Finally, Conley can begin solo act

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:56 am
Finally, Conley can begin solo act

By Marlon W. Morgan
June 15, 2007


For as long as Mike Conley Jr. can remember, he's had a huge shadow, a 7-foot shadow in the form of Greg Oden.
The question surrounding Conley's game has always been whether he can play without Oden. Since their childhood days in Indianapolis, the best friends have shared the same team jersey, winning three straight state championships at Lawrence North High School before taking their act to Columbus last year to lead Ohio State to the national championship game.

Unless Portland, which has the top pick in this year's draft and likely will take Oden, trades to acquire the rights to Conley, Conley will get his first opportunity to shine on his own.
''That was the scouting report going into college,'' said Conley, who began stepping out of the shadow during the NCAA Tournament. ''I guess the script was flipped a little bit. I had a good freshman year and the tournament really helped out. I definitely had to deal with that a lot growing up and being in his shadow. I thought going to the NBA would be the time we ended up splitting anyway.

''Would I love to play with him? Of course. He's my best friend and we've been teammates since we were in sixth grade. So I don't have anything against him in any way. And we've always had success. I've always had confidence at every level, even if I'm the only one that's believing in me. It'll be different playing without Greg because I'm used to being around him all the time, moreso off the court than on the court. But I think we'll both be fine.''

Conley's run through the tournament caused his NBA stock to soar, to the point where he had little choice but to leave school after his freshman year. Not bad for a player many thought the Buckeyes signed just to ensure Oden would come.

Now he's likely to be taken in the top five of the June 28 NBA Draft, and could go as high as No. 3 to Atlanta, which desperately needs point guard help. Conley was in Memphis on Thursday for a workout for the Grizzlies, who are also interested in taking the young point guard at No. 4.

Conley started all 39 games at Ohio State, ending the year third on the team in scoring with 11.3 points, while leading the way with 6.1 assists and 2.2 steals. His speed, quickness, ability to read defenses, penetrate, get the ball to the right places, and score, make him one of the most coveted guards in the draft.

''He's the quintessential point guard,'' said Tony Barone Sr., the Grizzlies director of player personnel. ''He's got every single characteristic that you're looking for in a point guard. He's cerebral in terms of his approach. He really sees the floor. He has outstanding quickness, excellent ballhandler, knocks down the shot, really had the ability to read the defense.''

The one flaw in Conley's game that his critics point out is his outside shot. He struggles at times hitting the open jumper. But there's no denying his ability to get into the paint and score, or get fouled and get to the free throw line, much like San Antonio's Tony Parker.

''As a freshman, they said I couldn't do a lot of things,'' Conley said. ''I try to prove people wrong a lot. I feel with the right coaches, and the right people around me, they can definitely help me and guide me with my jump shot. And I'm willing to learn and fix things. I definitely have the ability to knock down the shot and be able to prove a lot of people wrong.''

Conley said he grew up watching tapes of Isiah Thomas and patterned his game after the former Indiana University and Detroit Piston star. But while he was busy averaging 16 points, 4.8 assists and five rebounds during the NCAA Tournament, Conley said he was oblivious to the fact others were starting to take notice.

He saved his best performance for the championship game, when he had 20 points, six assists and four steals in the Buckeyes' loss.

''I can score,'' Conley said. ''I'm a scoring point guard. I can do whatever it takes to win the game. I was never used to scoring 20 points a game. But I have the ability to score as many points as my team needs.''

Conley, who said he has an aunt and a cousin who live in Bartlett, added that he would welcome a chance to play with a young Grizzlies team in search of a few more pieces.

And although the team drafted point guard Kyle Lowry, who played just 10 games before breaking his wrist last November, in the first round last year, it won't deter them from considering Conley. The only other point guard on the roster is veteran Damon Stoudamire.

The Grizzlies' workout was Conley's first. Conley said he has visits scheduled for Milwaukee and Minnesota next week, and Atlanta the following week.

_____________________________________________________________

Had a feeling the Blazers would likely think that they would have to give up too much to get Conley and that just might be the case and Conley may know it. The Blazers still could give up a fair bit to get Hawk's 3rd pick but Hawks likely want Conley
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 3:02 am
migya wrote:Had a feeling the Blazers would likely think that they would have to give up too much to get Conley and that just might be the case and Conley may know it. The Blazers still could give up a fair bit to get Hawk's 3rd pick but Hawks likely want Conley


There's a rumor that says that the Blazers will trade Randolph to Chicago on draft day for their pick (and fillers), but only if Conley is still available....
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 3:55 am
TMC wrote:
migya wrote:Had a feeling the Blazers would likely think that they would have to give up too much to get Conley and that just might be the case and Conley may know it. The Blazers still could give up a fair bit to get Hawk's 3rd pick but Hawks likely want Conley


There's a rumor that says that the Blazers will trade Randolph to Chicago on draft day for their pick (and fillers), but only if Conley is still available....



