View Full Version : 6/11 ESPN Insider - Draft Watch

06-11-2003, 10:57 AM
NBA Draft stock watch
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Wednesday, June 11
Updated: June 11
11:30 AM ET

We all should really 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 GM 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 Qyntel Woods in the lottery and Fred Jones pan-handling for change in the second round.

Our Monday mock draft drew a lot of response from NBA GMs and scouts over the last two days. Based on the volume of feedback, here's a look at the guys we might have slotted too low and few guys riding a little too high.

Thursday we'll unveil our new top 15s at each position.

HIgh risers

For those of you who believe we're getting carried away with the whole "foreign invasion" thing, you might want to skip the next four paragraphs. It appears that a 13th international player could be on the verge of cracking the first round. Croatian point guard Zoran Planinic is playing to enthusiastic reviews wherever he goes. Planinic, a 21-year-old, 6-foot-8 (he recently measured 6-foot-7 in bare feet) point guard has wowed teams like the Nets, Spurs, Sonics and Bucks of late.

What gives? Planinic was considered a potential lottery pick early in the season, but a car accident wrecked most of his season. When NBA teams came calling this winter, Planinic was out of synch, spending lots of time on the bench and struggling when he did get on the court. His stock dropped into the second round. However, a string of impressive performances the last month in Croatia, where he averaged nearly a triple-double, put him back on the scene.

But it has been his workouts that have impressed teams. His surprising athleticism, lethal outside shot and knack for finding the open man have teams scrambling to get him in for a closer look. When you're 6-foot-8 and considered a "pure" point guard, teams are going to notice.

Wednesday, Planinic replaced Marcus Moore in the Bucks' big point guard workout and wowed the team with his athleticism and handle. One Bucks source claims that, based on that workout, Planinic ranks ahead of both Reece Gaines and Luke Ridnour. It's not inconceivable Planinic could work his way up to No. 14 to the Sonics, but it's more likely that, with more strong performances, he'll end up at No. 22 to the Nets or No. 28 to the Spurs.

Speaking of international phenoms, Greece's "Baby Shaq", Sofaklis Schortsanitis, is begging to impress a few folks in workouts. The good news is that "Baby Shaq" is measuring in at 6-foot-10 with shoes (6-8 without) and a 7-2 wingspan. That official measurement in Memphis should be enough to quell all the naysayers who claimed he was much shorter. The bad news is that his weight, 314 pounds in Memphis, is raising a few eyebrows. While teams that have seen him claim it appears to be mostly muscle (wow!), they still wonder if he'll have weight issues down the road.

Where will Big Ten Player of the Year Brian Cook go in the draft? The initial feedback I got in Chicago over the weekend was that he was in the 23-to-35 range. It wasn't easy to find a team that was convinced he was a mid-first-rounder. Most wouldn't even claim he was a lock for the late first round. However, I talked to several NBA teams on Tuesday that claim they have him ranked higher than Nick Collison, David West and Schortsanitis.

"I'm not sure how concerned we are with the 'head' issue anymore," one team told Insider. "Two months ago it was the biggest issue on the board. But as we've gone back and looked at the film, plus with our own evaluations of him, it's no longer what I'd call a red flag."

Sources inside the three teams that have already worked him out -- Phoenix, Miami and Utah -- believe he'll go anywhere from 14 to 24. Over the next two weeks, Cook is scheduled to work out in Memphis, Boston, Milwaukee, Golden State, Seattle and Phoenix.

KU point guard Kirk Hinrich is pulling away from the competition as the second-best point guard in the draft. Hinrich's workout reviews have been solid to stellar everywhere he's gone. Hinrich worked out better than any other point guard they've had in. If the Bucks pick a point guard at No. 8, and T.J. Ford already is off the board, it looks like Hinrich is the guy. Hinrich's competition -- Luke Ridnour, Reece Gaines and Leandrinho Barbosa -- have all gotten mixed reviews. Of the three after Hinrich, Gaines seems to have the buzz right now, followed by Barbosa.

The rumors that Phoenix is already in bed with Yugoslavian forward Zarko Cabarkapa at pick No. 17 won't go away. Insider first reported the talk last week with a rather big caveat -- the rumor got started when Cabarkapa left the U.S. after only two workouts (the Suns and Lakers) and headed back to Yugoslavia. His representatives claimed a family medical emergency forced him to return and that he'd be back and working out again soon. While all that is checking out, two more independent sources are claiming Phoenix has told Cabarkapa he won't slip past 17, and the Lakers have told him he won't slip past 24. These type of things are impossible to nail down. Phoenix is denying it. Cabarkapa's agents are denying it. But there is an unusual amount of buzz coming from this one. Let's watch who Cabarkapa works out with when he returns. If it is only teams above 17, his draft stock is well on the rise. And by the way, assuming Planinic and Cabarkapa don't push out any international players, that's now 14 who could go in round one.

Western Kentucky's Chris Marcus was medically cleared to play after a physical during the Chicago pre-draft camp. Obviously there are still major question marks about his health, conditioning (he weighed 334 pounds in Chicago) and long-term future, but it's probably a given that someone will take a chance on him now in the second round.

Nose divers

Oregon's Luke Ridnour has gotten some pretty mixed reviews over the past week. While teams like his shooting touch and his innate feel for the game, concerns about his quickness, toughness and ability to play defense in the NBA are lowering his stock a bit. Two teams that have worked him out claim they like him, but don't project him to be much more than a back-up point in the NBA -- especially for the first two or three years. Of course, that's what they said about Steve Nash in 1996.

