Time Traveling

You can call me crazy or a bit too ambitious, but I find myself in my third different time zone in three days. I went from Denver to Los Angeles on Tuesday, then caught a red-eye flight after Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals last night (or this morning) to get to Chicago for the NBA pre-draft camp. If you don't believe me, you can check out the datelines on my stories from Wednesday and today, then see where I am in tomorrow's story.

I tossed off my NBA beat cap and put on my Wizards beat cap today, so I will be catching up with the top draft prospects over the next two days -- then I'll head back to Denver for Game 6 on Friday night. Projected No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin and top three choice, Hasheem Thabeet, are among the top prospects in Chicago this week. But I will try to speak with all of the players that the Wizards will consider for the No. 5 pick in the NBA draft on June 25.

With the exception of Arizona forward Jordan Hill, the rest of the Wizards' options at the fifth spot are in the backcourt. The team will likely pay close attention to guards Tyreke Evans of Memphis, James Harden of Arizona State, Stephen Curry of Davidson and Jrue Holiday of UCLA. USC swingman DeMar DeRozan is also in the mix at No. 5, but another name that I keep hearing about, should the Wizards decide to trade down, is Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn.

Brandon Jennings, the kid who skipped college to play in Europe, will not be attending the workout, with his Italian team (Lottomatica Roma) still in the postseason. Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, whom the Wizards are interested in and would have to move up to acquire, is also not attending. Media is not allowed to see the workouts, but we have access for interviews, so I'll try to help you guys know these guys a bit.

The coolest part about being in Chicago is that I'm supposedly staying in a very legendary hotel suite at the historic landmark, Blackstone. When I checked in, the man behind the desk told me that the room I'm staying in is the same room where Warren G. Harding stayed when he was selected as the Republican candidate for president in 1920 and where John F. Kennedy stayed when he was informed of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Here's another history lesson folks: Want to know what Harding, Kennedy and Barack Obama all have in common? They are the only three men to be elected president while serving as a U.S. Senator.

Anyway, back to basketball. I forgot to pass along this great line from Nuggets Coach George Karl when asked about Sam Cassell joining Flip Saunders's staff as an assistant coach. "I can't wait to see Sam make that 7:30 meeting," said Karl, who coached Cassell in Milwaukee.

All right, let me wipe the sleep from my eyes and get ready to work.

By Michael Lee |  May 28, 2009; 10:56 AM ET
Previous: BronSolo Facing Elimination | Next: Thoughts On Pre-Draft Camp, Cavaliers

Comments

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Anybody but Hill.

Posted by: closg | May 28, 2009 11:31 AM

Michael,

How much does it annoy you to see Michael Wilbon's generic NBA articles on the front page when you are flying all around the country covering the NBA and cannot even get a print article.

It has to kill you to read his 2-week old opinions that are obvious to the most casual fan and have been repeated over and over again in the media.

I can tell you what his articles will say after just reading the first sentence.

"We'd better get used to the possibility of having the NBA Finals without[Lebron]" Oh, really. You mean with Orlano up 3-1, Lebron might not make the finals? Thanks for the insight Wilbon.

Posted by: read2 | May 28, 2009 11:33 AM

"hen I checked in, the man behind the desk told me that the room I'm staying in is the same room where Warren G. Harding stayed when he was selected as the Republican candidate for president in 1960 and where John F. Kennedy stayed when he was informed of the Cuban Missile Crisis."

Just to clarify-- Warren G Harding was our 29th president and died in 1923. Kennedy defeated Nixon is 1960.

Posted by: hour36 | May 28, 2009 11:45 AM

This is a good point. I'm a big Washington Post and Wilbon fan, but dang... running some of these columns in the big space is a lot like the Lakers sticking with Derrick Fisher, isn't it?

Only in this case the Jordan Farmar figure is actually producing. Keep up the good work Michael!

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | May 28, 2009 11:45 AM

Thanks for the insight Wilbon.
Posted by: read2 | May 28, 2009 11:33 AM


owned

Posted by: prescrunk | May 28, 2009 11:48 AM

Anyone see the drew summer league clip of Javale and NY? Javale won week-1 mvp with 30,12,6 blocks

WE CAN NOT GIVE UP ON THIS KID!!

GIVE'EM ANDRAY BEFORE HIM!!!

Posted by: BurgwithaU | May 28, 2009 11:56 AM

You know the Bullets had a pretty good year back in '78.

