In The Scrum With Tristan Thompson

Brampton, ON native and former Longhorn Tristan Thompson was the star attraction for local Toronto media during his workout with the Raptors on Wednesday that also featured Kawhi Leonard, Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris and life-long friend Cory Joseph. Speaking to the media afterwards, Thompson talked about Joseph and the bright future of Canadian basketball.

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In The Scrum With Jim Kelly

Toronto Raptors Director of Scouting Jim Kelly spoke to local media once again after the latest set of workouts, which saw the team host Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, Cory Joseph and Demontez Stitt. Calling it “the most competitive workout thus far”, Kelly described what impressed him about the draft candidates.

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In The Scrum With Cory Joseph

Texas PG and Brampton, ON native Cory Joseph returned to the Greater Toronto Area on Wednesday for a pre-draft workout with the Raptors. Speaking to media afterwards, Joseph talked about being a traditional point guard and his life-long friendship with fellow draftee and Texas alum Tristan Thompson.

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In The Scrum With Marcus Morris

Kansas PF Marcus Morris was in Toronto on Wednesday for a pre-draft workout that also included Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson and Tobias Harris . Speaking to the media after his workout, Morris discussed his game and talked about his twin brother, Markieff.

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In The Scrum With Tobias Harris

Former Tennessee PF Tobias Harris was in Toronto on Wednesday as part of a loaded workout that also included Kawhi Leonhard, Tristan Thompson and Marcus Morris. The projected mid-to-late first rounder talked about his all-around game, as well as being one of the draft’s high risers.

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In The Scrum With Jim Kelly – Part 1

After getting an up-close look at NCAA tournament hero Kemba Walker during a draft workout in Toronto on Tuesday, Raptors Senior Director of Scouting Jim Kelly spoke to the media about the UConn alum. Kelly raved about Walker’s passing skills and added some general thoughts on the scouting process.

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In The Scrum With Jim Kelly – Part 2

Toronto Raptors Senior Director of Scouting Jim Kelly was busy on Tuesday. After the team hosted an early workout featuring Kemba Walker, Kentucky’s Brandon Knight took to the practice court for his own workout. In speaking to the media afterward, Kelly compared the two young point guards.

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Ed Davis Slides To Toronto

The NBA Draft unfolded as expected until Utah selected Gordan Hayward with the ninth pick and then things got a little crazy. The pick immediately after this saw Indiana select Paul George while Cole Aldrich also went higher than expected when he was drafted eleventh overall.

This resulted in a player Toronto didn’t think would be available, Ed Davis, sliding down to them at the 13th spot.

The fact Davis fell this far was such a surprise that Toronto didn’t even bring him in for a workout this month as they were sure he would be gone by the 10th pick.

“We were surprised because we didn’t have him on our list of five players we were targeting because we really didn’t think he would available at thirteen,” Jay Triano admitted to the media shortly after the selection was made. “We thought he would be long gone. To have him keep sliding we kept crossing our fingers that he would slide one more. He fell right into our lap which was great.”

Triano felt there were a couple of reasons for the free fall in Davis’ in the draft tonight but he wasn’t worried about any of those potential issues.

“I think maybe his injured hand held him back a bit, but I think more than that everybody thought he would go higher than that so he didn’t work out for certain teams below a certain number,” Jay Triano told the media Thursday evening. “When he doesn’t work out for certain teams they don’t get a feel and he slides. But you guys have seen part of the workouts. What do they really show you? It’s the scouts who watch games all year and evaluate these guys.”

Even though Bryan Colangelo was surprised to see Davis still available he was ready for something like this happening and jumped at the opportunity to draft the talented big man.

“Ed (Davis) was rated a lot higher not only in our minds but in all of the research we had done but there was a scenario we talked about anybody above a certain line, if they dropped to us, we’re taking them,” Colangelo told the media. “Ed was that name. We had a few more names up on our board in the group that we liked but if you stay true to the process and you weed out the names you would clearly take if they came to you then you go ahead and take them.”

Luckily for Toronto, it appears a team ahead of them got cold feet which resulted in a couple of teams passing on Davis.

