Daily draft dose: Hot and not
By Andy Katz
Here are the latest rumors and happenings surrounding the 2000 NBA draft (through June 26):
1. Dooling and Mason on the rise: Missouri point guard Keyon Dooling and Oklahoma State small forward Desmond Mason are the two hottest players in the draft.
Dooling's size at 6-3, quickness and character have shot him up in the draft. Boston (at No. 11) and Dallas (at No. 12) are both eyeing Dooling with their picks.
The chatter among teams has focused on Dooling's ability to see over a defense. He's only a sophomore, which gives him the upside quality that Mateen Cleaves and Speedy Claxton may lack.
Dooling has moved into the same category as Michigan's Jamal Crawford. Like Dooling, Crawford is a taller point guard (measured at nearly 6-5 without shoes). Teams are searching for big point guards who can play a few positions.
Dooling has helped his cause by working out well for teams. So, too, has Mason. He's athletic, has a nose for the ball and makes things happen on the court. Mason isn't expected to get past the late teens in the draft.
So, how does that affect the draft? The Celtics covet three players: UCLA forward Jerome Moiso, DePaul guard Quentin Richardson and Dooling. The Celtics would have a choice of Richardson or Dooling under the latest ESPN.com scenario.
The consensus building on Monday had the top 10 looking like this: 1. New Jersey -- Kenyon Martin; 2. Vancouver -- Stromile Swift; 3. Clippers -- Marcus Fizer; 4. Chicago -- Darius Miles; 5. Orlando -- Mike Miller; 6. Atlanta -- DerMarr Johnson; 7. Chicago -- Chris Mihm; 8. Cleveland -- Joel Przybilla; 9. Houston -- Jerome Moiso; 10. Orlando -- Courtney Alexander.
Miller's stock has risen with Orlando and he could go ahead of Mihm and Przybilla. The Magic are still trying to negotiate a trade for New Jersey for the No. 1 pick. But a source close to Martin told ESPN.com that Martin was informed that there is a 95 percent chance they will pick him and keep the pick.
If the Magic can pull it off, they could get a big man at a lower pick or come up with one in the trade. Passing on Miller may not be an option. The Magic may not want to take Alexander with the 10th pick after getting Miller (even though one is a two guard and the other can play small forward). But they could trade one of the two players.
The Hawks are down to two choices: Miller or Johnson. They won't pass on either one. Cleveland is in a tough spot with the unknown status of Iakovos Tsakalidis' contract. They can't pass on either Mihm or Przybilla if they're available. But if neither one is at No. 8, the Cavaliers will grab either Alexander, Miller or Johnson (if for some reason they slip that far).
Moiso is one of the hottest commodities in the lottery. Houston doesn't have to go with a perimeter player if Moiso is on the board. The Rockets have Steve Francis and are expected to re-sign Cuttino Mobley. If Moiso is on the board, they'll grab him at No. 9.
The Clippers could still change this order by taking Miles over Fizer. They drafted Lamar Odom when no one else was willing to take a chance on him. But the Clippers could get away with trading No. 3 to go a few spots down to get Fizer. He can still be available later in the lottery.
If the Celtics' choice is between Richardson or Dooling, they'll probably lean toward Richardson. Boston has shifted toward a backcourt player (unless Moiso is left). The thinking is that they can survive with Tony Battie, Danny Fortson and Vitaly Potapenko up front.
That would put Dooling with the Mavericks at No. 12. Even though the Mavericks are more inclined to go foreign, doing something different is just as unique for Don Nelson's crew.
So if all this holds true, Michigan's Jamal Crawford can still go to the Magic at No. 13, Michigan State point Mateen Cleaves to the Pistons at No. 14, Syracuse forward Etan Thomas to the Bucks at No. 15 and Michigan State guard Morris Peterson to Sacramento at No. 16.
If that's the case, the Sonics won't pass on Mason at No. 17. He's too athletic and too much of an active player around the basket for the Sonics to think twice about giving him up to another team.
2. Movin' down: A number of players seem to be tied to specific teams. If they don't get taken where projected, they're likely to drop. While the drop can be as little as a few spots, it could also include falling out of the lottery or out of the first round entirely.
Here are a few players who fit the criteria:
Marcus Fizer: If the Clippers don't take Fizer at No. 3, he could drop to Orlando at No. 5 or slide all the way to the Magic at No. 10. Chicago won't take him at No. 4 because of Elton Brand.
Mateen Cleaves: The Pistons seem the safest place for Cleaves at No. 14. But if they don't take him, he could fall past the other teams looking for point guards, such as the Clippers (No. 18) or Toronto (No. 21). If Cleaves gets past Detroit at 14, he could slip to Chicago at No. 24.
Chris Carrawell: The Hornets are fond of Carrawell at No. 19, but if they pass on him and go big instead, he could find himself dropping to Utah at No. 23 or the Lakers at No. 29.
Iakovos Tsakalidis: Anyone who drafts him has to pay a portion or all of a $1 million buyout to AEK (Greece) to get Tsakalidis. Tsakalidis may have to pay to get out of his contract, too. If Cleveland passes on him at No. 8, that could be a sign that others will pass because of the contract. Tsakalidis, who will be at the draft Wednesday, could slip down to one of the teams in the 20s (Utah, Indiana, Denver or Portland). A few of those teams can wait a year or so for a player to develop.
Jason Collier: If the Nuggets and Pacers pass on Collier at No. 26 and 27, he will likely slide a few picks deep into the second round. The top teams in the second round -- like the Bulls and the Clippers -- won't need another big man.
Olumide Oyedeji: The Nigerian forward has the skills to be a lottery selection. But if Boston at No. 11, Dallas at No. 12 and Seattle at No. 17 pass on Oyedeji, he could slip out of the first round. Teams at the bottom in the 20s (Utah, Denver, Indiana and Portland) could take a look at him. But the key spot is 17. If the Sonics say no, Oyedeji may get burned in round one.
Donnell Harvey: The Knicks at No. 22 are a logical choice for Harvey. But if they pass, the only other slot may be Indiana at No. 27. Otherwise, Harvey could slide out of the first round. He wasn't a lock for the first round prior to Chicago and he's not now, either.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz will be checking in every day with the latest draft news leading up to the June 28 event.
|Keyon Dooling is becoming a hot draft property.|
Top 10 climbers:
1. Keyon Dooling
2. Desmond Mason
3. Jamaal Magloire
4. Darius Miles
5. Quentin Richardson
6. DerMarr Johnson
7. Jerome Moiso
8. Mark Madsen
9. Hidayet Turkoglu
10. Marko Jaric
For Katz's complete mock draft, click here.
Slovenian 7-foot center Primoz Brezec and 6-8 Turkish forward Hidayet Turkoglu were promised first-round slots or they would have withdrawn from the draft last Wednesday, one NBA executive told ESPN.com.
Brezec's "people" were calling NBA teams late Wednesday looking for some sort of guarantee that Brezec would be selected in the first round. With the deadline of 5 p.m. ET looming last Wednesday, one NBA team was told two hours before that Brezec was out of the draft. Yet, he stayed in the draft.
The consensus seems to be leaning toward Brezec going to Chicago at No. 24. The Bulls could put Brezec in Europe for another year and have him stay with Olimpija Ljubljana for another season.
Turkoglu will either fall to the Sixers at No. 20 or he could be at Utah at No. 23, Denver at No. 26 or the Lakers at No. 29. But someone will take Turkoglu in the first round. His shooting and defense has piqued interest from enough teams.