Posted by: jwing14 | May 28, 2009 12:14 PM

For a second I thought you stayed in the same room as Warren G.

Posted by: BillEmm | May 28, 2009 12:17 PM

McGee dominates in that clip, but there's no one his size to check him. The really impressive one was Harden--he looked like Michael Redd, nailing left-handed jumpers almost effortlessly from way out past the arc. He would be a pretty good pick at #5.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | May 28, 2009 12:30 PM

Posted by: dfresh58 | May 28, 2009 12:33 PM

You know the Bullets had a pretty good year back in '78.

Posted by: jwing14 | May 28, 2009 12:14 PM

I don't know how many people on here that are old enough to have seen that season, but it was a great "TEAM". Big E was your go to guy but there were no ball hogs back in those days, which is the reason I keep saying Kobe, LeBron and Gil do not know who to play the game of basketball the right way.

I would put money on an all star team from that era in their prime would crush a team that had Gil, Kobe, Lebron, AI, and any center you want.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 28, 2009 12:37 PM

pjkig: "The really impressive one was Harden--he looked like Michael Redd, nailing left-handed jumpers almost effortlessly from way out past the arc."

Makes it even more difficult to understand his poor shooting in the two NCAA tournament games.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 28, 2009 12:50 PM

come on folks, me sitting at my desk is playing better defense than those guys faced. at least you can see McGee is working on his right hand.

Nick young looked exactly the same, unimproved!

Posted by: oknow1 | May 28, 2009 1:17 PM

BillEmm

I don't think Warren G was alive back in 1960 either.

Posted by: richs91 | May 28, 2009 1:21 PM

McGee walked in his only post move in the clip (2:07 mark).

Posted by: sagaliba | May 28, 2009 1:44 PM

Michael,

We own another historic hotel in chicago called the Allerton. I can hook you up with a suite there for less than you are paying at Blackstone with a better location. We are right next to the Apple store on michigan avenue...a great location. Let me know.

Let's go Wiz!

Posted by: IZZY3 | May 28, 2009 1:45 PM

Don't see much excitement in Michael's covering the predraft workouts when we all know that EG has no intention of using the No. 5 pick. I'm hoping (and praying) that he is able to package the pick, Etan, and possibly one of the youngsters like Blatche to get a legit atletic bigman who can play the 4. After watching all of the NBA Conference finals, it's obvious that every team contender has 1-2 of these type of bigmen. Even Cleveland with Verajao has someone that we could use.

Maybe NY is open to trading David Lee for the right package of picks and expiring contracts so they can be big players in the FA class of 2010 sweepstakes. He's the type of young big who would fit in well for the Wiz and give us an inside presence and rebounder.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 28, 2009 1:52 PM

Move NY while he still has some trade value and select a SG with our 2nd round pick. There is a surplus of guards in the draft and we'd likely pick up someone who is at least as good as NY. If we trade down from the No. 5 pick, Ellington from NC would be an upgrade to what we currently can expect from NY.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 28, 2009 1:59 PM

Just to clarify-- Warren G Harding was our 29th president and died in 1923. Kennedy defeated Nixon is 1960.

Posted by: hour36 | May 28, 2009 11:45 AM

I'm guessing Harding was pretty gamey by 1960 if he'd been in that suite after all those years being dead and all. Smell must still be in the drapes.

Seriously, though...Must be why the cost of the paper went from 25 to 75 cents. The reporters are staying in Presidential Suites. sweet.

Posted by: original_mark | May 28, 2009 2:00 PM

Why DeJuan Blair name is not mentioned any more!!!! To me, he is second to Blake Griffin. Say what you want, DeJuan Blair went toe-to-toe with Thabeet and Pitt won. C'mon Wizards don't take your eye off Blair.

Posted by: clifton3 | May 28, 2009 2:01 PM

Why DeJuan Blair name is not mentioned any more!!!! To me, he is second to Blake Griffin. Say what you want, DeJuan Blair went toe-to-toe with Thabeet and Pitt won. C'mon Wizards don't take your eye off Blair.

Posted by: clifton3 | May 28, 2009 2:01 PM


Ur joking right? Please, he is a poor man's Sean May. Womp Womp. The good thing about BLair is that the Wizards won't take him.

