Thoughts On Pre-Draft Camp, Cavaliers

If you happened to see my story on the first day of the pre-draft camp in Chicago, you're probably wondering why I wasn't able to inform you how the players looked. Well, reporters weren't allowed to view the workouts.

And from what I could tell on ESPN -- the only outlet was allowed to have people film and observe the workouts (corporate partnership has its privileges) -- NBA front office and scouts lined up in chairs along the baseline and watched the players run through light skills drills in 30 minute intervals. Then, the players came and sat down with us to talk about whatever we asked them in several different shifts.

There was a lot that I wasn't able to fit into a 22-inch story, so here is a little more from the players the Wizards are interested in, and some that are interested in them. I can tell you that the Wizards have already spoken with Memphis point guard Tyreke Evans, Arizona State's James Harden, Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn, Arizona forward Jordan Hill, Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet and USC swingman DeMar DeRozan in Chicago the past two days. I had a chance to catch up with a few of those guys, so I'll drop some mini-items from them throughout the day.

I know some of you are probably wondering what the big deal is with this camp if Ernie Grunfeld has already openly said that he is willing to move the fifth pick. What happens if the Wizards cannot get a good offer for the pick? A high lottery pick really is an asset, so you can't just dump it. A 19-63 season has to give you something in return, and the Wizards are optimistic that they can find a good player at No. 5.

Before leaving behind the first series of quotes, I just want to mention that LeBron James's teammates finally decided to join him for the ride. I also have to give Mike Brown some credit for making a huge adjustment by going small in the fourth quarter. By putting three shooters and Anderson Varejao on the floor with James up high, the Cavaliers made Orlando decide between letting James go to work on Mickael Pietrus or double-teaming him and letting the shooters knock down three-pointers.

It helped Cleveland that Mo Williams, Delonte West and Daniel "Boobie" Gibson were making shots. It also helped James go to work, scoring and assisting on all of the Cavaliers' field goal in the fourth quarter. Orlando may have slipped up by giving Cleveland more life.

I'll be back with the comments from the draft prospects.

By Michael Lee |  May 29, 2009; 9:08 AM ET
Previous: Time Traveling | Next: Pre-draft Quotables Part I: Evans, Harden


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The last time they said there was a weak draft
"2001" We had the number one overall pick and selected Kwame Brown.

That draft wasnt exactly as weak, because from my research, a few all stars and good players came out that draft just to name a few:

Pau Gasol
Tony Parker
Gerald Wallace
Joe Johnson
Gilbert Arenas
Jason Richardson
Zach Randolph

imean thats not bad and theres a few more notable players i did not mention. I think that some of these players will have alot to prove coming in the league, Im sure any competitor would not want to associate themselves in a weak draft. I mean look how gilbert arenas turned being drafted in the second round in a weak draft into.? The wizards can definetly get a good player. As Flip saunders eluded to: [and im paraphrasing, Doesnt matter the draft pick you get, its the player. at 5 with careful analysis if the right trade doesnt come around, then maybe you should keep the pick and draft the best available.

I would lean more toward the veteran help due to the ever closing window the "big three" have. And given the fact our owner has one foot in the dirt. I think that they should find a package for a veteran big man, and in the second round draft a decent combo gaurd. But they should look to move one of the younger players, maybe nick young should be moved because to me he doesnt take basketball seriously, i think he is content in being in the NBA and thats it. I dont see him with the instinct like the wades,james,bryants etc..
Andray blatche as well. If you can find a suitor for some decent help then id go for it.

if i could trade the pick down 2 or three spots and use that pick with blatche or young get jamal crawford and andres biendres on our roster that would work out tremendously great, Jamal Crawford is a great compliment to gilbert and caron, and beindres and jamison would just have to fight for that 4 spot. Id lean toward beindres to anchor with Haywood. we will see though, Mike keep up the great work!!

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | May 29, 2009 9:54 AM

I like the idea of trading back if the decision comes down to drafting Harden or Evans.
Why not ship the pick off to Detroit for Jason Maxiell and their pick. Ernie could still nab a decent player and have a lot more muscle off the bench.

Posted by: elfreako | May 29, 2009 9:56 AM

ohhhhhh yeaa the expiring contracts..Golden state would def bite on that.

so just to re-emphasize

Golden State Acquires:
Nick Young
Etan Thomas
James Hadren (via draft)

Washington Acquires:
Andres Biendres
Jamal Crawford

id go with a line up of


best bench in the world:

i think that would equal a 50 win team a balanced and deep team, so many line up possibilities, but that starting one is good enough for the defense purposes

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | May 29, 2009 10:04 AM

Wilborn thinks Orlando's offense is flawed, but he's wrong. With a strong inside presence who can score (Howard) and perimeter shooters (Hedo, Petruis and Lewis) who can knock down the 3 (38% team shooting from the 3), that's a potent offensive scheme.

And it might be applicable to the Wiz. Haywood can't handle the ball and score regularly 1 on 1 on the inside. But McGee probably can. And Arenas, Butler and Jamison would be happy to hang out at the 3 and chuck.

Arenas would be the ball handler such as Hedo has been doing (or as Lebron did in the 4th quarter last night). The offense would be spread, and the ball would go into the center who would try to score unless he was double-teamed. Once doubled, the ball would go out to a corner 3 and then around the perimeter to the open man.

This is a potent offense with a scoring center and 3 point shooters. Just add a a few solid pick and role combos and you've got 75% of your offense.

