· I think the most newsworthy item from the past week was the Brandon Rush knee injury. His torn ACL means he’s out of the draft (perhaps for the better as Tom Keegan from the Lawrence World Journal writes) and back with a Kansas team that suddenly looks pretty good next year (although some reports have him missing six months). Kurt Caywood of the Topeka Capital-Journal thinks next year’s Jayhawks team will be good but perhaps a tougher task for Bill Self. Our own Shawn Siegel has Rush as the best shooting guard in the draft and while I’m not sure I agree, this will certainly shake up the first round a bit. Guys like Nick Young and Daequan Cook might see their stock rise a bit.
· If you are a fan of Arena League Football or minor league hockey, you are probably interested in the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp which started yesterday. While many of the top prospects will be there, it will be only for what is essentially a glorified gym class fitness test (no word on whether the V-sit will be involved). Here’s a list of who will actually be playing basketball at this thing. A lot of the 64 names will be familiar to college hoops fans, but only ten players from last year’s camp were drafted. I would say Daequan Cook is the top draft prospect playing but I suppose a couple guys could sneak into the mid-20s with a decent showing.
· While all of the screaming idiots on ESPN are clamoring for NBA rule changes, one was actually made recently and got little publicity. That’s probably because it states NBA teams can’t conduct personal workouts until June 5 and not that players on the bench are allowed to beat opponents with aluminum bats during on-court scuffles. Within the linked Sam Amick piece, it’s duly noted that these workouts are generally more misleading than helpful (see: Nikoloz Tskitishvili), but that’s still only three weeks or so to evaluate players. Apparently they did this so better players would play in Orlando and give the event some legitimacy. I agree with that logic. Because if Josh McRoberts isn’t playing well then what’s the point anyway?
· The winner for most grossly contrived and irresponsible comparison for the sake of manipulating a player’s marketability goes to Topps for putting out a trading card featuring Greg Oden and Bill Russell. If you’re scoring at home that’s Bill Russell: 5 MVP awards, 11 championships, great beard, one trading card; Greg Oden, zero games played, great beard, one trading card. Seems about right. In other news, Kevin Durant signed a deal with Upper Deck and Doug Gottlieb is outraged that he isn’t being paired with fellow “gunner” Eddie House.
sportswriters have moved on to other, more important topics like the Spelling
Bee or Roger Clemens’ emasculating of minor leaguers, Hawks beat writer Sekou
Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is still getting his money’s worth
with the NBA Draft
rant column on the Hawks draft possibilities. The No. 3 pick
will be the key to the rest of the lottery and Smith wants Mike Conley. He also
wants a big man at No. 11, a trade involving one of their plethora of swingmen
and presumably a job that doesn’t involve the Atlanta Hawks.
· In last Tuesday’s Speculation, I linked a story on Paul Hewitt’s uncertainty regarding his roster next season due to the draft. Well, he got one answer this week but it didn’t necessarily put him at ease. Javaris Crittenton announced he will stay in the NBA Draft. I’m assuming he’s been assured he’s at least a top three point guard and top 15 pick overall but I’m not sold on him yet. He’s got the physical skills, but that doesn’t equate to being able to lead an NBA team. Give me Acie Law (please, Billy King) any day.