SECAUCUS, NJ -- We're still a ways away from the 2007 NBA Draft on June 28 in New York City, but this Draft -- with Greg Oden, consensus college player of the year Kevin Durant and Chinese sensation Yi Jianlian expected to shake Commissioner David Stern's hand early in the evening -- is the most anticipated since 2003 when All-Stars LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony appeared on the NBA scene.

Follow the blog throughout the pre-Draft happenings as we scour the web for the latest intrigue surrounding the 2007 NBA Draft.

Previous: Lottery Day | Pre-Lottery

The Pivotal Pick
Posted by John Schuhmann on June 10, 2007, 3:15 p.m. ET

We all know who the first two picks are, even if we're not 100 percent sure of what order they'll go in. But everyone wondering who the Hawks are going to select at No. 3. The 15 mock drafts in our Consensus have four different players at No. 3: Brandan Wright (6), Mike Conley Jr. (4), Al Horford (3) and Yi Jianlian (2).

Today, Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles Wright, the most popular of the four.

There's no denying the obvious with Brandan Wright.

He's young with braces on his teeth to prove it.

And he's certainly far from a finished product, as is the case with most 19-year old, 200-pound giants not named LeBron James.

But to assume that Wright is at all intimidated by the challenges ahead, including his prospects for the June 28 NBA draft, would be a mistake.

Bulls.com has interviews with Spencer Hawes and Joakim Noah, who worked out in Chicago on Friday.

By the way, Noah doesn't think much of mock drafts.

Does Rodney Stuckey have a promise from the Pistons at No. 15? Not according to his agent.

Is Jason Smith a good fit in New Jersey?

With Desmond Mason likely leaving this summer, the Hornets need immediate help at the two, so Thaddeus Young might not be their guy.

Potential No. 1 pick Greg Oden is also a potential endorser, thanks to his (media) coach.

Witness the following quote Dave D'Alessandro's Sunday column ...

Greg Oden, on what he expects from his first meeting against Shaquille O'Neal: "A couple of ice bags after the game."

Of course, I also love this quote, from a guy whom we all know doesn't need much personality advise ...

Joakim Noah, on his expertise in tennis, the sport of his father, Yannick Noah: "I'm un-lob-able."



Not-So Big Baby
Posted by John Schuhmann on June 7, 2007, 2:21 p.m. ET

As we prepare for Game 1 of the 2007 NBA Finals here in San Antonio, early returns on team workouts around the league are starting to come in, and we've got a first-person account of life as a prospect right here on NBA.com.

Glen Davis has posted his first Big Baby Blog post after working out for the Sixers yesterday.

After I read it, I was checking out the Big Baby bio on LSU's site and came across this tidbit:

Concentrated on basketball his senior season for coach Ari Fisher, but also had a stellar career at University High at tailback of the football team.

Tailback? Wow. I pity the defenders who had to (attempt to) tackle him.

Meanwhile, Ryan Lawrence reports on Big Baby's Philly workout, where Mo Cheeks was suprised by BB's size, or lack thereof. Mark Narducci also notes of Davis' slimmer look.

Meanwhile, Nets' GM Ed Stefanski is curious to see how he matches up with Duke's Josh McRoberts.

There were rumors last week that the Blazers were looking for another lottery pick in order to draft Oden-buddy Mike Conley Jr. Those rumors were pretty much quashed, but now Jason Quick says that Kevin Pritchard is looking to acquire another first-round pick, perhaps for Florida State's Al Thornton.

Even if that doesn't come to fruition, things are looking up economically for the Blazers.

More:
The Celtics will bring in Corey Brewer and Al Thornton today.
The Bulls aren't necessarily thinking big with the No. 9 pick, but they'll have Joakim Noah and Spencer Hawes in for a workout on Friday.
Kammron Taylor is a potential second-round pick who has a preferred second-round destination.
Paul Coro has some quotes from Gabe Pruitt and Dominic McGuire, who worked out for the Suns on Tuesday.


Work it Out
Posted by John Schuhmann on June 5, 2007, 5:15 p.m. ET

Now that the everyone has returned home from Orlando, it's time for teams to begin working out and interviewing players on their own turf. I'm always curious to know how much teams take these workouts into account when making their final draft day decision. Is a game of two-on-two more important than how a guy performed in a tough conference game back in February?

The Memphis Grizzlies are one of many teams beginning workouts today, but before they decide who they want with the No. 4 pick, the Grizz have to decide what they want with the No. 4 pick.