The Wiz are getting close to being a legit contender (assuming Arenas' knee is 90%+). They don't need a rookie to go along with the other 6 youngsters on the roster.

Posted by: Izman | May 29, 2009 10:10 AM

I don't think Golden State is looking for expiring contracts.

Their players are already signed to long term contracts, so they aren't looking to free up money to resign their own players.

They are not in danger of paying the luxury tax, so they are not looking to cut salary to avoid the tax penalty.

They are too far over the cap to be players in the FA market, so they are not looking to free up money to make a bid in the 2010 LeBron sweepstakes.

Posted by: yop32 | May 29, 2009 10:47 AM

I like the proposed deal to get Maxiell from Detroit provided we get their 1st rounder in return to pick up a backup PG like Johnny Flynn. I'm not convinced that (A) DSS will ever make it back to his preinjury form or (B) that NY will ever be consistent enough to start in this league. EG's options at No. 5 with Evans, Harden, and Derozan aren't surefire either. I could see him trading down to get a player like Maxiell and hoping that somone like Stefan Curry and Wayne Ellington was available in the middle of the 1st round. There isn't a whole lot of difference in terms of talen between No. 5 and No. 15 so trading the pick makes sense.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 29, 2009 11:15 AM

id go with a line up of


Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | May 29, 2009 10:04 AM

Arenas and Butler would need to score 30 apiece every night in that lineup, because no one on the frontline could be counted on to put up 10 points a game.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 29, 2009 11:33 AM

"There isn't a whole lot of difference in terms of talen between No. 5 and No. 15 "

If that's true, why would the Pistons give up one of their key bench guys to move up from a5 to 5?

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 29, 2009 11:34 AM

That should read:

"from 15 to 5?"

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 29, 2009 11:36 AM

"And it might be applicable to the Wiz. Haywood can't handle the ball and score regularly 1 on 1 on the inside. But McGee probably can."

No, he really can't. McGee's attempts to post up were comical at best. Saunders first homework assignment for McGee should be to give him tapes of Chris (Birdman) Anderson as a tutorial on how a lanky, athletic energy player with limited offensive skill can play effectively at both ends of the floor: movement, activity, and energy off the ball and going to the basket. No 1-on-1 moves allowed.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 29, 2009 11:39 AM

Arenas and Butler would need to score 30 apiece every night in that lineup, because no one on the frontline could be counted on to put up 10 points a game.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 29, 2009 11:33 AM

to be honest with you, in flip saunders
offense and assuming that mcguire works on his offensive game (working on a set shot like bruce bowen or raja bell etc..) he can get about 7 ppg. Haywood of course can get things started with a few points in the paint and he can give us..about 9ppg
butler is a 20 point scorer period, beindrins drops about 11 or 12 a game also, and arenas can give us about 18ppg, and thats the less than 100% gilbert arenas
thats 66 points on average from your starters, then you have two capable 20 point scorers in crawford and jamison? are you kidding me, what bench in the NBA can flow with

J critt
J crawford
D Songalia
A Jamison??

even if you do decide to start jamison and crawford, imean thats like 90 ppg from your starters. I was looking at it from a defensive standpoint with that starting line up, and the team can still score, that[the starting line up] line up just has better defenders..

and if not you can always go to


but whos gonna be your scorers off the bench when nick young is gone?

thats why i proposed the other starting line up.

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | May 29, 2009 11:50 AM

No chance that Golden State will give us Crawford and Biedrens.

I would love it, but I dont see it happening.

I think Tyreke Evans or DeRozen should be the pick if we cant move it. Both of them are big 6'6/6'7 and can handle the rock.

Second round we should look at trying to nab Lawson from UNC or trade it for cash and use the cash to get something better than the capital kids dancing in between quarters.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | May 29, 2009 12:56 PM

when we try to put names for possible trade, we need to understand the contract of the player.Biendrins just signed a 72 million 5 or 6 year contract, why are we expecting that he is on the market?, He is a solid starting center who is good at the rim other wise no skill for perimeter shooting. He could be a good complement but too expensive to be a bench man for rebounding only.He might score in double figure but not good in defense to be a starting center.Crawford is a bust.

Posted by: gtefferra | May 29, 2009 1:12 PM

A starting lineup in which only two guys can score is highly susceptible to falling into big holes early, a problem the Wiz had even when they had a healthy big 3 starting. You can't have 3 nonscorers on the floor to start a game.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 29, 2009 2:01 PM

And what gtefferra said.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 29, 2009 2:02 PM


Some of the trades that are proposed on this board are really comical especially the ones concerning Amare and Bosh. However, you win the prize for originality this week --- comical originality that is...

Posted by: MeviousMan | May 29, 2009 2:37 PM

McGee is a high energy guy much like Birdman or Varejao. You wouldn't consider either of those guys to be fulltime centers either. Like McGee they can play center for short spurts.

But they're most effective running the floor looking for lanes to fly to the rim. Defensively they can cause problems with their length and quickness. Try to post them up on either end and they're playing into their weakness.

Try and play any of the three at center full time and you're wasting their talent. I think Cleveland has diminished Varejao's effectiveness by starting him. He could play less minutes off the bench and get more production as a change of pace guy.

I'd agree that McGee is a guy that needs to play like Birdman to be effective. He's not going to be a traditional center.

Posted by: flohrtv | May 29, 2009 4:31 PM

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