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Scott Howard-Cooper

Georgetown's Greg Monroe has impressed some GMs late in the pre-Draft game.
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Georgetown's Monroe makes late push up Draft boards

Posted Jun 24 2010 11:23AM

NEW YORK -- Adding a new layer of possibilities to a Draft already wide open after the first two picks, Greg Monroe has made such a late push up the board that one team is considering putting him at No. 3 to the Nets in its final internal mock Draft before Thursday night's proceedings at Madison Square Garden.

Such a standing would have zero actual impact -- for New Jersey or any club -- but it is a noteworthy assessment of Monroe's rising stock at a critical stage of the process. Several executives who said that the Georgetown power forward would not be third on their board agreed a lot of pro-Monroe buzz has developed in recent days.

"I hear a lot of that," one general manager said. "I don't know how much validity there is to it, but I hear a lot of that."

Monroe is hardly coming from a long way down -- he was considered a potential lottery pick the entire season and came out of 2009-10 likely bound for the top 10. But he has firmed up his standing since the physical at the pre-Draft combine in Chicago in May and subsequent individual workouts.

"He's a legit 6-11 with skill," one executive said. "You can play him a couple spots, the high post or power forward ... Golden State, they'd really like to get him. They're saying he had a bad workout because they really want him to be there at six."

Said another: "He's a wonderful passer, he's got a great feel for the game, he's a very, very gifted player. He's just always going to fight the perception about his ticker.

"I don't think you'll ever confuse him with being athletic. But he's a good guy to have on your team. He's a talented kid and a smart kid."

Other developments heading into the final full day before the Draft:

• Several teams say the Rockets are working hard to try to package No. 14 and at least one veteran to move higher into the lottery. "That's a fair assessment," said one GM. Plus, Houston has two other major chips to play with -- the right to swap picks with the Knicks in the 2011 Draft, protected for the first selection, and New York's 2012 first-rounder, both from the Tracy McGrady trade.

• Teams who have investigated trading out of the first round to get away from guaranteed money: Miami, Chicago and San Antonio. The Heat and Bulls want as much cap space as possible for free agency, while the Spurs made a heavy investment before the season by going over the luxury tax. "There's a lot of picks kind of like, 'Let's get rid of this thing,' " one opposing executive said.

• Luke Babbitt won't be unknown to the public much longer. The 6-foot-9 skilled scorer is from Reno and stayed home to attend Nevada and now could go in the lottery and maybe even the top 10. He'll be part of what should be a run of small forwards starting there and into the mid-teens: Babbitt, Gordon Hayward of Butler, Paul George of Fresno State and maybe Devin Ebanks of West Virginia, all after position headliners Wesley Johnson of Syracuse and Al-Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

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