By Peter F. Stringer
June 19, 2007
WALTHAM - Second-rounders and potential summer leaguers were the focus of Tuesday's draft workouts at The Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint.
Boise State's Coby Karl, son of Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, was the biggest name in attendance, and while he joked that he saw himself as a lottery pick, he understands that he may be on the outside looking in after the June 28 draft. But he seems confident that one way or the other, he'll find his way to the NBA.
"Coby's a very good player. He shoots and passes the ball well," Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said of Karl after Tuesday's workout. "I think Coby will be drafted. I think he's one of the smartest players in this whole draft."
Karl grew up around the NBA game, and he said he knew what to expect from draft workouts, whereas other players might be caught off-guard. He also knows that breaking into the league won't be easy considering his "on the bubble" status, NBA pedigree or not.
"I'm never going to stop working. I feel no matter what happens in the draft, or this year, I'm going to be in the NBA at some point," Karl said after working out against Sun Yue (back for a second day), Indiana's Roderick Wilmont and Cal State Fullerton's Bobby Brown. "It's not cockiness, but I just feel confident that I have the ability, the knowledge and the work ethic."
Given his well-documented fight with thyroid caner, he's certainly not one to give up on a challenge.
Meanwhile, Tony Allen and Wally Szczerbiak were among the roster players who did some work before and after the workout sessions. Allen continues to progress nicely with his left knee rehabilitation, while Szczerbiak took the court for the first time Tuesday after an injury-riddled season thanks to multiple ankle incidents.
"Tony's coming along well. We're being cautious with him, but he's passing all of the tests," said Ainge, who reconfirmed that Allen will be ready for training camp. "In this day and age, people come back pretty quickly. All along we felt like there was a really good chance that he would be ready for training camp, and he's even progressed faster than we had hoped. I would say by July or early August he'll be playing basketball."
Of Szczerbiak, Ainge said, "He looked a little bit rusty, but he's moving well."
Danny Ainge met with a handful of reporters after Tuesday's workout, and the topic on everyone's mind was a well-publicized trade rumor involving the Celtics. While Ainge held steadfast in his resolve not to comment on trade rumors, he did talk about how the NBA trade game works and how some rumors crop up.
As the draft draws closer, Ainge expects to hear more rumors.
"Traditionally speaking, things happen closer to deadlines in this business, but not always," Ainge said. "Every year there's a lot of talk and speculation. Everybody wants to have the first story and the first scoop, and as a result of that, you get a lot of fantasy writing."