Thursday, May 29, 2008
Updated: May 30, 2:11 PM ET
Draft Notes: Beasley, Rose delivering a contrast in styles
By Chad Ford
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The media got its first real taste of the Michael Beasley / Derrick Rose showdown on Thursday.
Both players met with the media for 30 minutes on Thursday afternoon and the differences couldn't be more striking.
Beasley was loud, boisterous and playful. Rose was quiet, humble and focused.
"He's way better than me," Rose said when asked about Beasley. "He's versatile. He's a great player."
When asked whether that reply was humility or a lack of confidence, Rose said meekly, "It's just me."
Compare that to Beasley who compared himself to a 30-year-old when it comes to basketball IQ and was defiant about concerns about his character.
"I hear a lot about I have 'character issues,' but I've yet to hear what those 'character issues' are," he said. "Until somebody can tell me what my 'character issues' are, I don't feel the need to change.
"I just turned 19 in January. How mature do you want me to be? I'm still a kid. I'm not legal. I can vote, but that's about it. On the basketball side of things, I'm 30 years old. Off the court
I'm going to live my life. I'm going to mess up."
As far as entertainment goes, Beasley stole the show. He answered a question about his height or lack thereof by saying, "I didn't know there was a height requirement for the NBA. No matter if I'm 5 feet or 8-1, I'm the same player. I'm going to work as hard as I can."
He riffed with the press about Joey Dorsey's proclamation that he "knew" that Beasley was going No. 1 saying, "Oh yeah, Joey, he got this car to take him to the future sometimes. He must have just got back from the future."
And when asked about whether he'd like to play in Miami he said, "I've heard some great things about Miami
there's a little beach there I hear."
While Beasley was playful, Rose treated the press conference like a job interview. When asked about his credentials he pointed to the one thing that will be hard to ignore: he's a winner.
"My whole thing is about winning," he said. "I don't care about points."
When asked how many games he's lost in the past three seasons his response said it all, "I think it was four or five games."
Five losses in three years? Now you know why Rose is pegged as a franchise-type leader.
Both players declined to enter the fray on where they should go. They just seemed happy to be there.
While you can't read too much into two 30-minute interviews, the difference between the two players is stark and could be the key to who goes No. 1.
Bulls GM John Paxson is a no-nonsense guy. He likes players who are focused and professional. Rose fits the bill.
Still, Paxson doesn't always go in that direction. Last year he took Joakim Noah, a guy who, in personality, seems to be a kindred spirit with Beasley.
Of more concern may be the perception that Beasley has more than just basketball on his mind. While Rose kept all of his comments on the game and the teams he might play for, Beasley answered a question about Miami not by talking about Pat Riley, Dwyane Wade or Shawn Marion
but by referencing the beach.
That one factor could kill Beasley's chances of landing in Chicago -- or Miami for that matter.
Pat Riley continues to insist that the draft is not a two-man race. With O.J. Mayo and Dwyane Wade becoming fast friends working out together in Chicago
Beasley better be on his best behavior.
|Rose seems content to let his game speak for itself.|
I spent some time with Indiana's Eric Gordon on Thursday night at the ESPN Zone in Orlando. Gordon is in town to participate in the combine portion of the pre-draft camp on Friday.
Prospects are testing for strength, speed, agility, size and for medical red flags. The NBA has invited 15 players for this part of the camp and Gordon is one of them.
Gordon has been working out in Indiana, rehabbing a wrist that was broken, working on his ball handing and regaining that sweet shooting stroke that abandoned him in the second half of the season.
Gordon said his wrist is totally healed and he's back to being a dead-eye behind the arc. The thing that stuck out to me about Gordon was his size. He is so wide for a guard. He looks like a 6-foot-4 power forward. Given his athleticism and quickness, that size will serve him well in the pros. He's significantly bigger than Mayo or Jerryd Bayless.
Sources say that Gordon will likely fall to either Seattle at No. 4, the Knicks at No. 6 or the Clippers at No. 7. On potential, he could be the third- or fourth-best player in this draft. If his jumper is falling in workouts, his stock will be quickly repaired.
NBA agents have long controlled the draft process and this year is no different. More and more agents are targeting certain teams in the draft for their clients and are ignoring draft position.
That means a few players make actually refuse to work out for teams drafting higher in the draft, content to slip a few spots to a team they'd prefer to play for.
The team struggling the most to get players into workouts is the Memphis Grizzlies. Two league sources said that the team is having a hard time getting the top prospects in the draft to agree to individual workouts.
The Grizzlies look like a young team on the rise
so what's the issue?
"Some of it is geography," according to one source. "A lot of players would prefer to go to New York or LA at six or seven than to a city like Memphis, Minneapolis or Oklahoma City. That's part of it. And part of it is just prestige of certain teams. Everyone wants to play for the Knicks. Very few kids grow up dreaming of playing for the Grizzlies."
While refusing to work out for a team can dissuade a team from drafting a prospect, sometimes it backfires. Last year Yi Jianlian refused to work out (or divulge his physical) for the Milwaukee Bucks, but the team selected him anyway. After a long, protracted negotiation, Yi eventually signed with the Bucks.
If no one works out for the Grizzlies, they still have to sign with someone.
• Speaking of workouts, both Beasley and Rose said they haven't scheduled workouts yet.
Kevin Love said he had scheduled workouts with the Timberwolves, Sonics, Knicks and Nets.
Brook Lopez said he has scheduled workouts with the Wolves and Sonics.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.