The T-Wolves also begin workouts today, but for GM Fred Hoiberg, talking with players is more important than watching them on the court.

The Wizards won't begin workouts until Thursday, but they've got a full slate scheduled.

It's not often that the Knicks and Nets work together, but because there's less time to conduct workouts, and because their picks are near each other, the cross-river rivals are working draft prospects out together this summer. It got started with a four-player workout today in New York. And it will continue with four more guys tomorrow in Jerz.

The Nets will be selecting at No. 17, and they're thinking positive. At No. 23, the Knicks may pull out another surprise.

One of the players who worked out for the Knicks and Nets today was Demetris Nichols. And he's a guy that Chris Eckstrand liked in Orlando.

Speaking of Orlando, if you missed any of Rob Reheuser's recaps from the Pre-Draft Camp, now's your time to catch up:
Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

And DraftExpress has their Orlando recap, naming Jared Dudley as the MVP.

Meanwhile, the Oregonian has another big feature on Greg Oden from Jason Quick.

And our Consensus Mock Draft has been updated, with DraftExpress putting Oden back at No. 1.


Let the Games Begin
Posted by John Schuhmann on May 31, 2007, 2:10 p.m. ET

With most basketball writers around the country trying to understand what Kobe Bryant was doing yesterday (seeing what it's like to be Terrell Owens is my guess), the draft news is a bit light today. Still, the games have begun in Orlando, giving those at Disney World some real action to write about.

Rob Reheuser has mixed reviews of the participants, with praise for Ryvon Covile, Coleman Collins (Go Hokies!), James Mays and Taurean Green, among others.

DraftExpress mostly agrees with Rob's assessments, while Justin Einhorn files two reports: here and here.

Chris Eckstrand takes note of Stephane Lasme's blocked shots.

And the reviews are also positive for George Karl's son, Coby.

Meanwhile, Marquette's Dominic James is trying to take advantage of his last-minute invite to Orlando.

Not suprisingly, Kevin Pritchard is a popular man this week.


This Post is Not about Kobe Bryant
Posted by John Schuhmann on May 30, 2007, 3:25 p.m. ET

Actually, there's a small Kobe tidbit below, but in general, we're talking draft in this space. So, if you can focus on something other than Kobe today, we've got plenty of links coming out of Orlando and points West for you to peruse.

Our own Rob Reheuser has a recap of Day One, including notes about a couple of guys who have shaped up since the last time you saw them.

DraftExpress has their own recap of Tuesday's action.

Meanwhile, Florida's Taurean Green is blogging with the Orlando Sentinel.

And Coby Karl is one of the guys looking to make an impression.

But Colorado State's Jason Smith will not be participating because his stock is already rising.

Sean Williams of Boston College also declined to play, but he has other reasons.

With the prospect of an Aldridge-Oden frontcourt, are the Blazers looking to deal Zach Randolph? Randolph has heard the rumors, but not from Kevin Pritchard or Nate McMillan. In fact, Pritchard called both Randolph and Jarrett Jack to tell them that he's wasn't pursuing anything at this time.

And John Canzano urges us to not believe anything about the Blazers trying to get Mike Conley Jr. either.

Lenny Wilkens says the Sonics are willing to trade their No. 2 pick...

"I can see a couple of scenarios. Dwyane Wade and somebody," Wilkens said. "That is being a little bit crazy, but you always listen. You never know what someone will do."

So, the Kobe to Seattle speculation has already begun.

Speaking of trades, Danny Ainge will listen to offers for pick No. 5, but if he makes a deal, he wants it to be a basketball move, and not a financial move.

More:
Jeff Goodman of FOX Sports ranks the top point guards in the draft.
It's not fair to compair a college freshman with a guy who has 11 NBA Championship rings, but when I think about Greg Oden's game, the first player that comes to my mind is Bill Russell. I guess I'm not the only one.


Orlando, Day One
Posted by John Schuhmann on May 29, 2007, 3:25 p.m. ET

The Orlando Pre-Draft Camp tips off today, and our own Rob Reheuser is there to let us know what players are impressing the GMs and scouts in attendance. Rob begins his coverage with a list of players to keep an eye on.

The guys that know they'll be picked in the first round are in Orlando just to get weighed and measured. Meanwhile, players like Dustin Salisbery and Curtis Sumpter are there to boost their stock.

Kevin Pritchard will be in Orlando, as will Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, but the Blazers GM will not be meeting with the Big Two this week.

Kerry Eggers sums up Pritchard's pickle pretty well. I find the following part particularly interesting...

