By Stephen Tsai
Assistant coach Vernon Podlewski is leaving the volleyball Warriors to take a job with a solar-panel company.
It's always sad when one of the good guys departs. But it makes sense for Podlewski, who has two young children. His son is 13 weeks old.
Podlewski was the star libero for the 2002 Warriors, who defeated Pepperdine in the NCAA title match. He also was with the U.S. national team for a bit. Before joining the Warriors as a coach, he was head coach of MPI's girls' volleyball team for two years.
Jeff Hall, Podlewski
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For nearly 30 years, brother Mike has participated in a fantasy basketball league. Thing is, he and his friend Mark are the league's only members. All of which means he doesn't like change, and when it comes to basketball knowledge, he is in a league of his own.
Here is brother Mike's mock draft:
The real uncertainty comes into play play at mid-lottery and continues all the way to the end of the first round, in part because while there appears to be an above-average number of prospects with legitimate potential for long, solid careers, question marks abound. Do Kendall Marshall's court awareness and passing skills outweigh his lack of athleticism? Is 6-foot-11 Perry Jones III really a 3, as handlers have sought to repackage him during individual workouts? At what point in the draft does Andre Drummond's spectacular physical gifts make it worth overlooking the fact that he was too often an enormous non-factor in his one season at UConn?
Complicating matters is the fact that last-minute maneuvering by teams looking to trade up, down or out of the draft will upset the best-laid draft strategies.
In other words, don't blame me if, like my big brother's layup attempts, this unreasonably wordy stab at a mock draft falls somewhere short of the mark.
1. New Orleans: Anthony Davis, the Frida Kahlo of college hoops, has been likened to Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, even Bill Russell. I can't shake the feeling that Marcus Camby might be the more apt comparison. In any case, he's going No. 1. Period.
2. Charlotte: Thomas Robinson. Michael Jordan’s Bobcats went all-in with their effort to tank their way to the top pick – and whiffed. There’s a possibility they’ll trade this pick to try and addressmultiple needs, but if they keep it, Robinson, who measured well at the combine, seems to be a solid building block for a franchise in need of everything.
3. Washington: Bradley Beal. Newly acquired Trevor Ariza is not the long-term solution at shooting guard and Beal, whose stock has risen steadily over the last month, would be a nice scoring complement to FG%-challenged John Wall. Barnes might also be a wise choice here if Washington wants to build a size advantage in the backcourt.
4. Cleveland: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Critics have honed in on MKG’s broken jump shot, but the guy can flat out play — at both ends of the court. (Anyone who prefers Barnes here should recall the early-season Kentucky-North Carolina matchup, in which Kidd-Gilchrist basically took Barnes’ lunch money, shoes and best girl.) Pair MKG with sweet-shooting Kyrie Irving and the Cavs have their backcourt set for the next decade.
5. Sacramento: Andre Drummond. The Kings seem to have little guiding principle in their acquisition of individually promising but ill-matched talents. If Drummond pans out, he gives the Kings an athletic rim protector to complement offensively gifted knucklehead DeMarcus Cousins. It’s a treacherous risk-reward decision for an organization that might benefit from a more conservative approach.
6. Portland: Damian Lillard. The high-scoring guard from Weber State is said to be a near lock for Portland. If so, the Blazers see a promising point guard with prodigious scoring ability and not a 22-year-old junior who put up big numbers against less-than-elite competition.
7. Golden State: Harrison Barnes. Dion Waiters might make more sense here, especially given Stephen Curry’s wobbly ankles, but the Warriors are unlikely to pass up the opportunity to upgrade their small forward position from the likes of Richard Jefferson, Dorell Wright and Brandon Rush.
8. Toronto: Arnett Moultrie. This is a bit of a reach, but with no clear cut best-available-talent choice available here, the Raptors can address a pressing need at power forward with the 6-11 bruiser from Mississippi State. John Henson is more highly regarded, but he lacks the frame to be an effective complement to the improving Andrea Bargnani.
9. Detroit: John Henson. The 6-10 Tar Heel doesn’t have a lot bulk, but he does have length, hops and quickness — all qualities that would likely work well in tandem with rising star Greg Monroe, a beastly offensive rebounder and low-post scorer.
