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Draft Buzz 6/9/04

Wed, 06/09/2004 - 11:48am

Donta Smith Workout

[img_assist|nid=4834|title=Donta Smith|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=373]Donta Smith and Brandon Bender worked out on Tuesday in front of 50 or so NBA, NBDL, and CBA scouts and coaches.

Smith showed very long arms (7-foot wingspan) and a nice ability to attack the basket. He is definitely a very good athlete. He got well over the rim and had numerous dunks taking off from a good distance from the basket.

However the negatives outweighed the positives... It became very apparant that his best chance of playing in the NBA is by honing his skills with a year in Division 1, and honoring his commitment to Louisville for at least a season. Although that may be too late at this point.

Smith didn't show the intensity or skill level most were looking for. His shots were fairly accurate, on the drills, but his low shooting form, with the ball out in front of his face will have to be severely refined. He seemed to run out of energy towards the end of the workout. In the one on one drills, his fundamentals began to break down and any shot of getting into the first round seemed to vanish into thin air.

Brandon Bender spoke to the crowd before the workout saying he'd made mistakes in the past but that he felt he deserved a second chance. Bender is a decent athlete that appears to have worked hard to get into probably the best shape of his life. He showed nice explosiveness and good strength dunking the ball. His shot was decent, but like Smith appears to lack intensity. With a checkered past, it's likely he'll have to prove himself in Europe or minor league ball before he gets a real shot at playing in the NBA.

Predraft Camp Rumors

Talking to scouts and GM's at the predraft camp here are a few of the rumors floating around in the early stages of the camp:

All 5 teams at the top of the draft are looking to move out of their spots and are shopping their picks. If a team is willing to give up future picks or players a deal can be had for virtually any player in this draft.

The Orlando Magic are not sold on Emeka Okafor and after the injury problems with Grant Hill are afraid to take on any player with injury question marks. Okafor has battled back problems for the past year.

The rumored swap of the 6th and 17th picks for the 2nd pick between Atlanta and the Clippers appears likely. The specifics still must be ironed out. But the move allows the notoriously cheap Clippers to move down, saving some money, and at the same time getting out of the "Howard slot" which in their mind duplicates Elton Brand. (Why give up the shot at a franchise talent when you dont have one?.... Ah the Clippers) The Hawks will give up their two first rounders and probably a future first rounder plus likely will take on an unsavory contract that the Clippers want to dump. Melvin Ely is a possibility. But the Hawks will have their savior, or at least the possibility of one and a local kid for fans to get behind.

Delonte West - First Rounder?

[img_assist|nid=4835|title=Delonte West|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=354]There is a rumor that Delonte West only measured 6-1 without shoes on recently in a workout. But it may not matter as he has worked out well, and teams appear to be in love with him. He is such a tremendous decision maker and highly skilled on the offensive end that some feel he may end up sneaking into the end of the first round. He will weigh his options after the predraft camp, and could end up returning to St Joe's like his teammate Jameer Nelson did last year. But his chances of getting into the first round have improved.

Ben Gordon had a great workout with the Bobcats recently and there's a chance they will end up going with him over Livingston, Harris, and Childress with their fourth selection. Dwyane Wade was taken fifth last year, and with some of the same combo guard, scoring, passing, and slashing skills as Wade, the Bobcats feel Gordon would be a solid player to start their franchise around.

It also appears likely that the Bobcats will end up with a mid-first round pick or two from trades out of the expansion draft. There are a number of teams who may be willing to give up a pick to the Bobcats for taking a player. This will ocur for one of two reasons. One to try to clear additional caproom for this summer or two, to pick up a trade exception. As a result of a team having a player selected in the expansion draft, the team receives a trade exception equal to that players salary.

With two first round picks, the Portland Trailblazers are a team that keep coming up in the promise rumormill. Portland has two picks in the first round and needs a point guard. However the cream of the crop: Livingston, Gordon and Harris will all be long gone by their 13th pick. Jameer Nelson looks like a real possibility, but there is word that Cleveland really likes him and could grab him at 10. The Warriors are another possibility for Nelson at 11. Shooting guards Luke Jackson and Kirk Snyder have both been mentioned as possibilities to Portland at 13.

Portland has also been linked to Puerto Rican bigman Peter Ramos. No word of any promise, however the team has made numerous trips, and has scouted him extensively and is in need of a bigman. With Ramos' many question marks it would be a reach for the Blazers to take Ramos this high. However, the intruige of his size and skills could entice them to bite at 23.

The rumored deal between the Suns and Martynas Andriuskevicius may be dissapating. There is a lot of speculation now that the big Lithuanian will likely pull out of the draft. The asking price is likely too high with the agent looking for a deal in the top 5 or so picks, plus the flexibility to stay in Europe another season working on his game with Arvydas Sabonis. To date the highest European player ever drafted and left over in Europe was Frederick Weis (who never arrived), taken by the Knicks with the 14th pick. David Robinson was taken with the top pick by the Spurs who waited a year for him to complete his Naval duties.

Bryant Matthews has been a workout warrior. He showed his versatility and ability to score during the season, and has been very impressive in workouts. There's a good chance if he continues to impress that he will get into the early second round area.

New Jersey is rumored to have promised their 22nd pick to someone. They are one of the teams notorious for giving out a promise weeks before the draft. No word on who they have promised but there is speculation it is a bigman.

There's a rumor that Brandon Bass has signed an agent. Which if true is unfortunate. Although Bass is a beast already, at a shade over 6-7 he is severely undersized. More college experience would enhance his draft chances. Michael Wright was an even more dominant college player at Arizona but similarly lacked the size to play in the NBA. Bass could get some second round looks, but he's

There are some scouts that prefer Viktor Khryapa to Sergei Monya. Khryapa will be a part of a workout on Thursday along with Andris Biedrins, and Kevin Martin so we'll get a better look at him then.

Damir Omerhodzic has not impressed in workouts and the speculation is that he will end up pulling out of the draft without a guaruntee in the first round.

ruth250
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