Draft Day Nears

While the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers try to keep things interesting in the playoffs, teams like the Wizards have been soley focused on the June 28 draft. The Wiz and other teams will get their first up-close look at many draft candidates starting tomorrow morning in Orlando, home of the annual pre-draft camp.

After taking a much-needed week off to recharge my batteries after a long season following the Wiz, I'll be there for a few days blogging about the event while a keeping an eye out for any potential Wizards, who hold the 16th and 47th picks.

The league made a change that should make the pre-draft camp a little more interesting this year. In previous summers, teams could hold private workouts with draft eligible players and as a result, most top players skipped the camp. This summer, teams can't work players out until after the camp so hopefully, the action will include more high profile names than last year when Renaldo Balkman (drafted in the first round by the Knicks) and Jordan Farmar (Lakers) were the best of an otherwise thin cast of characters. (Though George Washington's Pops Mensah-Bonsu stuck with the Mavericks after playing well that week).

Most of the potential top 10 picks like Greg Oden, Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and G-town's Jeff Green will take physicals but won't play. The Wiz didn't see either of last year's draft picks - forward Oleksiy Percherov or Vladimir Varemeenko - at last summer's camp so there is the possibility that I won't be able to get a sneak peak at any future Wiz. We'll see. I'll keep you posted on who is doing what down in Orlando.

By Ivan Carter |  May 28, 2007; 1:05 PM ET
Previous: Cleveland Didn't Lose On The Final Possession | Next: Thin field for draft camp

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Welcome back...

Go Wiz.!

Posted by: Mickey Mouse- | May 28, 2007 11:46 PM

Please ask Michael Lee, to continue his updates for us re: the playoffs i.e. Jazz/Spurs and King James v. Detroit.

Thanks.

Posted by: Robin | May 29, 2007 1:08 AM

This may very be Agent Zero's last year with the Wizards because of his desire to win a Championship. Though he has strong character, Jameison has got to go along with Brenda Haywood. We're too soft in the middle.

Posted by: Tyrone | May 29, 2007 5:05 AM

Robin, every thing you said about the Shaq/Kobe situation in LA on the last post is true. But the additional factor that came into play in LA was the Luxury tax.
Under a 65m per yerar luxury tax threshold there is no way to sqeeze under the cap and have 45m per year tied up in two players. The Luxury Tax forced the Lakers to make a choice. The were basiclly choicing between a young Kobe that was driven to outdo Jordan and what they preceived to be a very contented Shaq.
They probably made the wrong choice in that Shaq was still dominate enough to lead a team to the title with the right supporting cast. But Shaq is definitely on the decline. What will be really interesting is to see if this year hurt his pride and rekindled his competitive fire. In shape, he's still a one of a kind player and as flawed as the Heat are he's capable of getting them back to the finals along with a healthy D. Wade.
I find it difficult to think of a trade scenario where the Lakers can pickup enough help this offseason to put them back in the finals. Kobe is hoping that Jerry West can come free him from the mess that he's trapped himself in. But more likely he may be hoping that he could engineer a trip East. In the Eastern Conference with a decent supporting cast Kobe could manuver himself back into the limelight instead of sitting at home at Memorial Day.
As they say, Kobe could be getting in a NY state of Mind!

Posted by: GM | May 29, 2007 8:36 AM

Ivan,

Please give us an update on Veremeenko, it seems as though he is further developed than Pech.

Draft prediction:

Wiz pick Morris Almond, if Brendan is traded, we pick Splitter.

Posted by: Wizzy | May 29, 2007 8:59 AM

You know GM, I had never thought of Kobe in a Knicks uniform but considering both teams are as equally disfunctional - no GM a mindless owner - I guess it could happen.

But where the heck would they put him? They are so big salaried & guard over-loaded? A over weight center & lazy team - he'd die there but then maybe he'll inspire them. who knows..Oh! Maybe GS or SS would bite if they have the money since they appear to be restructuring - eh what do I know?