While meeting with reporters last week, Pritchard unveiled a bit of his thought process when he said: "What you're after is low risk, high return. One of the guys is a higher risk, higher return, where the other is a little lower risk and maybe not as much return. Our job is to always try to get the highest-return player at the lowest risk we can."

Pritchard wouldn't confirm it, but I'm assuming he considers Durant the high-risk/high-return player, Oden the lower-risk player with perhaps not quite as much upside. Then Pritchard was asked if he's inclined to take risks or surer things.

"Normally, I like the higher risk," the Portland GM answered. "I'm a high-risk person. Sometimes to get to the championship level, you have to take big risks."

Pritchard says he wouldn't read anything into that comment, but it makes you wonder.

I tend to agree that Durant looks to have the greater potential, but Dwight Jaynes believes that he's not as NBA ready as some people think.

Needing a coach and holding the 31st and 35th picks (as well as No. 2), the trip to Orlando could be very valuable to the Sonics.

Sekou Smith has some words for Hawks fans who want to trade their lottery picks.

Along with his new position as the head coach of the Bobcats, Sam Vincent also has two first-round picks in the draft, so he's got work to do.

Finally, Marc Berman sums up the state of the Knicks, as Isiah Thomas heads down to Orlando, where he discovered Renaldo Balkman last year.


Sunday is for Long Features
Posted by John Schuhmann on May 27, 2007, 4:15 p.m. ET

Oden or Durant? That is the question before Kevin Pritchard and the Blazers.

Well, The Oregonian, the paper that covers the team, is ready for either scenario. They have dueling profiles on Greg Oden and Kevin Durant for their readers today.

First, Jason Quick spent some time with Greg Oden and has a hefty feature to show for it...

The honors student sat in the lobby of the Hotel Monaco in Portland and found himself fretting about one of his favorite subjects: math.

He has come to love numbers, but today, 19-year-old Greg Oden is unable to solve an equation that has engulfed the professional basketball world: Who should be the top pick in next month's NBA draft?

Oden, who never received a C throughout high school in Indiana or his freshman year at Ohio State, also happens to be a constant in the equation. He is a 7-foot center viewed by NBA general managers as a can't-miss prospect because of his agility and skill set, which rarely are possessed by men his size. Another constant is Kevin Durant, a high-scoring forward from the University of Texas who became the first freshman to win every college player of the year award. The variable is which player can win more games at the NBA level.

And John Hunt writes about the work ethic of Kevin Durant...

Some athletes are born to play the game. Kevin Durant isn't one of them.

The smooth 6-foot-10, 225-pound forward, one of the Blazers' top options as the first pick in next month's NBA draft, has an impressive set of skills, 10 years in the making. But 10 words formed the foundation of Durant's basketball career, which has been built on a strong work ethic and an almost reclusive dedication to the sport.

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.

Quick also blogs some additional notes from his Oden story, which includes an interesting tidbit about the Blazers' search for a way to also draft Mike Conley Jr...

The talk of Oden's camp pushing the Blazers to draft Ohio State point guard Mike Conley, Jr. is real, but it probably won't happen. The Blazers have made some initial offers to Atlanta regarding the third pick, but the Hawks want either Brandon Roy or LaMarcus Aldridge in return for the third pick, and that simply isn't going to happen.

If the Hawks don't take Conley, Jr. with the third pick, look for the Blazers to turn to Milwaukee at No. 6 to possibly see if they can swing a deal.

In today's Seattle Times, Percy Allen brings Oden and Durant together in one piece.

Yesterday in the Oregonian, Geoffrey C. Arnold and Daniel Uthman profiled the rivalry between the Blazers and Sonics, which is about to get much more interesting.

And John Canzano writes that, in order for this all to come together for the Blazers, Paul Allen must S.P.A.M.

In Seattle, Gary Washburn reminds giddy Sonics fans that their team has more than just the No. 2 pick.

Meanwhile, Ron Higgins writes that all is not lost for the Grizzlies. There is still quality to be had at No. 4.

Rick Morrissey is intrigued by this year's foreign crop of players, even if he doesn't know anything about them.

Of course, Chad Ford might be able to help him out (Insider).

Brandon Rush: Out.
Javaris Crittenton: In

Finally, we've got more reaction from Tuesday's Draft Lottery in this week's Sunday Click.


So Sorry, I Must Be Going
Posted by Rob Peterson on May 25, 2007, 3:36 p.m. ET

SI.com's Ian Thomsen notes that if speculation holds true, two players in the Pacific Northwest could be making way for the consensus Draft No. 1 and Draft No. 2.

