A little change from the usual
How about a little change of pace today?
There were draft workouts yesterday and some other little tidbits and no draft workouts today and maybe no little tidbits so let’s do the usual pap and drivel this morning and get to your regularly-scheduled mailbag tomorrow morning.
Sound okay? Well, it better ‘cause there’s really nothing you can do about it.
For some reason, we didn’t get in to see any of the workouts yesterday. I don’t think there was anything really clandestine about it, probably just a matter of timing but it did mean we didn’t a chance to watch any of the three-on-three work like we have been.
But Jim Kelly alluded to the two issues of main guys when he was talking to us: There are some concerns about Hibbert’s foot speed and Greene’s defence is lacking.
No big news there and, let's face it, whoever they draft at No. 17 -- if they draft at No. 17 -- is going to have flaws.
But both facts were reiterated – strongly – when I talked to a couple of other people who were in the gym for the entire session.
And the kids themselves know what people are saying:
"I come out and play aggressive defence, it’s something I didn’t show during the season, sitting in that zone a lot so today I tried to come out and play a lot of aggressive D, get up, and show some of my ball-handling skills,” said Greene.
Hibbert’s been one of the yo-yo guys in the draft. But he’s got no regrets about staying in school another year, even if it costs him five or six draft slots:
"I don’t think it’s a disappointment, if I went out last year, I wasn’t mentally and physically ready for what happens in the NBA.
"I was 20 years old, I would have been on the bench .. I’m one year older, a little bit smarter, stronger, and I think I can hold myself when I go out there on the floor and off the floor.”
Of this year’s freshmen, who’ve conspired to push him down a few spots:
"They have a phenomenal class, Beaz (Beasley), OJ, Derrick Rose, they are phenomenal players and they’re going to be great in the NBA but at the same time, I want to show people that, ‘hey, I can go to college and graduate in four years and then go off to the NBA.’
"When you look 10 years from now, you’re not going to be looking at who went first, second, third or one through 30, it’s going to be who’s winning championships, who’s winning games and I want to be that kind of player. The draft isn’t the end for me, it’s just the start.”
Speaking of the draft:
Q: When can we expect a Doug Smith mock draft and Doug Smith draft board a la Mel Kiper Jr.?
Josh S, Thornhill
A: Because I really enjoy being held up to ridicule, I think I’ll wait until, oh, let’s say Tuesday and maybe again Thursday morning to do one.
TJ and the pick to Phoenix for Boris Diaw?
It’s out there being talked about. Makes a little bit of sense, doesn’t it?
I like Diaw’s game if he could be consistent, he can guard a bunch of positions and that’s what this team needs.
I’m certain it’s only one of many scenarios being bandied about here but I could sure live with that trade.
But here's something to consider: Robert Sarver's got a lot of petulant in him and I'm not sure he signs off on a deal that involves the Raptors.
What to make of Batum not working? Probably nothing. He did get to town and have a physical then got sick overnight, they told us. Can’t imagine there’s anything nefarious in that but now it’s going to be tough to get him back for a workout here.
Under draft rules, a kid can only visit a team the first time for 48 hours and Batum got in early, early Tuesday morning so his time’s up.
They’ll try to get him back in next week for a look and he remains very much on their radar.
Big day Monday for Chris Bosh.
No, he’s not signing a deal with Leno.
That’s when USA Basketball names its Olympic team and Bosh is going to be on it.
And it looks like he’s going to play a pretty good role.
It appears now they’ll only have three, maybe four, traditional bigs and because Dwight Howard is going to live in foul trouble in the international game, Bosh is likely to play a lot.
The other bigs, I’m told, are going to be Boozer and, possibly, Tyson Chandler.
The Americans will use LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony at the four a lot, like they did two years ago at the world championships.
And because Howard’s such a bad free throw shooter, you may see Bosh down the stretch of every tight game the Americans are in.
Maybe Garbo will guard him in the fourth quarter of the gold medal game.
Wouldn't that be cool.
So, who’s on the list? Jim Kelly said it’s narrowed. Wouldn’t say to how many, of course, but an educated guess – taking into consideration what other teams might do – would think it includes Douglas-Roberts, Batum, Lopez, Hibbert, Ajinka and Greene for sure.
What’s the best thing to do?
Do you get the wing in a trade and a draft a young big? Or draft the wing and try to trade for a big or stick with the 4s and 5s you’ve already got?
My best guess, talking to People Who Know, is that they are now leaning towards drafting a big and letting Bryan work his magic to fill the other hole.
That all could change between now and Thursday, of course.
And the name I keep hearing in conversation is Lopez, despite his offensive liabilities.
That’ll make a few of you happy, won’t it?
Here’s a quick letter:
Q: Doug, in your last mailbag you lauded a reader for his list of Jewish basketball heroes. "A Mount Rushmore of Jewish contributors to the game and I cannot think of anyone who could replace anyone on there."
I'd have to add Marv Albert (born Marvin Philip Aufrichtig) to that list as well. And while he may be a new kid on the block Thornhill's Dan Shulman has been holding down NBA and NCAA games with the best of them.
Sam T, Toronto
A: Both solid broadcasters but as contributors to the game? They don’t hold a candle to those on Frank’s list.