Curry to the Knicks?
A rumor that has been gaining steam is that the Knicks will select Stephen Curry with their 8th pick. We've received word that there could be truth to this from inside sources claiming that Curry chose to put his name into the draft this year based on the Knicks assuring Curry that they would use their lottery selection to draft him.
Obviously a lot could happen between now and the draft. The Knicks could always win the lottery (they're not using a top 3 pick on him) or trade their pick.
But it appears to be a legitimate possibility that if the Knicks have the 8th pick on draft night they will use it on Curry. Curry's game would fit extremely well in Mike D'Antoni's wide open style and his scoring ability would be enhanced.
Rubio Time is Now?
Ricky Rubio recently signed with American agent Dan Fegan and it appears he will attempt to use a marketing deal with a shoe company to help pay off the 4.7 million Euro buyout. An NBA team can only pay $500K of that buyout meaning that Rubio will be left with nearly 6 million dollars owed to Joventut.
In a weak draft (after Blake Griffin) Rubio is considered a real possibility at the #2 pick with teams such as Washington in need of a true point guard.
Word is, Rubio's buyout actually goes up next season (slightly) and if the Euro gains strength against the US dollar (which is very possible) his buyout would increase further.
Rubio's stock likely will never be higher after such an impressive performance in the Olympics last summer.
On the flip side, Spanish players who have been patient about entering the NBA (Rudy Fernandez and Jose Calderon) have had much more success than Spaniards who have rushed it (Sergio Rodriguez). Rubio might be more NBA ready and have better long term success being patient about leaving for the NBA.
Rubio has a special feel for the game with the ability to make those around him better and see what's coming before others. However there are concerns about his game from scouts, in particular the transition to a more isolation style of game and his ability to create his own shot and get by defenders consistently.
Regardless it appears likely Rubio will stay the course and be either the 2nd or 3rd pick in this year's draft.
Flynn in the Lotto
Jonny Flynn has a lot of competition at the point guard position in this year's draft. But there's a good chance he will end up in the late lottery since the Phoenix Suns are so enamored with the young point guard.
The Syracuse PG has decided to hire and agent, foregoing any possibility of returning to school. Flynn averaged 17.4 ppg, 6.7 apg, a 2-1 a/to ratio, 46 % from the floor and 32% from 3 in his sophomore season.
Phoenix appears to be Flynn's safety net as it's unlikely the Suns will let him slip past their pick at 14. They see him as Steve Nash's possible successor with Nash likely bolting in free agency after next season.
Holiday Likely to stay in Draft
Despite having an inconsistent freshman season at UCLA, a number of teams remain intrigued by the combo guard.
Jrue Holiday came into college with a ton of hype as a poised, polished, combo guard. And around halfway through the year, coach Howland had resigned to the fact that he was losing the freshman guard.
He's shown flashes of being an advanced guard with point guard potential, however he failed to live up to expectations in his freshman season.
People close to Holiday insist he intends to stay in this year's draft and will find a spot in the mid-late first round. After such an inconsistent freshman year, you would think Holiday would want to return to school and prove himself, however that doesn't appear to be the gameplan.
Talking with a number of International based NBA scouts recently, the thought of more players such as Josh Childress being lured over to Europe appears unlikely, at least in the short term.
Childress was in a unique situation last summer and the European market had not been hit as hard as the US by the world recession. He was also caught in a loophole with his American contract which limited team's ability to pay him what he was worth.
A year ago there were teams with money to spend, but Europe is now feeling the economic downturn harder than the US, not to mention European teams struggle to draw the same attendance and income of NBA teams. With a majority of NBA teams losing money last year, European teams have been hit even harder.
The types of players that make the most sense are athletic shooters such as Ray Allen or Mike Miller who cannot be left open on the perimeter. The Iso style that allows NBA players to use their athleticism to score gets neutralized explaining why Childress, an average shooter, has a hard time being a difference maker in Europe.
Another intriguing player type for European teams are the small, athletic power forwards (Jason Maxiell, Paul Millsap, DeJuan Blair) who would be absolute studs doing what they do in Europe.
Childress was unable to make Olympiacos look smart for bringing him over losing to arch rival Panathinaikos and then sitting out the 3rd place game in the Euro Final Four.
There will still be players such as Trajan Langdon who fit European ball better than the NBA and will be able to command big salaries, but the thought of European teams outbidding NBA teams for stars on a regular basis appears unlikely.
Then again with the seemingly unlimited budgets of teams such as Olympiacos, it's always possible that some European owner in Greece will decide to put up big money to bring in a star NBA player in the future. But considering the European economy, and Childress not working out as well as planned, don't look for that to happen in the near future.
Looking over this year's draft positions, there are three that have a real stock pile of talent. 9 point guards, 7 small forwards, and 6 power forwards (Patterson has pulled out) are currently projected in the first round. Depending on which players decide to stay in, there will be a few who slip into the second round.
At point guard Rubio, Brandon Jennings, Flynn, Stephen Curry, Eric Maynor, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Patrick Mills and Jrue Holiday all figure to find spots in the first round while others such as Darren Collison, Curtis Jerrells and Toney Douglas will have a shot to get into the late first round with excellent workouts.
The small forward position is just as impacted with Earl Clark and James Johnson solidly in the first round and another six or so scrambling to grab spots in the late first round in Omri Casspi, Terrence Williams, Derrick Brown, Sam Young, Tyler Smith, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko with Vladimir Dasic and Dante Cunningham
Power forward is another position of strength in this draft, with 6 projected first rounders. Guys such as Gani Lawal, DeJuan Blair, Tyler Hansbrough, Jarvis Varnado, Taj Gibson, and Jeff Pendergraph will battle it out for late first round spots). as possibilities as well.
Happy Mother's day!