PGs try to stand out in draft loaded with them
AP Basketball Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Jonny Flynn dragged himself into the New Jersey Nets’ practice facility Tuesday, wheeling a suitcase behind him and looking like a weary traveler who desperately needed to get to his hotel for a nap.
Yes, even a guy who played 67 minutes in a game this season can get tired.
Flynn has traveled across the country and back in recent weeks to work out for teams, trying to show them he’s the point guard they should take in a draft loaded with options at his position.
“There are more point guards than anything else and there are a number of them that are pretty good,” Golden State general manager Larry Riley said. “There are so many of them that this could be a draft when the point guards do as well as anybody as you look back on it in two years.”
Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Flynn, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague, and Ty Lawson are just some of the names who will be called early Thursday by teams needing point guards – assuming you consider all of them point guards, and Jennings doesn’t.
“As far as the true point guards in the draft, I think I am the best true point guard, just in my opinion,” Jennings said after working out for the Nets. “Pure point guards, not the ones that they’re trying to just make point guards, the scoring ones. I’m talking about the true point guards.”
Flynn met with Nets management but didn’t take part in drills on the court in a prearranged decision, worn down after workouts for the Warriors and Sacramento Kings out West, New York and Toronto in the East, and stops in Milwaukee and Minnesota in the middle.
The Syracuse guard who played all but three minutes of a six-overtime victory over Connecticut in the Big East tournament knows the heavy schedule was necessary if he wants to stand out among his peers.
“This is an unpredictable draft,” he said. “This is a draft you don’t know where you could go, so you have to work out for as many teams just to be safe.”
The close competition has the players knowing it helps to talk a good game, too. Holiday worked out for the Knicks a second time Monday and the UCLA guard said his height left him head and shoulders above his rivals. Jennings made his point about points, that some of them really aren’t.
Curry, the Davidson star who led the nation in scoring and Evans, built like a 2 guard but who shifted to the point for Memphis, fit into the category of combination guards. That means they can play both positions but aren’t a natural at either.
Jennings said all the points he’s worked out against are good players, but teams seeking a true lead guard would easily tell that some simply don’t have the skills he honed while spending the last year playing in Europe.
“I think when we get in these workouts and they ask us to do point guard drills and the pick-and-roll situations and things like that, you’ll figure out who’s the true point guard at the end of the day,” Jennings said.
The Nets have had both types of point guards in recent years. Jason Kidd is a classic passing point, looking to set up his teammates first and create his own offense second. New Jersey traded him to Dallas for Devin Harris, who plays the point but whose strength is his scoring, not his distributing.
Nets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe said it’s up to each team to determine which it prefers from its point guard.
“One might pass a little better than another … one might be a little bit more physically mature than the next guy,” Vandeweghe said. “One might be a little bit better able to run a team right away, but certainly there’s upside in all these guys.”
Flynn said he’s heard he can go anywhere from the No. 4 pick to 14th. Jennings has worked out for every team between Nos. 4-8, plus Indiana, Phoenix and Milwaukee – going against Flynn four times.
Knicks president Donnie Walsh believes at least 10 point guards could go in the first round, but Vandeweghe said they are not interchangeable.
“There’s definite differences in the players, plus the fact there’s players who are more ready to play right now and players who are going to take a little while but have tremendous upside,” he said. “All of these guys are going to go high, all of them are going to play, and you can see all of them have a chance to be really good players in the NBA.”
AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in Oakland, Calif., contributed to this report.