Secrets and lies! Secrets and lies! It’s all secrets and lies!
– Homer Simpson
We’re in the final moments leading to the Christmas of NBA fans: Draft Night. Who will be waiting at the base of the ol’ tannenbaum, eager to doff their festive suits ‘n’ ties in favor of authentic team jerseys?
The basketball world is watching the clickety count down. Me, I’m scouring the ‘net for clues as to where my favorite prospects might land, but I have to remind myself that the clues – even from newspapers that never deign to entertain rumors (i.e., The Globe and Mail) – could be reporting carefully crafted misdirection coming from NBA teams. Okay, let’s ditch the euphemisms: some of these general managers are lying.
For example, there’s Sun Yue, who had been absent from the Draft Express mock and at the very bottom of the NBADraft.net mock. Today, he’s reached his highest spot, going to the Utah Jazz at No. 55 or the Dallas Mavericks at No. 50. Why? Probably because of comments like these (italics mine):
Sun is the sort of player the Mavericks are hoping slips to the No. 34 pick in Thursday’s draft. But with the way he has blossomed since arriving in America, the Mavericks aren’t certain the 216-pounder will last past the first round.
“He’s definitely a pass-first guy and a pretty interesting story,” Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks president of basketball operations said. “He grew up in China and was signed by a pro team when he was 14. When he hit Orlando, he raised a lot of eyebrows. He was a small forward the first day. And by the third day, he was a point guard.”
“Going in, I’m not sure how many people had him as draft-eligible. But he played really well,” a Western Conference personnel man said. “I know he’s labeled as a point guard because he’s such a good passer, but he’s almost too big to be a point.
“He’s someone who can play a little 3, a little 2, a little 1. He’s a really, really good passer. In a quiet way, he was really, really competitive as well.”
(For those of you keeping score, that’s five “reallys”. Can “personnel man” try to sell it just a little harder?)
This is a player who dedicated basketball observers thought would go undrafted. The Mavs would have you believe that he’s late-first-round material. To quote Moe Szyslak: Whaaa?!
It could be that Sun has shown something he hasn’t in the CBA and the ABA the past few years. It could be that the Orlando scrimmages and team workouts show he’s capable of contributing at a higher level. It could be that, at 6’9″, he has proven himself effective at his natural point guard position. Really.
Or, it could be outright lies designed to misdirect the competition. Really, really.
The only way to know for sure is when, or if, Sun is drafted. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still rooting for him, but I’m just not sure who to believe.
Secrets and lies!