TOP OF THE DRAFT
A point guard and a power forward, Memphis' Derrick Rose and Kansas State's Michael Beasley, will go 1-2 in Thursday's draft, in one order or another. But a shooter could follow, and the first likely will be Southern Cal's O.J. Mayo, who may go No. 3 though it may not be to Minnesota, which could move down from that spot.
Indiana shooting guard Eric Gordon, Italian small forward Danilo Gallinari (who may go to New York at 6 or New Jersey at 10), West Virginia small forward Joe Alexander (perhaps to Milwaukee at 8) all should fall sometime in lottery range (through 14). Mayo may develop into a combo guard, and Gordon supposedly is the total package offensively. LSU small forward Anthony Randolph is another possible lottery pick.
Former lottery pick Ronnie Brewer emerged as the Jazz's starting shooting guard in his sophomore season, but veteran Kyle Korver frequently finished fourth quarters after coming from Philadelphia for ex-starting shooting guard Gordan Giricek and a future first-round pick late last December. Starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko star on Russia's Olympic team, for which he plays more like a power forward, and he'll be backed up again by vet Matt Harpring, who had offseason surgery to remove two bone spurs from his right ankle. If the Jazz happen to draft a perimeter player, they may not make a qualifying offer to third-year swingman C.J. Miles; if they do make the offer later this month, Miles becomes a restricted free agent. Meanwhile, the pressure will be on last year's first-round pick ex-Rice shooting guard Morris Almond to prove his NBA worth during next month's Rocky Mountain Revue summer league.
If any of them still happens to be on the board when the Jazz pick 23rd in Thursday's first round, Kansas' Brandon, Western Kentucky's Courtney Lee and Memphis' Chris Douglas-Roberts all would be considered by Utah. If one is tapped, Miles might be gone and Almond really would be pressed to perform. Rush and Lee may not, but Douglas-Roberts the glue behind Memphis' Final Four run could still be around that late in the draft.
Jaycee Carroll, Utah State's leading scorer and a top-notch shooter, could go in the second round. But he didn't have a great Portsmouth pre-draft camp, and wasn't invited to the higher-profile Orlando pre-draft camp. So he may have to make it as a free agent.
Carroll is pitching himself as a designated shooter who can learn to play some point, so he should get at least a summer-league look. He's worked out for the Jazz twice, once before deciding to return to Utah State last year and once this month, and for several other teams.
Georgetown small forward and second-round hopeful Patrick Ewing Jr. has a major growth spurt (even at age 24) from the 6-foot-7ish range to 7-foot-plus, he puts on a ton of pounds and he turns into something even better than his old man minus the excessive sweat.
STILL TO COME: BIG MEN (power forwards/centers) on Thursday
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