GM, What happened? Ugh, the NBA seems to be a pretty sorry mess right now or at least this season. The talking heads - in order to maintain their jobs talk up stuff adnauseum. They spent days discussing whether LeBron took the last shot or not - good or bad???
He bites his nails & sucks his thumb??
What in the world!

Are there no outstanding teams this season?
I guess the best word is "dominating teams." i.e. One thought Dallas had it all wrapped up like a two ton guerilla until they ran into "Captain Nellie & Nellie Small Ball Raiders" They laid down quicker than a rug. I think it was Mike Lee who said the dominating players are all home watching from their sofa. What happened?

Posted by: Robin | May 29, 2007 9:27 AM

Robin in response to your excellent post on the Kobe crackup in L.A., my only question is what are the ripple effects of a Kobe trade and what teams might be able to take advantage of it?

Posted by: George Templeton | May 29, 2007 9:56 AM

Wow, I comment section with thoughtful posts and friendly conversation. Amazing!

Posted by: Darrell | May 29, 2007 11:43 AM

don't jinx us darrell!!

;-)

Posted by: hmmmmm | May 29, 2007 11:50 AM

Ivan:
I'm glad you will be down in Orlando. A few questions I hope you can answer, as I read that the Wiz will send up to 10 people down to the camp:

- Will the Wizards be picking the best player available, or are they targeting a particular need?
- Will you see Grunfeld having anything more than a polite discussion with another team's GM?
- Same point with player agents, signaling a potential free agent signing, perhaps?
- Will you be able to notice if the Wizards' people are paying special attention to particular players as they scrimmage, etc.?

Posted by: Henry | May 29, 2007 1:19 PM

Welcome back, Ivan.

What are you hearing regarding the Jamison for Zach Randolph rumors?

Posted by: Tuna | May 29, 2007 1:36 PM

Washington D.C.: How good is Deron Williams? Is he in your top-10 PG's right now?

Michael Wilbon: Top 10? How about Top 3? Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Deron Williams. That's my list. Seriously, I guess you could make it Top 5 and put him behind Nash, Kidd, Billups and Tony Parker. But that's the list...I'm not putting anybody else in the NBA ahead of him. We're watching the emergence of a great player, who's 22 years old. He and Boozer, who's 25, really are that good. It's too bad Mehmen Okur, who averaged nearly 18 points a game in the regular season, is shrinking like a pair of jeans washed in hot water and put in the dryer on the highest cycle...It's unthinkable Okur can't even make a basket, can't hit a shot...Anyway, Williams has learned a ton from John Stockton during the skull-sessions up in Washington State where Stockton has returned to live...He can shoot, pass, think...he's tough, strong as a free safety. Bruce Bowen, the Spurs great defender, is having trouble with Williams because the kid is as strong as an ox and not only doesn't mind the contact, but invites it...With a bad, bad stomach sickness, the kid had 27 and 10 assists in Game 4. Too bad Okur and Andrei Kirilenko didn't post.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 29, 2007 1:54 PM

Ivan, welcome back bro and THANKYOU for keeping us up on the news from Orlando and the upcomming draft!

Please let us know who some local guys are doing down there like DJ, JR Reynolds, and Zabian Dowdell. Zabian especially will be a nice pick for someone in the 2nd round IMO.

I think Wizards are gonna get Rudy Fernandez in the 1st round, a Manu Ginobili type of sg who can shoot, pass, and has a competitive nature. He's the best young guard in europe, with alot of experience for a young player so he should be able to contribute fairly quickly.

Nick Young and Marcus Williams would also be good picks for us I think.

2nd round I'd love to see a big like Marc Gasol or Sean Williams drop to us at 47, maybe Herbert Hill. If not, a backup pg like Dowdell or JR Reynolds would be nice, and perhaps Mustafa Shakur. Or even a backup sf like Reyshawn Terry or Demetrius Nichols could fill a role for us.

