North Carolina freshman Brandan Wright called it a matter of covering his tracks.
"It'' was Wright working out for the Charlotte Bobcats Friday, competing with fellow draft prospects Sean Williams and Jason Smith. This was the first time Wright -- a springy, skinny forward -- consented to work against other players in a pre-draft audition.
Does this mean Wright -- projected as high as No. 3 in Thursday's NBA draft -- might still be available when the Bobcats pick eighth?
"If I didn't come down here and I was to fall to late lottery, (then) you've got to make sure a team at least saw you,'' Wright said.
The Bobcats saw essentially what they anticipated; At 6-9 and 205 pounds, Wright has huge potential, but is far short of what he'll become.
"He's got some natural abilities that make him special,'' said Bobcats coach Sam Vincent. "The things I think he needs to improve on are just the maturity of his game. He's got to get more experience, he's got to get stronger.
"Those are things that will happen over time. You can't really rush that.''
In other words, Wright would be more a project than a ready-made NBA player. Could Vincent see Wright lasting to No. 8 Thursday?
"The draft is a funny thing,'' Vincent replied. "We don't really know what will happen so these guys do themselves a real service by getting out and letting us see them.''
The Bobcats also have the 22nd overall pick (from Toronto) and Williams -- a 6-10 center who once played for Boston College -- could be a steal at that spot on talent alone.
But Williams' situation is not just about talent. He was dismissed from the team at B.C., reportedly over a marijuana-related incident. That complicates things, considering the high standard Bobcats owner Bob Johnson set for player behavior.
"We want to be careful that we're not just looking at very talented guys, but also looking at talented guys who have good character and will be very solid in this organization,'' Vincent said.
"Whatever there is that we need to know about a guy's background, we'll do the research to find out.''
Williams said this was the first -- and likely only -- workout he'll do away from Houston, where he's working with John Lucas, a former addict who specializes in helping players with problems.
Williams was an exceptional shotblocker at Boston College, and it was obvious he performed well Friday, based on Vincent's comments: "Incredible athlete, explosive jumper, nice outside shot, strong defender, good rebounder.''
Williams declined comment on what happened in college, but it's obvious he thinks highly of his game.
"I feel like whichever team gets me is going to be lucky,'' Williams said. "I feel like I'm a top-5 talent.''
Notes: The Bobcats also worked out 7-footer Jason Smith from Colorado State. He's a jump-shooting center who is equally comfortable in the low or high post….As of mid-day Friday, the Bobcats were not auditioning Texas A&M point guard Acie Law, who was originally scheduled to work out today. Law also reportedly cancelled a workout with the New Orleans Hornets, picking 13th overall…Among players who are viable for the eighth pick, the Bobcats have yet to audition Georgetown's Jeff Green, Ohio State's Mike Conley and Kansas' Julian Wright.
I am really biased (not the first time I will say it) when it comes to UNC players but I think Wright will be a great pick-up for anyone who gets him (besides the Hawks). I saw this guy a ton this past season at UNC and he really is something special. I understand the immaturity thing that a lot of people are talking about but which is why I think he should have stayed at UNC, at least until he could make the decision to jump on his own.
Regardless, this guy can play. He can run the floor very well and was amazing the in (very) fast break that UNC had. He was almost automatic from the floor (inside 8ish feet) and is just SO LONG that he can disrupt very well on defense. Is he a project? Ya, but so are most rookies. If it were up to me, I would take him over almost anyone if he were available (see 'Draft' thread for my opinion on that).
I say the Hawks shouldn't take him b/c they have more long, athletic SF/PF size guys than they know what to do with. That said, I would not at all be surprised if they take him b/c the front office in ATL is just bad.
I dont believe Brandon Wright is a project. When Chris Bosh came out after his freshman season everyone said the exact same thing, and Chris Bosh came out and was on par with Wade and Lebron the second half of his rookie campaign. Wright is a clone of Bosh except longer and maybe a tad more athletic. I say draft him if we can start him at PF immediately give him 30 minutes or so a game and by the second half of the season he will be a beast.
I love B-Dub but he is no Chris Bosh. He has no jump shot and can't do much of anything outside 8ft. He's not really that similar to Marvin either. Marvin is more of a SF in my book and Wright is more of a PF.
But I agree, Wright could easily start for us at PF, moving Okafor to C.
How can you say hes no Chris Bosh yet? The guy hasnt played a single NBA game and youre already saying he cant be as good as Chris Bosh ( by the way Bosh had one of the most horrific playoff performances ive ever seen ). Im saying their games are quite similar, as is their athletic ability and their body type.
I'm not saying he wont be as good as Chris Bosh, I am just saying they arent the same type of player. I went to all of UNCs home games this past season and the ACC tourney so I have seen him play more than most. He doesnt have the same range that Bosh has. Their athletic ability is very similar but their range and offensive play style arent the same. Wright is more of a around the basket type of guy while Bosh can score anywhere inside the 3-pt line.