Sports Outside the Beltway

NBA Mock Draft

ESPN’s Chad Ford offers the Sports Leader’s take on the impending NBA Draft.

It’s almost draft day, and the picture is getting clearer and fuzzier simultaneously.

We’ve been able to narrow down the list of prospects that each team is considering, but two things stand in the way of getting a complete picture.

One, this is a time when many GMs are notorious for dropping smoke screens. A source in Memphis swears the team is taking Joakim Noah. Another says to bank on the Grizzlies’ taking Mike Conley. Someone is misinformed or bluffing.

Two, there is a flurry of trade conversation, starting with Memphis, Boston, Charlotte and Chicago all talking about trading away their lottery picks. Meanwhile teams such as Golden State, Phoenix and the Lakers are trying hard to move up. Others — like Portland, Indiana and Toronto — are trying to get in or grab another pick.

The talk in Phoenix about trading up in the draft has gotten so hot that the Suns have gotten Noah, Jeff Green and Corey Brewer to agree to a workout on Tuesday. They’ll try to add Brandan Wright as a fourth. That shows you how much players want to play in Phoenix — they’ll drop everything just for the chance. It could be the most competitive workout of the draft.

Their consensus draft board:

    1. Portland TrailblazersGreg Oden – C
    2. Portland TrailblazersKevin Durant – SF – Texas
    3. Atlanta HawksAl Horford – PF – Florida
    4. Memphis GrizzliesMike Conley – PG- Ohio State
    5. Boston CelticsYi Jianlian – PF – China
    6. Milwaukee BucksJeff Green – SF – Georgetown
    7. Minnesota TimberwolvesJoakim Noah – PF – Florida
    8. Charlotte BobcatsCorey Brewer – SG – Florida
    9. Chicago Bulls (via New York Knicks) – Spencer Hawes – C- Washington
    10. Sacramento Kings- Brandan Wright – PF – North Carolina
    11. Atlanta Hawks (via Indiana Pacers) – Acie Law – PG – Texas A&M
    12. Philadelphia 76ersAl Thornton – SF – Florida State
    13. New Orleans Hornets – Nick Young – SG- USC
    14. L.A. ClippersJulian Wright – SF – Kansas
    15. Detroit Pistons (via Orlando Magic) – Rodney Stuckey SG – Eastern Wash.

Click the link for more in-depth analysis and for the second half of the draft.


Atlanta Spirit Squabbling Continues

According to an article in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a former member of the Hawks and Thrashers ownership group could potentially end up owning both franchises himself:

Could Steve Belkin, whose deal to depart the Hawks and Thrashers’ ownership group drew applause from employees last summer, wind up as sole owner of the teams?

Yes, he suggests in a new court motion.

In the latest twist to an ever-deepening legal quagmire, Belkin contends that a recent ruling by a Maryland judge means he should have the right to buy out his partners at cost.

The motion asks the Maryland court to enter a judgment declaring, among other things, that Belkin’s partners “failed and refused” to complete the buyout of his stake under the prescribed timetable, and that Belkin therefore “shall purchase all of the interests” held by his partners “for a price equal to [their] aggregate contributed capital.”

In other words, the argument goes, the other owners would get back the money they have put in — about $31 million to date — and Belkin would get the teams.

Obviously, the other owners will have something to say about this as well. As arrogant (and incompetent) as some of the professionals sports owners can be, there’s a lot to be said for having just one person running the ship.


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