Weaver on NBA first-round draft bubble

FORECASTS VARY when it comes to Cougar Kyle Weaver's place in next month's NBA draft. And the difference between high and low could add up to millions of guaranteed dollars. The Sporting News' Mike Decourcy is one of the most bullish on the 6-6 guard, and says workouts in front of scouts -- which start next week -- should solidify Weaver's status.

Decourcy predicted this week that Weaver will be going to the Pistons in the first round, with the 29th pick.

"A big-time defender who can play two or three positions, Weaver will win a draft position in workouts," says Decourcy.

Weaver and 61 other hopefuls have been invited to the NBA's pre-draft camp in Orlando next week. It's three days of testing, drills and scrimmages in front of all the people that matter most.

The stars of the upcoming draft, the Michael Beasleys and O.J. Mayos of the world, won't participate but the rest of the legitimate contenders will be there. WSU's Derrick Low isn't currently on the invite list, but is tabbed as an alternate should a spot open up.

Starting June 2, teams can invite players in for individual workouts. Agents for Weaver and Low are in the process of lining up auditions for them.

The draft will be held June 26 in New York.

IN ADDITION TO DECOURCY at The Sporting News, the most enthusatic Weaver prognosticators are found at Hoopsworld.com. The site's newest projections, unveiled Wednesday, have Weaver going to the Cavaliers at No. 19 overall.

Another popular site, NBAdraft.net, for the longest time had Weaver going to the Celtics with the 30th (and final) pick of he first round, but has nudged him down a spot. They now see him being the first pick of the second round, going to the Timberwolves with the 31st overall selection.

That one-spot difference may not seem like a big deal -– unless of course you're the player in question. Under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, every first-round draftee gets a two-year, guaranteed contract with team options for years three and four and a right-of-first-refusal in year five. Second-round picks aren't guaranteed anything.

The two-year guarantee pretty much gives a player lifetime financial security, regardless of whether he ever plays a single minute of NBA ball. Weaver, as a low first-round pick, would collectively make between $1.6 million and $1.8 million over two years. Again, that's guaranteed. And if he makes enough of an impression to have the team exercise options in years three and four, the guaranteed take in those two seasons together would be somewhere between $2.6 million and $3 million.

Not all pundits see Weaver going in or near the first round.

DraftExpress.com says he needs to step up his game on offense and slots him for the 46th pick, to the Jazz.

Frank Burlison, Scout.com's senior basketball columnist and an award-winning Long Beach Press-Telegram scribe, is newly out with his first-round forecast and doesn't even include Weaver on his bubble list. InsideHoops.com also updated it's first-round projections this week and didn't include Weaver or put him on the first-round bubble.

Shaun Siegel of CollegeHoopsNet.com tabs Weaver for the Bobcats in the second round, at No. 38 overall.

Says Siegel, "Weaver's an odd player to project. With the Cougars, not only was he not really the PG, but he wasn't even the two … he was actually the third man in a three-guard offense. Still, since he's not a particularly good shooter and plays smaller than his 6-6 size suggests, he will only make it in the pros if he can handle the point. Right now, defense is his biggest plus skill as he uses his length and foot-speed to cause problems for college point and shooting guards. Especially now that NBA teams are utilizing more zone defenses, Weaver can be effective on the perimeter. Offensively, I just don't ever see him contributing. Though his handle and vision is actually pretty solid, his productivity will never even surpass Renaldo Balkman's."

Jeff Fox at FantasyPlayers.com also projects Weaver for the early- to mid- second round. But he's more positive than Siegel, writing: "While he doesn't project to be a NBA star, Weaver could turn out to be a very solid pro at both ends of the floor. Definitely would be worth a team using their second round pick on him and seeing if he can develop into a solid bench player at both guard positions."

NOTABLE NOTES:
• Decourcy predicts that nine Pac-10 players will be drafted in the first round. He sees three of them –- Arizona's Jerryd Bayless, USC's O.J. Mayo and Stanford's Brook Lopez –- going third, fourth and fifth. Burlison also has those three going in those spots, but with Lopez at No. 3. He also goes out on a limb by picking Robin Lopez to be taken at No. 6.

• If Weaver is drafted in the first round he'll become the second Cougar in modern history to go that high. Don Collins, a wingman for George Raveling, was the No. 18 overall pick in 1980 by Atlanta. No Cougar has been drafted at all since 1996, when Mark Hendrickson –- now a starting pitcher for the Florida Marlins –- was the 31st overall pick (second round) by the Philadelphia 76ers.

• Weaver is believed to be the first student-athlete in Pac-10 history to have at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 450 assists, 175 steals and 75 blocked shots in a career.


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