ESPN's coverage of the 2003 National Basketball Association draft begins.
ESPN's draft analyst Jay Bilas rips Rick Rickert for leaving the
ESPN's draft moderator Mike Tirico teases the final picks -
(Imagine now if you're Kirk Penney, and you are sitting in front of your television set. Waiting. Your phone has yet to ring, your name has yet to be called. And, now, after four-plus hours, you must sit through another agonizing three minutes waiting for the announcement of the final two selections of the draft.
(That entails sitting through a SportsCenter promo, a Coors Light ad, a Ford
ad -"Have you looked at Ford lately"- that was not intended to be a
referendum on the Milwaukee Bucks first round selection, a Latin Fury boxing
promo featuring none other than
Or an eternity later.
ESPN's draft coverage resumes. At No. 57, the Dallas Mavericks have just taken
center Xue Yugyan of the Hong Kong Flying Dragons. That leaves one pick on the
board. Tirico interviews
Stop the presses.
Cuban, looking gym rat fashionable in a black sleeveless T-shirt, gets into a number of topics, not the least of which is the value of identifying worthy free agents. He contends, "It's easier to get kids that fell through (the draft) and they're better off not getting picked (because) they can pick their team and get some better money."
Cuban adds that the Mavericks will sign a couple of free agents and give them a chance to play in the summer league.
It sure sounded like Cuban was talking to Penney.
The draft ends with
And, of course, you can add Kirk Penney to that list.
When the phone did finally ring Thursday, it was not Cuban and the
Mavericks, but it was the Minnesota Timberwolves. Penney, the smooth-stroking
shooting guard from the
When Penney was asked Wednesday if he had a good or bad feeling about the draft, he responded, "I don't have an opinion either way, because I feel like it's going to work out no matter what happens. If I don't get drafted, I'll be a free agent. You have to believe in what you can do as a player and believe you can make a team somewhere."
When quizzed on the NBA players that he has enjoyed watching over the years, Penney cited the Mavericks' Steve Nash for his use of runners and the Timberwolves' Wally Szczerbiak for his ability to spot up and come off screens.
In preparation for the draft, Penney did his homework, explaining, "You try and educate yourself as much as you possibly can about every (team's) situation. I have a good knowledge of most of the situations and what they need."
Besides Rickert, a logical and politically correct hometown pick, the
Timberwolves added raw potential to their roster with the addition of 6-foot-9,
205-pound Ndudi Ebi, a 19-year-old high school player from
The Timberwolves, like most NBA teams, could use some shooters. Their
starting guards last season were Troy Hudson, a sixth-year player from Southern
Illinois, and Anthony Peeler, an 11th year player from Missouri. Most of their
3-point shooting was handled by Hudson (.365 percent), Peeler (.410) and
Szczerbiak (.421), a fourth-year player from
Their backup guards were Kendall Gill, a 13-year player from
Two other guards, Terrell Brandon and Igor Rakocevic, were on the injured list.
Given the defensive coverage that megastar Kevin Garnett routinely draws,
Two years ago, Penney put on a shooting clinic at Williams Arena, scoring 30
points, 27 in the final 15 minutes of
When it was suggested to Penney that the league is desperate for that kind of shooting - given the ugliness of the NBA finals - he agreed, "Obviously that's the word around that shooters are needed and there are a lot of teams that need them. You're watching (the finals) and saying, 'Aw, c'mon give me a shot.'"
It would appear now that he will get that shot as a free agent with the Timberwolves. "It's nice to know where you're going and what you're doing," he has said. Still, he knows that he could be in this situation again, wondering what's next, what's ahead. "It's part of sports," he said, without any reservations or regrets.
A new chapter begins with a new challenge for Kirk Penney.
Published: 9:49 AM