“There was a lot of interest at a particular pick everyone assumed would be where he landed but perhaps a little bit of a shift up near the top of the draft led that team to make a different decision,” said Colangelo.

Regardless of the reason, Davis managed to slide to Toronto and they were able to select a player that should be able to anchor their defense the next few seasons.

Davis is the third fastest player at the University of North Carolina to swat 100 shots and he accomplished the feet after 51 games while it took Rasheed Wallace 47 games and Sam Perkins 50 games to accomplish the same feat.

Pretty impressive company, if you ask me.

Davis, however, is far from a one trick pony. Last season his season ended prematurely with a broken lunate bone in his left wrist on February 10, 2010, but at that point in time he was leading the ACC in field goal percentage (.578) and blocked shots, was second in rebounding and 15th in scoring. Clearly he’s a guy you can throw on the court that will get “garbage points” without needing plays run for him while also providing the defensive presence the team was searching for. He’ll be able to grab some rebounds, change a ton of shots and he has the athleticism to allow the team to continue to get out and run on the break.

With Chris Bosh likely heading out of town as a free agent and the team looking to move Andrea Bargnani to power forward, that resume makes Davis an ideal pick for Toronto.

“We did a lot of background checks,” Triano explained. “We called Roy Williams one or two picks before and he had nothing but rave reviews. Our scouts were talking to other people. Teams get penciled into certain need or a certain player and sometimes guys slide. When we have a need for rebounding or defense and when he’s efficient with how he shoots the ball it’s a perfect fit for us.”

Even thought thirteen has long been know as an unlucky number, it appears Toronto had a lot of luck on their side tonight.

Bryan Colangelo Talks About Ed Davis

Bryan Colangelo just escaped from Toronto’s war room for a couple minutes to talk with the media about Ed Davis sliding to Toronto, if they had second thoughts when he slide, a trade that will be announced later tonight and a  host of other topics that Raptors’ fans want to hear about.

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Getting To Know Ed Davis

Back in the summer of 2007, I was getting ready to start my first post college job, a job at the University of Connecticut, where I’d just finished my undergraduate work a few months before. I worked in the athletic department, as an entry level guy in the ticket and marketing department.

When I started the job in late May, I quickly realized the whole situation was both a gift and a curse. On the one hand, having worked in the department as an undergrad, I knew many of my new co-workers, and had a pretty good understanding of what my responsibilities would be, even before my first day. How many people can say that as they get ready to start a new job? I didn’t even have to move apartments, at least not right away.

On the other hand, I was an adult now, living near a college campus, my old stomping ground. Just a few months before, my only care in the world was trying to figure out which bar had the best deal on Thursday night’s, and now I was a professional in the same place where many of my good friends were still students. Suffice to say, some were even on the Tommy Boy six-year plan.

I distinctly remember the conflict of interest coming to light one night in June, when my old neighbor invited me over to watch the first game of the NBA Finals. She was friendly with a few players on the basketball team- a group of guys I’d be working closely with once the season started- and I wasn’t entirely comfortable hanging out with them in a social setting. She wasn’t sure if they’d come over or not, so I decided to swing by.

Of course right on cue, within a minute or two of me getting there, a player showed up with someone- who was clearly a basketball player- that I wasn’t particularly familiar with. Turns out, it was one of the most sought after high school senior’s to be in the country, Ed Davis.

At 17, Davis didn’t carry himself like a McDonalds All-American, but more like a little brother tagging with his big bro to watch the game. He sat quietly in the corner, intently following the action on the screen, seeming to enjoy LeBron James’ first NBA Finals game. Then again, you didn’t really know if he was enjoying himself or not, since he didn’t say anything. Davis only spoke when spoken to, but when we did finally sneak a few words out of him, it turned out he was not only insightful, but you could tell how passionate about the game he was.

What I’ll always remember about that night though, is that after not saying a word to me the entire evening, when I got up to leave, Davis was quick to say goodbye, and tell me how nice it was to meet me. This to someone he’d met only hours before. I couldn’t help but appreciate the poise of a 17-year-old to say that to his senior. I don’t know if I’d have done the same at his age.

