2009 NBA Draft Notes - Part 3 (Putting on Good Weight)

(To read the first two parts of my draft notes click here, then here.)

Rough
stretch for Knicks fans early in the 1st round. With the Knicks set to
pick #8 overall, they watched Rubio go 5th to the Timberwolves, and
then Western New York product and former Syracuse Orangeman Jonny Flynn
get snatched up 6th overall. Just one pick from Stephen Curry, which
would have been an incredibly popular pick for the city, the Warrior
jumped in and took him #7. Saying that the air went out of this place
would be a tremendous understatement. Some fans walked out after the
Curry pick. Not many, but some. And the craziest thing about this crowd
is that before Commissioner Stern announced the Knicks pick - it was
Arizona F Jordan Hill - the play went from a loud roar to absolutely
silent. You could here a pin drop. Then, they booed.

Curry, who
moved to point guard in his last year at Davidson, may be moved back to
his more natural scoring guard position with Montae Ellis playing the
point in Golden State. "That's the benefit to my college career," says
Curry. "I played both positions in my college career and I can do
both."

Our dumbest chant of the night: "Make a trade! Make a trade! Make a trade!"

Second
dumbest chant of the night: "Let's go Bu-uuucks." Just terrible, Knicks
fans. To borrow a phrase from Mark Jackson, you're better than that.
Milwaukee ends up with flashy point guard Brandon Jennings, who opted
to skip college to play for a year oversees in Italy instead. I spy the
notoriously connected Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com express a bit
of surprise over this pick.

Definitely a disturbing side note
from the typically nonsensical New York fans (and I'm a born and bred
New Yorker). When international players have been drafted so far,
pockets of the crowd have erupted in chants of "USA! USA!" I can't
understand the logic here, at all, and it's just terrible form from a
bunch of kids who look like they had their first beer last week.

Love
Terrence Williams going to the Nets at #11. Devin Harris, Yi, and
Williams make a nice young trio, and now that they've rid themselves of
Vince Carter's nonsense, they're 100% on the road to making NJ/BK an
attractive destination for LBJ. Not only that, but his suit probably
earns him the well-dressed away of the night, if James Harden's bow tie
doesn't wrap it up for him. It was a shiny, metallic material, sort of
like those grey-black stiff jeans you used to wear. His girlfriend
picked it out. "She did all this," he says. "She has great taste."

You've
got to feel good for Tyler Hansbrough going to the Pacers at 13. He
definitely felt like he was being picked apart during the draft
process, and the relief on his face was obvious after being selected.
He'll be a good fit in Indiana, if only because he'll work hard and
keep his mouth shut. "I'm a Midwest guy from around the area, so I'm
looking forward to it," he says. Hansbrough was booed mercilessly after
being selected, while being interviewed after being selected, and
walking out of the arena. He's scrappy and he doesn't look particularly
fancy on the court, plus he comes from a perennial powerhouse like UNC.
Hansbrough certainly seems like he has a chip on his shoulder. "I'm
looking forward to still proving people wrong and going out there and
playing my game," he says. Limbs flailing the whole way through, I
assume.

Pro wrestling moment of the night: David Stern
announcing Earl Clark as the 15th overall pick to the Suns, and then
composing himself to make another announcement.

There's been
some mystery around Brandon Jennings, who was picked #10 by Milwaukee.
First he was supposed to be in the green room with the other top
prospects, but since his draft stock has kind of been all over the
place in a point-guard heavy draft, he back out, with his agent
releasing a statement explaining as such. So as Stern is explaining
that even though he said Jennings wasn't here, he totally is here,
Jennings materializes from backstage, like a pro wrestler turning face.
Still don't know what to make of this kid, but he's fancy and loud and
really good. I'll like him lot more if he brings back his high-top
fade.

"I'm really excited about this," says Jennings, whose
new home in Wisconsin is a far cry from the last year of his life spent
traveling around Europe.  "I went down there for a workout and got
there a little early and stayed for three days and got to see the city.
It's not as bad as everyone thinks," he says. So that's nice. It's not
so bad. After spending that time playing in a European program,
Jennings thinks that he's better prepared for the NBA than he was last
year. "My game is more mature now," says Jennings. "I know how to run
the pick and roll situation, and I'm a lot tougher than I was before.
Just being overseas made me more humble. Over there, it's life or
death."

Abunassar trained Clark as well, for an extended period, several weeks.

