No. 1 or 1A (a.k.a. "No. 2") draftee, now USA hoopster? But will the drafting team (Magic? Bobcats?) be happy with post-Olympics tired legs?
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
Who's No. 1: Dwight Howard or Emeka Okafor?
Prep potential vs. collegian polish: In the
history of the NBA draft's top pick since the
prep-to-pro era began, tonight's draft (7:30 ET, ESPN)
offers the sharpest contrast of these two dominant
But it's a phantom issue: The debate is over -- and
the preps have handily won. Tonight's big story is
the projection that a record nine high school
kids will be taken in the first round.
This isn't hype: Teams don't willingly act
irrationally (insert Clippers joke). They won't draft
a kid just because his last stop was the senior
No, teams draft him because the percentage of preps
drafted in the first round who succeed is laughably
larger than the percentage of drafted college kids.
(And if you weight the draft for college experience,
less is even more.)
Is the NBA going to hell in a mock draft, as many
critics argue? Or, thanks to the influx of young
talent, are great seasons still ahead?
This year's unprecedented volume of preps will have
the widest impact of any draft class yet in
determining the argument's outcome.
The linchpin to any Mavs play for Shaq
was going to be a high draft pick. So Mark Cuban went
out and ate the contracts of Jerry Stackhouse and
Christian Laettner (swapping his own big contract in
Antawn Jamison) so he could have the Wizards' No. 5
pick to dangle to L.A. (Psst: Mark, it'll still take
Dirk to pull it off.)
What about Kobe? The Suns shipped their No. 7
pick to Chicago because Phoenix wanted to save that cap room for wooing Bryant. Many think
the Bulls will turn the 7 around to Indiana for Al
Harrington so the Pacers can take fast-rising Luke
||CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
|WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...|
Texas: Shaq to Big D? T-Mac to H-town? Can I get a Yee-Ha?|
Texas: UT to CWS finals; love ESPN's catchy "Omaha" song
Texas: Rangers have won 5 straight; lead AL West by 1 game
|... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'|
Tim Montgomery: Oh, Fastest Man, you're in some trouble|
Braves: Have lost 6 of 7; that whole Atlanta Era? Over
Josh Beckett: Marlins 2003 World Series MVP headed for DL
The College Guys
Even the staunchest college boosters
have ratcheted back their argument that
there's a high correlation between college experience
and pro success.
With all the attention this year on the unprecedented
crop of preps, a fairly deep -- if not spectacular --
group of collegians is being slept on. A handy guide,
O'rated: Jameer Nelson
U'rated: Luke Jackson
O'rated: Ben Gordon
U'rated: Kirk Snyder
O'rated: Andre Iguodala
U'rated: Donta Smith
O'rated: Luol Deng
U'rated: Kris Humphries
Pavel Podkolzine? Andris Biedrins?
Sergei Monya? International players inspire the sports
equivalent of the national debate about "outsourcing."
The only lock is the usual xenophobic jingoism from
commentators too lazy to have bothered to scout these
guys. Two words for nay-sayers: Andrei
Riley to L.A.?
Pat Riley confirmed rumors that he met with
the L.A. brain-trust, which resembles a vanity play for
both management and would-be coach. When Riley -- ego
gratified -- ends up staying in Miami, the Rudy T Era
will be off to a fantastic start. Lakers GM Mitch
Kupchak should worry more about not losing Kobe or
getting fleeced in a Shaq trade.
How's this for a non-apology: Tiger
says his caddie "probably went too far" when he went
nutso on a fan with an overactive
camera. That's probably an understatement (and
probably not going to change caddyman Steve Williams'
Oh, things are looking bad. Very bad. Two words that may be the worst you can hear in sports: "Lifetime ban." How will Marion save her b/f?
|Today on ESPN.com|
|Page 2: Eric Neel on MLB contenders, pretenders|
|NBA draft coverage|
|MLB Power Rankings|
|Top 5 Prep Draftees|
|6-7 PG a rare offering|
|Next KG ... or Kwame B?|
|Wide load has NBA body|
|Smiths (J.R., Josh)|
|JR a stud; Josh sketchy|
|No good, but marketable|
D-Rays Watch: Winning streak snapped at 12, ending most improbable run of MLB season ...|
More preps: Draft's biggest bubble stock? Center
Robert Swift. Even has a ready nickname for, say,
Boston fans: "Robert Stiff" ...
Another exciting Cards-Cubs game: StL wins 10-9 on
late PB, fending off Cubs play for 1st; great
Clement-Carpenter pairing today ...
Why would Jim Harrick debunk rumors he's got a new job
coaching in the ABA? Could use juice from people
thinking he's employable ...
If you like all those international draftee names, you
should really tune in on Saturday for the NHL Draft
(Noon ET, ESPN2) ...
The latest top-pick scuttlebutt: Orlando will take
Howard over Okafor, giving the Bobcats a huge Eme-coup
at No. 2 ...