Word on the Street:
Childress Strikes Back
We knew this would be a critical week for Josh Childress to back up the top 5 hype he is getting from some of the national media, and we can confidently say that he is starting to erase the doubts that teams have about him.
The feedback about Childress coming from Atlanta is that he shot the ball well in practice, looked extremely polished with a great feel for the game, displayed excellent footwork, and was just a very solid all around playmaking type with a great personality. He fared well against Josh Smith, but not as well as you might expect considering that this was Smiths first workout and there is three years between them, but you need to keep in mind that Smith has a whole 25 pounds on Childress and is a lot quicker, which makes him a tough matchup for a player like Childress.
Childress will be in Washington next against Josh Smith again and Philadelphia on Monday, as of right now he looks like a lottery pick. His stock has gone up accordingly on our mock draft.
Portland guarantees Snyder?
Usually when teams guarantee a player that they will draft him, they will tell him to stop working out in order to prevent an injury and to ensure that another team doesnt have enough info to snatch him up ahead of team making the promise.
ESPN Insider reported this week multiple times that the word from international scouts in Treviso is that Snyder has a guarantee in place from Portland to draft him at 13. This is because Snyders agent reportedly was telling people that he got a guarantee from a team in the lottery.
There are two problems with this theory.
One, Snyder is still working out for teams (he was in Cleveland on Wedesnday and will be in Seattle on Friday) and his agent is still open to more workouts. That slightly contradicts what was quoted about Snyder being willing to forgo getting drafted higher by shutting down his workouts.
Second, Snyders agent, Roger Montgomery, tells DraftExpress that he has never talked to anyone about a guarantee in the lottery, especially not ESPN Insider. A simple phone call to him could have cleared that up.
There is a decent possibility that Snyder actually would end up being drafted by the Trailblazers, as he did have a strong workout there, but there is still a lot of draft ahead of us and nothing is set in stone.
Promises are fun to speculate about, but they rarely happen, especially this early, unless of course your name's Danny Ainge.
Word on the streets of Treviso
The first day of the Reebok Eurocamp kicked off yesterday in Italy and according to our scout Marco Fracasso there were some early jitters in the La Ghirada Sporting Complex.
The roster can be found here under Eurocamp 2004: http://www.summerleague.it/home.htm
We were very excited about the Martynas Andriuskevicius vs. Johan Petro matchup, but it didnt exactly live up to its billing. Andriuskevicius was bothered by more back problems, and did his best to show that. He played his usual inside outside game, and gave Petro some problems by getting him into the air with pump fakes. Petro looked a bit raw and clearly needs to work on staying on his feet. Neither were overly impressive.
Roko Leni-Ukic wasnt pushing the ball enough and forced things a little to start off with, but came up big at the end with the game winning shot.
As usual, it wasnt hard to notice the talent that Nemanja Aleksanderov has, but he didnt ask for the ball much until the end and had trouble finishing around the basket when he did.
One player that did impress is the 6-4 Croatian guard Alexander Ugrinonski, who is only 16 year old. He is three months shy of being the youngest player at the camp, but is highly regarded as one of the premier players in his age group and he showed the scouts exactly why.
Stay tuned over the next few days for more updates from Treviso.
Just gimme a second
Since there is more to making a mock draft then just throwing a bunch of names together, well try to share some of the things weve been hearing over the past week or so to explain whats happening with some of the 2nd round prospects in the draft.
Anderson Varejao: Barcelona did him a huge favor by leaving him off their playoff roster and letting him come to the States to workout, and the dividends are already starting to pay off. Varejao has been looking very good early on, he is clearly in excellent shape, he measured out recently at 6-11 in shoes, and he looks about as polished as anyone has ever seen him so far.
If he keeps up his fighting attitude and continues to display good athleticism and a nice stroke, hes got a good shot at holding his new spot at the end of the 1st round. He should be fun to watch in Chicago if he decides to play, hes the kind of guy that could look good there.
Kevin Martin: Kicked off his workouts last week in Orlando and also went to Washington, both times scoring off the chart numbers on their agility tests, wowing them with his impressive 38-39 inch vertical leap. He also received an invitation to the Pre-Draft camp in Chicago, which he may or may not accept depending on how the rest of the week goes. Martin then moved on to have fantastic workouts in both Atlanta and Miami, which all but guaranteed that he will stay in the draft this year. Every team needing a shooting guard in the bottom half of the first round or top of the second wants to take a look at him, hes moved into the end of our first round at the moment and could very well continue to rise as the month goes on.
JR Smith: No one would have expected to find Smith on this list a month ago, but poor workout after poor workout is really killing his stock at the moment. The sad thing is that it doesnt seem to be affecting him much, as people who have watched him lately say that he isnt playing with any sense of urgency whatsoever, not showing any heart at all. Either Smith has received a guarantee from someone in the first round and is purposely trying to play poorly so no one else takes him (a conspiracy theory that is a bit far fetched for even this conspiracy theorist) or he just doesnt seem to realize that his basketball career is on the line here and his amateur basketball days are over. No one has any doubt that Smith is a project player that has the potential to pay large dividends in a couple of years, but no one wants another Deshawn Stevenson either.
Ha-Sueng Jin: His size is just shocking, and you can tell that his handlers have done a fantastic job working with him over the past six months. His skill set is pretty raw, but teams like his attitude, especially the fact that he was willing to bang with players like David Harrison despite the fact that he was injured. Hes a real project, and therefore is most likely a late first rounder or early second rounder in such a deep draft, but hes got a decent chance to become a contributor down the road if a team is patient enough to develop him.
