Word on the Street: Garcia to Minnesota?

Word on the Street: Garcia to Minnesota?
Jun 27, 2005, 01:05 pm
Garcia to Indiana or Minnesota?

DraftExpress exclusively reported last week that Rex Chapman will soon be joining Minnesota’s front office. Yesterday that indeed became a fact. According to Kevin McHale, though, Chapman is not being brought on as their "draft consultant," rather than as their general manager. Its well known in NBA circles that Chapman is extremely high on Francisco Garcia, and Chapman has made it known numerous times that this is indeed the case. Today, Garcia worked out for the Timberwolves. He was reportedly impressive there. Garcia’s college coach Rick Pitino has been telling people that if Garcia slips past the Timberwolves, he is very high up on the board of the Indiana Pacers. In the unlikely event that he slips past those two teams, he will most likely be drafted by the Nuggets at 20 or the Suns at 21.

Atlanta making a move on Ukic?

Reports out of Houston suggest that a deal is on the table which would see the Rockets trading out of the 1st round. The player that Houston is supposedly targeting, Luther Head, might not be on the board at 24 according to what his agent Mark Bartelstein told us earlier today. It’s his belief that Head will end up being selected “in the teens,” which would mean that the Rockets would have to select from a crop of raw European small forwards and big men or reach for a college player who is a little bit lower down on their board. The Atlanta Hawks are interested in trading up from the #31 pick to #24 in order to secure the services of the Croatian PG Roko Leni-Ukic, should he end up slipping to that spot. The problem is that Ukic is receiving major interest from both the Toronto Raptors at #16 and the Phoenix Suns at #21. The Raptors have already filed for a visa for Ukic to live in Canada (this is necessary for non-EU or US citizens), which most likely means that he is at least on their board.

Graham and Diogu working out for Boston?

The Boston Globe reported today that both Ike Diogu and Joey Graham are being brought in for workouts with the Celtics. The problem is, the Celtics apparently forgot to tell them that. DraftExpress spoke to both Ike Diogu and Roger Montgomery, Graham’s agent, and both said that the reported workouts were news to them. Diogu’s last workout was with Golden State, where independent sources say he is on the board, while Graham’s last workout was with Danny Granger in Charlotte. Why did Ainge say that he is working out both of those prospects? That’s anyone’s guess.

McCants or Korolev at #12?

Another trade rumor which is making the rounds and has been confirmed as something that is legit by NBA sources is a deal between the Clippers and Nuggets involving three first round draft picks. We’ve been hearing for the past week or more that the Denver Nuggets have targeted Rashad McCants as their top target in the draft to fill their hole at the 2 guard spot. The problem is that they do not believe that he will be around at #20 or #22 on draft night, thinking that he will taken by Indiana at #17 worst case scenario, or possibly even before to the Clippers at #12, as Elgin Baylor is reportedly sky high on McCants’ ability as a player. Therefore, the Nuggets have apparently offered both of their first round draft picks, #20 and #22, as bait to move up to #12. If the deal goes down, McCants would be selected by the Nuggets at #12 and Korolev would be taken at 20 by Los Angeles. Even it doesn’t, there is a good chance McCants goes #12 to the Clippers regardless, meaning Korolev could fall to 20 where he would be snatched up by Denver.

Bynum to Portland?

Initial reports by DraftExpress regarding a second private workout with Andrew Bynum appear to be right on the money. Multiple sources have confirmed that Portland indeed did workout Bynum on Thursday in their facilities, and that the Trailblazers will be making a move on draft night to trade out of the #3 spot and take Bynum.

According to what we’ve heard, the Lakers are out of the picture right now as a new team has emerged with a better offer. That team appears to be the Utah Jazz. A deal that could very well go down on draft night to satisfy both sides would be Portland sending Utah the #3 pick along with Ruben Patterson in return for the #6 pick, Kirk Snyder and Gordan Giricek. The deal works under’s trade checker. With the #3 pick, the Jazz would select Deron Williams, and with #6 Portland would take Andrew Bynum. The Jazz would try to fill their gaping hole on the wing with the #27 pick by selecting Matt Walsh. The problem is that both the Hawks and especially the Bobcats are aware of what’s going and could make a move to sabotage the trade by either taking Deron Williams at #2 or Andrew Bynum at #5.

Lackluster workouts for Vazquez

Fran Vaqzuez, the 6-10, 22 year old power forward from Spain came over to the States for the first time this week to show off his skills for NBA teams before Tuesday’s draft. What was supposed to be one workout ended up being two, as not every NBA team could fit the Sunday workout into their schedule, and a Saturday date was added. Vazquez flew into New York and almost immediately was thrown into a pressure filled, but intensity deprived gym in front of a large collection of NBA executives where he was asked to put on a show to convince a team, preferably in the lottery, to draft him. Most teams drafting in the top twenty were represented between the two workouts, with some teams, such as the Knicks, being present twice.

The feedback we received from multiple sources present at both workouts in the gym was underwhelming for the most part. Vazquez has apparently not played much basketball since his season ended after losing to Tau Vitoria a little over two weeks ago and therefore looked rusty in the first workout in particular. Add on the fact that he was jetlagged and playing in a foreign environment in a somewhat lethargic atmosphere at a workout which was not fully suited to show off his best strengths as a player and you have what looks like a true recipe for disaster. The first workout on Saturday, essentially coming right off the plane for Vazquez, was particularly bad according to sources in the gym. He was asked to do a lot of skill oriented drills, like shooting numerous NBA threes, which he is not comfortable doing as a player yet.

As we’ve told you many times, despite the hype around him, Vazquez is not a very polished player at this point and isn’t your typical European player when it comes to showing off “workout skills,” like shooting and ball-handling that many Europeans are famous for. Most players prepare for weeks with a specialized trainer to familiarize themselves with the type of drills that are run in workouts like this. Coming off a grueling season in Spain, Vazquez never got that.

Even in the one on one games in the post where he was put up against Miljan Pupovic, who is considered an undraftable prospect by most, he struggled mightily to hold his own inside on both ends.

The people we spoke with overwhelmingly agreed that if Vazquez was serious about being drafted as high as he could have, he most definitely should been here in the States working out for teams two weeks ago. Just like Tiago Splitter last year in Chicago, Vazquez was basically put into an impossible situation where he was asked to show off a phenomenal array of skills, which he just does not possess, in a do or die type atmosphere that is supposed to determine his entire NBA career.

It would be stupid to throw the entire book on his career so far out the window because of two workouts, especially considering how little these workouts really show for a player like Vazquez. But with so much pressure this close to the draft and so little separating the many power forwards on the board from 10-20, that’s exactly what might just happen.

So where does this mean for Vazquez’s stock right now? That’s a tough question to answer. He’s clearly not the top 10 lock he was a month or so ago. Picks 7-14 are a crapshoot for him, as there are some very good prospects on the board that teams feel much more comfortable with at this point. The demand for a power forward amongst those teams is fairly limited as well. If he gets by the New Jersey Nets, which is quite possible considering that “safe” prospects like Sean May and Ike Diogu have a good chance of being on the board, “all bets are off” as one scout told us. The word “freefall” came up in more than one conversation, but that’s clearly an exaggeration. The Pacers should be very interested with the #17 pick, as would the Celtics at 18. If he gets past there, well then it’s really anyone’s guess where he gets picked. No one I talked to really had any clue. The problem is that teams drafting in the second half of the first round were expecting Vazquez to be long gone by the time they pick, and therefore may not have scouted him enough to get an accurate read on why he's slipping. Many of them weren't present for the workouts in New York City, but certainly heard about them from friends in the business.

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