You would have thought David West's stock would go through the roof after he measured 6-9 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan in Chicago. However, several teams claim they haven't been impressed with his workouts. He's shot the ball poorly and just hasn't worked out as well as some of the other top power forwards in the draft. Will he slip into the second round? Right now I think there's a good chance of that.

France's Boris Diaw is also struggling to maintain all the goodwill he earned earlier in the year. Diaw was recently named the French League MVP. Several teams are struggling to figure out whether Diaw is just soft or whether he's just playing in the wrong system. The NBA likes big point guards, but many feel that at 6-foot-9, Diaw may be a little too big. The Warriors and Wizards were over there recently, but they went to see Mickael Pietrus, not Diaw. The Bulls will be there this weekend, but again, they aren't going to see Diaw. That's his biggest problem. Diaw's game doesn't jump up and grab you like Pietrus' does. You have to be watching him closely to pick up on all of the little things he does. The other night he had nine points, seven rebounds, eight assists and two blocks in a Pau Orthez victory. That's a nice stat line, but not one that immediately jumps up and grabs you. It's not unheard of to think that Diaw ends up slipping down to the mid-to-late 20s.

Workout news

Pistons: Carmelo Anthony canceled his workout this Friday in Detroit. That's even better evidence that the Pistons will be taking Darko Milicic with the No. 2 pick in the draft. Brazilian point guard Leandrinho Barbosa and University of Detroit guard Willie Green are working out today.

Grizzlies: Pavel Podkolzine worked out against San Diego's Jason Keep and Louisville's Marvin Stone on Tuesday. Grizz assistant coach Tony Barone said it was important to get Pavel in to see how he worked out with other people. "It was just shooting drills," Barone said of Podkolzine's Chicago showcase. "So you don't see anything. We wanted to see him against big bodies. ... All of these guys were physical, and they banged each other. That's what we wanted to see." Sofoklis Schortsanitis also worked out in an earlier session. Brian Cook will be in Memphis today.

Bucks: The team worked out Kirk Hinrich, Zoran Planinic, Reece Gaines and Luke Ridnour on Tuesday. According to a source with knowledge of the workout, Hinrich had the best performance of the day, followed by Planinic. Gaines also worked out OK; Ridnour struggled. The Bucks will have another interesting workout today when Podkolzine works out against 7-7 Slavko Vranes and 7-footer Maciej Lampe.

T-Wolves: Rick Rickert, Jerome Beasley, Tommy Smith, Marquis Estill, Chris Thomas and Mo Williams worked out for the team on Tuesday. What was the T-Wolves' take on hometown boy Rickert? "He's just not quick enough to defend small forwards in our league," Rob Babcock, the Wolves' vice president of player personnel, told the Pioneer Press. "The big question you ask is, 'What position is this player going to defend in the NBA?' When you ask that question you say, 'He's got to defend the power forward.' " The Wolves will have Mario Austin, Matt Bonner, Ron Slay and James Lang in today.

Bulls: The team worked out Nick Collison, Maciej Lampe, David West and Luke Walton on Tuesday. Collison and Lampe reportedly both worked out well. The team will bring in Keith Bogans and Mo Williams today; Dwyane Wade, Luke Ridnour and Russian forward Viktor Khryapa on Thursday; T.J. Ford on Friday and Kirk Hinrich on Saturday. Great, just what the Bulls need -- another point guard.

Celtics: Matt Bonner and Brandon Hunter were in Boston on Tuesday. Brian Cook and Polish forward Szymon Szewczyk will be in town on Thursday.

Nets: Croatian point guard Zoran Planinic and Polish forward Szymon Szewczyk will be in New Jersey today.

Raptors: Greek forward Sofoklis Schortsanitis works out in Toronto today.

Lakers: Yugoslavian two guard Alexsandar Pavlovic worked out in L.A. on Tuesday.

Knicks: Pavel Podkolzine and Maciej Lampe will work out with the Knicks on Thursday.

Nets, Knicks, Spurs, Celtics: Russian forward Viktor Khryapa and Georgian big man Zaur Pachulia will workout for all four teams in New York on Friday.

Nuggets: Marquette's Dwyane Wade is scheduled to work out for the Nuggets on Saturday in Denver. Carmelo Anthony will visit the Nuggets on Saturday and work out Sunday. Darko Milicic is tentatively scheduled to visit June 18-19.

Ummmmm Ok
06-11-2003, 11:04 AM
Why aren't the Mavs doing workouts?

Lonely PSU Mavs Fan
06-11-2003, 11:06 AM
Are the mavs working anyone out?

Ummmmm Ok
06-11-2003, 11:07 AM
Makes ya think that they already have their player(s) in mind!!

06-11-2003, 11:26 AM
Because folks like Chad Ford find out and print the crap on ESPN! You don't want to give away your position like that! Donnie and his staff know all the international players like the back of their hands. Big and Little whistle have already been suspended for working out all the yugos last summer. They discovered Badaine. Donnie was in Italy AND Croatia working guys out a couple of weeks ago. The only thing a workout would do now is to let the rest of the world know who you were lookng at.

Hmmm. . I guess if we really wanted to be sneaky, we could tell the whole world that we were looking seriously looking at the high school kids. Nah! We'd never do that, would we?

Blonde Bomber
06-11-2003, 11:26 AM
WOW...he thinks David West may fall into the second round....

That would be a great pickup for the Mavs..

and it looks like we won't have a chance at getting Zoran Planinic with his recent workouts.

Ummmmm Ok
06-11-2003, 11:28 AM
I would have fun with it and workout Anthony if that was the case. Talk about starting some rumors. i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif

06-11-2003, 01:09 PM
Donnie is in Italy and Don is in Maui....

How can we work out players that way ?