View Full Version : 6/2 ESPN INsider (Camps, Coaches, and Kidd)

06-02-2003, 01:11 PM
Pre-draft camp: Who will show up?
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Monday, June 2
Updated: June 2
11:12 AM ET

What if the NBA held the Chicago pre-draft camp this week and nobody came?

That's the dilemma the organizers are facing less than a day before the camp begins Tuesday night. Like every year, the cream of the crop will skip the chance to ply their wares in front of every league executive and coach, opting instead for private workouts.

But the number of second-tier players deciding to skip Chicago is alarming. If you do the math, many of these kids are taking a major risk with their draft status by not playing.

Insider talked to agents along with several league sources to get a breakdown of who won't be playing on Tuesday.

Here are the "safe" lottery to mid-first-round candidates who'll skip the event:

LeBron James
Carmelo Anthony
Chris Bosh
T. J. Ford
Chris Kaman
Kirk Hinrich
Luke Ridnour
Reece Gaines
Dwyane Wade
Nick Collison
Michael Sweetney
Jarvis Hayes

There are also a number of top international candidates who will skip the event because their agents feel that their stock is high enough, or the player is still overseas playing for his current team:

Maciej Lampe
Mickael Pietrus
Boris Diaw
Leandrinho Barbosa
Alexsandar Pavlovic
Viktor Khryapa
Pavel Podkolzine
Carlos Delfino
Anderson Varejao
Sofaklis Schortanitis
Zaur Pachulia
Zarko Carbarkapa
Zoran Planinic
Malick Badiane
Slakvo Vranes
Kristaps Volters

That's a total of 12 "safe" Americans and 17 international players who won't be in Chicago this week. Whatever your persuasion on the international players, at the very least six to eight of them will go in the first round. It could be as high as 12.

Split the difference at seven and you're looking at only 10 spots left for everyone else. Go all the way to 12 international players, and there are only five spots left in the first round.

You can understand a little bit while college seniors like Brian Cook, Josh Howard, David West and Marcus Banks don't want to play. After four years of college, NBA scouts have scouted them to death. I know teams would like to see West play small forward and they'd like to make sure Cook is as tough as he looked his senior season, but all in all, there really isn't much for them to gain by showing up in Chicago.

The underclassmen, however, are much more puzzling.

Why are Mario Austin, Rick Rickert, Chris Thomas, Maurice Williams, Travis Outlaw, Charlie Villanueva, Kendrick Perkins and James Lang skipping Chicago?

All of them are in danger of slipping out of the first round and all have major question marks that could be answered in Chicago. How is Austin's perimeter game? Is Rickert tough enough to play inside? Is Thomas a good enough defender? Does Mo have the maturity? Are Outlaw, Villanueva, Perkins or Lang ready for the league?

We'll never know.

The good news is that there are some intriguing players who are expected to play in Chicago this year. Each of these players could really help his stock with a big performance in Chicago.

Washington State 6-foot-6 point guard Marcus Moore plans to be there. So does Duke's Dahntay Jones, BYU's Travis Hansen, LSU's Ronald Dupree, Boston College's Troy Bell, St. John's Marcus Hatten, St. Joseph's Jameer Nelson, N.C. State's Josh Powell, Hawaii's Carl English, Oklahoma's Hollis Price, Maryland's Steve Blake, Creighton's Kyle Korver, Arizona's Luke Walton, Tennessee's Ron Slay, Ball State's Brandon Hunter, North Dakota's Jerome Beasley and Slovenia's Alexander Vujacic.

Even with all those names, the NBA is hungry for more. It recently told the agents of several top international players that their clients wouldn't be invited to the NBA physical unless they played in Chicago.

Of all of the top international players in the draft, only Darko will be invited to go through the combine.

"It has nothing to do with their draft stock," one league source told Insider. "Teams want to see more talent at these events. They've seen Nick Collison a hundred times but hardly anyone has seen Lampe or Sofaklis. So we're applying a little leverage."

Will they come?

"I doubt it," the source said. "But that isn't stopping us from trying."

One NBA agent finds the league's stance pretty hypocritical.

"I was told GMs were the ones pressuring the league to keep these kids out of the physicals if they don't play," the agent told Insider. "But it's those same GMs who are telling us to keep the kids out of Chicago. If they discover a gem in workouts, it isn't in their best interest to have him audition for the entire NBA. We get a lot of mixed messages."

Coaching carousel slowing down
The 22 coaches still employed in the NBA all slept a little easier Sunday night. With word coming that Larry Brown and Paul Silas are set to accept the head coaching gigs in Detroit and Cleveland, respectively, it looks like the coaching carnage is about to end.

Both the Pistons and Cavs got it right. Will the rest of the GMs in the league follow suit?

Rick Carlisle got the Pistons as far as he was going to get them. His motivation techniques squeezed every ounce out of his players. But the constant squeezing ultimately alienated them as well. By the Eastern Conference Finals it was clear that he had lost several of his players. According to one league source, the player exit interviews with Dumars were scathing toward Carlisle. His poor relationship with the front office, especially owner Bill Davidson, was the final straw. In what is otherwise a very harmonious front office, Carlisle's surly nature stuck out like a sore thumb. And with the team bringing in a potential young superstar in Darko Milicic, Joe Dumars and company couldn't afford to screw this up. Davidson and Dumars felt like the team might regress next season. Now, with Brown in place doing what he does best, coaching, the Pistons should be able to take another step forward next season.

The Cavs also hit the jackpot with Silas. Jeff Van Gundy had the bigger name, but he also has the bigger ego. There isn't room in Cleveland for any more egos now that LeBron is rolling into town. The New York Post reported a story about a nasty exchange he had with GM Jim Paxson when Paxson asked Van Gundy if he'd commit to giving LeBron a certain amount of minutes next season. Van Gundy balked and so did the Cavs. Van Gundy denied that the exchange took place.

"I have no idea where that came from," Van Gundy told the Newark Star Ledger. "There was no difference of opinion on anything at all. All those things that were written are just not accurate. (James' minutes) never came up. I really don't know what happened, (owner) Gordon Gund and Jim Paxson are really great people, and I enjoyed speaking with them."

Even if the story wasn't true, it was believable enough. In New York it was always Van Gundy's way or the highway. The last thing Paxson needed was an ego war going on all season. As big is Van Gundy is in the coaching world, LeBron's selling the tickets, not VG. Silas will be more nuturing and more diplomatic. He'll figure out a way to motivate this team without alienating LeBron. That's all Paxson can ask for at this point.

Van Gundy has suddenly lost much of his negotiating power now. He's either got to go ahead and accept the Rockets' offer, or try to hold out in case the Blazers job comes open. Van Gundy has been eyeing Portland since he left New York. With the word now out that the Blazers will give permission to the 76ers to interview Maurice Cheeks (both sides deny it), coaching in Portland seems to be Van Gundy's only other real possibility. If Van Gundy waits too long, the Rockets will go ahead and give the job to Mike Dunleavy.

If Van Gundy does get the job in Houston, expect Dunleavy to take a job in Atlanta. He's close friends with soon-to-be new owner David McDavid. As good as the Houston job is, they still have to play in the Western Conference. In Atlanta, Dunleavy should have no problem sneaking the Hawks into the playoffs.

As we reported last week, the Raptors are set to hire Pistons assistant Kevin O'Neill. Former Cavs and Hawks czar Mike Fratello denies that he's close to an agreement with the Hornets. However, the same league source continues to insist that Fratello is the guy.

The Sixers received permission to talk with Nets assistant Eddie Jordan this weekend. If Philly can't get their hands on Maurice Cheeks, Jordan would be a great alternative. His ability to relate to players (read Allen Iverson) will give him a leg up over other candidates like Carlisle. If Cheeks does get the job in Philly, look for Jordan to still get some love in the Wizards and Clippers coaching search.