And, now because the final Draft order has been determined, the guys who don't know the college players well enough to do a mock draft, get into the act by imagining which current NBA player could be sent where.

(Wouldn't that be great if we could do that with sportswriters. OK, the Chicago Tribune's Sam Smith, a summer intern in the teaching newspaper program at Northwestern University and cash to the Boston Globe for Bob Ryan, two agate clerks and a year's supply of Legal Seafood clam chowder. I think that could work under the salary cap. I had an offer to send Smith to the Miami Herald for Dan LeBatard and though it was nixed by Shaq, who thought it was idioutic. We kid because we love ... )

Anwyay, Chad Ford has already reached version 2.1 on his mock drafts.

(That reminds me, I need to get iTunes 7.1 on my PC.)

Say cheese (and lots of it), Mr. Durant.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, fans hope that Durant (if he's available) can stick around a long, long, looooong time.

Whaddya mean "if he's available"? Down in Portland, they're not tipping their hand.

What do you do when you don't have a Draft pick? The Pacers will find things to do.

Folks in Milwaukee are trying to keep a stiff upper lip about the No. 6 pick. (Hey, Larry, if he's still available, Corey Brewer. I'm just sayin'...)


Oden Goes to Portland, Hibbert Goes Back to School
Posted by John Schuhmann on May 24, 2007, 5:15 p.m. ET

While Memphis and Boston look for words of encouragement, everyone else is moving on with draft plans and projections.

The big news since Lottery night has been Roy Hibbert deciding to go back to Georgetown. That, of course, has affected our Consensus Mock Draft, where Nick Young of USC has moved into the Top 14. Maybe a more interesting development is DraftExpress swapping Greg Oden and Kevin Durant today.

So, while Oden says he might check out the city of Portland as he visits with Nike representatives today, perhaps he shouldn't make an offer on any houses just yet.

While Oden's people negotiate with Nike and calculate the value of going No. 1, Darren Rovell calculates the financial value of selecting No. 1.

And it seems like the ticket sales part of that equation is coming along just fine.

Meanwhile, the Hawks say they have a lot of options at No. 3, but Terence Moore says they have only one.

More:
Dave Boling wonders if landing the No. 2 pick will really help the Sonics stay in Seattle.
Acie Law of Texas A&M and Josh McRoberts of Duke are working out with Billy Owens.
Celtics.com has a very thorough draft Q&A with General Manager Chris Wallace... Part 1 | Part 1 | Part 3


The Aftermath
Posted by John Schuhmann on May 23, 2007, 5:15 p.m. ET

There was plenty of reaction coming out of Secaucus and points west last night, so let's run through it, pick by pick...

Jason Quick writes about the impact that winning the lottery could have on the Blazers and the city of Portland.

And John Canzano is not afraid to go farther than the next guy...

The expectations just rose exponentially. Pritchard's job description, rebuilding a broken franchise, was just re-written to include the playoffs -- next season. He fell from a pool-side lounge chair into a pressure cooker, just like that. And we're about to figure out if the contrarian in Pritchard really has the guts to pick Durant over Oden, as I suspect he would given the choice today, without consequences.

So, if Pritchard is really willing to do what most people wouldn't, the maybe Art Thiel should hold off on calling Kevin Durant the Sonics' savior.

Still, moving up to No. 2 can do a lot of things for the Seattle franchise.

For the Hawks, moving up from fourth to third was a positive ... right? Jeff Schultz isn't so sure.

But it was definitely another bad turn in a rough week for the Suns.

The Grizzlies fell the hardest, but owner Michael Heisley was a good sport about the whole thing.

Peter May gets the reaction in Boston.

And Bob Ryan tries to help Celtics fans cope, while Jeff Goodman profiles the prospects who could be there for them at No. 5.

Obviously, it was a rough night for both the Celtics and their loyal following, but Ian Thomsen takes us back to last June as the cause for all of Boston's heartache.

At No. 6, the Bucks won't be drafting for need.

But the Wolves could be at No. 7, as they could use some help on the frontline.

Bernie Bickerstaff believes the quality bigs won't be around when the Bobcats select at No. 8, but they may get a shot at a talented swingman.

At No. 9 in the draft, Sam Smith likes Julian Wright for the Bulls.

Geoff Petrie thinks the Kings can get quality at No. 10.

The Sixers didn't move up from No. 12, but that's OK. They weren't expecting to.

Chris Paul believes his Hornets are just fine without the 13th pick.

Previous: Lottery Day | Pre-Lottery