Dickau follows agent's advice to sit out Chicago

CHICAGO -- It's four hours before the start of the NBA Chicago pre-draft camp and Dan Dickau is restless.

While the rest of the NBA descends upon Chicago, Dickau's apartment, about a half mile away from the Moody Bible Institute where the NBA holds the camp, might be as close as he gets to the event.

"I just want to play basketball," an anxious Dickau says. "I'll play anytime, anywhere. But I've figured out quickly that this is also a business."

Dickau, like many of the top prospects in this year's draft, is skipping the Chicago pre-draft camp, on the advice of his agent, Mark Bartelstein.

"I was preparing myself to play and I know I would've played well," Dickau says. "But after talking it over with my agent, we believe I've already done everything I can. What are three games in Chicago going to prove that my career in Gonzaga and my private workouts can't?"

Dickau shifts a little bit in his chair as he speaks. As he admits later, he's dying to play. "Maybe I'll peer through the windows a little bit ... just to see what's going on."

Bartelstein understand his client's passion. But it's his job to get him the guaranteed contract that goes with being a first-round pick.

"It's hard to justify Dan playing in Chicago," Bartelstein said. "He had a remarkable season and has been sensational in the workouts. I don't know how anyone can be more tested.

"There are teams in the lottery who have serious interest in him. No one else in his status in the draft is playing (in Chicago). What can he prove in Chicago?"

The point guard some people around the league are calling the next John Stockton still thinks he has things to prove. He's not resting on the fact that he garnered first team All-American honors, or the fact that he led little Gonzaga to an amazing 29-4 record this season. He's already worked out for seven teams in two weeks and the reports have mostly been positive. Teams already knew he was one of the best shooters in the draft. However, they've been surprised by his toughness and quickness with the ball.

Despite the early reviews, Dickau knows that teams still have questions. Is he tall enough? Is he athletic enough? Can he play defense?

Dickau shrugs them off. It's nothing he hasn't heard before. In Dickau's case the criticisms are more rooted in stereotype than reality.

"I'm the short white guy who's a good shooter," Dickau says candidly. "But I'm a lot quicker and stronger than they think I am.

"I think my workouts have shown that. Basketball isn't played at the same speed the entire time. My lateral quickness, my ability to change pace and direction anytime I want, is great. I like to lull my defenders to sleep and then, 'Bang!' I'm gone."

But the criticism that burns him the most is the constant questioning about his position. Is he really just a shooting guard in a point guard's body?

That question gets Dickau's competitive juices flowing. "I'm a point guard ... who wants to win." The emphasis on "win," as he leans over to look at the notebook and make sure his point is being made.

"I'll do whatever it takes to win," Dickau continues. "If I score 20 and we win, great. If I score 4 points and grab 12 assists and we win, great. A point guard's job is to lead his teammates to victory. That's why I play basketball. I don't care about the stats. Yes, I can shoot the ball, but who really wants a point guard who can't shoot?"

So why doesn't Dickau show some of that quickness in Chicago? Why not put everyone in the league on notice that he can run the point and make his teammates better? Because that's not what Chicago is all about.
one GM told ESPN.com:

"Chicago is a all about personal stats and helping your stock," said one NBA general manager Tuesday night. "It's for diamonds in the rough. There's no team focus, no one remembers who won or lost. I'm not sure how it helps (Dickau).

"If he shoots a lot, teams will say he's really a shooting guard. If he passes a lot, teams will wonder why he didn't score more. It's a no-win situation for a kid like that. He's already one of the top two or three point guards in the draft. The only direction he can go is down. He made the right decision."

Still, it seems ironic. Five minutes away, representatives from every team in the NBA will be going over less talented prospects with a fine tooth comb, while a kid who could potentially be the next Stockton will be in an empty gym somewhere in Chicago shooting jumpers -- game-winning shots in his mind.

Note: The NBA cancelled Tuesday night's drills after many players and NBA personnel were unable to get to Chicago due to major disruptions at both O'Hare and Midway airports. The camp resumed at 10 a.m. Wednesdays morning.

Chad Ford writes the daily NBA Insider column for ESPN Insider. To get a free 30 day trial, click here.