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Rubio falling, Jonny Flynn rising, and what’s up with Thabeet?

By 06.22.09
Hasheem Thabeet

Hasheem Thabeet

Solidly wedged between Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio in all the pre-draft hype, Hasheem Thabeet has mostly flown under the radar during all the workouts, combines and rumors of the past couple months. Maybe it’s because he’s a lock to either go 2nd to Memphis or, at the worst, 3rd to Oklahoma City — the second-most secure lock this side of Blake going #1 — but there’s hardly been any intrigue surrounding the 7-3 beanstalk. It’s kind of like Al Horford a couple years ago; a Top-3 prospect who just doesn’t have much going for him as far as drama, which is kind of odd considering Thabeet has as much hit-or-miss potential as anyone in the draft, including Jordan Hill, Rubio and Brandon Jennings. He’s literally 50/50 between being the next Dikembe Mutombo or the next Saer Sene. Anyway, Thabeet finally made some headlines yesterday when he canceled a workout for the Grizzlies due to a shoulder injury. Now some questions are coming to light: How serious is the injury? Is the fact that he got hurt at this stage of the game a sign of things to come? Is there another reason why he’s met with Memphis twice but hasn’t actually worked out for them? And besides, is Thabeet really even THAT good in the first place? … Meanwhile, Rubio seems to be slowly dropping down the board. On the night of the Lottery, he appeared a no-brainer for Memphis at #2. Then Memphis grew enamored with Thabeet, and Rubio looked like a lock for OKC at #3 despite Russell Westbrook already being there. James Harden jumped him, though, and lately it’s been Rubio-to-Sacramento as the seemingly obvious pick. But over the weekend, a rumor popped up that the Kings are really high on Jonny Flynn and might take him at #4 instead of Rubio. Which one do you think will be the better pro? And if Rubio doesn’t go in the top four, where do you think he’d land? The Wizards (#5) and Wolves (#6) want point guards; but can you imagine if Rubio went 7th and ended up with Nellie at Golden State? … Word is Gerald Henderson and Wayne Ellington (high school teammates, remember) are also seeing their stock dip slightly due to some bad workouts recently. Henderson is slated to go somewhere between 9th and 15th, Ellington a little later … The Knicks are looking to move up — presumably not trusting 100% that Stephen Curry will be available at #8 — and Wilson Chandler is one of the first guys they’ll dangle as trade bait. It’s all part of Donnie Walsh‘s plan to create a team where no one ever attacks the basket. If they get rid of Nate Robinson and David Lee, it’ll be a whole team of jump shooters. Why do you think Allan Houston keeps trying to come out of retirement? … Speaking of, David Lee has been the subject of a couple trade rumors, one involving Detroit and the latest involving Portland. Lee is a restricted free agent, so it would be part of a sign-and-trade; maybe the Knicks can get back more gunners, i.e. Martell Webster or Travis Outlaw. The only problem with Lee in Portland is playing time versus the money he could command. Let’s assume that Greg Oden is better next year (no, really, just work with it). You’ve got Oden playing big minutes at center, LaMarcus Aldridge at the four, and don’t forget Joel Przybilla is one of the best backup fives in the League. Lee can find 20 minutes in there as LaMarcus’ backup, but how much are they really trying to pay him for that? … USC has hired ex-Arizona assistant/interim coach Kevin O’Neill to fix Tim Floyd‘s mess. O’Neill has experience on the bench, he knows the Pac-10 programs and recruiting trail, and he’s not the type that will have elite programs clamoring to steal him from SC in a few years. Seems like a good fit. The only potential problem? We’ve got it on very good authority that a lot of O’Neill’s players at Arizona HATED him during the year he took over for Lute Olson. The SC situation is already beyond shaky, with recruits bailing out and current players leaving even when they’re not be ready to move on (that’s you, Marcus Johnson). If O’Neill turns off the players who are still around, it could start looking like a ghost town in L.A. … We’re out like Floyd …


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