I hadn’t thought much about that day with Davis these past few years, as he went to North Carolina and won a National Championship as a key role player his freshman year. The only time he crossed my mind was when I wondered if maybe he was the missing piece that could have propelled UConn to the title in 2009, instead of playing the same role as a Tar Heel.

But for the first time in a long time on Thursday, I did think back to that night in June 2007, as I watched that quiet kid I met in June 2007, become a man on a June night in 2010. He walked to podium with poise to shake David Stern’s hand, and answered Mark Jones’ questions insightfully.

I don’t know what Davis’ NBA future holds for him, but I do know one thing: He was a good kid at 17, and it seems like only maturity has changed him now.

The Raptors got a good basketball player in the 2010 NBA Draft. They got a good person, too.

Jay Triano Talks About Ed Davis

Jay Triano just escaped from Toronto’s war room for a couple minutes to talk with the media about Ed Davis sliding to Toronto, why Toronto called Roy Williams tonight before they made the pick, how close they were to drafting Patrick Patterson, the high amount of trades the team could have made over the past 48 hours, what the summer will entail for Davis and a  host of other topics that Raptors’ fans want to hear about.

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Conference Call With Ed Davis

Ed Davis was patched into the media here in Toronto to talk about the impact his dad has had on his playing style, what his goals are for his rookie season, if he was surprised to see himself fall to the 13th pick and a host of other topics.

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Ernie Grunfeld On John Wall

A few minutes after selecting John Wall as the number one selection in the NBA draft, Washington Wizards Team President Ernie Grunfeld, met with the media to discuss the pick.

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Reebok Unveils Wall’s New Shoe

The day before he is expected to be the number one pick in the 2010 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards, John Wall unveiled the new basketball shoes he will be wearing during his rookie year.

This morning at Madison Square Garden, Reebok and John Wall held a press conference to unveil the new John Wall shoe, entitled “Zig Slash”.

The shoe was created by Reebok and it is part of their “Zig Tech” collection designed to give athletes more energy. The shoe is already worn by such high-profile athletes Peyton Manning, Chad Ocho Cinco, David Ortiz and Alexander Ovechkin, and Wall will be the first basketball player to wear these shoes.

Reebok will begin featuring John Wall and his new shoe during the 2010 NBA Draft tomorrow night on ESPN. Video footage of today’s press conference can be seen below.

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2010 NBA Mock Draft

As we all know, the months leading up to the NBA Draft can make for an overwhelming flurry of inside scoops, conspiracy theories and rumors from all around the internet; this year appears to be no different. Fortunately, Hoops Addict has been keeping tabs on all the top college prospects and was in attendance at NBA pre-draft workouts in Toronto and Washington this month to help put it all in perspective.

While there is a lot up in the air, this is our best attempt to get through all the speculation and give you some insight into who the top 30 prospects are.

1. Washington – John Wall (Kentucky): Everything that everyone’s saying is true. He’s the undisputed No. 1 pick regardless of who is picking here. And the doubts about whether he can play with Arenas? Pure rubbish.

2. Philadelphia – Evan Turner (Ohio State): Second best talent in this draft even with the back injury he sustained earlier this season. I’ll be shocked if Philly doesn’t snag him here. Even with Igoudala in the mix he’s a good fit because AI can slide over to small forward.

3. New Jersey – Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech): He’s an athlete with a body that will fill out but his skills just aren’t there yet. Hasn’t proven himself to be a top four pick, but that isn’t stopping everyone from projecting him to be there because everyone thinks he is the next Dwight Howard. Look for New Jersey to risk it and hope he provides a nice tandem with Brook Lopez.

4. Minnesota – Wesley Johnson (Syracuse): He’s an athletic wing that Minnesota is hoping and praying will drop to them at the fourth pick. After a big turn in events over the past 24 hours it appears they’ll get their wish.

5. Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky): The scouting reports are true: one minute he’s a force the next minute a ghost. If I was a player personnel guy selecting in the lottery, I don’t know that I’d want to put my job on the line with him. Sure, some of his struggles earlier in the season were due to foul trouble, but as the season has progressed he hasn’t really been able to fix this issue (he picked up four or more fouls in 14 of his first 29 games). What will he do against quicker, stronger and smarter players in the NBA? I’m not sold even thought it appears most front office personnel are in love with his gaudy stats.

