Ford: Draft Buzz (6/22)

Ford: Draft Buzz (6/22)

Postby JSM on Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:21 am

Chad Ford of ESPN wrote:The NBA has experienced workout mania the past few days, with some of the best workouts of the draft happening as teams bring back their top-rated prospects to battle each other.

• Maybe the biggest news is about the workout that didn't happen, when UConn big man Hasheem Thabeet dropped out of a workout scheduled for Sunday with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The official explanation was a sore shoulder. The unofficial explanation? Thabeet doesn't want to play in Memphis and wanted to stay in Los Angeles to talk Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti into drafting him at No. 3.

Why doesn't Thabeet want to play in Memphis? For the same reason that Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry and others have refused workouts. Said one source in explaining the Grizzlies' reputation: "They don't spend any money anymore. They don't have a commitment to put a winning team on the floor right now. It's not where an agent wants to send his star pick."

Rubio and Thabeet have said no to Memphis and James Harden bombed a workout there, so who are the Grizzlies taking?

I think it's likely they still take Thabeet.

But I have no idea how Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley is going to react to this latest twist.

• Presti didn't conduct any workouts, but he sure was busy this weekend. He met with Ricky Rubio and family on Saturday and then Thabeet and Harden on Sunday, all in L.A.

The Thunder GM got a chance to look at the results of Rubio's physical, see his contract and meet the young guard, and he came away "intrigued" by the possibility of taking Rubio at No. 3.

While Rubio isn't the best fit in OKC, he looks like he might be the best player on the board. So what will Presti do? While Harden might be the logical choice in terms of fit, my gut feeling is Rubio goes No. 3.

• The Kings had a great workout in Sacramento on Sunday, with Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Jonny Flynn and Nick Calathes taking part. And from what I can gather, Sunday may end up being the day Ricky Rubio lost his chance to get drafted by the Kings if he's still available at No. 4.

Several people in the Kings' front office already doubted that Rubio was the right fit, so it didn't help that he wasn't there to duke it out with the other top prospects. It's hard to make the case for Rubio when he's not at a workout.

Meanwhile, it was the second Sacto workout for Flynn and Evans.

Flynn was at the top of their board coming into the workout, but Evans emerged at the top. His physicality was just too much for Flynn, Curry or Calathes to handle.

As one Kings scout remarked, "It was a man beating up boys."

That could be bad news for Rubio. With Sacramento general manager Geoff Petrie looking for a player who can contribute right away, Flynn and Evans are getting more attention.

If Rubio slides past Sacramento at No. 4, he could be heading to either Washington at 5, Minnesota at 6 or New York at 8. The Wizards haven't seen him yet, and neither have the Wolves. But if the Knicks want to see him, I think Rubio will find a way to accommodate them.

• The Timberwolves brought a number of guards in over the weekend, including Flynn, Evans, Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson and Jeff Teague.

From what I gather, Evans won some hearts in Minnesota and Flynn stole a few as well. As for Jennings, it sounds like they'll pass.

• The Suns also had a big workout this weekend: Earl Clark, James Johnson and Jennings were joined by Calathes, Jack McClinton and Jonas Jerebko.

It sounds as though a number of players played well, and it appears that Clark and Johnson are in a dead heat in Phoenix at the moment -- that is, unless someone else in the top 12 falls to Phoenix at No. 14.

As for Jennings. One Suns source said he was good, but skeptical. "I hope he doesn't fall to us at 14. I don't want to have to make a decision on him."

• More big workouts are coming early this week.

The Knicks are bringing back Jrue Holiday. There's a good chance it will be Holiday versus Jennings for the No. 8 pick if Curry, Evans and Jordan Hill are off the board.

Milwaukee has a big point guard workout with Flynn, Teague, Jennings and Lawson. The Bucks' workouts should help them decide who they take at No. 10.

The New Jersey Nets have an "everything" workout with Flynn, Jennings, Gerald Henderson, Terrence Williams, Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph on Tuesday. That one should help them determine who they take at No. 11

The Bobcats are trying to arrange a matchup between Henderson and Williams. Henderson has been the favorites there for weeks but it appears Williams has edged into the mix.

And the Bulls are trying to schedule one last showdown between DeJuan Blair, Johnson and B.J. Mullens for Tuesday. As of Sunday night, only Blair had committed to the workout. The Bulls wanted Hansbrough at that one as well, but he had already committed to the Nets. Clark might replace him.

• By the way, Blair seems to be back in favor with more GMs. Over the weekend his agent, Happy Walters, had a couple of teams talk to Blair's physician, James Bradley, who did Blair's ACL's surgeries in high school.

I'm not privy to the conversations, but I do think this latest development has put him back in the mix with the Pacers at No. 13 and the Bulls at 16.
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