Posted by: Vicc | May 28, 2009 2:17 PM

Don't see much excitement in Michael's covering the predraft workouts when we all know that EG has no intention of using the No. 5 pick. I'm hoping (and praying) that he is able to package the pick, Etan, and possibly one of the youngsters like Blatche to get a legit atletic bigman who can play the 4. After watching all of the NBA Conference finals, it's obvious that every team contender has 1-2 of these type of bigmen. Even Cleveland with Verajao has someone that we could use.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 28, 2009 1:52 PM

Best post of the week goes to wizfan89. I am so with you on this, I cannot for the life of me understand why all these fans and the beat writer kid themselves into thinking we are going to keep the pick. It is beyond obvious to even casual fans that Ernie Grunfeld has no intention whatsoever in keeping this pick. Get over it people. Etan will be gone next year along with the pick and possibly Young or Blatche.

Deal with it.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 28, 2009 2:53 PM

i like the david lee aspect. but we will have to wait and see...Imean he is thier starting center and he fits thier offense well.

the only way new york makes a trade like that is if mgchee is in the mix..but then again Ernie Grunfield traded the #5 pick with an aging stackhouse and christian laetner for a two time all star and he also traded a horrible draft pick and got another 2 time all-star, so if harden can turn heads, then im sure we can get what we need with the right package. We shouldnt even think as low by saying Lee, we could end up with a stoudamire or Boozer...id say boozer because Utah is willing to deal him anyway because of the extension he wants...ABE will have to go over the tax and pay the man, because the way i see the playoffs now...the wizards have enough fire power (when healthy) to compete with the bostons,clevelands and our division foe the Magic. I see atlanta taking a step back as well as Miami and chicago, so we will have to wait and see..

ps- Just to clarify-- Warren G Harding was our 29th president and died in 1923. Kennedy defeated Nixon is 1960.


Posted by: hour36 | May 28, 2009 11:45 AM


give the guy a break hes been taking red eye flights across the nation, go research finding a gig where u have no time on ur hands

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | May 28, 2009 2:58 PM

Was Reggie related to Warren???
Reginald Harding (May 4, 1942–September 2, 1972) was an American professional basketball player.
A 7'0" native of Detroit, Michigan, Harding was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the fourth round of the 1962 NBA Draft. He became the first player drafted by the NBA without having played in college, although he did not enter the NBA until the 1963-64 season. In four NBA seasons with the Pistons and Chicago Bulls, Harding averaged 9.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Harding also spent part of the 1967-68 season with the ABA's Indiana Pacers, averaging 13.4 points and 13.4 rebounds in 25 games.
Harding's basketball career was cut short by a number of personal problems. As a player, he was rumored to carry a pistol in his gym bag. He struggled with drug addiction. Recently revealed in Peter Benjaminson's The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard, Harding raped Florence Ballard, a member of The Supremes, in 1960.
Harding was shot dead at a Detroit intersection in 1972.

Posted by: VBFan | May 28, 2009 3:16 PM

For a second I thought you stayed in the same room as Warren G.

Posted by: BillEmm | May 28, 2009 12:17 PM

-----------------

Hilarious, I needed something to break up the monotony of the Wizards these days. "What's next, what's next, what's N-X-E-T!"

Posted by: VeCente115 | May 28, 2009 3:19 PM

I don't think javale traveled at 2:07 his second step never came off the ground, becoming the pivot and used a third step to start his jump, the key being the pivot stayed down before he elevated so the third step wasn't actually a travel, and he also burned his man on a post move where he blew by him at 1:10, the move he made out past the three point line by his man is something a center is this league can't do. Thanks for the video post, harden certainly seemed athletic enough to cut it in the nba, the way he drove and threw it down, much higher above the rim than I thought him capable on the finish

Posted by: bford1kb | May 28, 2009 3:32 PM

just clarifying the guy who is draining 3's is not James Harden.

The guy in the white at beginning who dunks it is James Harden and that is really the only clip of him. But in that clip it does show him being pretty athletic.

