NBA Draft Rumors for May 22, 2012

Michael Kidd Gilchrist

On Tuesday last week, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s former teammate at St. Patrick’s High School in New Jersey was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. The presentation took place just down the street from where he was working out. Before making his way into the weight room with Coach Purtor, I asked MKG if Kyrie Irving had offered him any advice heading into this NBA Draft process. “That’s my best friend,” Kidd-Gilchrist said of last year’s No. 1 overall pick. “I talked with him earlier today actually, and he just told me that the NBA is a man’s League. He said to just take my time with everything, off the court and on the court stuff, and just take my time in general. But most importantly, he just said to continue to keep working hard.” SLAM

“Of course, I’d love to play with Kyrie,” Kidd-Gilchrist told SLAMonline. “But at the same time, I’m going into my own professional career and I’d be happy to play with any team that drafts me. I’m looking forward to being a part of an organization that believes in me, and I’m working hard to be able to bring an impact and positive light to that organization.” SLAM

While watching him move through the skill work with a motor that never slowed down, I spoke with his strength and conditioning coach, Jon Purtor. We talked about the training regimen Kidd-Gilchrist has been on since cutting down the nets in New Orleans. “We are working on a six-day per week plan with Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist),” Purtor told SLAMonline. “In the middle of the week, on Wednesdays and then again on Saturdays, we work soft tissue and recovery, mobility and flexibility. Then we do split routines on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Sunday is his off day, and he just shoots SLAM

“I love playing defense, that’s my thing,” MKG went on to tell me during a break in the session. “I feel like I’m a guy who can guard [positions] 1 through 4 in the NBA. Offensively, I believe I can play the 2 or 3 in the NBA too, and I’m just working hard in order to prepare myself for that. SLAM

The Nuggets worked out draft prospects today and when Terrence Ross was asked what player he’s like, Ross replied: “I’d say similar to a J.R. Smith.” Of course, Ross meant Smith’s athleticism and shooting — not Smith’s combustible personality on and off the court — but it was amusing, especially inside Pepsi Center, to hear someone describe themselves in a positive way by using Smith as an example. Denver Post

With two lottery selections in the June 28 NBA Draft, New Orleans Hornets general manager Dell Demps and Coach Monty Williams will try to be the good luck charms the team needs to secure the highest possible pick by winning next Wednesday’s NBA Lottery in New York. The Hornets possess their own lottery pick, acquired thanks to a 21-45 regular season record, as well as the one belonging to the Minnesota Timberwolves, acquired in the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers. New Orleans Times-Picayune

The NBA released the official list of 60 players invited to attend the 2012 NBA Draft combine on June 7-8 in Chicago. The event includes skill drills, scrimmages, athletic and psychological testing and interviews with players projected to be in the draft lottery. The order for the lottery is scheduled to be determined May 30. All six Kentucky players who entered the draft will attend. Among players not on the list is Wisconsin All-American point guard Jordan Taylor. Gonzaga’s Robert Sacre, Villanova’s Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek were also not on the initial NBA list of invites: Quincy Acy, Baylor. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina. HoopsWorld

This past weekend, (Blazers) interim general manager Chad Buchanan, assistant general managers Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry and director of NBA scouting Mike Born joined front office staffs from around the league in New Jersey for a two-day workout featuring draft eligible player TrailBlazers.com

“There were a couple guys who made a good impression on us, guys we liked during the year and were kind of reaffirmed that at the workout,” said Buchanan. “How they performed kind of backed up what we felt from them during the season. So there were a few guys who distinguished themselves, at least in our eyes.” TrailBlazers.com

It wasn’t the first dance between Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez and Oakland’s own Jared Cunningham out of Oregon State. But it was the first time the two matched up on such a stage – under the watchful eyes of an NBA front office. Both served as the guards at the Warriors’ six-man workout of draft prospects Monday, which was held at the team’s downtown Oakland facility. The two went at it the entire time, much like they did matching in the Pac-12. Contra Costa Times

Cunningham got the better of the match-up, according to sources inside the private workout. That’s no surprise considering the former San Leandro High School star was the only player in the workout likely to get drafted. The other four players were Old Dominion forward Chris Cooper, Nevada forward Olek Czyz, Lithuania center Mindaugas Kupsas and Missouri State forward Kyle Weems. Contra Costa Times

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