Larry Harris: "I still have a big smile on my face"
It's been two days since you attended the NBA Draft Lottery. Are you still on Cloud Nine?
Larry Harris: Absolutely. I'm not shaking anymore, but I still have a big smile on my face. This is a great opportunity for our franchise, for our fans and for our players. To have the No. 1 pick is really exciting. There's a big buzz in the city of Milwaukee and state of Wisconsin and with our fans and that's great to see.
You were a math major in college so, from a logical standpoint, it's easy to understand why you didn't think the Bucks were going to get the top pick.
LH: That's true. That's why I had that lack of emotion on my face when we won. I couldn't believe. When I saw we were in the top three I said to myself, 'Not bad.' Then, after Portland went next (at three), I said to myself, 'Oh, my goodness. We can win this thing.' And then when we won it, I didn't know how to react. This was my first time at this. What was I supposed to do? Shake hands with Billy Knight or shake hands with Steve Patterson? I couldn't do that. And I couldn't chest bump Russ Granik. I was so overwhelmed by the moment.
The general consensus among NBA personnel is that there are three players a cut above the rest in this draft: center Andrew Bogut of Utah, forward Marvin Williams of North Carolina and point guard Chris Paul of Wake Forest. Do you agree with their assessment?
LH: I'm not going to give my hand away, but I think there are those guys and Deron Williams being the fourth. Those are four guys we are bringing in for the No. 1 pick.
Could you give capsule comments on each of those players, starting with Bogut?
LH: Bogut is the best big man in the draft. He's knows how to play. He is very, very skilled. He's got tremendous hands and great footwork. And he's one of the best passing big men whether in college or in the NBA. I think he's a guy who can step in right away and play. What kind of success he has right away, I don't know. That will depend on how he adjusts to physicality and pace of the NBA game. But he's a big-time talent.
LH: Marvin Williams is arguably the best forward in the draft. He can play three and four. And, at 6-9, he has the versatility to score from inside or outside. He's oozing with talent. His growth level is off the charts. Plus, he's a great kid.
LH: Chris Paul and Deron Williams are 1 and 1A. There is little difference (in talent) between them. Deron is a little bigger and taller but Chris has NBA quickness and NBA speed. He's a tremendous kid, too, and he understands how to play the game. Deron ... some people equate his court sense to someone like Jason Kidd. He's a tremendous shooter and very underrated defender.
When will you formally begin working these guys out?
LH: We'll bring in some second-round prospects late next week, but as far those guys who are No. 1 (candidates), we'll start bringing them in after the Chicago pre-draft camp, probably around the 17th or 18th of June.
Your team's star guard, Michael Redd, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. I understand he called you after the Lottery. Did he offer any suggestions on whom you should pick?
LH: No, he didn't. Actually, several players called. Desmond (Mason), TJ (Ford) and Mo (Williams) also called. The point guards had their thoughts on who we should pick. I'm not going to say who they wanted, but they certainly had their thoughts, and they had different thoughts, too.
Do you think winning the lottery will any way affect Redd's thinking on whether to re-sign with the Bucks?
LH: I can tell you he was genuinely excited for us to get the first pick. I think any time you get the No. 1 pick, it creates infusion of hope and I think he's excited about where we're going as a team.
Since you landed the grand prize, have any teams called and inquired about the possibility of trading the top pick?
LH: No. I haven't been in conversations with any other team. At this point, they are assessing their own teams, their finances and payrolls. With the No. 1 pick, you just don't want to throw it (a trade proposal) against the wall and hope it sticks. I think when we go to Chicago, there'll be more conversation about that.
Considering you're on a roll after winning the draft lottery, do you have a trip to Las Vegas in the offing?
LH: Nah (laughing). My good luck was left at the draft lottery that night. Now it's really making sure we make the right decision on who to pick. So, no, I'm not going to Las Vegas. I'm not going to stretch my luck.
Gery Woelfel covers the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA for The Racine (Wis.) Journal Times
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