Unsubstantiated Speculation: Draft Links & Rumors: Tuesday

June 3rd, 2008
Nothing about the NBA Draft makes any sense. GMs intentionally lie about who they want to confuse the rest of the league, agents pull players out of workouts to manipulate their value and the Milwaukee Bucks continue to pretend they are trying to win. Mock drafts are always way off, the rumored trades never go down and the ones that do are always out of left field. There is no rhyme. There is no reason. And that is exactly why it is so great. Sports fans love to speculate, and the NBA Draft is 90 percent speculatastic. So in an exercise of almost certain futility, I bring you Unsubstantiated Speculation, a column containing all the relevant, completely false draft news links from around the Intertubes. Look for this once or twice a week leading up to the draft. Believe nothing.

And if you are a blog that covers the draft and feel you deserve to be on the Links, click the e-mail link on the right sidebar.

Even with the Finals starting (as you might have heard, there are quite a few storylines with the match-up this year), there has been tons of draft links lately. Let's sift!

(I'm holding to my promise to myself of not getting into the OJ Mayo thing. All I will say is there some weird, completely nonsensical double-standard going on here where Beasley is somehow seen as equally or more of a character risk than OJ, whose bad character is overrated in its own right. I hate the media sometimes, hopefully GMs can see through the fog... riigggghhhht.)

Orlando Pre-Draft Camp
- I really can't say this enough, but DraftExpress has really pulled out all the stops this year. They have their usual scouting reports and interviews but this year have added video, player blogs, extensive team need evaluations and even ventured deep into the underground of the Interwebs with podcasts. On the down side, they are making this column mildly irrelevant. Rush the Court has also done a very nice job, albeit without the access.

- This draft notes column by Chad Ford was interesting for a couple reasons. One, Seattle is fending off rumors they will take Jerryd Bayless No. 4 and Phoenix doing the same about Brandon Rush at No. 15 (which I had merely minutes after the draft order was set... toot toot). But the main reason this was interesting was to hear that Lester Hudson played his ass of in Orlando and could be rising up draft boards. I always liked Hudson because he can get to the rim and is a decent shooter. Kind of like a lower middle class man's Rodney Stuckey. One thing that concerns me: Here is Ford's recap of day 2 of the camp. Notice the common connection between all the players featured as "standouts:" Gary Forbes, Wayne Ellington, Malik Hairston, Josh Duncan. All of them are between positions for the NBA. I'd like to think that's a product of the small-ball trends in the NBA but it's probably more of a product of playing against a bunch of other mediocre, second-round tweeners.

- If you want to know everyone that played in Orlando and what it means for them and their respective college teams, Andy Katz obliges. And within this notes column by Katz, my suspicions that Kevin Love would be flying up draft boards due to a lack of girth was correct and sadly, for George Hill, Pride of Ooey Pooey, the dream is over. And finally, this feature by Katz on Jeremy Pargo was great. It's interesting that his brother Jannero, who was less talented than Jeremy coming out of college but is one of the better reserves in the NBA, has advised his brother to consider going back to school (he will oblige if he isn't a first-rounder apparently). I still think Pargo has a decent career.

- Apparently former Iowa State guard Mike Taylor played really well and could be the first D-League player to get drafted. Taylor instead of Rod Benson?! Boom tho?

- Posts like these from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution's Sekou Smith on new Hawks GM Rick Sund are proof that Atlanta should always have a first-round pick so this man has something to cover come draft time. He is a boss.

- Good mini-feature from Michael Lewis (go Blue Hens?) on Keith Brumbaugh, even though it doesn't explain his amazing, troubled story to those who don't know it. This helps, however. I still think he must be better than Ndubi Ebi. Speaking of washed up former HS stars (sorry Keith), whatever happened to Lenny Cooke? Seriously though, hope the guy gets picked.

Michael Beasley is an enigma
- Actually, no he's not. But everyone in the media sure likes to write like he is. There is this, which contains a quote from Beasley that I was thrilled about.
"I just turned 19 years old in January," Beasley said. "How mature do you want me to be? I’m still a kid. I’m not 20 yet. 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 don’t know how old y’all want me to be. Do you want me to act 25? 30? 40?. I’m 19. I’m a kid. I’m going to live my life. I’m going to mess up. I don’t know as much as you do or him. I’m learning day by day. I hear a lot about character issues. But I’ve yet to hear what those character issues are. Until I hear somebody tell me, I don’t feel the need to change."

I still fail to see what he has done that is so horribly wrong. He went to many high schools and some coaches piggybacked his ability to better themselves. This happens to every single big-time basketball recruit. How is a teenager who knows he will be in the NBA in the near future supposed to just ignore all these people with power showing him how to get there? And how is Rose any different? Ugh. Hopefully the media treats him as the quirky, outspoken Gilbert Arenas-type rather than the Josh Howard-type who gets blasted whenever he's honest about something. He's probably somewhere in between (in both personality and ability). Oh and any Beasley item on the Internet must link to this article in the WashPost, as required by federal Intertubes laws.

- TrueHoop, which is also very outstanding, approached this fairly. Thank you Mr. Abbott.

- Linked in the TrueHoop item, this piece, which in true NBA Draft form, makes insane speculation that Beasley "is not Pat Riley's type of player." (the same guy writes the same thing in another piece here). Suddenly nothing can be written about this man without the words, "immature," "playful," "candid" and the like being bandied around. I think Chad Ford started all this. Seriously people, let's come up with something new....

- ... Not quite, but getting warmer...

- ... OK, this will have to do.

Things of Different Persuasion
- I was none too pleased to see Donte Greene hire an agent. The only logical explanation for this was that he got one of the 16 "physical only" invites to Orlando, which means he thinks he's like, a top 16 player. This is bad news for my Orange and could be worse news for Donte Greene. NBA GMs love tall shooters but the guy didn't show an ability to do much else in college. And I loved Donte Greene. But who can he guard? Who can he beat off the dribble? Who can he box out? Perhaps the more important question is: Who can he fool into taking him in the top 15?

- Every year Andy Katz is good for a few of those, "How is this college coach handling his players testing the draft waters?" features. This one is on Richard Hendrix and Ronald Steele at Alabama. (I wouldn't be losing sleep Coach Gottfried, Steele is already coming back.)

- I really love the Ball Don't Lie blog over at Yahoo!, even if they are a bit light on draft stuff. The incomparable Kelly Dwyer does well with this rant on mock drafts. Couldn't have put it better myself. (This may prompt another mock draft before draft day where I oblige Mr. Dwyer with his dream mock draft. Or something.)

- Gary Parrish, a true college basketball Internet writer, continues to churn out columns in this offseason. This one is a nice look at how batshit insane some North Carolina fans are. Oh and leave it up to Parrish to actually look at the Mayo thing will a tinge of rationality.

- Fran Frischilla speaks, a New York Post writer listens.

- Lang Whitaker over at Slam Online with an entertaining second-person perspective thingy on being John Paxson (not a working screenplay by Charlie Kauffman). I'm not so sure about the Doug Collins hiring but I still think it's better than Avery Johnson. He's just as likely to want Rose as Avery, but at least he won't try to turn him into Anthony Carter.

- Looks like Jamont Gordon is leaning toward staying in the draft, which I pleased about. He should be a late first-rounder as an impact reserve for a playoff contender.

- Way to strike when the iron is hot, Mike DeCourcy. Will your next column be about how great it is that the draft is two rounds now?