Draft Buzz 6/19/03
One Week Away Buzz
By Aran Smith
Podkolzine, Khryapa Out
Pavel Podkolzine has pulled out of the draft. He was unable to get a guarantee in the area that he wanted and therefore didn't want to take the chance that he would dip too low in the draft. His buyout is considerable, and if he had fallen past the 10th pick it would have really been tough for him to buy out of his deal with his European Team Varese. Podkolzine suffers from the same disorder that shortened Gheorghe Muresan's career, a pituitary disorder. The pituitary gland is involved in (surprise) growth. The disorder requires corective surgery. And while a doctor was assuring teams that the surgery would not affect Pavel's NBA future, teams began to become skeptical. Pavel's probably would have been taken in the top 10, but no team was willing to make that promise right now.
Pavel will have the surgery and if it's successful and he is able to play next year and show the same agility and potential, he will be a top 5 pick and could go as high as 1. The move shows that Pavel and his agent believe in his future and his agent decided taking the safe route was the best way to go.
Young Russian SF Viktor Khryapa has been solid in workouts but has opted out of the draft. He is a marvelous defensive player but with the number of Interntional players in the draft there was a possibility for him to slip into the second round. He probably made a good decision and is projected as a mid-to-late first rounder next year.
Georgetown bigman Mike Sweetney has opted to leave his name in the draft. He's expected to be a late lottery pick. Sweetney was one of the few players projected in the top of the first round to wait on signing an agent. He ended specualtion that he might withdraw on Thursday.
Ndudi Ebi has decided to stay in the draft. He along with Travis Outlaw are high school wing players with very nice upside and will probably get taken in the late first round area. Both players staying in has led to speculation that they have guarantees, but no one can figure out who they are from.
Of Marc Fleisher's players other than Khryapa, Kresimir Loncar, Blagota Sekulic, and Misan Nikagbatse have pulled out. Sofoklis Schortsanitis will stay in and will likely go somewhere in the early 20's. Szymon Szewczyk will remain in the draft and is likely a high second rounder. He has had some strong workouts and displays good leaping ability. He's a player with potential for teams to leave in Europe developing with nice upside.
NBADraft.net spoke with Marc Cornstein the agent for Planinic and Vranes and he informed us that both players will remain in the draft. We feel there's a chance that Detroit may consider Planinic at 25 since he shares the same agent, Cornstein, as the Pistons top pick Darko Milicic. Planinic has a chance to go 22, 25, or 26 as all three teams could look for a big PG. Planinic has had a back injury and stopped working out for teams. This has led to speculation that he has a promise, and if true New Jersey is the likely team. Slavko Vranes is a wild card. None of our scouts in Europe like him, but he has great size.
Sasha Vujacic has pulled out of the draft. He is only 18 and showed potential in Chicago but needs to refine his game to get into the first round as he isn't a freakish athlete.
Malick Badiane has decided to leave himself in the draft. The interest in him has waned some, although he was impressive at the Treviso bigman camp last week in front of 10 NBA teams. Dallas was the one team that was considered a possibility to give him a promise. He could have ended up going much higher if he waited a year and joined a higher level team in Europe and played at a high level again.
Erazem Lorbek has decided to wait on entering his name. There was some speculation that he didn't want to be drafted at all to become a free agent in a few years. but it's possible he would have been a second rounder. And instead of settling for that Lorbek will play in Europe for a couple seasons before making himself eligible for the draft and have a shot at the first round. Lorbek may have decided to play at Michigan St. for one season from the very beginning as it lets him out of a obligatory 2 year contract for 18 year olds that exists in Slovenia.
Jameer Nelson has followed the advice and opted out of the draft. he wasnt able to get a guaruntee from a team and has a good chacne to get into the first round next year.
The same can't be said for Mo Williams who has decided to leave his name in the draft. Williams is rolling the dice that he can be the eighth PG taken in the first round after Ford, Hinrich, Ridnour, Gaines, Banks, Barbosa and Planinic. He is a wonderful talent and we really like his potential, but he could easily slip into the second round.
Anderson Varejao has opted out of the draft. He will struggle for playing time again next year unless he changes to a new team. FC Barcalona features a number of top forwards in Europe and he only gets to play in Euroleague games as the team has an allotted number of foreign players per game and he isn't in the mix. He has lottery talent but will need to develop his skills.
With 3 players that we did not expect to stay in the draft that are currently ranked 20, 21, and 22 on the 2004 Mock Draft, Malick Badiane, Mo Willaims, and Ndudi Ebi, the end of the first round has become jumbled again. Add to that a player we had at the beginning of the second who will be a first rounder Brian Cook and it gets even more dicey. The subtraction of two players Pavel and Khryapa take a little pressure off.
Look At All These Rumors
Look for a number of trades to go down in this years draft. Could
there end up being more trades than seniors in the first round? Right now it appears there will be 6 seniors Hinrich, Collison, Gaines, Banks, West, Cook, and Beasley.
