View Full Version : ESPN Insider - Frye's Stock Up ; Taft Falling

06-01-2005, 01:04 PM
We really should take more time mocking mock drafts.

At this stage of the game, mocks are little more than educated guesses strategic placement based on whispers, innuendo and a whole lot of rock, paper, scissors.

NBA teams are fickle. The guy a general manager can't live without one day is kicked to the curb the next.

Draft stock rises and falls like the volatile NASDAQ. One day you're shopping for an Escalade. The next you're cruising around in a Ford Focus.

Remember, last year at this time we had Josh Smith in the lottery and Rafael Araujo panhandling for change in the late first round (on second thought, that's where both of them should have stayed).

Our mock draft drew a lot of response from NBA GMs and scouts over the past week. Based on the volume of feedback, here's whose stock is rising and whose is falling heading into the Chicago pre-draft camp.

While most mock drafts, Insider excluded, have Andrew Bogut going No. 1, it still appears that Marvin Williams is not only in the running, but might have the edge.

The Bucks plan to bring in both players after the Chicago pre-draft camp and work them out. The results of the workouts probably will be the deciding factor for the Bucks. If Bogut looks stronger or more athletic than he did in college, he'll probably be a lock for the No. 1 pick. However, if Williams looks like he's ready to contribute right now, he'd be tough to pass on, especially when GM Larry Harris would then have the luxury of shopping Desmond Mason around the league.

The latest sign the Bucks may give Williams the nod comes from former Ute coach Rick Majerus, who reportedly is telling his close friend, owner Herb Kohl, that he's better off taking Williams. Considering how well Majerus knows Bogut (he recruited him to Utah), that should raise a few eyebrows.

Insider readers sent a flurry of e-mails after we raised Channing Frye from a late first-round pick to a lottery pick in our first mock draft. How could a guy rise so fast especially a college senior who should be a known product?

We still have the same questions, but sources in Golden State, Orlando and New Jersey told Insider that they'd have a hard time passing him up if he was on the board. The Warriors, especially, are looking for a long, athletic, shot-blocking center who is ready to step up and contribute right now.

I don't believe the Warriors have made him a promise, as some have suggested, but unless someone else comes in and knocks their socks off, I think Frye will be their guy.

We have Texas A&M guard Antoine Wright going to the Bobcats at No. 13, but he might not be around that long. Sources claim the Clippers are in love with Wright and told him that they'd take him at No. 12 if he shut down his workouts. Wright's agent declined, hoping that if he impressed the Clips at 12, he might rise even higher.

Wright has looked very solid in individual workouts. His body has gotten stronger and he's proving to teams that his improved jumper is for real. The team is also high on Martynas Andriuskevicius, but it sounds like Andriuskevicius is likely to withdraw from the draft again this year.

We wrote last week that we probably had Tiago Splitter way too low at No. 24. That was the general consensus among NBA scouts and GMs this week. Almost all of them had him slotted late in the lottery, going either to the Knicks at No. 8, the Lakers at No. 10, the Nets at No. 15 or the Raptors at No. 16.

The one big issue for Splitter, however, is his buyout. He still doesn't have a set amount, which is a major problem for teams drafting in the lottery. If his agents can't work out a deal with Tau Vitoria (the club is reluctant to let Splitter go because chances are it's losing big man Luis Scola to the Spurs this summer), there's a chance he may not be able to come to the NBA next season. That will scare off teams that think that the big Brazilian could come in and contribute right away.

Two months ago we had Julius Hodge on the first-round bubble. We put him at No. 28 in our first mock draft, but chances are he's not going to be around when the Spurs pick.

The feedback we're getting from teams that have worked him out is extremely positive. He could now go as high as No. 17 to the Pacers. The Grizzlies will take a long look at him at No. 19. So will the Rockets at No. 24 and the Jazz at No. 27. Given the high praise he's gotten from all of those teams, it's tough to see him slipping past all four to San Antonio. Just to bolster that contention, Hodge withdrew from the Chicago pre-draft camp. That's always a pretty solid sign that a player's gotten word from a team that it will select him in the first round if he is still on the board.

Our new first-round sleepers are Providence's Ryan Gomes and Louisville's Francisco Garcia. Both players have been playing to rave reviews at workouts over the past few weeks. Gomes has lost about 15 pounds and is showing teams he has enough of a perimeter game to make the transition to the three. A few teams have compared him to a bigger Corliss Williamson.

Garcia also has worked out great. He's shown a little more athleticism than scouts thought he had, and he's been shooting the lights out in workouts. We're probably going to have to find first-round spots for both of these guys in our next mock draft.

We also had a few folks who were shocked that Croatian point guard Roko Ukic didn't make the cut. Several GMs and scouts made a recent trip to Croatia to watch him play and came back convinced Ukic might be the fourth-best point guard prospect on the board behind Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Raymond Felton.

That's right, they had him ahead of Jarrett Jack and as a possible mid-to-late first-round pick. We'll see him in Italy in two weeks at the Reebok Eurocamp and give you a full report.

The other international sleeper to watch is Italian forward Angelo Gigli. He's already in the U.S. working out, with sources saying the Sonics are giving him serious consideration at No. 25.

How far could Chris Taft drop if he isn't selected by the Knicks at No. 8? He didn't impress Knicks exec Isiah Thomas in his first informal workout and there's word the Knicks may be looking at Frye at No. 8 instead.

If the Knicks pass on Taft, the Warriors might consider him at No. 9 and the Lakers could bite at No. 10. But if he gets by those three teams, he could be in a free fall. The Magic, Clippers, Bobcats and Timberwolves don't need or want him. The Nets could use him, but sources say that the Nets don't like him. The next team on the board that actually has a need for a guy like Taft is the Kings at No. 23.

We still don't know where to put Hakim Warrick. Two weeks ago, we wrote his stock appeared to be on the rise, based on the comments of a couple of GMs who claimed he was being seriously considered in the lottery.

We still think there's a chance the Knicks could tab him at No. 8 and the Warriors at No. 9. However, a number of other scouts and GMs claim they have Warrick ranked in the 20s on their boards. I have a feeling we're going to go back and forth on him all month.

This could end up being a tough year for international players fishing for first-round promises. Andriuskevicius, who many feel has the most upside of any international player in the draft, took a huge hit when the two teams most interested in him, Milwaukee and Portland, moved up into the top three. The Clippers like him, but it isn't a guarantee that they'll take him. He may have to withdraw.

The same goes for Nemanja Aleksandrov, Yaroslav Korolev, Peja Samardziski, Mile Ilic and, possibly, Marko Tomas and Splitter. All have yet to find teams willing to commit to them in the range they want to go in the first round. It's still early, but so far the prospects aren't looking great.

06-01-2005, 04:13 PM
Channing Frye is going to be a pretty darned good player, and it doesn't surprise me at all that his stock is rising in relation to the underachieving Chris Taft.

Also, thanks a lot for posting this, Dnowit41...