Countdown to the Draft, Part Two

June 4, 2012; Westwego, LA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jeremy Lamb is actually a torso-less mutant made of necks and elbows. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Hello there. Do you like transitions? How is your summer going?

Speaking of going, the 2012 NBA Draft combine has come and gone, and now it seems the rumor mill is starting to really heat up. For those that watched the combine, you may have noticed a Dallas Mavericks presence there, as Rick Carlisle sat beside former teammate and former boss Larry Bird in the bleachers. Also, if you watched the combine, what are you doing? It's June, go outside.

As the combine twitter traffic dies down, get ready for a slew of workout reports and subsequent "hot" rumors about such and such player going to such and such team. This is the time when all those basketball beat writers earn the paycheck they were phoning it in for the last few weeks when all they had to talk about was LeBron's receding hairline and pre-pubescent children with amusingly low standards for what constitutes a "good effort".

We'll start with a roundup of the latest news and quasi-news from the draftworld, and then I'll give some personal impressions in my recap.

  • As covered here at Mavs Moneyball, France's Evan Fournier is apparently scheduled to workout for the Dallas Mavericks. Fournier is a 19-year old 6'7 guard/forward. In case anyone was interested in the Euro-translated projections I highlighted in the latest Calathes thread, Fournier's are 14.55 points per 36 minutes, 5.2 rebounds, 4 assists, on 37.4% shooting. Fournier's scoring numbers were pretty good, though I couldn't tell you how well his competition stacked up against someone like Calathes, who played in of the better European leagues. Fournier fits the mold of a lot wings that have come out lately from Europe, like Rubio, Calathes, etc. Tall, with strong ball skills, and good instincts, but a questionable outside shot that will likely determine how far they rise at the next level.
  • Also getting a workout invite from Dallas is North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall. Mike Fisher also reported earlier last week that Dallas had some interest in Marshall. The obvious plus for Marshall is that he has one skill that is unparalleled in this draft: his ability to pass. The problem I keep trying to get past, though, is...he only really demonstrated that one skill consistently. His rebound and block rates paint him as a below average athlete, and though his shooting numbers weren't awful, they weren't great, either, as he failed to hit 70% from the line in his college career and was up and down from the college three. He also isn't known for his defense, and although the assist totals are impressive, North Carolina was one of the faster paced teams in college basketball. The comp I see when I watch Marshall play is Marcus Williams, the point guard from UConn who flamed out with the Nets. Now, to be fair, Williams dropped out of the top 20 and subsequently failed in the league in large part because of his conditioning and, from what I've heard, his maturity level. Those don't seem to be issues for Marshall, but I still wonder if he has the breadth of skills to be more than a third point guard. You hear the name Andre Miller thrown around in discussions, but Miller was a great college rebounder and developed one of the better post and midrange games of any point guard of his generation.
  • Ohio State standout Jared Sullinger reportedly met with "representatives" from Dallas, though I have yet to see word about a workout date. Sullinger still seems to be one of the top two or three prospects in terms of stock volatility: he is being projected as high as the 7-8-9 range to as low as to the Dallas-Minnesota area at the back end of the top 20. Given his college resume I have a hard time seeing why he'd fall to Dallas, but stranger things have happened. He did measure at 6'9 in shoes at the combine, with the 7'1 1/4 wingspan. And, for those out there saying he's the next Tractor Traylor, he weighed in at 268 pounds, which Traylor probably hadn't played at since middle school. Incidentally, may he rest in peace. Sullinger, like Arnett Moultrie, who worked out for Dallas last week, and Kendall Marshall, might be a little difficult to fit into the lineup(in Marshall's case, this presumes Deron and/or Kidd are on the team), but they continue to be names we are hearing Dallas is supposedly interested in.
  • Duke star Austin Rivers did not participate in combine drills on Thursday, fueling speculation that he has a lottery guarantee from some team and was being held out. The most likely culprits would seem to be Phoenix, Portland, and New Orleans. He currently has workouts scheduled for those teams, as well as Washington and Cleveland. So far, I have not heard of Dallas appearing on his schedule book, though he is another player commonly linked to the Mavs. If he does have a promise in the lottery, I am glad, since he is one of the prospects in this draft I am most leery of. Phoenix makes a lot of sense for him, if Steve Nash is leaving town.
  • Another combo guard held out from combine drills, Syracuse's Dion Waiters also reportedly has been made a promise by a lottery team. At the top of the list of supposed suspects are the Toronto Raptors, who earlier had been mentioned as a team trying to trade their pick for a veteran swing man. Waiters came in at just 6'4 at the measurements(6'2 1/2 without shoes), making him a tad small for a two guard, but his ball skills and slashing ability are highly coveted in this NBA era and I could certainly see him as the type of player who has a much better pro career than a college one. If he and Rivers have, in fact, both been made promises, you wonder if this might mean Jeremy Lamb and/or Terrence Ross are falling on some draft boards. Outside of Bradley Beal, Lamb is maybe the two guard I am most intrigued by, with his 6'11 wingspan and smooth all-around game.
  • From Mike Fisher's Monday Donuts comes the tidbit that "the Mavs are completely unsold on the idea that there is a true draft-eligible center ready to step in and be a rotation player here." That may change, but it is a little sad, if unsurprising, to hear. Having no training or employment history in the area of scouting, I am an unabashed fan of Meyers Leonard, and would love to see him in a Maverick uniform, but I can also see where he might not fit the mold of a Dallas draft pick, and it very likely may not end up mattering, since the buzz at the combine apparently saw him rise on many teams' draft boards. If Fisher has received correct information, then I will cast my hopes to a wing player to be named later, as ideally you'd hope that this pick would play a position that Dirk and Deron Williams don't.
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