Tuesday, June 2, 2009
More than 20 NBA teams watch workout
A few quick hitters for Tuesday:
• The first of two days of workouts at the Golden State Warriors' practice facility concluded with little consensus reached.
There were 21 teams in attendance: Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Golden State, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Utah and Washington.
The first group consisted of Pitt's Sam Young, LSU's Marcus Thornton, Australia's Joe Ingles, Notre Dame's Luke Harangody, Texas' Damion James and Arizona State's Jeff Pendergraph. The second group had former Arkansas guard Patrick Beverly, VCU's Eric Maynor, Saint Mary's Patty Mills, Wake Forest's Jeff Teague, Xavier's Derrick Brown and USC's Taj Gibson.
Harangody is looking for a first- or second-round guarantee. A first-round guarantee is highly unlikely. A second-round guarantee could be obtained, but Harangody will have to weigh that against whether he wants to return and become a legend at Notre Dame.
James was taking too many 3-pointers. NBA decision-makers wanted to see him do the little things like passing, screening and hitting a mid-range jumper. Yet, James was apparently getting down on missing 3s. James is hardly a lock for the first round and probably should consider going back to Texas.
Teague is still on the fence about whether to return to Wake Forest. This apparently wasn't his best workout. He's still all over the map in the late first round. Teague's workouts apparently are mirroring his season: He showed flashes of being an elite player but then can look rather pedestrian at times, relative to the elite guards in the first round.
Gibson is not going back to USC -- at least that's what has been conveyed to the NBA personnel, according to sources. Gibson is 24 and the unknowns at USC with player defections, a pending NCAA investigation and rumors concerning job security for the staff would make it hard for Gibson to commit to returning to a roster devoid of star talent. Gibson continues to perform well at the workouts and is moving toward a first-round selection.
Tuesday's workout at the same facility is supposed to include the following players in the first group: Arizona's Chase Budinger, Temple's Dionte Christmas, Gonzaga's Austin Daye, Georgia Tech's Gani Lawal, Missouri's Leo Lyons and Louisville's Terrence Williams.
The second group is slated to include Israel's Omri Casspi, USC's Daniel Hackett, Ohio State's B.J. Mullens, Utah's Luke Nevill and former Connecticut commit Ater Majok. Majok replaced North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough, who pulled out of the workout. Florida's Nick Calathes was also supposed to participate but is in Greece getting a physical prior to signing a professional contract. Majok is part of an ongoing NCAA investigation into allegations that a former UConn manager turned agent aided Majok's recruitment (as well as that of former UConn student and College of Southern Idaho player Nate Miles). Majok is the only one among this second group who technically hasn't given up his amateur status. NBA personnel wanted to see whether Majok is worth a look. He was not invited to the NBA draft combine last week in Chicago. In the first group, Lawal and Daye still haven't said whether they're staying in the draft. While at the combine in Chicago, Lawal indicated that he might return to school. Daye seemed to be leaning toward staying in the draft.
• Mills' decision to stay in the NBA draft shouldn't come as a shock. Mills was destined to be in the draft after he starred for the Australian Olympic team against the Americans in Beijing in August. It didn't matter how sensational a year he had at Saint Mary's. Had Mills stayed healthy and not broken his right hand he would have likely led the Gaels to at least one win over Gonzaga and to the NCAA tournament. But his comeback came in the WCC tournament, too late to save the Gaels from the NIT. At the NBA draft combine Mills showed that he has the speed up and down the court, as well as the lateral quickness, to be a disruptive player in the NBA, and he showed those skills again at the team workout at the Golden State Warriors facility Monday. Mills has an infectious personality and should be a huge hit in whichever NBA city drafts him. Mills is off to the Reebok Eurocamp this week. He needs more five-on-five work after missing games this season. The interest in Mills should only rise from this point forward.
Saint Mary's is now in rebuilding mode. The Gaels lost its two marquee players in Mills and Diamon Simpson. That will put plenty of pressure on Omar Samhan to be a double-double performer, but someone will have to get him the ball and create opportunities for him. Samhan was successful in being a complementary player. We'll see whether he can be a star. He might need to be if the Gaels are going to compete for a top-four finish in the WCC.
• Marcus Johnson's decision to go into the draft after winning a waiver for a fifth year at USC should be a strong indication that a storm cloud continues to brew at USC. Johnson wasn't invited to the combine. He needs more game reps before he's ready for a pro sniff, yet he turned that down to gamble in the draft instead of a sure thing of playing at USC. The Trojans do have a core group of players remaining that could help USC to finish in the top five of the Pac-10, including guard Dwight Lewis, forwards Alex Stepheson, Nikola Vucevic, Leonard Washington, Marcus Simmons and Kasey Cunningham. But that says more about the status of the Pac-10 than it does the talent at USC. Cal and Washington are the clear favorites, while Oregon State and Oregon have enough back to mount a challenge for No. 3. UCLA doesn't have a star but has underclassmen whom most teams in the league would covet. Washington State has one of the top players in the league in Klay Thompson. Arizona won't be as poor as previously predicted; Sean Miller will coach a better-than-anticipated recruiting class. USC will lack a star but has solid role players who could make the Trojans a tough team to score on next season. So far, Marcus Johnson, incoming recruit Noel Johnson and underclassmen DeMar DeRozan, Gibson and Hackett all have split.
• USA Basketball announced that Miami coach Frank Haith and Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter would assist Wisconsin's Bo Ryan with the World University Games team that will compete in Serbia in early July. Jeter was a former Ryan assistant at Wisconsin.