10. New Orleans: Dion Waiters. The buzz, not much of a pun intended, has been that the Hornets are intrigued with the possibility of drafting Duke’s Austin Rivers and letting him run the point. That wouldn’t seem to make much sense if Waiters, who is just as adept at getting to the rim and who had more natural point guard inclinations, is available this late.
11. Portland: Austin Rivers. With Jamal Crawford on the free-agent market, Rivers could be a wise insurance policy. He’s a polarizing figure because of his perceived difficulty in playing within a teamconcept, but he has undeniable talent and the confidence of a winner.
12. Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lamb. This is the first of two picks the Rockets acquired in their bid to stockpile assets for a potential Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol trade. If they wind up keeping the pick, they could do a lot worse than the polished Lamb, who could eventually replace perpetual trade bait Kevin Martin.
13. Phoenix: Meyers Leonard. There is a very good chance that Leonard won’t last this long, but if he’s the best bet for a Suns teams that has many holes to plug. Kendall Marshall, who worked out twice for the Suns, could also go here, although that would clearly be a decision based on need (adieu Steve Nash) not talent.
14. Milwaukee: Tyler Zeller. The Bucks need size after trading Samuel Dalembert to Houston. Zeller measures 7-feet in shoes and boasts above-average athleticism and the polish of a four-year college player. He also gets to the line and converts his free throws. Solid.
15. Philadelphia: Terrence Ross. A prototypical swing who demonstrated judicious shot selection in his two years at Washington, Ross should fit in well in Doug Collins’ system.
16. Houston: Perry Jones III. Although underwhelming in his two years at Baylor, where his handlers say he was misused as a power forward, Jones has an intriguing skill set for someone his size. He could be a poor man’s LaMarcus Aldridge. If not … Brad Sellers?
17. Dallas: Moe Harkless. The Mavs are still in the hunt for Deron Williams and Dwight Howard, so whomever they draft here might end up being a throw-in. Still, Harkless has good size for the small forward position and with the right development he could give the Mavs a little of what they were hoping to get from Mr. Khloe Kardashian last year.
18. Houston: Marquis Teague. Jeff Teague’s little brother is raw but has a higher ceiling than Marshall, the other best remaining point guard still out there.
19. Orlando: Terrence Jones. It’s a near certainty that the Magic will need to find a replacement for Howard sooner than later. They won’t come close this far into the draft but Jones, though a bit of a tweener, at least brings defense and rebounding.
20. Denver: Kendall Marshall. The Nuggets are set at point guard with Ty Lawson but are likely to lose Andre Miller to free agency. Marshall, like Anthony Carter, is the type of solid decision-maker George Karl likes in his backups. Doesn’t hurt that he’s a Carolina guy.
21. Boston: Andrew Nicholson. Even if Kevin Garnett returns for another run, the Celts need some serious help in the frontcourt. Nicholson, at 6-10, 235, can play near the basket or step out on offense. He also defends aggressively.
22. Boston: Royce White. The Celts are rumored to have made a promise to the versatile small forward, but even if they haven’t he’s still the logical pick here. Jared Sullinger is another possibility, although he probably isn’t capable of defending the way Doc Rivers demands.
23. Atlanta: Jared Sullinger. The free fall has to stop somewhere. Medical red flags and all, Sullinger is a low-risk bargain this far down in the draft.
24. Cleveland: Quincy Miller. Like Sullinger, the 6-10 forward from Baylor would likely go much higher were it not for lingering medical concerns. If his knee is healthy, he could be the steal of the draft.
25. Memphis: Tony Wroten. He’s a little wild and he comes with off-court concerns, but as a 6-6 point guard, Wroten could offer the Grizzlies a very different look behind starter Mike Conley.
26. Indiana: Fab Melo. He’s a big-time project, but he’ll have time to develop playing behind All-Star Roy Hibbert.
27. Miami: Will Barton. The athletic swingman from Memphis is a capable scorer who rebounds exceptionally well for his size.
28. Oklahoma City: Evan Fournier. The young 6-7 forward could probably use another season or two in the French first division. The Thunder can wait.
29. Chicago: Tyshawn Talor. The Bulls could use help at the two, so Doron Lamb might be a possibility here, but the underrated Taylor is agood option should the team fail to resign CJ Watson as Derrick Rose’s backup.
30. Golden State: Festus Ezeli. The 6-11 center from Nigeria posted modest numbers at Vanderbilt but reminds some of former lottery pick Ekpe Udoh, whom the Warriors traded to Milwaukee last year.