A much quieter day at the Practice Facility today as the tension that boiled over yesterday left an eerie calm in its wake. A few quick notes...
- Nate McMillan apparently led this morning's workout without the help of any of his assistant coaches. No assistants were visible when the media was allowed in. A few of the prospects commented that this was an unusual occurrence, as head coaches (including McMillan) usually watch from the side with management. Larry Sanders did say that he faced a similar situation when he worked out for the Pacers this year.
- The media today kept a respectful distance from Kevin Pritchard, who survived the night. Usually when Pritchard is in the gym the media swarm immediately descends. Not today. He holds significant sympathy and respect. Also, I think, it's all a bit awkward.
- Watching Larry Sanders in person was a tad disappointing. The athleticism is there but his size was not what I was hoping for. I don't see immediate impact defensive potential from him at the four position. His shot release was slow and tentative, as if he didn't necessarily trust his shot with people watching. I don't think he's a guy you draft if you already have Dante Cunningham, especially with a first round pick. Of course we didn't get to see a ton of him. Blazers Scout Chad Buchanan was very complimentary of his game and his ceiling but kept using the word "potential," which feels like a reverse death sentence this year because the mandate is more immediate. Buchanan also called him "far from a finished product" and said that "he's got to get stronger," saying he needs work in both his upper body and lower body.
- Sanders, who has been touted as a great interview in other cities, was as bland as could be with media afterwards. He seemed disinterested. In the few comments he did make he focused on his ability to run the floor. With McMillan's influence growing by the day it's difficult to see how that fits into the picture here. That plus the team's current personnel has me souring on his likelihood of landing here. Buchanan did note that Sanders had a "little back tweak today" so perhaps that explains his mood.
- I'll admit to cringing while listening to Buchanan effusively praise Notre Dame's Luke Harangody. "An outstanding collegiate career," Buchanan said. "He's a 'Moneyball' type player. You look at him physically and you're like 'that's not an NBA player.' But then you look at what he does, and then watch him more, and you appreciate what he's accomplished. I wouldn't bet against him. He's got NBA scoring abilities, he's got a lot of tricks with the ball. He can step out and shoot it." I definitely agree with the part about looking at him physically and concluding "that's not an NBA player."
- Samardo Samuels drew some oohs and aahs for some thunderous dunks during a power-up and finish drill. The scouting consensus seems to be that Samuels left college too early but he has NBA athleticism without a doubt. Buchanan had an interesting line about what it takes for undersized power forwards to succeed in the NBA: "Those undersized guys have either got to be quick up or physical out." Buchanan meant they either need to be leapers who make up for their lack of height with quickness or bangers that make up for their lack of height by bruising and taking up space. Samuels, he said, "is physical out. He knocks guys off of him."
- Former Portland State point guard Dominic Waters displayed Brandon Roy-esque charisma and charm but was realistic in his future professional hopes. He's probably the first player I've heard state that he would prefer to go undrafted than be taken in the second round so that he could have his options open for Summer League. He also praised Ime Udoka's influence in his life. Buchanan said Waters might find a spot on the team's Summer League roster.
- Tomorrow's workout has been set and there are some interesting names: Derrick Caracter, Forward (UTEP); Keith Gallon, Forward (Oklahoma); Scottie Reynolds, Guard (Villanova); A.J. Slaughter, Guard (Western Kentucky); Donald Sloan, Guard (Texas A&M); Brian Zoubek, Center (Duke). Click their names to head over and read their Draft Express profiles.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter