ORLANDO, Fla. -- With most of the first-round picks refusing to participate in the games -- they show up to be measured and to conduct press interviews -- the annual predraft camp serves mainly as a four-day convention for league coaches, scouts and executives.
Assuming that Collins does take over the Bulls, there is a feeling that he would prefer a point guard like Rose over a finisher like Beasley. Collins is going to want a team leader to carry out his strategies on the floor. As proved by their unfocused play this season, the Bulls have no such leadership. Rose would fill that role.
My take all along has been that the Bulls should use the pick on the best talent available regardless of position, because the No. 1 choice in the hands of a losing team precludes picking for need. They should simply pick the best player and rebuild the team around him. The Bulls don't have nearly enough information to make their decision, as much will depend on their personal interviews (especially their talk with
"What really is a traditional point guard?'' said Bayless, the speedy freshman who averaged 19.7 points and 4.0 assists for Arizona. "
Bayless, Mayo and Gordon talked about playing point guard at least part time in the NBA. Westbrook is seen as someone who can make a full-time move to point guard, though he hasn't proved he can do it yet. There is greater demand for scoring at the point, especially in this era of hands-off perimeter defense that has liberated guards to drive to the basket. The dearth of traditional points entering the league (see below) combined with this class of combo guards means that there will be more scorers at the playmaking position like
"What point guard in the league can't score?'' Bayless said. "Chris Paul knows when to score and when to pass. To be a point guard is all about knowing how to make the right play.''
While these rookies must prove they can make those decisions, it appears they'll be given opportunities to learn on the job.
Other "rookie" candidates (with little or no head-coaching experience) for the NBA in the near future are Jazz assistant
"I've been fortunate to work with a guy who has really allowed me to do head-coaching duties without the title,'' said Turner, 48, who played eight years in the NBA as a 6-5 guard. "You're going to have to wear a number of different hats, which I know I can do and have done, in order to run an organization like [the Suns]. But their roster is already intact with a nucleus and good pieces to the puzzle, so whoever gets it, it ought to be a smooth transition.''
"I think he is going to be very pedestrian,'' an NBA personnel scout said. "His rebounding numbers are so-so; if he's going to be a rebounder, he hasn't shown it yet. He's a guy who will have a career of 10 or more years in the league, but I doubt very seriously whether he'll distinguish himself.''
Another scout sees Lopez's glass as half full.
"I agree he won't be a great rebounder or a great shot-blocker,'' he said. "I see him as a spurt player who will be very good in bursts of time -- four or five minutes -- and then he might disappear for a while. But he's a very big guy with big hands, and he's very skilled. I think he'll always be a scorer and the kind of smart center who can be a good complement to
At 6-foot and 195 pounds, Wissel is the same height and five pounds lighter than Willis. Wissel is working 12-to-14 hours per day as a stand-in for the star, enabling the lighting and cameras to be set properly before Willis takes over to film the scenes.
"Bruce has been very good to me,'' said Wissel, a scout for the Sonics. "We talk -- though we don't have any long conversations -- and he always addresses me by my first name.''
He doesn't know if Willis is aware that he works in the NBA. Wissel became his stand-in after trying out as an extra in
"Bruce will probably be done filming at the end of July,'' said Wissel, who figures to make $18,000. "That will be good for me, because that's when I run my boys' and girls' camps in Connecticut.''
Players are getting paid under the table regardless of these rules. For decades now the NCAA has added more and more rules to try to prevent something that can't be stopped -- and shouldn't be stopped, when you consider how much money the players are creating in today's economy.
People have been making a big deal of whether USC's Mayo received money as a student-athlete. To me, the bigger deal is this broken-down system that maintains players like him should receive no money at all, while so many others are raking in the cash from college basketball and football. I'm not saying the coaches don't deserve the money they make from their lucrative sport. All I'm saying is that the players deserve to be compensated too.
Your point of view applies to the majority of student-athletes who don't go into college dreaming of eight-figure contracts. It's a different dynamic in basketball and football. Those sports are professional operations except for the fact that they've prevented a share of the money from funneling to the players.
Maybe Beasley will turn into Robinson, and maybe Rose will become Kidd. Or maybe not. There is nothing wrong with the Bulls picking Rose so long as they've decided he is going to become the better player. It would be a big mistake to take him based on his position or his ties to Chicago (it isn't always helpful to play professionally in one's hometown: see
You may be right. The way the game is played may turn the NBA into a point-guard league. But the most important consideration should be the talent of the player when it comes to the No. 1 pick. If Beasley or Rose has it in him to become one of the top half-dozen players in the NBA, then that's the player Chicago should pick -- because that's the kind of player who can lead his team to the championship, regardless of position.
I may be on the wrong side of this argument. Wallace dominated in a unique way that belied statistics, but I accept your case that he may not have played at a high level for a long enough time to merit the Hall of Fame.
I haven't been able to talk to GM Paxson about it, but I assume the thinking is that he could provide direction and discipline to a very young team that went sideways this year. He obviously has the backing of owner
"If you think about the triangle offense, center is the easiest position to play,'' a rival team's scout said. "If Bynum had come back, it might have screwed everything up, because Gasol would have had to try to figure it out all over again as a power forward. That would have made things a lot more complicated for him because the Lakers like to move their power forwards out to the wing.''
As a center, Gasol has been able to play a relatively simple but crucial role by playing near the basket. Had Bynum returned from his knee injury, the Lakers would have been dealing with two major issues: getting Bynum up to playoff speed when he may have been lacking confidence as a young player coming off knee surgery, and working Gasol into a more complicated position.
There may be only three "traditional'' point guards taken in the first round. Here are the other two ...
"He is definitely a pass-first, shoot-second point guard,'' another Eastern player personnel director said. "I know many times [Texas coach
Giddens transferred from Kansas as a sophomore after he was stabbed in the leg during a bar fight. As a junior at New Mexico, he was suspended for being a bad teammate. But the 23-year-old matured to have an impressive senior year at New Mexico, where he led the Mountain West in rebounds (8.8) and ranked in the top 10 in points (16.3), shooting (51.6 percent), assists (3.1), steals (1.4) and blocks (1.2).
"He was my sleeper in the draft,'' added the GM, who hoped to steal Giddens in the second round. "Now I'll have to find somebody new.''