6. Golden State – Ekpe Udoh (Baylor): Normally transferring from Michigan to Baylor would destroy any college players chances of making the jump to the NBA. Udoh is poised to be the exception. He was a marginal prospect at Michigan but he’s remade himself into a shot-blocking machine with a decent offensive game. Some scouts are drawing comparisons to Andrei Kirilenko.

7. Detroit – Greg Monroe (Georgetown): As Aaron Torres told me: “To the Monroe supporters, the argument is clear: He’s an athletic big guy with great passing skills, that’s playing in an offense that doesn’t fairly display his abilities. Ok, I get it. But to us outsiders who watch him every game, he’s an innately skilled big man that chooses to hang out on the perimeter, too often makes not only the extra pass, but the unnecessary one, and doesn’t have a killer instinct on offense.”

8. Los Angeles Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest): He would have helped his stock with a better showing in the NCAA Tournament. However, his raw athleticism has leaving many scouts and NBA front offices drooling. He still isn’t a great shooter, struggles as a ball handler and can look like a ‘tweener on both ends of the floor. To me he’s the prototypical guy that is blessed with a ton of talent but then makes GM’s look bad for selecting him in the first round. Buyer beware.

9. Utah – Ed Davis (North Carolina): A ton of raw potential but he’s yet to put it together and excel on the court. However, GM’s love potential and because of it he’ll be a lottery pick when he declares for the NBA Draft. He just “looks,” like he should be better than he actually is. If your team is drafting him expecting to be the go-to low post scorer, at any point in his career, I think they’ll be mistaken.

10. Indiana – Gordon Hayward (Butler): He had a heck of an NCAA Tournament but I’m still not sold on him. Sorry. To me he reminds me a lot of Ed O’Bannon who used a great run in the Tournament to raise his stock. After watching him this season he doesn’t appear to have the explosive game or athleticism needed to succeed at the NBA. But, if looks as if the Clippers are high on him. Figures.

11. New Orleans – Cole Aldrich (Kansas): Big, strong kid with slightly underrated athleticism. Instinctual defensive player whose post game needs work. This is a player that has the potential to sore up NBA teams draft boards after they have him in for pre-draft workouts.

12. Memphis – Luke Babbitt (Nevada): Babbitt had a solid freshman season and then showed a ton of growth his sophomore season. He averaged an impressive 21.9 points per game while shooting a sizzling 50.0% from the field.

13. Toronto – Avery Bradley (Texas): He’s the closest thing to Monta Ellis I’ve seen in the college game, an unreal athlete, with a soft touch, incredible body control, long range jumper, basically he’s got it all. He’s going to be one of these guys that we hear NBA scouts go back and forth on non-stop before the draft. He’s not a true point guard, which means that I believe he’s going to be the guy more than anyone else, that needs to find a team that’s the right “fit,” for him. The absolute ideal circumstance would be Sacramento, where he won’t have to be a ball-handler and playmaker, go off of Tyreke Evans and guard true point guards.

14. Houston – Patrick Patterson (Kentucky): Undersized four with a developing mid-range jump shot, but at the end of the day, he wants to be a low post player, who just isn’t big enough to be one. Think David West, only an inch shorter.

15. Milwaukee – Xavier Henry (Kansas): Perfect NBA wing with good range and already developed NBA body. A lot of people have been sleeping on him but I’m anticipating he’ll find a way to land in the lottery.

16. Minnesota – Paul George (Fresno State): If a scientist was creating the perfect NBA “wing” in a laboratory, George would be it. The skills aren’t there just yet, but the athleticism and size are. In a draft class with very few elite wing players George could be one of the best options at that position tomorrow night.

17. Chicago – Damion James (Texas): One of the few guys who actually came back to school to get better and followed up on it. A little bit of an undersized four, but a good athlete and has an improved jump shot. Still think he’s going to be an energy guy in the NBA, but a productive one for a long time.

