CHICAGO - How would North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson look in a 76ers jersey?
Lawson's stock has dropped somewhat because of questions about his durability and his size (6 feet), so he could be available when the 76ers pick at No. 17 in the NBA draft June 25. Lawson said at the draft combine yesterday he wouldn't mind the style of play or location that Philadelphia offers.
"Oh yeah, they play up and down; Elton Brand, East Coast, yeah, I'd love to play there," Lawson said with a smile.
If he can play the way he did at North Carolina, Lawson would be a big boost to any NBA team. Lawson helped lead the Tar Heels to a national championship, topping the team in scoring in Final Four wins over Villanova and Michigan State.
He's unselfish, and a good passer who likes to get other players involved. Lawson has speed in the open court and loves to push the ball. But a sprained left ankle in February hurt his productivity, and his average of a little less than 30 minutes per game might mean he doesn't have the energy yet to go longer in games.
Tyreke Evans is entering the NBA draft after only 1 year at Memphis, where he averaged 17.1 points per game.
"It's a dream come true, it's a blessing," said Evans, who attended high school at American Christian Academy in Aston. "I've been playing basketball since I was 4 years old, and now I'm about to reach my dream. I just work hard at it. It hasn't really hit me yet, but my family is excited."
He said he would be all for a roster spot with the Sixers.
"I came from up that way; I watched the Sixers all my life," Evans said. "I wouldn't mind playing for the Sixers. It's home. I'll get a lot of love there."
Evans was inserted as the starting point guard 11 games into last season, and the Tigers didn't lose until the NCAA Tournament, to Missouri, in the Sweet 16. He is projected as a shooting guard.
"I think I'm a better player with the ball in my hands," Evans said. "I'm like a creator; I make plays."
As far as deciding to leave Memphis early and enter the draft, Evans credited a conversation with coach John Calipari.
"After the Missouri game, coach Calipari sat down with me to talk about it," Evans said. "He pretty much told me that I was going to be a top pick, and that sealed the deal for me. I sat down with my family, and we talked it over, and I went on from there."
This week, there were reports that Memphis broke NCAA academic eligibility rules during the 2007-08 season. Former Tiger Derrick Rose is the focus of a probe into whether someone took the SAT for a player.
"I got a couple of calls from teammates," Evans said. "They're disappointed. I don't know what the situation is that went down, but I hope it's nothing serious."
Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, who is projected to be drafted No. 1 by the Los Angeles Clippers, was asked about dealing with the media and the possibility of playing in LA.
"I don't mind the media," Griffin said. "It's part of the process, and I'm trying to become more comfortable with it. College has prepared me a little bit for it. You have to know that people are watching you, and you have to be a positive role model and not put yourself in bad situations."
As far as playing in a town full of all kinds of stars?
"It's one of those markets that has so many athletes and famous people that I have to my find my own niche, I guess."
And stealing some of those celebrity fans from the Lakers?
"That'd be great. That's what we're working toward - celebrity attendance."
After a brief hiatus, the NBA draft combine returned to Chicago following a 2-year run in Orlando.
Top college players aren't showing off their skills at the Moody Bible Institute, though. The location changed this year to Attack Athletics, where President Obama has played hoops when he is in town.
The facility, which includes four NBA-sized basketball courts, has been a training center for many current and former NBA players.
Former Villanova player and NBA prospect Dante Cunningham was aware that Obama has played at Attack.
"That was great," Cunningham said. "I watched some interviews and highlights when he was there [on Election Day]. He can shoot the ball a little bit. I guess he has better things to worry about than his jump shot, though."