The Jazz don't want their 2008 NBA Draft to be all about one person.
"I know this has been tagged 'The Roy Hibbert Draft,"' general manager Kevin O'Connor said Sunday. "That's not the situation that we're in. I mean, we're trying to evaluate a lot of players."
But with Hibbert paying a second visit to Utah on Sunday, O'Connor's club obviously in the market for a big man and many early Internet mock drafts making the 7-foot-2 Georgetown center their projected selection at No. 23 overall in Thursday's draft the Jazz's pick it's hard not think about the potential harmony of it all.
Heck, Hibbert himself knows what the masses seem to be thinking.
"Everybody keeps telling me I'm gonna end up here," he said Sunday, after working out at the Jazz's practice facility with a prospect class that also included potential first-round big men Alexis Ajinca of France and Serge Ibaka from the Republic of Congo.
The problem with witnessing a marriage made in cyberspace, however, is that several teams picking ahead of Utah seem to have interest in Hibbert as well.
He's already worked out for several of them, including Charlotte (which picks at No. 9), New Jersey (10 and 21), Indiana (11), Sacramento (12) and Cleveland (19).
Moreover, he's got a second visit planned with with the Kings and may audition this week as well for Washington, which owns the No. 18 selection.
Even Hibbert himself doesn't seem to believe he'll be a lottery pick which is why the second trip to Sacramento admittedly has him a bit baffled.
"Maybe (the Kings) can't find anybody else to work out against some of the (other) guys they're looking at," he joked.
"My agent was telling me 'be prepared not to go to the draft (in New York),"' Hibbert added, "so that means I'm probably gonna end up in the late teens or 20s."
Ask O'Connor if he expects Hibbert to still be on the board at 23, and the Jazz GM simply laughs and shrugs his shoulders.
"I've got no idea on that one," he said. "I mean, I can tell you now I don't think (projected No. 1 or No. 2 pick Derrick Rose) is gonna be there at 23.
"Obviously," O'Connor added, "if (Hibbert) came in to work out (in Utah) a second time, I think he's covering his bases and so are we."
The mock drafts for whatever they're worth, and Hibbert doesn't think it's much can't seem to come to a consensus when it comes to the Georgetown senior.
ESPN.com, which for a long time projected he'd be taken by the Jazz, now has him going to Cleveland at 19. NBADraft.net projects Washington at 18. But RealGM.com moved him up from No. 29 (Detroit) to Utah's 23 spot in its most recently updated mock, and DraftExpress.com just moved him from 26 (San Antonio) to 23.
"Obviously all that stuff online is all hearsay," Hibbert said.
Then there's scuttlebutt around the league.
The Boston Globe on Sunday wrote a short note on Hibbert under the heading "Falling star," and quoted one unidentified NBA scout as suggesting he could be available for the Celtics at No. 30, saying, "Hibbert is going to need a parachute on draft day. The young centers have passed him in the eyes of teams. His stock is just plummeting, when last year he could have been a top-10 pick."
Hibbert, for his part, knows he has to work on his game.
"Everybody talks about my lateral quickness, and getting up and down the floor," the 21-year-old said. "I think I'm doing a better job of running the floor better, but I have to do a better job of guarding people on the perimeter."
But he has no idea where he'll be playing.
"This would be a great place to end up," Hibbert said. "It's a great organization, all about winning."I just want to make sure I get a good fit," he added. "I think Utah would be a great fit for me."
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