18. Oklahoma City - Solomon Alabi (Florida State): He’s a legit seven-footer who has a strong low post game. However, he’s kind of like Andrea Bargnani in that he doesn’t show a passion for crashing the glass. If you draft him you have to hope he buys into the need for post players to be strong rebounders or else he’ll have a hard time cracking your playing rotation.

19. Boston - Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky): He had a fantastic freshman season but I can’t help but feel he would benefit from another year of college and playing for John Calipari. Hopefully he proves me wrong. The reports from how he interacted with the media were less than encouraging.

20. San Antonio - James Anderson (Oklahoma State): Getting his stock tips from Willie Warren. I commend this guy for coming back if he didn’t think he was ready for the league, but that doesn’t mean it was the right decision.

21. Oklahoma City – Hassan Whiteside (Marshall): This is a guy who burst onto the scene and I have to admit I’m not sure what to make of him yet. He has a ton of potential but he hasn’t really awed me in the games I’ve watched him play in.

22. Portland – Larry Sanders (VCU): It’s a shame that most people will dwell on his final conference game where he only scored six points against ODU. Before that he was tearing up the CAA Tournament until that game. He finished the season averaging 14.1 points and 9.1 rebounds and looks to be a legit bench player next season for an NBA team. I still feel he has the chance to grow into a special player.

23. Minnesota - Devin Ebanks (West Virginia): Impressive skills, but had a few off the court problems which might scare off some NBA teams. He was brought in for a workout in Toronto so it’s clear teams in the lottery at least sniffing around. Throw in his workout in Washington (late first round pick) and I’ll be shocked if he falls into the second round like some mock drafts are predicting.

24. Atlanta – Elliot Williams (Memphis): He played his way into Duke’s rotation as a freshman and then was granted a transfer to Memphis due to family reasons. Last year in his sophomore season he put up solid numbers (17.9 points per game) but he’s a bit undersized (6’4″) for a shooting guard in the NBA. I’m interested to see how he’ll do getting his shot off against larger shooting guards during pre-draft workouts.

25. Memphis - Stanley Robinson (Connecticut): A better athlete than all but maybe half a dozen guys in the NBA right. His 3-point shot is totally improved, as well as decision making. This guy has sleeper potential to be a lottery pick but he’s more likely to find himself sliding out of the first round.

26. Oklahoma City – Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech): Yes, his numbers dropped this past season, but a big part of that is due to the fact he had to learn to share the low post with Derrick Favors. After chatting with Jawal earlier this month and seeing him workout in Toronto I’m sold on him as a first round prospect.

27. New Jersey – Quincy Pondexter (Washington): Remember last season how senior guard Darren Collison dropped in the draft because scouts could pick out all his warts after watching him play for four seasons? This year Pondexter is in a similar situation. Look for him to go late in the first round and for a team to get a huge steal.

28. Memphis - Daniel Orton (Kentucky): This guy is sinking on draft boards and I’m not surprised. Sure, he’s got a ton of potential, but he only averaged 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds his freshman season. He’s a guy who should have returned for another season of college ball.

29. Orlando – Willie Warren (Oklahoma): His stock is slipping every time he walks out his apartment. Will not be drafted in the lottery, and quite frankly is going to end up being one of those kids who “Should,” come back for another year but won’t.

30. Washington – Dominique Jones (South Florida): Jones was one of the elite scorers in NCAA basketball and would be a fantastic pick for Washington if he lasts this long.

Additional Multimedia From Pre-Draft Workouts:

* Flip Saunders talks with the media about winning the first overall pick

* In The Scrum With Solomon Alabi

* In The Scrum With Eric Bledsoe

* Catching up With Devin Ebanks

* In The Scrum With Paul George

* In The Scrum With Luke Harangody

 

* In The Scrum With Xavier Henry

* Catching Up With Dominique Jones

 

* Catching up With Gani Lawal

* In The Scrum With Patrick Patterson

* In The Scrum With Omar Samhan

* In The Scrum With Lance Stephenson

* Catching Up With Ben Uzoh

 

* In The Scrum With John Wall

* In The Scrum With Hassan Whiteside

 

* In The Scrum With Latavious Williams