Abunassar:
"Earl has the perfect body for a three four. He's really skilled and
athletic. He's got all the tools. And I think people would say from his
time at Louisville that there were games were he's been unstoppable,
and other games where he wasn't. The biggest thing for Earl is locking
in and doing it every night. But man, he has all the tools to be a
really special pro. Everything. Physically, he's scored big in games,
mentally, he's a hard worker. He can shoot the ball, he's got long
arms, and he creates matchup problems, so I think Earl is going to be a
good one. He's got a thicker body than Shawn Marion or Tayshaun Prince,
those guys. He's more of a powerful athlete. Marion and those guys are
so bouncy. They're jittery, they can move quickly. He's like an Al
Harrington, he can hit you from the perimeter or he can post you up.
That's what I think Earl will be like.

The more he can do
handling the ball, becoming a little bit more perimeter-oriented will
make him more versatile. When you get a guy who has already has the
footwork and the ability to shoot the ball, those things happen
quickly. It's the little things, bringing the ball from here to here. A
guy that plays how he plays always has to be in great shape especially
if he goes to Phoenix, the way they get up and down. Just getting a
little sharper with his isolation moves, because I do think he'll be a
matchup problem."

Shocker pick of the day: The Minnesota
Timberwolves draft three point guards in the first round (so far, they
have another pick late in the round), after picking up Ty Lawson at #16
overall. It looks like they'll trade him to Denver for a future pick,
which could be incredibly valuable if it's an unprotected #1. (UPDATE -
They do, but for a #2). Charlotte had a brief moment last year, but
they don't seem to have much figured out, taking Gerald Henderson
earlier in the 1st round. He's a nice pick, but he's got over-matched
guard written all over him.

Jrue Holliday goes to Philadelphia 76ers.

Abunassar's
thoughts: "He is an extremely powerful, strong, gifted athlete that
knows how to play. He's another guy that's a good shooter, but people
have compared him to Dwyane Wade, not in terms of skills, but he gets
into gaps, and he has amazing body control. You could see his body at
the pre-draft camp in Chicago, and you could see his build. He's a big
kid. He's only 18 years old, but he's already strong and an amazing
athlete. Jrue could be one of those interesting players between a two
and a point. He's just a good player. That's what they were saying
about Wade. "Is he a three? Is he a two? He can't really shoot the
ball." Jrue can really play. With him, working on his ability to create
his own shot, but so much of that too has to do with coming from UCLA.
Just getting him into a mindset of attacking offensively is what we
worked on.

I heard great things about Gonzaga F Austin Daye from
Joe Abunassar, and he ended up going #15 overall to the Detroit
Pistons. "I think he'll go a little higher than some people think. At
6'11" without shoes, his skill level is not seen very often. He has an
amazing skill level. We've already made some great gains with getting
Austin to gain some weight and strength. He's got a long way to go with
his strength, so he's someone that benefitted from time with us."

Ohio
State C BJ Mullens had a big change, too. "We had him two and a half
months. At Ohio State, he played 18 minutes a game, so we had to retool
him. Coming out of high school, he was a top-5 high school prospect. He
kind of fell off, but we got him going, we had two and half months to
work with BJ. We got him stronger, more explosive, we got his skills
down. He shot the ball extremely well in all of his pre-draft workouts.
He's talented. We were able to make some good changes with him and
Austin. Austin is going to be something special."

With Austin
Daye, people have no clue. They say, 'yeah, he's skilled, but he's
skinny.' They have no clue how skilled that guy is. Even the NBA guys
that have seen him in workouts, they're like, 'he's 6'11?' He's got
great post moves, all he has to do is get stronger."

"I think
I'm going to a team that's very tough," says Daye, "and I wouldn't have
been drafted unless they thought I was a tough kid."

Says
Abunassar: "With Austin Daye, the buzz was crazy. They had seen him at
pre-draft stuff, and they saw how skilled he was. You get questions
like, and this is perfect for your magazine, "does he have the desire
to gain the weight?" And it's like, "of course he does." A lot of body
questions with him, because some guys like Reggie Miller, Tayshaun has
been a client eight years, and he's just never gong to get bulky. I
fielded a ton of questions about his weight, what weight can he play
at, what's his ideal weight.' A lot of teams were digging to find that
out. Can he gain the weight? It's kind of a strange question. Can he?
Is his frame capable of putting it on? He can go drink beer and eat
burgers and gain 20 lbs if he wants to, but we want him to put the
right weight on.

I've had to field a lot of questions over him
because they all asked, 'how quickly can he put the weight on?' You
don't want to put it on too quickly or else it won't be good weight.
Last year we had Kevin Love, who lost 25 pounds. It's a lot easier to
lose 25 pounds in five weeks than it is to gain it. You can get on the
bike, on the treadmill, you can eat less, you can do so many things to
lose weight. You can only lift weights once a day."

Whether
or not players like Daye and Rubio can put on good weight will likely
be the determining factor as to whether or not they'll be solid pros.
That and whether or not Rubio gets traded to the Knicks, but we'll see.
A lot happened last night. I think it's time to digest.

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