- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “One of the downsides of being an elite NBA team is a poor position for the NBA Draft, but Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith is still confident that the team can improve itself from near the bottom of the first round Thursday night. The Magic select 29th overall or next-to-last in the first round by virtue of their 59-23 record this past season. Orlando had the NBA’s second-best record, trailing only the Cleveland Cavaliers and their 61-21 mark. Smith is confident that the Magic can fill a need even though they will be picking so low in the draft and basically at the mercy of the 28 teams in front of them. A few teams, such as the San Antonio Spurs, have seemed to have mastered the art of finding hidden talent with low picks and Smith is hoping to repeat that feat on Thursday.”
- With general manager Otis Smith, expect the unexpected.
- Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus for Luol Deng? Say it ain’t so.
- Jordan Crawford, draft sleeper according to Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk: “Forget the dunked-on-LeBron biz. This kid averaged 29 points per game in three contests in the NCAA tournament, and comes from pure scorer blood. He’s got good athleticism, and all of his faults are things that can be corrected with coaching and development. Crawford is a guy who if you watch him slip by you’re going to ask ‘How did we not see that kid coming?’ ”
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post lambasts the rumored Gilbert Arenas/Vince Carter swap: “According to ShamSports, Arenas is owed roughly $80 million over the next four seasons. And while the Magic, in win-now mode, are willing to take on salary, they won’t do it for a player of Arenas’ caliber. Yes, Arenas is a three-time All-Star who scored 22.6 points per game last season prior to his suspension for gunplay, but he’s also inefficient, yet to prove himself fully healthy after knee surgery three years ago, and as big a defensive liability as there is in this league. Absolutely too much risk for Orlando to take on, and for a middling reward.”
- In SB Nation’s Mock Draft, the Magic select Greivis Vasquez: “Essentially, Vasquez fits the Magic’s biggest positional need–Jameer Nelson is the only point guard the Magic have under contract for next season–and has the skills to be a good fit. Sure, there are red flags, such as the turnovers, lackluster individual defense, and prior track record of tall point guards in the NBA. However, Vasquez’s ability to run an offense seems genuine, and interesting. Additionally, his willingness to take big shots could be a plus, especially with an expert coach like Stan Van Gundy on hand to help his at-times iffy shot-selection in those situations. Though I prefer Quincy Pondexter in this spot, he’s off the board. Yet Vasquez is not a terrible consolation prize. He has a chance to make a solid, immediate contribution to the Magic.”
- Doug Gotlieb of ESPN Insider guides general managers on what NOT to do on draft night: “Do not try to change a player’s position when there are far more refined prospects at the same spot. Pass on Damion James and take Quincy Pondexter. Pass on Xavier Henry and take James Anderson. Pass on Lance Stephenson and Willie Warren and take Terrico White. James is not close to being a perimeter player, Pondexter always has been. Henry is more of a shooting 3 who needs to learn guard skills, skills that Anderson already has. Stephenson and Warren are scoring combos who lack burst and shooting (Stephenson) and size and attitude (Warren), while White has played point and is a far better scoring one than the two bigger names.”
- Jordan Crawford is one of the major story lines heading into the 2010 NBA Draft: “Jordan Crawford will probably end up going late in the first round, but his name rings out like no one’s in the draft, save for Wall’s. In fact, it did before most people had ever seen Crawford play basketball. And in this business, especially when you’re trying to get noticed as a borderline prospect, and then find your way into the first round, branding is everything. The Xavier guard earned instant notoriety when he dunked on LeBron James during a pick-up game at Bron’s summer camp in 2009. Nike, or James’s people, or maybe the CIA, attempted to confiscate all recordings of this unthinkable event. The story went nuts on the internet, and was easily the greatest marketing campaign Nike never dreamt up.”
I thought I had deleted that bullet point before I submitted the post. Guess not. I was skeptical myself after I browsed the tweets.