Posted by: Darnell | May 29, 2007 2:20 PM

Robin, The Knicks like stars and sure have plenty of contracts to send LA's way. I don't think the Lakers would really trade Kobe but if really pressured there are only a few teams that can take on a contract that big. Since the Knicks are already way over the cap the are one of the few places he could land.
As you've said many times so much of what happens is about money. Kobe isn't going to end up in an NBA backwater, they'll find a place where he can star in one of the biggest markets. In many ways NY is logical because he could redeem himself in one of the world's biggest markets.
Maybe the Buss family will be ready to clean house and start over if this Kobe trade demand would get really serious. I just can't imagine Phil Jackson staying around for a rebuilding project, but love does lead to some strange things happening.
Like George I'd think a Kobe deal would have ripple effects all over. This could be a really interesting summer, it always looked like their could be some big names on the move now one of the biggest could be in play.

Posted by: GM | May 29, 2007 2:49 PM

Does anyone know if jason maxiel is restricted free agent this summer? He would look great in a wizards uniform - great rebounder and tough aggressive defender. You know, all the things the Wiz are lacking.

Posted by: M.E.G. | May 29, 2007 4:31 PM

As to the draft, a big man would be nice, but I'm a little doubtful that a quality big is going to be available with the 16th pick unless Sean Williams is a stud who slips because of character issues. Otherwise, I really like the idea of taking Nick Young. He would add much needed athleticism and would greatly improve one of the league's worst benches.

Posted by: M.E.G. | May 29, 2007 4:37 PM

I think Jared Jordan is down there. Let us know how he does, Ivan, and whether you think he might be an option for the Wizards in the second round. Thanks.

Posted by: Sean | May 29, 2007 7:07 PM

Well, Today in La La land: I understand Mr. Buss was picked up the other day for DUI. Drove station wagon off road drunk - apparently upset & "distraught over Kobe's comments re Jerry West. (They need a GM & owner) Mr. Buss is making big bank even when this team is losing - he's gotta want them to be champions. He didn't show that when he chose not to re-invest in Shaq. Had he had the hutzpah to orchestrate some kind of deal w/his team - they prob would have still won a few more championships. But that whole ordeal is a private club/network.Friends hiring friends & relatives etc. and;

My feeling is thus: There are great coaches, Auerbach, Fitch, Kundla, Nellie Daly, Riley, Lenny Wilkens and Dr. Jack.
Even a John Wooden. At some point, they all had and have to come to grips with their limitations as they age. If they cannot continue to evolve with the game - they do more harm than good to the teams. Dr. Jack, Wilkens & Hubie Brown figured it out and moved on. Nellie is possibly coming to that place now. He proved his point - beat Dallas and as most predicted -his small ball wouldn't get past the 2nd round - and it didn't.

Pat Riley is pretty astute and Phil is hampered by personal entanglements which in the end - hurt the team. He has no power. He has to "ask his girlfriend to ask her dad if they can make a trade" Obviously Kupchak is also running his wagon off the road too - he made the Kwame trade and is still trying to trade 1/2 lakers for Garnett. But still "no deal"

Jerry West may have been fantastic back in the day but he didn't do a thing with Memphis. I couldn't invest in a person that didn't complete the last job but then it is the "good ole boys club" What ever happened to Paul Silas????

Where will Kobe go? I don't know but I don't think it will be New York. I don't think he could respect Isiah as a coach - a player maybe not a coach. He tends to gravitate to "structure oriented - disciplined types - Isaiah is not.
He'd prob like a Jerry Sloan type. Intelligent coach - cares about his players and very disciplined. Didn't say a "love fest" but he could respect him.

To other things:
After watching these few playoff games - I've noticed some pretty good "bench" players coming thru for their teams.

Maxiel - For Det: Good rebounder - shot blocker -lots of energy but good grief Miss Agnes - he's gotta work on "free throws" - so he has plus's & a kind of large minus. (I agree M.E.G.)don't know if he's restricted free agent.

