Unsubstantiated Speculation: Monday's NBA Draft Rumors

    
June 11th, 2007
I am still catatonic from the vicious emotional shift that occurred after switching from the heart-stopping suspense of The Sopranos series finale to the soul-crushing disappointment of the NBA Finals last night. The body isn’t meant to endure such abrupt contrasts in entertainment value. Thank God for the internet, which once again provided instant rejuvenation through its own brand of suspense and half-truths: NBA Draft links, free of charge (well, at least for ESPN Insiders).

 

·  I was all set to not have Greg Oden be the lead item of this edition but then something life-changing happened. I found out that Greg Oden has a blog. It’s hosted by something called Yardbarker, which seems fairly hack-ish but somehow hosts blogs from Oden, Angels pitcher John Lackey and a few scrubs, one of which is named Chris Henry but is not the Chris Henry I had hoped for (I had the prison pen pal joke all loaded up). Anyway, something tells me these Yardbarker fellas must have been involved with this photo and blackmailed the future Hall of Famer into doing this, but it’s interesting nonetheless. His latest entry is essentially a glorified yearbook message but for the most part, Oden is a pretty well-spoken, interesting and witty guy. I am all for athlete blogs (especially when they are not idiots and are Gilbert Arenas) so despite the oddity of it all, Mr. Oden has gained a reader. A lot has been said of Oden’s stoic nature and his elderly visage but from what I’ve seen and read of him lately, he seems like a pretty regular kid. And if you think you are seeing a different side of Greg Oden, it’s because you are. Within this well-done feature by Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star, we learn that Oden has hired a “media coach” to help him convey his personality to the public. Oh, and his coach was in American Pie 2, so he’s in well-lubricated good hands.

·  Like an overshadowed younger brother, Joakim Noah isn’t too fond of this whole, “I’m not the best player anymore” thing and has been enjoying the presence of tape recorders in his face as he hits the workout circuit. At a workout in Charlotte he told reporters that he thinks mock drafts are a “complete joke” (Somewhere Chad Ford is locked in a room sobbing into a pint of Haagen Daaz). The weird thing is that Noah is probably right. He is a deranged lunatic, but right. Despite what the media thinks, mock drafts mean nothing, the opinions of NBA front offices do. Joakim Noah, voice of reason. If his war against mockers was not enough, Noah also felt like attacking his fellow potential draftees, possibly Yi Jianlin, after a workout in Chicago. He went off about players avoiding workouts against their peers and Yi has only been conducting private workouts. Spencer Hawes was in the workout, so it appears he is the only one safe from Noah’s wrath. In summation: Joakim Noah hates mock drafts and Yi Jianlin. He certainly picks his enemies wisely. Oh and he seems to have taken a liking to Chicago. Charlotte? Not so much.

·  Speaking of Noah, he and his fellow Gator draftees helped out EA Sports with its player motions for NBA Live ’08. I can only hope this means that all players in the game will celebrate lay-ups by screaming and trying to swallow the camera.

·  Really well-done piece from Jake Curtis of the San Francisco Chronicle on the new NBA age-limit rule and its affects on college and the NBA. I’ll go ahead and make this the section designated for well-written articles and add this piece, from the Portland Business Journal of all places, on the financial gains that come from winning the draft lottery. Here’s a sneak peek: it helps.

·  Back to Yi for a second. He’s really not working out against other players and has opted instead to prove himself against chairs. Brett Edwards at the AOL Fanhouse has the link and the fantastic quote from Celtics GM Danny Ainge, who attended the workout. Reports indicate Joakim Noah thinks the chair is a coward as well.

·  There are a lot of rumors about the Celtics trading the No. 5 pick, with one completely asinine scenario being basically Shawn Marion for the No. 5 pick straight up. Only if Steve Kerr’s intends to make his first move as Suns GM his last.

·  Because this column involves reading an emotionally straining amount of NBA Draft content, I have a pretty good idea of which guys are the best at sifting through the BS. Here are some that recently stood out.

·  Chad Ford is the best. With his ESPN resources he probably should be, but he is the best nonetheless. This week, he turns in a pretty great piece on the validity of draft workouts and some rumors, which include the groundbreaking news that Glen Davis is, in fact, fat. Ford’s stuff is for Insiders only but considering what he has to offer, any cost that doesn’t involve a piece of your soul should be seen as a bargain.

·  I know he’s old news, but Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune is always all over this league. He’s got some trade options and draft buzz for us.

·  Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is one of the best NBA beat writers I’ve read this year and I think his family should be concerned about his enthusiasm for this draft. He’s got a really good blog and turns in a solid feature on the Hawks No. 3 pick du jour, Brandan Wright. Can someone get Smith an NBA team to cover?

·  There’s too many reporters that excel at this draft stuff to mention them all but one in particular slipped through the cracks until now. Bethlehem Shoals at the AOL Fanhouse alerts the world of NBA draft expert Lauren Anderson, who just so happens to be a former Playmate. There is no truth to the rumor that Doug Gottlieb is considering a boob job.

·  Some notes on prospects making the workout rounds:

·  In a match-up I would love to see, Corey Brewer and Al Thornton worked out against each other for the Celtics.

·  Jason Smith continues to be this year’s Chris Kaman (unknown mid-major center who is way under the radar), working out in relative anonymity for the Knicks and Nets.

·  Aaron Gray has slimmed down, to the point where scouts are now describing him as sloth-like instead of the previously used term, glacier-like.

·  Ramon Sessions and Marcellus Kemp are still trying this draft thing out, but most are waiting for them to go back to Nevada.

·  For some reason Jeff Green still doesn’t know if he should be in this draft. Teams are coming to DC to watch him because he doesn’t have an agent to pay for the travel expenses. This just seems like a genius plan to save a few dollars. Is being a top 10 pick really not enough anymore? I blame Hibbert.