Weekly Countdown (cont.)
2. On Stephen Curry. One trusted scout confides that the 6-foot-3 Davidson junior isn't explosive enough athletically or dominant enough physically to ultimately challenge the best point guards in the league.
"I disagree,'' a league executive said. "He is a great shooter with a lightning-quick release. He's not a great player, but I look at him as being like Mike Bibby on the Kings. This kid is a better player -- bigger and longer -- than Bibby was coming into the draft. Remember when Mike Bibby was with Vancouver [the Grizzlies], he wasn't a great player. But when he he got to a good team in Sacramento and he was playing with other good players, all of a sudden he became a star.
"There's nothing Mike Bibby can do that this guy can't do. I think if you put Curry on a good team, you'll see him become at least as good as Mike Bibby was with those Sacramento teams."
1. On Tyreke Evans. A few league experts believe the 6-5 freshman from Memphis could be the top point guard -- and the second-best player overall -- in the draft. "He isn't very explosive, he doesn't have the vertical hops that you see in guys like Dwyane Wade -- he's a very strong, low-to-the-ground diesel type," an NBA head coach said. "But Evans has got everything else: strength, good size, a 2-guard with point-guard skills. He has more positives than just about everyone but Blake Griffin."
Said another league evaluator: "I think he's probably the best guard in the draft. He's the most ready to play physically and he's exceptionally gifted, the top athlete among point guards in draft. He'll be a good point guard along the lines of Micheal Ray Richardson, the type of player who rebounds it and passes it, and he'll be able to get to the basket with anybody. The way the league is going with the perimeter wide open, he'll be a tough cover. People may question his shot, but he'll shoot it well enough that you'll have to guard him."
2 draft lottery outsiders to watch next week
2. Dallas Mavericks. They're currently choosing at No. 22, but it would surprise no one to see the Mavericks trade for the No. 5 pick held by Washington. In 2004, the Mavs made a similar deal with the Wizards, sending them Antawn Jamison in exchange for the rights to Devin Harris at No. 5.
This time the Wizards are shopping their pick while asking teams to take on Etan Thomas.' salary.
"They're one team that will keep paying the luxury tax," a rival team president said of Dallas.
The Mavericks went into the summer promising to get longer and more athletic. If they were to trade up for No. 5, another team executive predicts Dallas would use the pick on the 6-10 Jordan Hill.
1. Portland Trail Blazers. They're picking No. 24, but no one expects them to stay put. Owner Paul Allen loves the draft, and GM Kevin Pritchard has made a winning habit of trading for -- and buying -- picks. Pritchard has a number of attractive young players on reasonable contracts -- such as Travis Outlaw, Sergio Rodriguez and Nicolas Batum -- who could be exchanged for a pick in the lottery. The Blazers need scoring on the wing and they could be in the market for a point guard, though Jerryd Bayless remains a contender to play more minutes at the point next season alongside Brandon Roy.
1 referee on the mend
1. Bob Delaney. He missed working the NBA Finals for the first time in nine years while rehabbing upward of four hours daily to recover from a leg injury. He is expected to be back on the court for training camp next season, but in the meantime Delaney has been busy in other venues. His autiobiography, Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob, has been re-released in paperback, and the film rights have been optioned by a production company in Los Angeles. Ron Shelton (responsible for Bull Durham, White Men Can't Jump and Tin Cup) is writing the script and will direct the film.
In addition, Delaney is working with the Wounded Warrior Project in helping veterans returning from the Middle East to deal with post-traumatic stress. Delaney knows something about this: Having spent three years infiltrating the mob as an undercover New Jersey state trooper, he learned to overcome stress while launching his current career as a referee.
"The body does not know the theater,'' Delaney said. "It just knows the stress, whether you're doing undercover work as I was, or you're a soldier in Iraq, or you're a police officer who witnessed a horrible crime, or you're the victims of a horrible crime."
"I explain it as being like an earthquake. The earthquake is the main event, but it's the tremors and aftershocks that go on for days, weeks, months later -- they pose as much danger as the main event.''
Delaney was scheduled to share his story Friday at a Basketball Hall of Fame event attended by troopers from at least five Northeastern states.
"I went to basketball to get me through the feelings I was having,'' he said. "I tell people to find your passion, find something that gives you inner peace.''
That he finds inner peace from refereeing -- from being booed and second-guessed -- is yet another of the mysteries of life.
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