The NBA Draft - MLB Pitchers On The Move?

THE NBA SEASON MAY BE OVER BUT THE 2011 DRAFT IS JUST 'ROUND THE CORNER ...

BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES INCLUDES THREE STARTING PITCHERS ON NON-CONTENDING TEAMS THAT MIGHT GET MOVED REAL SOON

By Jim Hurley:

Talk about no rest for the weary!

The NBA 2010-11 season just wrapped up with a glorious NBA Finals win by the Dallas Mavericks - in all they were straight set winners in these playoffs over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat - and before you blink here's the NBA Draft set for next Thursday night (June 23rd) from Newark (NJ) and there's rumblings that three top-shelf point guards might well go inside the top four or five picks.

The names in question: Duke's Kyrie Irving, Kentucky's Brandon Knight and Connecticut's Kemba Walker - now there's some backcourt star-power that could become NBA mega-stars faster than you could say Dirk Nowitzki!

We'll get into some chit-chat regarding the NBA Draft in just a moment here in today's Jim Sez plus we'll delve into possible Major-League Baseball trades - yes, the deadline's not till July 31st but the rumor mill is spinning wildly with talk that some of the "big boys" want/need starting pitching help ASAP and so we just might see some change-of-address notices being sent in the coming days - but first this key reminder:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep banging out loads of Major-League Baseball Winners each and every day and you can be part of all the action -- just remember to call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here and make sure you're all aboard for a summer filled with all our MLB winners! The calling/check-in times are as follows: After 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays; after 11 a.m. ET for weekday Baseball and anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all the weeknight action in the world of Major-League Baseball.


THE NBA DRAFT - SORTING THOUGH THE TOP POINT GUARD PROSPECTS

Now, what would this year's NBA Draft look like if the aforementioned Irving, Knight and Walker were tabbed 1-2-3 next Thursday night?

Well, odds are that won't happen even though everyone believes that Irving is the lead-pipe cinch pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers despite the fact he played in only 11 games as a college freshman last year because of an injured foot. Irving's listed at 6-foot-4, 191 pounds and last year he averaged 17.5 points a game despite the fractured season - don't expect Cleveland to seriously entertain trade offers although one wag kiddingly wanted to know what Cleveland would do if Miami's LeBron James was offered back to the Cavs for this numero pick.

Very amusing.

Meanwhile, Knight also was one of those one-and-done college players who shined in his lone campaign at Kentucky. The 19-year-old Knight - who stands 6-foot-4, 177 pounds - averaged 17.3 ppg last season and chipped in 4.2 assists per game and 4.0 rebounds per outing and now the general consensus in NBA-land is that Knight will wind up in Utah with the #3 overall choice. Folks, don't be shocked if there are a few "name" teams looking to trade up to #2 or #3 pick with the hopes of landing Knight ... might the Los Angeles Lakers and/or the Houston Rockets be in the mix here?

The third guard likely to get tabbed in Round I is UConn's Walker who proved during his team's NCAA Tournament run that he could also be effective without the ball - did you hear that LeBron and Dwyane? No doubt Walker - listed at 6-foot-1 - is a tad undersized but his experience on the collegiate level helps as note Walker played in 111 games in his decorated and terrific Huskies career.

Finally, if you want to know what point guard likely follows this version of the "Big Three" of Irving, Knight and Walker, than consider either Kansas' Josh Selby or BYU's Jimmer Fredette and note that both have played exceptionally well in their most recent individual workouts.

Here's our here-and-now NBA Mock Draft Top 10 (and very much subject to change):

PICK

TEAM

PLAYER

COLLEGE

COMMENT

# 1

CLEVELAND

Kyrie Irving

Duke

Will he be the "anti-LeBron" for suffering Cavs fans?

# 2

MINNESOTA

Derrick Williams

Arizona

Do-it-all 6-foot-9 forward could be perfect puzzle piece here

# 3

UTAH

Brandon Knight

Kentucky

The Deron Williams Era now seems so long ago, doesn't it?

# 4

CLEVELAND

Kawhi Leonard

San Diego St.

