Lang Whitaker will be live-blogging the draft Thursday with Brandon Jennings at SLAMonline: "No player had a crazier Draft night last year than Brandon — remember him showing up late to shake David Stern’s hand? — and only one or two rookies had better first seasons than Brandon. Few of the Draft 'experts' you’ll hear from on Thursday night (including myself) actually played in the NBA. But none of them averaged 15.5 ppg and 5.7 apg and led their team to the Playoffs last season."
The Mies van der Rohe Award for roster minimalism goes to ... the Miami Heat. After dealing away Daequan Cook to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Miami has only two players under contract for the 2010-11 season -- Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley. They also have a boatload of cap space to re-sign Dwyane Wade and add possibly two additional marquee names.
Chalmers will be doing some important work in Lawrence, Kansas today: "The Mario V. Chalmers Foundation is donating $25,000 to LMH Endowment Association to establish the first 'Mario’s Closet.' Mario’s Closet will be a specialty shop for a variety of free or low cost accessories for cancer patients. Lawrence Memorial Hospital will operate Mario’s Closet and is anticipated to open in Winter 2010."
Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus says the deal makes a lot of sense for the Thunder: "Cook is hardly a typical contract dump. His salary for next season ($2.2 million, per Sham Sports) is perfectly reasonable, and Cook brings to Oklahoma City a skill (perimeter shooting) that is still in relatively short supply there. The Thunder has a chance to look at Cook next season and see if he can return to usefulness as a reserve; if not, Oklahoma City can cut bait at the end of the year with no further obligation."
Peter Keating revisits the D.R.A.F.T. Initiative developed by Jordan Brenner and Tom Haberstroh. Keating adds: "[K]eep an eye on Al-Farouq Aminu. He's from Wake Forest, the school whose players have most surpassed draft-day expectations. He's a sophomore, the best-producing class among early picks. And he's one of the top small forwards in a draft top-heavy guards and big men, so a team that grabs him around No. 7 or 8 could get great value."
If you watched enough ACC basketball last winter, then you know big, savvy guard Greivis Vasquez is a prime candidate for 2010 draft sleeper. John Hollinger's Draft Rater projects Vasquez as the 10th best pro on the board. Vasquez worked out for the Magic on Monday. Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post broke down Vasquez's game, and enumerates why he'd be a particularly good fit in Orlando if he's still available.
Lest we forget how well Evan Turner performed at Ohio State in 2009-10, Ed Weiland of Hoops Analyst spells it out nicely: "[T]his was almost a historic season by Evan Turner in how truly impressive it was. I can’t imagine how overboard the hype would have been if this season had been accomplished by a player from Duke or North Carolina. Turner scored like the best SGs, rebounded like a PF and passed like a PG. There wasn’t anything here not to like."
Ted Leonsis, Homer, LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers and Gilbert Arenas all in one place.
Kansas Jayhawks Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry are making the most of their time in New York City, which included a visit to Sean John: "So swanky was the experience that at one point, when Aldrich and his girlfriend, KU student Britt Claflin, were in the back picking out the suit’s particulars, a woman emerged from the suite and said, 'Mr. Aldrich would like a cranberry juice.' Within seconds, a bartender chipped the ice, popped the top and served up a refreshing beverage."
Roland Lazenby on the prospect of Phil Jackson's retirement: "All across the NBA you can hear coaches breathing a sigh of relief. If Jackson retires, there'll be no pressure to meditate and read books."
NBA Elite 11 will have some new features that will improve upon NBA Live: "'That's why when we started this year, we addressed the two biggest problems people have with basketball games. Number one: losing control of your player. If you played the basketball games the past few years, you know that there are times when you get locked into these animations and you have no control over your player as these long animations play out.' With 'NBA Elite 11,' Littman and crew think they've solved that problem by separating the upper body from the lower body with the use of the two analog sticks."