I hope we somehow move up to take Rubio

Posted by: mikejc80 | May 28, 2009 3:38 PM

Harden has more than enough athleticism with his huge wingspan.
He is the compliment to Gil we have been searching for in our back court. Adding another 3 point shooter is key to beating the Cavs as the Magic are showing us now. NY can play in the back court with either gil or harden giving us a ton of options and looks. Dmac can shift to backup 3 full time where he belongs.

http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements/measurements.php?page=&year=All&sort2=DESC&draft=30&pos=2&sort=5

Posted by: AWizinLA | May 28, 2009 3:43 PM

wizfan89,
I think your on to something. Personally, I'd like to see us ship an aging Jamison (while we still can), and some combo of our junk players with the #5 pick to Phoenix for Stoudemire and the #14. Don't take this as me diminishing AJ's value to us. I just think his age/contract will be a toxic mix in the coming years. But, that said, I think a David Lee is exactly what this team needs. He's what Etan never became. A workhorse lunchpail player capable of being an all-star, but not worried about the flash. We have enough flash on the team, we need some grunts to mix it up. If EG could swing a trade where we swap picks, give them some combo of Thomas, Songalia, Blatche, and/or Stephenson, that would be genius. I'd hate to give up on Young without him ever getting a legit chance, but for this trade it'd be worth it. Then get a DeRozan or Henderson with the pick.

Posted by: CJHutch7673 | May 28, 2009 3:56 PM

I've been saying it all season, Antwan Jamison is better suited coming off the bench or move him to where he could start. His old body cannot handle the rigors of starting 60, 70, 80 games.

Posted by: Vicc | May 28, 2009 4:09 PM

In the game last night kobe did something I think very few great players would, with gasol 17 ft from the rim he was standing there pivoting trying to get an angle to pass the ball to kobe and kobe made an arm motion telling pau to just go, pau did and scored and on his way back down the floor he told pau "they can't guard you dogg", that's why he is the best player in the league despite anyone's infatuation with lebron's physical talents

Posted by: bford1kb | May 28, 2009 5:20 PM

Michael:
If you are going to be questioning the Wizards potential lottery picks, please ask the following questions:

- Do you think you'll be a good fit on the Wizards?
- Are you aware that to be a good fit on the Wizards, your swag must be phenomenal?
- How phenomenal is your swag? Why? Offer some examples.
- Can you bench more than Andray Blatche?

Posted by: disgruntledfan | May 28, 2009 6:02 PM

In the game last night kobe did something I think very few great players would, with gasol 17 ft from the rim he was standing there pivoting trying to get an angle to pass the ball to kobe and kobe made an arm motion telling pau to just go, pau did and scored and on his way back down the floor he told pau "they can't guard you dogg", that's why he is the best player in the league despite anyone's infatuation with lebron's physical talents

Posted by: bford1kb | May 28, 2009 5:20 PM

bford1kb

Maybe playing for coach K taught Kopbe something that some players learn in college, that's how to be a TEAM player.

Kobe wanted to show the world he didn't need Shaq to win a championship and look at how that turned out.

Why can't these spoiled brats watch MJ's early days and figure out one man does not beat a team that is willing to play team basketball?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 28, 2009 6:38 PM

Most comments are looking to Harden or Hill.It is not hard to predict that these two pros are going to picked before our turn is ready in the draft day.Harden is a complete SG who can shoot from any where,a good defender with anexcellent basketball IQ.Teams who are looking for potential development of the 7.3 center and the 18 year old spanish PG and pass Harden will bite their thumb for 12-14 years of Harden's NBA life.I can not visualize his talent to be inferior to the portland SG. Jordan HIll is a 6.10 fast and strong who can continue to get big with out a significant drop in his spead once he lear his mid range shooting, he could be close to most existing power forwards.His improvment in the game just with in a year is a good indication for his further development.Wiz need to pick one of the two avaliable talents and keep it atleast until mid season trade date.With full evaluation they can make one of the best NBA trades. looking to boozer , the suns Pf or bosh will make alot of seanse later .Please do not undermine Jamison, he is aworking horse. He will still be a double double man for 3-4 years. I do not think blache is going to replace him even on his final contract year, they need to be ready with a good draft or trade to make him come from the bench.

Posted by: gtefferra | May 28, 2009 7:32 PM

Harden and Hill both have incredible potential. The wizards should sit tight and see which of the two falls teo them at five. Also I'd love to see them take a look at getting Ron Artest who is a free agent. He's defensively stout and would give the team some of the fire that they have been missing.

http://dcprosports.blogspot.com/

Posted by: dcsportsfan3 | May 28, 2009 7:38 PM

Where are all the experts who were swearing up and down that EJ was set to pick from either the Sac or Philly job?

From the sounds of it, they're still considering other candidates.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 28, 2009 9:27 PM

Wow, Javale McGee was the player of the week in the "Drew Summer League"-! That really bodes well for his career. Just look at some the luminaries who were POWs last year.. http://www.drewleague.com/2008%20Drew%20Summer%20League%20-%20POTW.htm

See any names you recognize? The only one I recognize from the past 3 years is Demar Derozen. Obviously, this is a silly league for silly players.

