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Bulls and Heat call the opening shots in NBA Draft
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Memphis point guard Derrick Rose and Kansas State forward Michael Beasley will be two of the top prospects at Thursday's NBA Draft, where the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat call the opening shots.

NBA Draft prospect Jerryd Bayless responds to questions during a news interview Wednesday, June 25, 2008 in New York. [Agencies]

NBA Draft prospect Jerryd Bayless responds to questions during a news interview Wednesday, June 25, 2008 in New York. [Agencies]

Most pundits have Rose headed to his hometown of Chicago to play with the Bulls, who struck lottery gold when their 1.7 percent chance at winning the top pick came through.

Beasley, however, is in limbo as the Heat have privately worked out guards O.J. Mayo of University of Southern California, and Jerryd Bayless of Arizona with the thought of matching a young guard with their backcourt ace Dwyane Wade.

Miami may be exploring a trade to add a player of value and move down the draft order where they can still snag a guard.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the third pick, followed by Seattle SuperSonics, Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks.

Some of the other draft candidates question that strategy.

"Michael Beasley is the best player in the draft," Rose told reporters on Wednesday. "He's a great player and nobody can take that away from him. We'll have to see who picks who."

Beasley averaged 26.2 points per game and led major U.S. colleges in rebounding by hauling down an average 12.4 boards per game for Kansas State.

Rose, who averaged 14.9 points and 4.7 assists per game in leading Memphis to a runner-up showing in the NCAA Tournament, looks ready to step right in as a court general in a league that puts a premium these days on the point guard position.

Two apparent knocks on the 19-year-old Beasley are that he is shorter than his listed 6-10 (2.08 m), and that he lacks the maturity of some other candidates.

"I'm a kid. I don't want to grow up too fast," Beasley told reporters at media day for the top prospects. "I want to live my life. People think I'm immature. But I'm not 25.

"I want to have fun. I bring energy, fun times," he said about what he will contribute besides his obvious hoop skills.

Other prospects expected to be tabbed by NBA clubs include centers Brook Lopez of Stanford and Kevin Love of UCLA.

The top European player chosen is expected to be forward Danilo Gallinari from Italy. "Other European players with NBA experience told me I just have to be myself, just play like I play in Europe and I won't have too many problems," he said.

Love, whose father Stan played in the NBA with the Lakers and Washington Bullets and whose uncle Mike Love was a member of the Beach Boys rock group, is another Beasley fan.

"If you need a great power forward who is going to put up monster numbers for you, pick Mike," said Love, who has competed in tournaments against Beasley since they were in seventh grade. "It's just about what your needs are."

"Is he a goof ball? I think he's a good locker room guy, he's a good guy to have around. He competes.

"He's a tremendous talent. I would take my risk on him."

Order of selections in the first round of Thursday's NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden:

1 Chicago

2 Miami

3 Minnesota

4 Seattle

5 Memphis

6 New York

7 LA Clippers

8 Milwaukee

9 Charlotte

10 New Jersey

11 Indiana

12 Sacramento

13 Portland

14 Golden State

15 Phoenix (from Atlanta)

16 Philadelphia

17 Toronto

18 Washington

19 Cleveland

20 Denver

21 New Jersey (from Dallas)

22 Orlando

23 Utah

24 Seattle (from Phoenix)

25 Houston

26 San Antonio

27 New Orleans

28 Memphis (from LA Lakers)

29 Detroit

30 Boston

(Agencies via China Daily June 26, 2008)

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