Gibson - for Cavs: Came in for Hughes prev game - appeared to be great post up player can knock down a few 3's

Brown: Utah great backup rookie pg

Golden State may be in a mess too if Nellie decides to leave - Mikael Petrius wouldn't be too bad either.

Posted by: Robin | May 30, 2007 12:30 AM

Just saw this in the Salt Lake Tribune today.

Jazz bench

"Jarron Collins, Matt Harpring, Gordan Giricek and Paul Millsap combined to score just nine points in more than 50 minutes of playing time." How sorry is that?

Lets not attempt to think of ANY of these guys for Wizards. 9 points in 50 minutes. We already had/have that bench.

Anybody hear anything else about the Wiz/Randolph discussions? As someone else posted - Arenas prob won't hang around too much longer. They need to not keep acting confused or Arenas will be gone and once he goes I doubt Butler will hang much longer. His stock has risen as well.

BTW Besides Gasol - anybody else in Memphis or Houston worth taking a peek at?

Posted by: Robin | May 30, 2007 1:10 AM

Robin,

If I'm not mistaken Butler signed a long contract.....and he seems really happy here...said he has finally found a home. But then you never know....

Posted by: Lisa | May 30, 2007 7:34 AM

Hard to feel too too bad for Dr. Buss. Even though he was arrested for DUI, he's a multimillionaire and was pulled over for DUI with a 23 year old play thing "riding shotgun." It was Buss in fact, who introduced Magic to the good life of groupies. Didn't some write on this blog that Kwame's currently living with 4 super models in his condo?

Posted by: DC Man88 | May 30, 2007 8:58 AM

As much talk as there's been on this blog about getting Pao Gasol, Zach Randolph, Rashard Lewis, KG, etc. chances are more likely that Grunfeld will be going for Anderson Varejao, who's going to be a free agent this offseason. As if Les BouleS needed another 6-10 guy who can't score, is terrible from the line, and has big hair.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3847

I definitely wouldn't spend money on Deshawn, but instead, would try to get Nocioni. At least he won't be playing for his national team and will be trying to heal up his plantar faciitis.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3882

Posted by: DC Man88 | May 30, 2007 9:05 AM

Yeah, I agree Lisa, but thats the thing tho - it always comes down to money $$$. Carlos Boozer loved Cleveland but the call of the almighty(and his wife's counsel) led him further west. It worked out well for him. Greater opportunities beckon.

If I'm not mistaken, Butler came in the league a bit older than the other 21 somethings. I remember him at UConn & in the finals against MD. He already had wife & child intact then. He was the mature player - I think he was 24 then. So he has to be late 20's now. He's a lovely fellow, great player, teammate. There are few players who say the stuff Kobe says about being a "Laker for Life." Steve Nash thought he'd be a Mav for life...Cuban dropped him like a hot potato and didn't say goodbye either. Dr. Jerry Buss felt same of Shaq and didn't blink an eye to dismiss him. Inspite of having won championships. Although its a big ego business - I think some of the players understand they are replacable. ala Larry Huges. Gibson is doing a pretty good job in his place.

Posted by: Robin | May 30, 2007 9:51 AM

Caron has a long-term deal. He signed the deal right after the Wizards traded for him. He is going nowhere unless he is dealt.
And I agree DCMan Nocioni is the type of player the Wizards need. Someone nasty with an edge.

Posted by: George Templeton | May 30, 2007 11:30 AM

Nocioni, there's a thought.

That might make me smile.
-g

Posted by: greg | May 30, 2007 12:59 PM

"Does anyone know if jason maxiel is restricted free agent this summer? "

Nope. He was a first round pick and this was only his second year. He won't hit restricted FA status for another year, and then only if Detroit fails to pick up his option. And, as a native Detroiter and Pistons fan who foillows the team's dealings, I assure you that won't happen. They're very high on the kid.

