There is some certainty to the Ricky Rubio-Grizzlies blinking contest. Not a final solution, not a mediated peace treaty that clears the way for Memphis to pick him at No. 2 on Thursday if so desired, but at least some understanding in NBA circles, among those familiar with the approach of agent Dan Fegan and the thinking in some front offices, of what really is happening and what it means.
Foremost: The Fegan power play is nothing personal about Memphis itself. Fegan would be fine if Rubio ended up in Sacramento, and that's a small-market team with zero stability. This is about the Grizzlies' roster, with people around the league being told how much coach Lionel Hollins likes incumbent point guard Mike Conley, the concern by the Rubio camp that O.J. Mayo may be the point guard of the future anyway in the Gilbert Arenas mold, and, bottom line, Fegan not thinking Rubio will have the chance to properly develop there.
The growing league-wide sentiment is that the Grizzlies won't select Rubio, but by their own choice rather than being scared off. Adding size is simply more pressing and Conley still has promise. Trading out of the spot is possible. If not, Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet is the logical choice. "That's who they're taking," a rival personnel boss said. "The rest is smoke. Bet on it."
• Stephen Curry wants to play for the Kings, Wizards, Knicks or Bobcats. He made that clear by limiting workouts to those teams, with no more visits planned before the draft, and stated as much. "I guess you could say that," he said Sunday after a group showcase with the Kings that also included Tyreke Evans and Jonny Flynn. "Once it comes down to Thursday, whoever picks me, I'm going to be excited about it. I guess you could say those four are somewhere I wouldn't mind playing." Charlotte is his hometown, and he has spent a lot of time in Washington with his trainer. The former Davidson star likes the style of play and roster opportunities with New York and Sacramento, even going cross-country for a Sunday group showcase with the Kings.
• Terrence Williams of Louisville is "the wild card in this thing," an executive said. "He could be a substantial player. And he could be out of the league in three years." Williams' focus is an issue and he is a poor shooter. But he is arguably the best perimeter defender on the board -- able to check small forwards, shooting guards and bigger point guards -- he is an outstanding rebounder at 6-6 and he handles the ball well enough to play some point forward. Said another GM: "Terrence Williams is the closest thing to a lockdown defender in this draft."
• Patrick Mills of St. Mary's is close to discovering the real value of his Olympic summer. Making the All-West Coast Conference team last season for the second time in a row was a nice boost, but nothing compared to the visibility of two games against the United States while playing for his native Australia in 2008, a combined 33 points on 12-of-27 shooting with three assists and one turnover in 50 minutes. One was in the final pre-Olympic tune-up, when the Aussies managed a competitive showing, the other in the quarterfinals in Beijing in an easy win for Team USA. His displays of speed became especially important for NBA scouting once Mills missed nine games in 2008-09 with a broken hand. He has an outside chance to join the rush of point guards in the first round, but most likely will go early in the second.
• DeMar DeRozan is tired of all the long stares at his perimeter game. He shot 52.3 percent in his one and only season at USC, but 16.7 percent on threes and 64.6 from the free-throw line. Those latter two numbers have trailed him through six workouts as teams try to determine his chances of becoming more than a great athlete. "A lot of people say I can't shoot, I can't do this," the swingman said Saturday in Sacramento. "It gets frustrating because I know how good of a shooter I am. I know the things I can do. To go out here and prove it to [teams], it makes me feel good at the end of the day." DeRozan said ball handling and extending his range were the focus of his training sessions in Oakland between the end of the season and the start of visits to every team picking two through nine except the No. 6 Timberwolves.