David Stern wasn't all smiles today.

NBA Commissioner David Stern had a testy, uncomfortable exchange with Jim Rome of CBS Sports in a radio interview today. On the topic of last month's NBA draft lottery, Rome asked this pointed question of Stern:

"New Orleans won the draft lottery, which of course produced the usual round of speculation that the lottery was fixed. I know that you appreciate a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy. Was the fix in for the lottery?"

(Deadspin has the audio here.)

Stern's response: "I have two answers for that. I'll give you the easy one: no."

He had the opportunity at that point to list all the reasons the lottery conspiracy theories are asinine, since it was essentially a softball question from Rome, but instead Stern lost his cool and chose to attack Rome personally.

He continued, "and a statement: shame on you for asking."

More after the jump.

Rome replied: "I know you think it's ridiculous, but I don't think the question is ridiculous because I know people think that."

It's hard to disagree there; the day after the draft lottery, the "it was fixed" was all over the interwebs on blogs such as this one. There's a good percentage of NBA fans who sincerely believe the lottery was fixed to give the #1 pick (and prized prospect Anthony Davis) to the still league-owned New Orleans Hornets, or who at least think the possibility exists that it was fixed.

Stern then dropped the ultimate stink bomb: "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" Of course, Stern was implying that Rome's question was loaded (it wasn't) but to some listeners I'm sure it came across that Stern was literally accusing Rome of domestic abuse.

The rest of the interview was a bit of a wash because they both took umbrage at perceived insults from the other. Here's the difference: Rome is a radio talk show host known for stirring the pot. For those of us old enough to remember, he burst on to the national scene with this childish insult of former NFL QB Jim Everett. Stage hands prevented Everett from rearranging Rome's face but, if any publicity is good publicity, the antics probably helped Rome's career.


If you go on Rome's show to be interviewed, it seems reasonable to expect that he's going to try to needle and probe and ask questions to provoke a strong response. Stern made two mistakes: one, he lost his cool and came across as the childish, graceless one of the two. Not an easy task when compared to Rome, and unbecoming of an executive.

More importantly, while Stern might have thought the question of whether the lottery was fixed was beneath him and not worthy of a response, Rome was correct in saying that it's a prevalent belief among a large slice of his league's fanbase.

As for Rome, the question was either a softball or just plain silly. How did he expect Stern to reply? Did he think there was any chance at all Stern would cop to any wrongdoing? Of course he wasn't going to. More likely, I think he was attempting to give Stern the chance to emphatically denounce any suggestion of a fixed lottery. Instead, Stern got into a pissing match with an interviewer who thrives on such things.

Is it possible that Stern's public relations skills are continuing to get even worse as he ages?


Melo's defensive presence is Fab.

Looks like the Suns are covering their bases, bringing in guys today who are projected as late first-rounders and summer camp invitees. Media is not allowed at pre-draft workouts this year, so we have no insight from Suns folks or the players on their workouts.

Paul Coro, Suns beat reporter for the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, just tweeted:

Coro-tweets_medium

That's all we get, and I guess we should be happy about that. According to draftexpress.com, these guys rate as:

  • C Fab Melo -- 23rd-best prospect (7'0" defensive specialist and shot blocker at Syracuse, rising after great draft combine)
  • PF Andrew Nicholson -- 30th best (6'9" offensive force with defensive questions from tiny school, also rising after great combine)
  • plus 4 guys ranked 84th and lower; pure summer league guys: PG Zack Rosen, PG Ashton Gibbs, SG Alex Young, SG Chris Johnson
Does the workout with Fab Melo indicate that the Suns are thinking of going big with the #13 pick instead of a shooting guard? Very doubtful. More likely they are evaluating options in case they get another pick or otherwise move down in the draft.

I have been looking forward to hearing low-first names, hoping that the Suns will take Babby's comments to heart that they want to build through the draft. It would be very nice to see the Suns bring in more than one player from this draft.

Interesting is that Melo was the only C brought in, and Nicholson the only PF. So, did they defend each other? Or were they just individual workouts/interviews? Or, were there other players in the arena today not also mentioned?

Who knows. The Suns are not opening workouts to media this year, for the first time ever.