Posted by: satchmore | May 28, 2009 9:43 PM

what what?

who's laughing now biotch?!?! ;D

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/30986998/

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 28, 2009 10:07 PM

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 28, 2009 10:30 PM

DC_MAN88

If he ever makes it to the NBA, Sun would be the tallest player in the league’s history, overtaking Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muresan, who both stood 7-foot-7. Yao, at 7-foot-6, is the tallest active NBA player.

The Wizards/Bullets drafted the other two, so what to keep them from drafting Sun?

The Wizards used to be considered a side show not a basketball team back then.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 28, 2009 11:30 PM

"The Wizards used to be considered a side show not a basketball team back then.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 28, 2009 11:30 PM "

So what has changed now with the Gilby debacle (ska as show) for the past 3 years?

Nothing.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 28, 2009 11:47 PM

"Most teams we’ve spoken to in Chicago are indicating that they believe Oklahoma City is indeed leaning towards picking Harden. They also believe the Thunder are not enamored with Rubio at all, as they are committed to developing Russell Westbrook at his natural position—point guard. "
-Draft Express

Any truth to OKC leaning towards Harden?

Posted by: AWizinLA | May 29, 2009 1:30 AM

"Any truth to OKC leaning towards Harden?
Posted by: AWizinLA"

We're now in what is known as the 'Ridiculous' stage of pre-draft speculation, where player rankings are shuffled daily and mock drafts multiply exponentially in response to, oh, nothing at all.

A similar period occurred in the weeks just prior to the NFL draft, when no less than eleven different players were touted as 'absolutely' the Redskins' first round pick. Some of these players could walk and chew gum simultaneously, but it was not a requirement.

For instance, Jordan Hill of Arizona has been discussed for months as the fourth or fifth selection. Now, however, an article has appeared on SI.com revealing that 'most teams' think he'll be drafted between eight and twelve. Although no actual source has been revealed, all the other mock-drafters will revise their mock drafts purely out of fear that somebody else knows something they don't.

So in answer: is OKC leaning towards James Harden for the third pick?

Absolutely. Or not.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 29, 2009 6:19 AM

I'd Agree with Samson151, there's always alot of dis-information that floats around right now. There's always somebody that shoots up boards and someone who fades for no known reason.

Right now it appears the four teams ahead of the Wizards could be targeting:

LA Clippers-Griffin, you could bet the farm on that. But that will force some other deals.

Memphis-Appears they're leaning toward Hill. They'd love to pull a deal to move back and get him and get another asset and round up some cash. They always want cash.

OK City-They really seem to like Harden's maturity. He fills a need, and he's a top 5 pick and he can play. Like Memphis they'd love to pull a deal AND still get Harden. They're not getting McGee AND swap picks with the Wiz. But that was a rumor that was being served up to their fan base. You know, get used to it folks we're not taking Rubio.

Kings-Some of the papers in Sacramento were claiming Petrie would take Rubio over Griffin prior to the lottery. That was never going to happen, but Petrie does seem to like him a lot. I don't think Rubio's falling past this pick for sure. Petrie may move up to two to make it happen. Gasol played well for a rookie, can't see them taking Thabeet and leaving a hole at the 4.

Wizards-As always Grunfeld isn't showing his cards. If no one else moves into the top 5 and changes things around, my quess is he'd be content with Thabeet if he drops this far. I can't think of a trade back at this point that he'd take rather then the big guy.

Standing pat and taking Thabeet, fills a need, and allows Ernie to still hold his other assets. If things shake out this way. Ernie holds the two big expiring contracts and looks to strike at the deadline if the right deal doesn't come along now.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 29, 2009 9:23 AM

The Gasol line belonged in the Memphis paragraph.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 29, 2009 9:25 AM

I know this may sound crazy because all of these brilliant mock drafts have him in mid-1st round....but how bout Terrence Williams??

He can play the 2, he's more athletic than Harden, great defender, even better passer which would make him fit perfectly on our team. He can make more shots for Gilbert, Caron, and Antawn. Also, he can get to the bucket himself and when his jump shot improves, he could be an NBA star. Don't know why he's getting slept on.

Posted by: Gtown87 | May 29, 2009 11:35 AM

And we could trade down to get him...

Posted by: Gtown87 | May 29, 2009 11:36 AM

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