Posted by: kalorama | May 30, 2007 2:45 PM

"Jarron Collins, Matt Harpring, Gordan Giricek and Paul Millsap combined to score just nine points in more than 50 minutes of playing time." How sorry is that?"

You can't judge a player's value by one game. Collins has barely played in the most of the postseason and Harpring and Milsap have both come up big for Utah in several playoff games. Milsap is exactly the kind of big that the Wiz need: strong, physical, strong defender and rebounder who can finish around the basket off of offensive boards. The only drawback is that he's only 6'8", but he plays much bigger.

Posted by: kalorama | May 30, 2007 2:49 PM

Then Kalorama, you should mention these guys in your posts for Wiz. The posting you stated was "judging" was the Utah paper. There were much worse captions as well - calling these guys out for lack of play. I am still in agreement with the writer. If your team goes to the playoffs and the most you can manage in 50 minutes is 0-2 pts if that - As a professionally trained, millionaire team player? Sorry if it offends you but I agree w/the writer and say its pretty sorry.

As I just walked past my screen - Jazz were 20 pts down. It looked the same in watching the Wiz in playoffs. Jamison out there struggling alone - the Wiz bench didn't do too much better either.

If you read Post or Times afterward - Wise, Wilbon & rest called out Wiz bench as well. Its not called "judging" simply reporting an observation
Not saying they aren't nice or good people just MIA when needed.

Posted by: Robin | May 30, 2007 11:58 PM

Caron is still young...only 26 or 27 - if that.

Posted by: Lisa | May 30, 2007 11:59 PM

"Then Kalorama, you should mention these guys in your posts for Wiz."

In point of fact, I have mentioned Millsap's name several times as exactly a the kind of big man the Wiz need.

"The posting you stated was "judging" was the Utah paper. There were much worse captions as well - calling these guys out for lack of play. I am still in agreement with the writer."

The fact that you agree with him doesn't make his analysis any less wrongheaded or simpleminded. Those guys are role players. They had a bad outing on the road against one of the best teams in the NBA, following some solid outings throughout the playoffs. One bad game does not make a career. You wanna call a guy out for not showing up, try Memhet Okur, their second leading scorer and rebounder in the regular season who averaged 7 pts, 4 rebs, and shot 28% in the Conf. Finals. It didn't matter what a couple of guys playing 12-18 mins off the bench do if your All-Star C turns into Caspar the Turkish Ghost for the entire series. They also didn't get much from Kirilenko, who seemed to piublicly throw in the towel after game 4. And that's not even addressing the fact (a fact that a writer for a Salt Lake City paper should be acquainted with) that any points Paul Millsap or Jarron Collins scores are gravy. They're in the game for defense and physical presence inside, both of which they did pretty well, as anyone who actually saw the games could attest to.

"If your team goes to the playoffs and the most you can manage in 50 minutes is 0-2 pts if that - As a professionally trained, millionaire team player? Sorry if it offends you but I agree w/the writer and say its pretty sorry."

It doesn't offend me in the least. And there's nothing to be sorry about. That said, it's still a an ill-considered wildly off-base analysis.

Posted by: kalorama | May 31, 2007 11:53 AM

The important thing about this blog says: "

"We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features" If it makes your day to judge or critique my comments or post, help yourself. I've said what I've said

Posted by: Robin | May 31, 2007 2:20 PM

Nocioni Chicago would be a great pickup for the Wiz. But what do you think of Milsap (Utah) and Walter Hermann (Charlotte)?

Hermann played great in Charlotte when he got the starting gig and he shot 52% as well as shooting the 3! Milsap is also a very good player inside the paint plays good defense and has a decent midrange jumper.

Also isn't Gerald Wallace an fA this year? Very good player but injuries get him every year for a few games but he would make a very good shooting guard he can really fill up a stat sheet! But I'm sure he's looking for top dollar and with jamison, arenas and butler that's a lot of touches on offense. He's a good defensive player though he usually gets a few blocks, steals and rebounds along with his points.

Posted by: dMC | June 7, 2007 2:49 AM

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