News and notes from latest NBA pre-draft workout
* Wisconsin big man Jon Leuer has been moving up the charts, according to a couple of reports. The 6-foot-11 center/forward has impressed scouts with his perimeter shot. Some say he could even sneak into the first round.
* Timberwolves assistant GM Tony Ronzone on Leuer in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “He's right there, man. I think from this point on, these workouts for him are going to be extremely beneficial. When you interview the kid, he knows the game. Defensively he knows how to play, and if he picks and pops like he did this summer -- bingo -- someone's going to take him in that late first round.”
* I’ve never talked with Ronzone, but after reading those quotes, I sure would like to someday.
* Leuer led the Badgers in scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg) this past season. He has already conducted individual workouts with Chicago and Oklahoma City, and is expected to conduct 15 to 20 more. My guess is he’ll be in Cleveland to work out at some point.
* It just goes to show that all this pre-draft stuff is really going to have a major impact on what happens in June. Leuer was viewed as a late second-rounder up until about a week ago. But after the first five to 10 picks, positioning in this draft seems more wide-open than ever.
* Another player in Minneapolis to keep an eye on: Virginia Commonwealth forward Jamie Skeen. He’s 6-8 and played for a team that surprised its way to the Final Four. Coming out of high school in 2006, Skeen was ranked higher than Hasheem Thabeet, Luke Harangody and Greivis Vasquez -- all NBA players. Skeen played at Wake Forest his freshman season before transferring to VCU. Scouts really like his toughness and winning mentality.
* Others who looked good Monday included Purdue guard E’Twaun Moore and Tennessee forward Scotty Hopson. Both are expected to be selected in the second round.
* Three very intriguing prospects among those working out Tuesday: Butler guard Shelvin Mack, Hofstra guard Charles Jenkins and Kansas guard Josh Selby. Of the three, scouts have been singing the highest praise about Jenkins. Wouldn’t be surprising to see him go in the 20-25 range.
* One longtime NBA writer, and someone who’s opinion I respect, says the Cavs should draft Duke guard Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick, and Connecticut guard Kemba Walker with the No. 4. His philosophy? Take the two best players, regardless of height or position.
* I vehemently disagree with him to his face, citing the fact that Irving (6-3) and Walker (maybe 6-0) would be too small to play in the backcourt together. But everyone says take the two best players, right? So maybe he’s on to something. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.