Jamie Lloreda: Its hard to find someone who will say something bad about this kid, other then the fact that he probably doesnt have star potential. Everyone keeps complaining that there are no sure things in this draft, if youre still looking for one, look no further then Lloreda. Hell bring his hard hat everynight, with a big smile on his face too. The Pre-Draft camp in Chicago should be the perfect place for him to show his stuff.
Ryan Gomes: Hes in a really tight spot. Providence is returning almost no one from last year, and hes almost destined to be double teamed every game in the physical Big East so returning might not do much for his stock. All Ive heard about him in the past few weeks is regarding pulling out of workouts because of unfavorable matchups, thats not really a surprise since he doesnt have an agent to push his name out there when he does have a great workout. The Pre-Draft camp in Chicago will be huge for him. Providence fans might not want to hold their breath about him returning next season.
Lawerence Roberts: Its hard to make that much noise when you dont have an agent and youre limited on workouts, but Roberts is planning on letting it all out next week in Chicago where he has a good chance at being one of the best players at the camp. Jamie Lloreda and him will renew their SEC rivalry while battling for the rebounding crown, if Roberts cant impress enough to get a first round guarantee, he will go back to school and pray that David Stern can implement the 20+ rule next year.
Delonte West: He reportedly came up an inch shorter than he was listed at St. Joes, but well have to wait until Chicago to get the final answer on that. The word around the league is that for better or for worse, West is staying in the draft. West came up with a small injury earlier in the week, but that shouldnt stop him from playing in Chicago where he really needs to have a great showing and prove that he is a PG to get back into at least the top of the 2nd round.
Christian Drejer: The guy that everyone wants to forget about, especially Florida fans after the way he left in the middle of the year. He is almost completely off the radar at this point, although you have to wonder if people are just being really quiet because they know what he is worth. He is at a big disadvantage because he is stuck in the Spanish playoffs and cant come over to try and up his stock.
He may not be the most athletic small forward in this draft, but you would be hard pressed to find someone with better ball-handling, court vision and just the all around feel for the game that Drejer has at 6-9. I think someone is going to get a steal in the 2nd round, although it might take another year for him to come over.
Trevor Ariza: Has some teams scratching their heads with the way he has worked out lately. Hes not showing any of the defense abilities that made him an interesting prospect in the first place, although he is shooting the ball a lot better. Probably has a better chance of going undrafted then being a first round pick at this point. Really needs to have a strong showing in Chicago.
Rickey Paulding: At what point do you draw the line between what a players potential is and what he is actually showing you? Thats the call that teams will have to make on June 24th. He really regressed last year at Missouri, and he hasnt quite been able to make the switch yet in the transition to NBA workouts. You have to wonder just when the light switch is going to go on for him, as he isnt showing the kind of effort and desire you would expect out of a guy that is trying to prove that he should be in the NBA next year. Paulding will probably be drafted somewhere in the 2nd round and hes got a good chance to make a roster, but he really needs to turn it on and show that he still loves playing basketball. Everyone knows he has it in him.
Darius Rice: You can say almost the same exact thing about Darius Rice, he hasnt gotten that much better in four years in the NCAA, but everyone knows he has the talent and especially the shooting ability to make it in the league. Hopefully hes smart enough to know that he needs to start taking the ball to the basket if he wants to make the NBA next season. Him not being invited to Chicago came as a pretty big surprise to me at least. Teams know him well, but he deserves at least one last chance to prove himself.
Erik Daniels: Another one of my favorite late 2nd round/undrafted sleepers. There isnt much buzz about him at all, a good showing in Chicago hopefully will change that. The best way to describe this kid would be basketball player. Thats exactly what he is.
Romain Sato: Really depends who you ask and on what day you see him. When he is looking good, you see a guy with who has a freakish wingspan (6-10), a superb vertical, a great personality, is excellent at fighting through screens, and an unbelievable rebounder. When hes off, you see a really streaky shooter with terrible ball-handling skills, limited lateral quickness, and the inability to create his own shot. He is still pretty raw despite the fact that hes a college senior, but someone will most likely gamble on him in the middle of the 2nd round. Chicago is starting to become a common theme around here, you guys do the math.
Ricky Minard: This guy has been working out for EVERYONE, and the feedback has been extremely positive. He has been shooting the ball well at both the 1 and 2 spots and playing very tough defense, which is helping his stock a lot. If he keeps showing up players that are ranked higher then him, the way he has so far, especially in Chicago, his stock is going to keep rising and hell have a great shot at making a team next year.
Tim Pickett: People around him have been touting him as a first rounder to whoever is willing to listen, but the objective people most familiar with game, the ones whove watched him play and workout for teams know that thats not a very realistic goal. 6-3 shooting guards with limited ball-handling skills usually dont get drafted in the first round, especially in such a deep draft. We just hope that Pickett isnt setting himself up for a huge disappointment on draft night, one that he may not be able to recover from fast enough to prove himself in summer league. Everyone loves the way he plays the game, but showing up late for workouts and chatting on his cell phone isnt going to help him out too much.
Albert Miralles: The latest addition to the 2004 mock. People from Spain might be surprised to see him here, as they should be considering how he looked over there, but he showed this week in Treviso that he is a pretty intriguing player, displaying nice athleticism, an excellent hustling attitude, and good range on his outside shot. Betting on a 6-10 mobile guy who can be stashed overseas for a few years isnt a huge gamble for teams without a roster spot to make at the end of the 2nd round.