Do the Spurs still need Kidd?
Tony Parker knows that he's in for a flood of Jason Kidd-to-the-Spurs questions again. This time he's much more comfortable with them. When the questions first came up in December, no one believed that the Spurs would be in the NBA Finals. Now that Parker has the Spurs on the cusp of a championship, why exactly, do they need Kidd?

"For me it's a great honor," Parker told the San Antonio Express News. "He's the best point guard in the NBA. It's not like they choose somebody from Yugoslavia and he's nobody. He's Jason Kidd."

So does he believe his job is in jeopardy?

"Even if you have a good season, you never know," Parker said. "They can still make some trades. You're never sure in this business. Even if you're established, they can do something. Sometimes people just aren't happy."

But if Parker was general manager?

"If I was general manager?" Parker said, smiling. "I'd keep me."

They probably will. Luring Kidd away from the Nets will be harder than ever, especially if they win a championship. Besides, the Spurs will have more pressing needs next year. They'd love to move Duncan to center and bring in a top-notch power forward like Jermaine O'Neal or Elton Brand. If they can't land either of those guys, they're still probably better off splitting all of their cap room between someone like Michael Olowokandi and Lamar Odom.

Around the league

Gary Payton is telling folks that he won't be back in Milwaukee next season. His first choice is to land with the Lakers. If that doesn't work out he's eyeing free-agent money in San Antonio and Portland. Minnesota will also be in the running.

No wonder the Bucks are bringing in every point guard under the sun for individual draft workouts.

Central Michigan center Chris Kaman is off to a slow start in workouts. According to several team sources who have seen him work out, he doesn't appear to have the quickness or toughness they thought he had. If he continues to work out poorly, there's a chance he could slip to the Knicks at No. 9.

N.C. State sophomore Josh Powell won't be returning to school, a source close to Powell told Insider. Powell has decided to forego his college eligibility and keep his name in the draft. Several strong workouts, especially one in San Antonio, have convinced Powell to keep his name in the draft.

The 6-foot-9 forward understands that he's on the bubble for the first round, but he's feeling big-time pressure to go pro now. His mother is disabled and his family needs the money. Powell has been working on his perimeter game down in Florida the last few weeks and is trying to convince teams that he's really a long, athletic power forward. His vertical jump is off the charts and his perimeter shooting has improved dramatically.

Can he sneak into the first round? A strong performance in Chicago could get him there.

06-02-2003, 03:43 PM
My pick to impress at the Chicago camp: Travis Hansen. Book it!

Ummmmm Ok
06-02-2003, 03:47 PM
I actually see Jarvis Hayes's stock rising a little. I see him being a standout at the chicago workouts. Boot it!!!! i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

06-02-2003, 03:48 PM
Here ya go, Mad ! He's the 7th rated SG right now.

7. Travis Hansen, BYU
The line: 6-6, 210, Senior
The skinny: No one helped himself more at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament than Hansen. Hansen turned out to be a much better athlete than original scouting reports indicated. He also turned out to be a much better perimeter shooter, averaging 15.7 ppg on 57 percent shooting. He shot 63 percent from behind the arc during the tournament. Teams were also impressed with his toughness. Hansen can bench press more than 300 pounds and repeatedly ended up guarding and stopping bigger opponents. Several scouts claimed he reminded them of a more-athletic Jeff Hornacek. Another went even further, comparing him to Danny Ainge. Hooking up with agent Bill Duffy won't hurt his stock either. Right now he's probably still a second-round pick. But a strong showing in Chicago or a series of good workouts could propel him into the late first round.

And for you UMMMMMM....your boy is 4th rated.

4. Jarvis Hayes, Georgia*
The line: 6-7, 220, Junior
The skinny: Teams like his body, strength and athleticism for the position and think his shooting has really improved. However, in a draft where being labeled "multi-dimensional" will make you multi-millions, Hayes has the rep of being a one-note player. It's not entirely fair. Hayes is an decent rebounder and defender. But his inability to put the ball on the floor or create his own shot will be a problem. He averaged just 3.3 free throw attempts per game. Think Allan Houston without a first step. Should go somewhere between the late lottery and mid first round.

