NBA Draft Notebook (cont.)
As if the lottery landscape wasn't unpredictable already, Brandon Knight might be muddying these waters even more than before.
While it remains likely that Cleveland will take Duke point guard Kyrie Irving at the top spot and (insert team name here, since Minnesota continues to spread the word that it would like to move down) will take Arizona's Derrick Williams at No. 2, sources say the Kentucky point guard could be risking his chance to go third overall to Utah by refusing to work out against competition. Knight has an open invitation to join Connecticut's Kemba Walker, BYU's Jimmer Fredette and UCLA's Malcolm Lee in a June 15 workout with the Jazz, but sources close to both sides said he has yet to decide whether to take part.
What's more, there are rumblings that Utah is less than thrilled at the notion that Knight would even consider dictating the terms with the No. 3 pick (although Turkish center Enes Kanter already did just that in his Jazz workout in Chicago in which Toronto also took part). It's unclear whether the Jazz would take a hard-line stance and refuse to take Knight unless he worked out against other top-line competitors, but that appears to be a possibility.
I attended Knight's workout in Sacramento on June 2 and walked away convinced that Knight saw the Kings as his so-called first-round floor at No. 7. The problem there, predictably, is that the one-on-none approach wasn't well received by the Kings' brass either. As if separating the talent in this crop wasn't tough enough, Knight's tactic appears to have thrown a subtle wildcard into the process.
Alec Burks is ready to get past Shoulder-Gate.
The dynamic 6-6 scoring guard from Colorado is showing no ill effects from a left shoulder injury suffered during a workout with Milwaukee (No. 10 pick) on Saturday, as evidenced by the smooth offensive game on display Thursday during his workout in Las Vegas with trainer Joe Abunassar. Despite reports that the likely lottery selection had dislocated his shoulder when he was on the wrong end of a hard screen, an MRI was negative and he returned to action in a workout in Detroit (No. 8) on Wednesday after missing a workout in Charlotte (No. 9).
"People made it seem like it was way worse than it was, but my shoulder is good," Burks said. "I came off a pick in my Milwaukee workout, ran into the pick and guess I got hit in the right spot. But I finished the workout. My agent [Andy Miller] told me I should sit out one and make sure everything is good. I worked out for Detroit, and it was great."
Burks, who averaged 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in his sophomore season, also worked out with Washington (No. 6 pick) and will head to Cleveland (No. 1 and No. 4) on Monday, then Toronto, Charlotte, Golden State (No. 11), Sacramento (No. 7) and Phoenix (No. 13).
The shoulder won't inspire Burks to change his game, either. Despite questions about whether he can score from the perimeter consistently (not to mention the possible punishment he could take if the much-talked-about shoulder is still sensitive), he is going with his go-to move in workouts.
"The first thing is I'm getting to the rack," he said of his workout approach. "That's what everybody knows I can do. I'm showing [the shot] too, but I'm going to keep doing what got me here. I'm going to show what got me to this workout, show you what I did in college that got me to this point. I just feel like, if I didn't do what I did in college they wouldn't want me here. That's what I'm going to keep doing.
"I feel like I'm a top 10 player. I know that. I feel like that's where I [should be] selected at. I'm just proving that every day."
The Jimmer Tour resumed in Sacramento on Thursday, and I'm told he didn't disappoint.
His shooting was as good as expected, and his passing, dribbling ability and underrated athleticism gained notice as well as he faced off against UTEP guard Randy Culpepper. As for the question on everyone's minds: It sounds like Fredette did just fine on the defensive end as well.
I'm not entirely convinced he's a real possibility at the No. 7 spot unless the likes of Leonard, Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, Walker and Knight are all gone, but it's undeniable that the Kings like Fredette and he's at least somewhat in play there.
The focus of the draft shifts overseas starting Saturday, as the Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy, begins and NBA talent evaluators will get their much-needed look at some top international prospects.
Czech Republic big man Jan Vesely, Congolese center Bismack Biyombo, Latvian forward Davis Bertans, Lithuanian center Donatas Motiejunas and Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira will draw the most eyeballs as projected first-rounders. The event runs through Monday.
Don't be surprised if one or more of the following teams move up in the draft: Golden State (No. 11), Houston (14), New York (17), and Charlotte (which a source says is considering packaging its Nos. 9 and 19 picks to move up).