Randolph, not Alexander has had the inside track in Bucks draft

I’m sticking with my earlier prediction that Hammond is working to move this pick, or trade whomever the Bucks draft — which may or may not explain why West Virginia’s Joe Alexander was in town today for a second visit with the Bucks. Until now, LSU’s Anthony Randolph has been viewed as the Bucks likely top choice, though there are concerns now that other teams are re-positioning ahead of the Bucks and Randolph may be gone by the time the Bucks draft at #8.

What makes me say this when all draft speculators have the Bucks taking Alexander with the #8 pick and Randolph slipping out of the top 10? For starters, I was at the June 6 workout of Randolph, Alexander and Donte Green of Syracuse. The man of the day was Randolph.

As the media straggled into the court area at the Cousins Center and the players reached for the gatorade on the sidelines, Bucks assistant Joe Wolf strode up to Randolph and the two 6’10″ers exchanged an emphatic high five. I’d say things went very well for Randolph in Milwaukee. In the post-workout interviews, Randolph declared himself the best player on the floor. I don’t think there is much doubt about this in the Bucks camp. Later that day, Coach Scott Skiles and Randolph were reportedly spotted Downtown eating dinner together.

Alexander and Green were also feeling the Bucks’ pro-Randolph vibe. Alexander hung around on the court taking in a few extra high post pointers from Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson (no harm in kissing up to the coaches). Green decided he needed to show the media some of his stuff and slammed home a couple of high flying dunks on a side-basket. It worked — Green’s an impressive athlete and would be a good pick anywhere out of the top five or six in this draft. Green may yet sneak in to the Bucks plans.

I’d be very surprised if anyone in the media came away from the Cousins Center with the impression that Joe Alexander would be the pick. Journal Sentinel columnist Michael Hunt said as much in his column yesterday, writing that Randolph will likely be taken higher than #8. Here’s the excerpt:

“’Everything’s in play,’ Hammond said recently. ‘Was, still is and probably will remain that way probably right up until draft day. We’re going to explore every option that we can to improve our team, and, as we said, potentially maybe even move the pick.’

That’s good, because LSU’s Anthony Randolph, the 6-10 forward who was probably the best option that worked out for the Bucks, will likely be gone by then. Draft-day trades, though, have become more and more uncommon in the NBA, so it’s possible the new and promising regime will have to take this reclamation project deep into the summer.”

The New York Daily News yesterday echoed the Hunt (and BBJinx) take on Randolph.

The Bucks are sending out strong signals that they like LSU’s Anthony Randolph at No. 8. A legitimate 6-10, Randolph has been called a cross between Tayshaun Prince and Odom. But West Virginia small forward Joe Alexander, a hard-nosed worker, is seen as a better fit with new coach Scott Skiles. …

You know whoSo why does ESPN’s Chad Ford have Randolph possibly “slipping out of the lottery” in his latest Mock Draft? Ford writes:

“A number of young, inexperienced bigs have been hurting themselves in workouts. It’s now a possibility that LSU’s Anthony Randolph falls out of the lottery. Texas A&M’s DeAndre Jordan, Nevada’s JaVale McGee and Florida’s Marreese Speights might not hear their names called until the 20th pick or after.”

Ford doesn’t talk to teams as much as he talks to agents, which means whatever he’s got happening with Randolph probably serves the interest of a sports agent or two.

(Since originally posting this, a little research revealed that Randolph’s rep is former Chicago Bull B.J. Armstrong of the Arn Tellem agency. Armstrong, a teammate of Bulls GM John Paxson on the 1992 and 1993 Bulls championship teams, also happens to be the rep for one Derrick Rose. Employing the Chad Ford principle we can assume that Armstrong is one of Ford’s primary sources regarding not only Rose and the debate over who the Bulls will pick, but Randolph as well.)

Ford wrote in his mock draft last week that Randolph may now be perceived to be a headcase (Brewhoop notes it here.) That’s probably a seed planted by Armstrong or other interested parties who want to see certain teams take a pass on Randolph. It’s not all that clear what the Sonics, Grizzlies or Knicks will do ahead of the Bucks — and the Grizzlies and Knicks at least have had interest in Randolph or Alexander or both.

(Brewhoop today notes that weeks ago Ford had Randolph in the top 5 talent-wise, a good sales pitch by Armstrong right about the time of the Randolph-Alexander Bucks workout. Armstrong and Ford seem to either have Randolph high out of the Bucks reach or too low for the Bucks to dip for. Go figure.)

Expect Ford, ever the accomplice for NBA agents, to be wrong on this one, and Hunt to be the writer who’s got the Bucks and Randolph in better focus.

Ford also has Eric Gordon now going to the Memphis Grizzlies at the #5 spot — that’s a first for Gordon in these mock drafts — and writes that he “would be shocked” if the Bulls took Beasley over Rose.

I’d be shocked if Chad Ford is on target.

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Here’s an interesting analysis from Adi Joseph on NBADraft.Net. Joseph points out that many players in this draft are struggling to fit an NBA position, and that a little pessimism might be in order for fans of lottery teams.

Alexander can’t handle or shoot well enough to truly play on the wing, but he’s too short for the post. He’s definitely got some Shawn Marion in him, but often players with similar skill sets struggle to find their offensive games in the NBA.

Randolph is being compared to Chris Bosh. But he struggled with his efficiency as a freshman, turning the ball over 3 times per game and shooting just 46% from the field. And he’s rail-thin and had the worst bench press results at the Orlando predraft camp. He’ll have to bulk up big time to ever play in the post. But his 2-of-19 shooting from three-point range will need to improve if he expects any respect from defenders at the NBA level.”

Ouch. Joseph might even be meaner than I am!

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