Top 68 Team Previews: #61 Minnesota Golden Gophers

Top 68 Team Previews: #61 Minnesota Golden Gophers

Ralph Sampson III passed on the NBA Draft to return to Minnesota. (Icon SMI)

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By David Weitzman

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rumors are floating around about what's going on with Reggie Jackson. Is he legitimately injured? Does he have a draft promise? Why did he cancel all of his workouts?

Jackson and his agent have been suspiciously quiet throughout the draft process. After withdrawing from the New Jersey Nets Draft Combine and the official NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, it was reported by numerous outlets that Jackson had a legitimate injury.

But why would Jackson not work out for any teams, not at least interview for any teams, not even show up at the Chicago Combine, and stay so quiet over the past couple months?

It's quite obvious at this point that Reggie Jackson has a draft promise. But which team is it?

This is mostly speculation (multiple sources said they believe this theory as well) but all signs point to Reggie Jackson's draft promise coming from the Portland Trail Blazers with the 21st pick.

Let's look at the facts.

This same exact situation has occurred with a player in each of the last two years, and both times it was the same team: the Portland Trail Blazers.

This team has been known lately as one of the few teams to promise players and ask them to sit out the entire draft process and remain quiet about the situation.

In 2009, Jon Brockman was widely regarded as a borderline second round draft pick. Throughout the draft process, Brockman withdrew from every workout and didn't say a word about why he wasn't participating in the draft process. Sure enough, the Blazers drafted Brockman with the No. 38 pick.

In 2010, Elliot Williams sat out the Chicago Combine and skipped all of his draft workouts after that. He cited an injury and remained quiet and invisible until the NBA Draft. Sure enough, he was drafted by the Blazers with the No. 22 pick.

The Blazers have only hosted three draft workouts thus far this year.

They only had one draft workout prior to yesterday.

On June 6, they worked out Isaiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Jon Diebler, Austin Freeman, Corey Fisher and Kenneth Faried. Of those players, Faried is the only likely candidate for the No. 21 pick.

Yesterday, they worked out Kyle Singler, Jon Leuer, Jeremy Tyler and Nikola Vucevic. Of those players, Vucevic is a legitimate candidate at No. 21. Singler, Leuer and Tyler would certainly be reaches at that point in the draft.

Today, the Blazers worked out Michael Dunigan, Greg Smith, Malcolm Thomas, Jordan Williams, Nolan Smith, Keith Benson, Rick Jackson, Demetri McCamey and Darius Morris. Of those players, Morris is the only realistic candidate for No. 21. Smith and Williams would be reaches.

The Blazers will host another draft workout tomorrow.

It was reported this week that the Blazers are shopping point guard Andre Miller for a trade. If this is true, they should be looking for a replacement at point guard.

Of the point guards they have worked out thus far, Darius Morris is the only realistic candidate for the No. 21 pick.

The Blazers were originally scheduled to work out Reggie Jackson, but he canceled all of his workouts, which also included the Bulls, Pacers and Bobcats.

The Blazers obviously had interest in Jackson if they wanted to bring him in for a workout. But he isn't working out for any teams.

If the Blazers really gave him a promise, why would they even have a workout scheduled with Jackson? Maybe that was just a smokescreen so that isn't so obvious.

All signs point to Reggie Jackson getting a draft promise from the Portland Trail Blazers with the 21st pick.

It isn't a fact. Sources agree on this theory, but nobody has confirmed it. However, it makes plenty of sense. The evidence is there that the Blazers may be the team that gave Reggie Jackson a promise.

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