Rangy swingman is a solid defender and his offense (15.5 ppg) ain't bad

# 5

TORONTO

Enes Kanter

Turkey

The Raptors love international players and this 6-foot-11 stud is good fit

# 6

WASHINGTON

Kemba Walker

Connecticut

National championship hero might drop lower than he should in this draft

# 7

SACRAMENTO

Chris Singleton

Florida St.

At 6-foot-9, 230 this kid is rock-solid plus he plays air-tight defense to boot

# 8

DETROIT

Jan Vesely

Czech Repub.

If the Raptors leave him be at #5, than Pistons will grab this near 7-footer

# 9

CHARLOTTE

Marcus Morris

Kansas

Fast riser on the draft boards and this kid plays with a real toughness

# 10

MILWAUKEE

Tristan Thomas

Texas

Canadian native was stat-sheet stuffer last year (13.1 ppg and 7.8 rpg)

EDITOR'S NOTE: We will have our annual NBA Mock Draft next Wednesday (June 22nd) so don't miss out!

BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES

Maybe it comes as no great surprise that heading into Tuesday's MLB action there were only two teams playing .600-or-better ball - the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies, yes, the two teams favored to play one another in this year's World Series - and so that means there logjams in many of MLB's divisions these days and lots of contending teams that are eyeballing help as soon as possible.

On the radar screen for a whole lot of big-league teams is starting pitching and here in today's Jim Sez we'll play a little game of mix-and-match - we'll pair up teams very much in the need for starting pitching with non-contending teams that just may feel the time is right to swing a blockbuster deal. Who says you have to wait till July 30th or 31st to pull the trigger on a franchise-changing move? Here's some thoughts:

WANDY RODRIGUEZ, Houston Astros - No question the 'Stros are going nowhere fast in the National League Central but couldn't this team get a bushel full of top-flight prospects for this underrated lefthanded hurler?

Rodriguez - who is 4-3 with a 3.13 ERA following Monday night's 8-3 win against the Atlanta Braves - does come off a recent elbow injury but he would appear a perfect fit with the New York Yankees who desperately need another starter in the wake of the Bartolo Colon hamstring injury that may or may not keep him out of action for a month.

No question that Rodriguez would be a great counter-puncher to Boston's lefty bats of DH David Ortiz, OF Carl Crawford and American League MVP front-runner 1B Adrian Gonzalez - but are the Yanks willing to part with one or more of their talented minor-league hurlers such as RHP Dellin Betances or LHP Manny Banelos? Stay tuned.

If there's a "dark horse" team to get involved for Rodriguez's services, than consider the Arizona Diamondbacks who have a well-stocked minor-league system these days.

CARLOS ZAMBRANO, Chicago Cubs - Is it finally time to move this short-tempered problem child who happens to be the only starting pitcher on this staff with a winning record (see 5-3 with a 4.40 ERA)?

No doubt that Zambrano look ago wore out his welcome with Cubbies teammates but now the market could be just right for the North Siders to deal him away for a decent package and the make-sense suitors at this particular time include the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays who both have players/prospects that they could deal in exchange for Zambrano and a bit player.

It could be the case that if a team such as the Angels agreed to take on LF Alphonso Soriano's huge contract than dealing Zambrano as part of that package would be more palatable.

CARL PAVANO, Minnesota Twins - Despite the fact that Minny entered Tuesday's play 9 ½ games back of AL Central-leading Cleveland (that's the most any AL team is behind first place here in mid-June) don't expect the Twinkies to be dealing off any of their young starting pitchers including Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn nor Brian Duensing and there's no way LHP Francisco Liriano will be getting moved but RHP Pavano (3-5, 4.54 ERA at press time) could be shipped for the right price to an NL team that needs an extra arm.

Folks, among the candidates there is Arizona, Colorado and Florida and maybe - believe it or not - the aforementioned Yankees who didn't exactly enjoy their first go-around with this moody righthander. Maybe a Pavano deal wouldn't exactly make for splashy headlines but it could be a real swing of some team's fortunes should he feast off the less-offensive NL lineups the rest of 2011 or perhaps be a valuable innings-eater for the Yanks.

NOTE: Get Major-League Baseball and College Football Reports later this week right here in Jim Sez.

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