It appears the Raptors will go with Chris Bosh at the 4th pick. We heard two days ago that they also liked TJ Ford although his stock had been slipping recently despite measuring 6-0 in Chicago. Ford could possibly slip to Milwaukee at 8. The thought was Toronto might be forced into taking Ford due to an emphasis on taking a more immediate impact player. TJ Ford would sell to fans more so than a player such as Bosh or Lampe. Bosh is a player that we've liked all along and has been at the 4th position for months. We like Bosh to eventually be better than Carmelo Anthony, but not for a number of years. It appears the Raptors have come to their senses and made a decision on him.
Maciej Lampe may be slipping some. He probably wont fall far, but it appears the teams in the top 7 or so picks are looking at other players right now. Lampe is a player with considerable upside and could still go 5th but if Miami isn't looking for a long term project, although there's a good chance they trade out of their pick.
Miami will likely trade their pick if Bosh isn't there at 5. Miami didn't like TJ Ford when he worked out for them so if TJ ends up going 5th it might be to another team.
We're hearing from sources that a blockbuster trade is on the table involving 3 teams. The trade would include Boston, New York and Seattle. The trade would have Antoine Walker going to New York, Kurt Thomas and 9 going to Seattle, and Boston receiving 12, 14, and 30.
Another possible trade has the Heat receiving Radmanovic and some combination of Seattle picks: 12, and/or 14 for the 5th pick. The Sonics would likely grab Kirk Hinrich at the 5th pick in this scenario.
Brian Cook has received an invite to the Green Room. Which means he will most likely be in the mid first rounder because he's been invited to the green room. Remember last year Casey Jacobsen had an invite and was selected 22nd by the Suns. Look for Cook to go in the 14-23 area.
The rumors of Zarko Carbakapa having a promise from Phoenix are beginning to appear true. The rumor wasn't given much weight initially due to the Suns normally being very secretive about their picks. Carbakapa stopped working out for teams and returned to Serbia after his workout with the Suns making this a very logical decision. They didn't appear interested in Amare Stoudemire at all last season. Phoenix also likes Alexander Pavlovic. Diaw is a possibility to Phoenix and would fit in well with Atlanta as well.
Chicago is watching Pietrus in France. Paxson was unable to make the trip to France to watch him but the Bulls sent BJ Armstrong and still like him. He'll be one of the players they consider with their pick or a pick further down if they make a deal. They also want to have Jarvis Hayes back in for another workout. Their choice will likely be for one of the two.
Dwyane Wade doesn't fit in with the team as well as Pietrus or Hayes but is still being considered. The Clippers and Bulls both want to trade down. They don't like the players at their selections and will field offers for picks and players from other teams. Both teams appear to like Jarvis Hayes and Mickael Pietrus but don't want to take them in the 6 and 7 spots. Seattle and Golden State are both possibilities to move into the 6 or 7th spots to try to get Hinrich or Ford.
Denver is another team that likes Pietrus. They obviously wouldn't take him at 3, but if a combination of a pick where Pietrus could be available and a prospect (Jay Williams?) were offered for Anthony, the Nuggets might be interested.
It's possible Orlando will go with a bigman instead of a PG at 15. Although if Reece Gaines is there, he's likely their man. Orlando also likes Nick Collison, and Boris Diaw is also in the mix. Gaines could go as high as 10 and slip to 21, but 15 appears most likely.
The Bucks might have a deal in place with Kirk Hinrich. And there are a number of people saying Hinrich and Ford are neck and neck at this point. Hinrich is bigger, is actually a better athlete and can shoot much better. Although nobody in this draft or in recent memory runs a team like TJ.
Orlando likes Hinrich and Dwyane Wade but both players obviously wont be there at 15, so they will have to make a trade up to pick one of the two. Wade has a chance to slip to the 9-12 area. If so the Magic could look to move up and grab him.
At this point the Knicks prefer Hayes over Wade. But that could change as both players will face off in a workout on Thursday. The Knicks are in the market for a center but they don't seem to like Chris Kaman. Kaman has had some lackluster workouts. He might be a tough sell to New York fans, but the Knicks need a bigman, and he's the best one available.
David West sprained his ankle and it cut down his workouts but he has begun to workout again and look like a solid late first rounder.
Rumors persist that the Celtics have a deal with Banks in place at 20. The Celtics most likely grab a bigman at 16. Collison could be the guy if available although he may be one who moves up with Pavel now out.
Jason Kapono is starting to get some love. Teams are mentioning him as a probable second rounder. He showed better than expected athleticism in Chicago and there's even a rumor that Memphis will consider him at 27. Kapono has Arn Tellum as an agent and it will help him to land a good spot in the draft.
Who made a worse decision Josh Powell or Rick Rickert? Both players signed an agent early ending the possibility of going back to school to improve their draft stock. Rick Rickert has been having terrible workouts everywhere. Both players probably get drafted, but for a couple of very talented sophomores, signing an agent before getting a concise read of where they stood in the draft after the Chicago draft camp was their biggest mistakes. Both players were fed up with their college coaches, and the option of transferring and sitting out a year probably didn't sound enticing. Unfortunately instead of allowing their talent to bloom, both players will likely have a long road towards becoming solid NBA players. Neither player is a cinch to make a team next season.