IF he is still available, something that might not happen but only the Hawks really need a PG, Grizz maybe as well as they don't have any real star caliber player at that position. Don't see any of the other teams picking a PG as they need frontline help more. Could happen and would be a coup for the Blazers if that trade happened
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 2:18 pm
If the Hawks pass on Conley, I won't be surprised. They've been collecting wingmen for the past half decade. Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Shelden Williams... they're all SG's, SF's, or PF's.

Conley is by far the best pick for one of their toughest needs... but never underestimate the blundering ability of the floundering Hawks.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:21 am
32 wrote:If the Hawks pass on Conley, I won't be surprised. They've been collecting wingmen for the past half decade. Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Shelden Williams... they're all SG's, SF's, or PF's.

Conley is by far the best pick for one of their toughest needs... but never underestimate the blundering ability of the floundering Hawks.


They seem to be leaning towards Brandan Wright at #3 and Acie Law at #11, which wouldn't be a bad move. I like Law... maybe even above Conley.

If that happens, they'll have to trade one of their young forwards. Marving or Childress... or both. It makes no sense for them to keep them all.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:45 pm
I bet they try and deal Childress first. Less talent, potential's drying up, but still mildly intruiging... kinda like Pietrus.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:10 pm
TMC wrote:
32 wrote:If the Hawks pass on Conley, I won't be surprised. They've been collecting wingmen for the past half decade. Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Shelden Williams... they're all SG's, SF's, or PF's.

Conley is by far the best pick for one of their toughest needs... but never underestimate the blundering ability of the floundering Hawks.


They seem to be leaning towards Brandan Wright at #3 and Acie Law at #11, which wouldn't be a bad move. I like Law... maybe even above Conley.

If that happens, they'll have to trade one of their young forwards. Marving or Childress... or both. It makes no sense for them to keep them all.



That would be the best draft the Hawks have had probably ever! They have to get Law though and though it is liekly he would still be available, it is no certainty. Maybe Horford, a bigger guy, would be better for the Hawks than BWright because they need a true PF and BWright has been said to be more of a tweener
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:01 am
migya wrote:That would be the best draft the Hawks have had probably ever! They have to get Law though and though it is liekly he would still be available, it is no certainty. Maybe Horford, a bigger guy, would be better for the Hawks than BWright because they need a true PF and BWright has been said to be more of a tweener


Yeah, I'd also go with Horford... but they're leaning towards Wright due to "potential". We all know how well that worked when they went with Marvin's potential above Deron and Chris Paul.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:56 am
TMC wrote:
migya wrote:That would be the best draft the Hawks have had probably ever! They have to get Law though and though it is liekly he would still be available, it is no certainty. Maybe Horford, a bigger guy, would be better for the Hawks than BWright because they need a true PF and BWright has been said to be more of a tweener


Yeah, I'd also go with Horford... but they're leaning towards Wright due to "potential". We all know how well that worked when they went with Marvin's potential above Deron and Chris Paul.



BWright should be a good player, likely more of a sure thing than Marvin Williams, who seems to be getting pretty good by the way. They have to get a quality PG and maybe Law can be that so maybe their best bet is to go for him at #11. They have to get PG for next season no matter what if they want to be a playoff caliber team
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:55 pm
If Mike Conley's as good as scouts say, I think it would be hillarious if the Hawks (whose biggest hole is at point guard) go for another position. That's gotta be one of the most mismanaged teams in the NBA. Their transition from their competing days (with Mookie, Dikembe, Latiener, Steve Smith, ect) to the present is among the worst in basketball.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:14 pm
They made a huge, stupid mistake when they past on Deron and Paul for MWilliams. They now have the chance to rectify that and they should really get Conley with the 3rd pick because he is being so hyped lately that if they don't get him, guaranteed the Celtics will because they are really the only other team in the lottery (picking before the Hawks do again at #11) that need a PG. They could risk it and go for a Center like Hawes, Noah or Splitter but 3rd pick is just too high for those players (Noah shouldn't even be lottery material). What the Hawks could do (If that GM of there's had any sense), is try to make a deal with another lottery team, like the Bobcats (who pick 8th) or Bucks (who pick 6th) where they pick the player the other team are interested in and the other team picks Conley. Neither Bucks or Bobcats need a PG as they are set there but they could use some frontline help (at SF mostly). Again, difficult as the Grizz and Celts, both picking at #4 and #5 respectively, may go for a PG but could use a Center more. Likely the Hawks, if they rather have Conley than Law (who may be a very good PG for them), will have to for Conley with the 3rd pick and hope that a Center is available at #11
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:47 am
32 wrote:If Mike Conley's as good as scouts say, I think it would be hillarious if the Hawks (whose biggest hole is at point guard) go for another position. That's gotta be one of the most mismanaged teams in the NBA. Their transition from their competing days (with Mookie, Dikembe, Latiener, Steve Smith, ect) to the present is among the worst in basketball.


Yeah, the problem is that I believe that Conley is one of the most overrated players on this draft. He's a nice PG, but not worthy of a top 10 pick. Actually, I like Law a lot more...

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