Goran Dragic on Udonis Haslem continued: “A lot of guys in this locker room need leadership like UD, especially Hassan [Whiteside]. I think UD can provide that. He’s there where usually some guys would not be, in the toughest moments, when you need something, he’s there. That’s why everybody loves him. I played with a lot of veteran guys who had successful careers — like UD, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Amare Stoudemire — [and Haslem] is number one in my books as a player and a leader and a friend.”
June 17, 2018 | 8:05 pm EDT Update
Mike Fisher: BREAKING: source tells me top #NBADraft prospect Jaren Jackson Jr. is working out w #Mavs today.
ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla compared Ayton with Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing and David Robinson. UA coach Sean Miller doesn’t understand why there’s a debate about the No. 1 pick, saying: “I look at the NBA as trying to figure out who they’re going to pick from No. 2 to 60. I think the No. 1 pick’s in. … There’s nobody like Deandre. Nobody.” Colorado coach Tad Boyle told NBA.com: “He’s a monster. I played (at Kansas) in the ’80s, and he’s the best player since Hakeem Olajuwon. He’s that kind of talent.”
Romar laughs when asked about Ayton’s personality. “Oh my goodness,” he said. “He’s a comedian. When he’s away from the court, just hanging around, oh my goodness, he’ll have you laughing.” But that desire to have a good time, Romar said, shouldn’t be misconstrued as Ayton not taking his craft seriously. It’s almost as if Ayton has, well, split personalities. Romar described his on-court persona as “fiery,” “emotional” and “so competitive.”
Jordan Schultz: Keep a close eye on 20-year-old French PG Elie Okobo. Several decision makers have told me he is very high on their boards, while highlighting his dynamic scoring ability/P-R playmaking. Okobo could be another gem in France’s long list of quality players.
Nick DePaula: Rising 1st round Draft prospect Zhaire Smith has agreed to a multi-year footwear & apparel deal with PUMA. The explosive wing measured a 41.5” vertical at the Combine, and ESPN’s @Jonathan Givony says Smith “could be the best athlete in the draft.”
June 17, 2018 | 6:44 pm EDT Update
The Heat also could sign a minimum-type power rotation player, perhaps two, if Miami doesn’t resign Luke Babbitt or Udonis Haslem to the minimum. Power rotation players who could command mid-level type money include center Greg Monroe (has some support inside the Heat; averaged 10.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 26 games for Boston after a Suns buyout).