On with the links (void of sarcasm, I promise)…
· Jason Quick of The Oregonian has been all over the draft because, you know, something important is finally happening in Oregon. The latest fruit of his labor is this well-done Greg Oden feature. A lot of players say they want to be great, but you get the sense from this piece that Oden really means it. He talks about greatness in such an understated way that you realize he’s not out to prove it to critics, but only to himself. Anyway, Quick digs pretty deep, even talking to Oden’s fourth grade coach. The story dominates all Oden features that preceded it and sets the bar high for the thousands that will follow. Jason Quick, laying down the gauntlet.
· Quick also seemed to have the scoop on the private workouts and physicals the top prospects went through in Orlando. Oden’s results evoked the phrase “freak of nature.” In the 3/4 court sprint, Oden finished just .07 seconds behind Aaron Brooks. His body fat is 7.8 percent; Josh “The Doughboy” McRoberts tips the scales at 13.7. Oden also beat Kevin Durant by nearly 0.7 seconds in the agility drill. This is the stuff middle-aged white NBA executives dream about.
· Speaking of Durant, over at the AOL Sports Fanhouse, Michael David Smith is more concerned with Durant’s zero reps on the 185-pound bench press. I have a feeling that number is going to go the way of Vince Young’s Wonderlic grade. The man can’t bench 185 pounds but I’m sure he will drop 40 on any team that takes him lightly. Jonathan Givony, who has made the draft his bitch this year, is the president of DraftExpress and doesn’t care for any of these measurements, using some solid examples to prove why they don’t matter. Somewhere Jay Bilas is sobbing quietly, thinking of a future world where freakish wingspan is no longer relevant.
· Oh and Chad Ford continues to shame all other draft gurus, obtaining these exclusive test results from Orlando. It’s for Insiders only. Only the privileged may know how fast Rodney Stuckey can run through cones.
· Seeing as how everyone has already heard enough about the top draft prospects, it’s already time to get into the draft sleepers. Ken Davis at MSNBC.com submits this list. He likes Demetris Nichols and Jared Dudley, amongst others. He also enters the long list of sportswriters who are hawking Jared Jordan as a super-duper sleeper because the first time they saw him play he was running a textbook pick-and-roll at the pre-draft camp. Something tells me all these guys weren’t in the press box at the MAAC final. I didn’t realize Sports Illustrated had an NBA Draft Insider, but they do and his name is Chris Ekstrand and he has some sleepers of his own. Surprise, surprise, he likes Nichols and Dudley too. Must have been some extremely telling pick-up games down there in Orlando.
· Marc Berman of the New York Post writes that Isiah Thomas is looking to roll the dice with the No. 23 pick. Further proof of what was already suspected: Thomas runs the Knicks like a game of craps. Darryl Watkins, don’t turn your phone off June 28th.
· Yesterday was the first day teams could conduct workouts for players. Here’s the plans for some of the lottery teams.
· The Wolves are going to bring in Joakim Noah and Spencer Hawes. Noah will work in the low post, shoot mid-range jumpers and engage in a shouting contest with Kevin Garnett. They will also bring in Gary Neal, who will compete against Ricky Davis to see who can take the most ill-advised jumpers and not get back on defense. Should be a good one.
· The Wizards, at No. 16, have a ton of guys coming in this week, including Nick Young, Javaris Crittenton and Jason Smith.
· Even though they fell to No. 4, the Grizzlies have opted to still participate in the draft and will bring in Al Horford, Noah and Brandan Wright.
· Since not everyone is an ESPN Insider, here’s some workout stuff as reported by Chad Ford:
· The Bobcats are working out Corey Brewer, Julian Wright, Jeff Green and Thaddeus Young against each other next week.
· Brandan Wright is working out with the Hawks, Grizzlies and Celtics.
· Ditto for Horford, plus the Bucks and Wolves.
· Al Thornton is working out for the Celtics, Blazers (huh?), Wolves, Bobcats and Bucks.
· Spencer Hawes will work out for the Wolves, Bulls and Kings.
· Jeff Green’s got the Sixers, Bulls, Bobcats and Bucks.
· Remember that guy Alando Tucker? You know, the Player of the Year candidate last year? Well he’s working out for the Sixers with Jermareo Davidson and a couple scrubs. In other news, Converse signed Tucker to a shoe deal rumored to be worth seven figures. Nothing sells shoes like five years of college in Wisconsin. (In all seriousness, Tucker is going to prove a lot of people wrong in the NBA).
· Aaron Brooks thinks he is a “NBA prototypical point guard.” It is uncertain whether anyone agrees.
· Last but not least, an outstanding feature on former Boise State forward Coby Karl, son of Nuggets coach George Karl, who is recovering from cancer and trying to get drafted. It comes from an unlikely source (in geography, not ability), Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News.