Tag Archives: Anthony Randolph

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!

The Chad Ford Watch and …. Redd to Cleveland hits snag

FordESPN rumor mongerer Chad Ford is at it again. Last week Ford was speculating that the Bucks want to move up in the draft to “add some star power to their team.”  In his mock draft 6.0 today Ford has the Bucks picking Joe Alexander out of West Virginia with their #8 pick.

I have developed what can only be called “The Chad Ford Principle.” Whatever Ford mongers out there as rumoroid fact, expect it to be false and driven by the needs of certain agents whom Ford spends far too much time listening to. And bear in mind when reading him that Ford an ethically challenged journalist who doesn’t seem to be able to put two and two together very well.

Let’s give The Chad Ford Principle a test run. If Ford writes that his sources say the Chicago Bulls are taking point guard Derrick Rose with the number one pick, expect the Bulls to pick forward Michael Beasley.  In fact Ford himself is beginning to back off his “90 percent” assurance that the Bulls would take Rose, writing in mock draft 5.0 that he’s “not as confident as I was a week ago that he’ll be the pick.”

The Bulls will take Beasley and I would bet on it. Again using The Chad Ford Principle, expect the Bucks to take Anthony Randolph (LSU) and not Alexander or do something more creative with the pick.

(Note: I’ve since learned that Rose and Randolph have the same agent — former Chicago Bull B.J. Armstrong, a rep for the Arn Tellem agency. Using The Chad Ford Principle, assume that agent Armstrong is one of Ford’s key sources regarding both Rose and Randolph).

As for the Bucks moving up in the draft, Bucks GM John Hammond said last week that he doesn’t “have a deal to move up or to move down” and that he’s seeing movement among the teams drafting ahead of them. This could mean the Bucks might trade out of the first round altogether or trade whomever the Bucks pick.

That wasn’t the only Ford-broadcasted fire that was extinguished last week. Remember all that talk about trading Yi Jianlian to Golden State in a deal for developing 21-year-old forward Brandan Wright and the Warriors #14 pick?  A rep from the Warriors contacted Ford last week and “took umbrage” at the rumor. This from Ford’s column last Thursday:

“A Warriors representative shot down an assertion made in a couple of my columns that the team was looking to move Brandan Wright. He especially took umbrage at the report that the team coveted Milwaukee’s Yi Jianlian. I’ve been assured that Warriors GM Chris Mullin, who makes the final decisions at Golden State, isn’t trading Wright for Yi.”

The Warriors called to demand a correction, didn’t they Chad?

And it was likely the first contact Ford’s had with the Warriors in all of this. Still, Ford didn’t quite have to the guts to label it a correction and just tacked it on at the end of his column with the following caveat:

“This time of the year, the information is flying fast and furious. Sources often have agendas, and from time to time I just get things wrong.”

That’s well and good, except that in an earlier version of the very same column, Ford wrote that, in still another trade involving Golden State and Wright, Cleveland was set to trade Anderson Varejao and their #19 pick to the Warriors. The Varejao report is apparently what prompted the Warriors to shut Ford’s rumor mill down. Ford was slinging agent slime at Golden State week after week.

Guess who Yi Jianlian and Anderson Varejao have in common? Sports agent Dan Fegan, who obviously fed Ford the Yi trade rumors last season and is at it again now with Yi and Varejao. You bet Fegan’s got an agenda. He wants Yi out of Milwaukee and Varejao out of Cleveland. Ford has been Fegan’s willing accomplice when the agent feels the need to toss grist into the NBA rumor mills. I assume Ford knows fully well that Fegan has no ability to make trades.

Ford’s problem is that this is not a “this time of year” thing; it’s general Chad Ford practice. Ford routinely references agents off the record with tags such as “a source familiar with the talks” — which is how he referred to Fegan in the Varejao rumor write-up.

In Cleveland, the Morning News called its sources and quickly debunked the Varejao to Golden State talk as “nothing more than a rumor.” The Cavaliers are apparently not as upset with Ford as the Warriors were.

Journalistically, Ford’s general practice is unethical. Because he writes for ESPN, NBA teams and the daily newspapers in NBA cities are compelled to react, in large part because he doesn’t let his readers know that he’s spinning rumors from agents — not sources from NBA teams. That’s downright unethical.

Is Ford writing for entertainment purposes only and is that an excuse? No and no, and Ford doesn’t write in an entertaining style anyway. He shows little flair for absurdity, wit, sarcasm or humor, or even the cut-the-crap asshole-ishness that sometimes makes for good writing. Overall, his style is banal. There’s so little there and so many other mock NBA draft outlets for fans, such as Draft Express and NBADraft.net.

What purpose does Ford’s column serve ESPN other than to generate site hits with agent-flushed yellow journalism? And what does that say about ESPN?

Cleveland, we have a problem here:  The Akron Beacon Journal’s Patrick McManamon took an in depth look at Anderson Varejao’s situation last week and revealed something I don’t think any of us wildly speculative blogger types had realized — Varejao can reject any trade up until Dec. 5. That date matters because Dec. 5 is the one-year anniversary of the Cavs matching the contract offer Fegan and Varejao negotiated with the Charlotte Bobcats last fall.

According to NBA rules, a player can reject a trade for one year after a team matches a contract offer to keep him. The Bucks Charlie Bell, for example, could have rejected the trade to the Knicks that Larry Harris had reportedly negotiated before the trading deadline last February because the Bucks last summer matched an offer sheet from Miami to keep Bell. Now Varejao, a key piece of a potential trade for Michael Redd, could be off limits to the Bucks this summer unless Bucks GM John Hammond can make Varejao (and Fegan) happy. Remember that Fegan is also Yi’s agent and that on the Bucks Yi and Varejao would be sharing power forward minutes.

Still, Akron’s McManamon likes a trade for Redd, calling it “logical” and writing that “it all makes sense.”

McManamon does however, have more bad news for the Bucks. Guard Boobie Gibson underwent ankle surgery this offseason and could be considered off the table. If Gibson is off limits it wouldn’t leave Cleveland much to deal with beyond the Wally Szczerbiak contract and the #19 pick — not enough of a return for Michael Redd.

I’m suddenly concerned that the Bob Boozer Jinx — the Bucks jinx at the power forward position — is once again working its crazy mojo.