Draft-Centric First Cup: Friday

  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: "Derrick Rose flat-out called Michael Beasley the best player available in the NBA draft. Beasley laughed, saying there is a glaring flaw in that argument. 'His team went farther in the (NCAA) Tournament. He led his team to the national championship game,' Beasley, the Kansas State star, said of his opposite number from the University of Memphis. 'So I wouldn't say all that.' Suddenly, the two players at the center of a debate over who will go No.1 in the June 26 draft were flashing an off-court skill they share -- humility."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Israel Gutierrez of The Miami Herald: "Officially nitpicking, Beasley's height has become his latest manufactured pitfall. Not officially measured until Friday, Beasley himself had become confused. 'I didn't know there was a height requirement [for the NBA],' the ambidextrous comedian said. 'I thought I was 6-9. I heard 6-7. In college, I was 6-10. I might have grown an inch maybe, I don't know.'"

  • K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune: "From the moment Rose and Beasley sat down to address reporters in a ballroom of a hotel at the NBA's predraft camp, their personality differences stood in stark contrast. Rose answered questions quietly, humbly, politely. Beasley flashed a sense of humor immediately -- 'Somebody knocked my name tag down,' he said -- and answered questions more gregariously, while remaining polite and humble. 'Why would he say that?' Beasley countered when informed Rose had named him the better player."

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Stanford center Brook Lopez said he already has set up workouts with the Timberwolves, who draft at No. 3, and the Sonics, who select at No. 4. But he also said he has not heard from the Heat. Then, Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless, considered a top-five talent, said he saw no reason for a workout with the Heat, that Riley's list already has been pared to a select few. Michael Beasley did acknowledge plans to visit South Florida, while Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo said their schedules had yet to be finalized. The upshot is the Heat is viewing No. 2 through a narrow scope, unlikely to trade down, but well aware that Beasley could fall comfortably into its lap."

  • Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star: "As a probable high lottery pick, Jerryd Bayless is likely to begin his NBA career with a lousy team. Thanks to a trying freshman season with the Arizona Wildcats, Bayless says he's ready for it. 'I think to overcome everything that happened this year at my college, I don't think it will be that big of a challenge to overcome things at the next level,' Bayless said Thursday at an interview session for nine top NBA draft prospects. 'We went through a strenuous year. I think I've seen everything. Going to the next level, I'll be able to overcome it.'"

  • Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian: "Kevin Love, who met with reporters Thursday at the NBA predraft camp, knows he must prove himself to league decision-makers. The 6-foot-9 forward will participate in shooting and agility drills today. 'It's a little frustrating. I (know) there has been a lot of questions about my athleticism,' Love said . 'But that's what I'm here for, to change people's minds. To prove people wrong and show people that I do have that athleticism and I can play at the next level and succeed.' Love said it's important to show that while he'll never be mistaken for Kevin Garnett in terms of quickness and athleticism, he's not the second coming of Darko Milicic either. 'I'm hoping to surprise a lot of people,' Love said. "(I'm) gonna have to show that (I) can shoot the outside jump shot, move fast laterally and (show) that I can do some of the things people may not have seen this year.'"

  • Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times: "Kevin Love said he's not only receptive to residing in Milwaukee, but he believes he would fit in quite nicely with the Bucks' other young frontcourt players. 'I used to watch (Andrew) Bogut in college and I know Yi (Jianlian) is there, too,' Love said. 'I feel like I could play alongside them as well. I think Milwaukee would be a great place for me.'"

  • Jeff Rabjohns of The Indianapolis Star: "D.J. Augustin is viewed as pure point guard. Russell Westbrook has and can play the position but isn't considered a natural. NBA scouts use terms such as '1-2' to describe a point guard who can play shooting guard and '2-1' for a shooting guard who can play the point. Westbrook generally is viewed as a '1-2.' 'He's a great player,' Augustin said of Westbrook. 'He's long, athletic, a great defender. But I've played the point guard position my whole life. I know how to lead my team, get everybody involved, make sure everybody is in the right position to win a game. I know about me. I don't know about him, but I know that's what I'm able to do.'"

  • Jeff Rabjohns of The Indianapolis Star: "Eric Gordon took his turn in front of the assembled media at the NBA predraft camp and the questions quickly turned to the potential that he could be reunited with coach Kelvin Sampson. ... 'We had a real good relationship,' Gordon said Thursday afternoon. 'After all the stuff I've been through in college with Illinois and Indiana and all that and for me to play for him my first year of college, we got pretty close. It'd be neat, but there's a lot of other good coaches out there. I don't want to just be specific on playing for him.'"

  • Woody Wommack for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "One of the few players who is more fond of Oklahoma City than Seattle is Indiana guard Eric Gordon. 'That would be a better spot (Oklahoma City) than being all the way up there in Seattle,' Gordon said."

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: "If you take it literally that Tyson Lawson will return to North Carolina unless he knows he'll be chosen before the
    21st pick, then Lawson is in Chapel Hill next season. But the NBA executives I polled Thursday don't see it that way. I spoke with four front-office types during breaks in the NBA pre-draft camp, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., asking each whether Lawson is among the top 20. Not one felt confident predicting that, although they all thought he has helped himself here enough to anticipate going among the first-round's 30 picks. The consensus: They anticipate Lawson staying in the draft."