns hold -- 15th overall -- in Thursday's NBA draft is one of the more anticipated Phoenix picks ever. It's not because the Suns can acquire instant help, which they might. It's not because they can get a pick with high-ceiling potential for the club's 2010 transition, although they might. It's not even because the Suns haven't kept a pick from the top half of the draft's first round since 2002. It's because the Suns have waited for this pick to materialize for nearly three years.The hype for this pick began when it became part of a July 2005 agreement to trade Joe Johnson to Atlanta. It was a parting rooted in 2004 extension talks that ended with the parties $5 million apart on a six-year deal."
- Rick Noland of The Medina County Gazette: "Don’t expect the Cavaliers to do anything drastic Thursday night in the NBA Draft. When the dust settles -- if it blows at all -- Cleveland will likely pick at its current spot, No. 19 overall. 'I believe in continuity,' general manager Danny Ferry said. 'Keeping a group together is usually the right thing. … I'’m not aggressively out there trying to do anything.'"
- Todd Porter of The Repository: "Tuesday was the second time the Suns worked out Koufos. The Cavaliers flew across the country to watch the 7-foot-1 Glen Oak High School product. Seattle, Toronto and Golden State took in Tuesday's session as well. 'I studied video of the guys I'd be working against before I came in, and I felt very confident in my workout,' Koufos said. 'I performed well. I was confident in my ability to play well in workouts, and I'm just blessed. I'm not anxious or nervous (for Thursday's draft). I'm looking forward to it. I've done what I can do. It's in God's hands now.'"
- Ivan Carter of The Washington Post: "Heading into tomorrow night's NBA draft, Patrick Ewing Jr. doesn't care if he's called a role player -- as long as some team simply picks up the phone and calls him. Ewing, who finished his college career as a senior at Georgetown last season, may not be selected in the two-round draft, but he's optimistic that he'll get a chance to show what he can do in summer league play and later in some team's fall training camp. ... One NBA executive who followed Ewing's career at Georgetown and watched him perform at the pre-draft camp in Orlando last month said Ewing is approaching his professional career with the perfect mind-set. 'If he gets it in his head that he's going to have to be a hustle guy first, a guy who goes in there and gets rebounds, plays defense and just brings energy to the court, then he's got a shot,' said the executive."