Greivis Vasquez is starting to generate some NBA draft buzz

6/21/2010 4:10:56 PM It's good to be back Soupers. After missing the second half of last semester due to academic reasons that can't be disclosed due to my status as an amateur, then traveling through Europe for a month, I have returned. I'll be around for the foreseeable future, entering my final year at Maryland.

I'll pick up where I left off last time: basketball. Greivis Vasquez is likely going to be the only Terp to hear his name called on Thursday at MSG, and it's been speculated that he'll be going anywhere from the late first round to the late second.

Who, me?

We at The Soup already know what Greivis brings to the table: terrific court vision, above-average shooting, improved defense, great size for a point, questionable decision-making, a bit of an ego, below-average athleticism, and leadership out the wazoo.

However, what we and pretty much nobody does know, is what team will draft him, when, and why? The picture has become more and more clear in the past few weeks, as teams with picks in the bottom of the first round have taken harder and deeper (*insert that's what she said here*) looks at The General.

Recent reports have come out of Memphis and Orlando, keepers of the 28th and 29th overall picks respectively, that both are high on Vasquez, particular in team drills, where he can flaunt his jaw-dropping passes. Via the Memphis Flyer:
Vasquez has uniformly been down in the 50s in all mock drafts throughout the process, but I included him on my most recent Grizzlies draft board because his name comes up frequently in discussions about players the Grizzlies plan to look at. The team likes him and apparently that information is starting to get out, as Draft Express has moved Vasquez all the way up to the team's #28 pick.

...

Vasquez looked pretty ordinary in initial solo and one-on-one drills, but when the team moved into three-on-three play, he began to stand out. More than anyone I can remember seeing in past draft workouts, Vasquez consistently made smart, effective passes to set up teammates for shots. He also talked to teammates and directed traffic - offensively and defensively - more than anyone I remember. He had a strong presence on the floor and backed it up with results. He also shot the ball fairly well in shooting drills, showing form that suggests that - with work - he can emerge as a viable three-point shooter.

In other words, people are just now realizing what we knew all along - Greivis' greatest strength isn't something that's going to come out in a highlight reel or a solo workout. Greivis is a winner, he makes his teammates better, he's a flat-out leader, which is why the Legend Gary Williams has some serious guy love for him.

SLAM Online pegs Vasquez one spot lower, going to the Magic at #29 in their mock (though, to be fair, their "Memphis GM" forfeited his #28 pick for missing a deadline, so who knows what could have been). The Magic are a team without holes on the floor, except for a backup point guard with size...oh, and a player besides 6-foot-nothing Jameer Nelson who is mentally capable of winning big games. Enter The General. I honestly think that this could be his best fit. Get on a winner, get playing time, be humbled when he's forced to guard Nelson, Mickael Pietrus and Vince Carter, and maybe rub off on them (no homo).

To all you Wiz fans out there hoping Vasquez will fall to #30, I don't see it happening. I mean, it's probable that Vasquez will be available, but after Wall and Arenas, even if they pick Vasquez, I doubt he sticks. Those are three enormous egos all fighting for the same position. No offense to Greivis, but when it comes to talent and athleticism, one of those three is not like the others.

If he slips past those three spots, it's not even worth the conjecture of where he might fall in the second round. The second round of the draft is like winning fourth place in a cereal box sweepstakes. If you didn't get the trip for 4 to Universal Studios, a PlayStation or an autograph from that month's "It" athlete, who gives a crap.

UPDATE: Fanhouse just released their latest mock, and it's the highest I've seen Greivis, going at 25 to the Grizzlies. Here's their explanation:
It seems the Grizzlies are trying to give O.J. Mayo a shot at point guard, which means Mike Conley is disappointing the front office, which means depth at PG is an issue. The Venezuelan Vasquez is a big guard who loves to control the ball and take jumpers. Which means he'll fit right in with the Grizzlies.

Greivis backing up O.J. Mayo on a team that also houses Zach Randolph? I don't like that situation for GV mostly because I don't think that he'll be given a chance to be a leader in a locker room full of cancer. But, I'd be happy for him for securing a guaranteed contract after a first round pick. I still think it's far from a lock that he gets picked in the first 30, but we shall see on Thursday.
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