Ummmmm Ok
06-02-2003, 03:55 PM
I see Hayes sticking out because Finley talked really good about him and said he was going to be a solid NBA player and well Finley speaks the truth. i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif

06-02-2003, 03:59 PM
Here's the guy I like, but he won't be in Chicago either:


Oooops...it's Wilt. My Bad !!!

06-02-2003, 04:33 PM
Hansen's stock rising
By Dick Harmon
Deseret News sports columnist


It's still too early to predict where Travis Hansen will go in the NBA draft next month. But the path he's taken so far is paved with sweat, hard work and a dose of attitude. And since he walked off the court at the NCAA Regional in Spokane, Wash., he's turned a lot of heads. Today, Hansen is working out for the Los Angeles Lakers. He just finished a session with the Pacers. And since Portsmouth in April, he's been a man in demand.

Could Hansen be the NBA pick Steve Cleveland has waited to hatch from his program? Recruiters have used this against the Cougars since Cleveland took over the BYU program in 1996. You'd have to go back to the early '90s to find a high-round Cougar draftee and that would be Shawn Bradley, fresh off a mission to Australia. Before that, it was Michael Smith to the Boston Celtics. The drought has been a long one.

Whatever happens to Hansen, a former Mountain View, Utah Valley State College and BYU star, it's certainly going to be more than his critics gave him. Two months ago, I believed it a stretch that Hansen would go in the first two rounds. Wrong. He could be there. Hansen refuses to talk about his chances. In fact, he's done a masterful job of closing his mouth and letting his shot, defense and hustle do the talking. You likely won't hear much out of Hansen in coming weeks because his game plan calls for action, not talk.

The first hurdle for Hansen after the NCAAs was to find an agent. A good clue of how things were going came when Yao Ming's agent, Bill Duffy sought out Hansen and signed him. At the signing, Hansen refused to accept money. He's kept that a fact today. A normal signing bonus for a guy in Hansen's situation would be about $50,000. Hansen, believing he wanted to prove himself before accepting coin, kept his head in the game.

He's told family he doesn't have one more penny than he did last week. He likes it that way. Nothing in the NBA is a given. Ask the Philadelphia 76ers and Shawn Bradley. Hansen went to Portsmouth, an invitation-only NBA tournament camp, as a big, hungry shooting guard. In a long weekend, he became the freak of the camp. Here was a 6-foot-6 white guy who could shoot, drive and defend. He had not only the hops, a 39-inch vertical, but he displayed outstanding footspeed. But it wasn't just that he could defend players his size, he was holding his own against some powerful small guards.

Draft gurus were impressed. He then hunkered down in Florida, working out with potential top draftees and NBA players. Again, driven by hunger, Hansen impressed. His work echoed some noise around the league. Again, he kept his mouth shut. His only focus has been the guy defending him and the guy he had to defend. With offers to workout with most the teams in the league, Duffy told Hansen to work out with seven before this weekend's major NBA draft camp in Chicago. In addition to Indiana and the Lakers, he's made stops at Miami, Golden State, Memphis, Detroit, Chicago and Denver.

How did the workouts go? Hansen isn't saying. But NBA Internet sites have hummed with positive reports. Chad Ford of NBA Insider (ESPN) calls Hansen a more complete player than Duke's Dahntay Jones, who is considered the best athlete in the draft. Quoting an NBA personnel director, Ford wrote: "Jones is an amazing athlete, but what amazed us is how well Hansen hung with him. I'll be shocked if Hansen isn't drafted in the first round. Jones may too. They're both playing really well." A year ago Hansen found himself among the trees, playing with some talented college players and something just clicked. He felt he belonged.

This past year, following the Hansen story, something clicked with me: Do not sell this kid from Orem short. He's hungry and the ache isn't going away. Hungry men are a dangerous lot.

06-03-2003, 08:23 AM
Originally posted by: OutletPass
Here's the guy I like, but he won't be in Chicago either:


Oooops...it's Wilt. My Bad !!!

I hear he might slip into the first round with solid work-outs.