Born and raised in Oakland, Calif., Damian Lillard grew up yearning to one day become the next great point guard to come out of the basketball mecca known for producing floor general legends like...

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We discuss two possible Steve Nash sign and trade deals, the NBA draft and preview the NBA Finals match up between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Hosted by Bryan Gibberman and Seth Pollack and presented by Arizona Sports 620 and SB Nation Arizona.

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Enjoy


Could this be the next shooting guard for the Suns?

Ever since Jason Richardson was traded to Orlando (for C Marcin Gortat, basically), the Phoenix Suns have struggled to get big-time points and defense out of the shooting guard position. Vince Carter, Mikael Pietrus, Michael Redd, Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley have all played the SG position in the past 18 months with varying - but generally pedestrian - results.

The Suns need some new, young blood that can play smart, score in bunches and play enough defense to stay on the court in crunch time. It's difficult to excel as a team in the last few minutes of the game when you're mixing and matching on the perimeter, having to choose between offense, defense and "smarts". Lacking badly in the offensive area, Gentry would generally fall back on intelligent players who would play a modicum of defense and not give the game away on a stupid play. That often ruled out Carter, Pietrus, Brown and Redd, leaving Dudley (with Grant Hill at SF) as Gentry's best late-game option at SG.

No knock against Dudley, but pairing him with Grant Hill in the closing moments left it up to Steve Nash to create 90% of the quality shots in the final 5 minutes, with Hill doing the other 10%.That's fine, except that Nash and Hill together are older than my great grandmother and are running on fumes by that time of the game. Dudley is not a shot-creator. At best, he's a shot-maker off a designed play to get him open for a 3-ball.

It's no wonder that the Suns brass is targeting a shooting guard (SG) in this draft, and lucky for them there are several quality candidates to choose from.

One of those is Terrence Ross, a prototypically-built 6'7", 197 lb guard with a sweet shooting stroke who can play strong defense. When I watch him play and look at his stats, NBA players that come to mind are Eddie Jones and Wesley Person, both of whom played a decade ago but might be remembered well by longtime Suns fans. A modern-day version of Ross might be Nick Young, late of the Clippers.

Hit the jump for more details on Ross, as well as some video.

Terrence Ross is a high-quality prospect at the shooting guard position.

He profiles as a better NBA prospect than Jimmer Fredette (picked 10th last year), Klay Thomspon (picked 11th) and Alec Burks (picked 12th), but is mired in a daily battle for prospect surpremacy this year against fellow shooting guards Jeremy Lamb, Dion Waiters and Austin Rivers. All tolled, Ross could drop out of the lottery altogether and become another team's "steal".

What does Ross do well?

  1. Ross has a great shooting stroke, and the height (6'7") to always get the jump shot off
  2. He is an active defender, averaging more rebounds + steals + blocks than most any prospect at his position in the nation
  3. He defends very well, allowing a very low conversion percentage on isolation defense

Those are three very important skills for the NBA, ones that will keep him employed for many years.

So what's wrong with him?, you ask.

  1. Ross rarely creates any baskets at the rim. When he dribble-drives, it's almost always to create space for a step-back jump shot or a floater. He's much better curling off screens or spacing himself for an open shot on the perimeter.
  2. Ross rarely passes the ball, averaging fewer assists per game than almost anyone in the nation at his position. He's a shooter, and that's what he expects when he's given the ball.
  3. Ross is not an "alpha". He won't take over a game. And someone has to get him the ball on every possession. In short, he won't start a possession but you can be sure he will always finish it (with a jump shot).

Summary:

If you want a shot-maker who can defend (and Jeremy Lamb is already off the board), then you take Terrence Ross and never look back. He will be a Nick Young/Eddie Jones/Wesley Person player for a decade.

But if you want a shot-creator, someone who can take over a game and score against anybody from anywhere on the court, including at the rim, then Ross is not your guy. He will always need the playmaker to get him the ball.

Preview at Valley of the Suns, where Mike Schmitz loves him some Terrence Ross

Terrence Ross profile | draftexpress.com

Ross' combine interview:

Ross' highlight mix:

What say you, Suns fans?

Poll
Should the Suns take Terrence Ross at #13?

  239 votes | Results


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