Editor's Note: Originally published on The Dream Shake, modified for SB Nation Houston.
Yes, I saw Toy Story 3. Fantastic movie - what a great ending to the trilogy. The scene with Woody and Andy and Bonnie playing at the end in he front yard? Priceless. It's my bet for animated film of the year and should be a contender for Best Picture. Two thumbs way up.
What does this have to do with anything? I haven't the slightest clue. Apparently it was a giant topic amongst media folks on Wednesday at the NBA Draft's media session, as it was heavily discussed with the draft prospects in the spotlight. You couldn't leave the room without hearing it at least five times. Perhaps it was an attempt to bring out the lighter side in the players. That's fine, I guess, but if we're going for "interesting" questions... that's it? That's all you've got. Toy Story 3.
Well, okay then.
(And now for something completely different!)
Anyway, I had the chance to sit down and chat briefly with six prospects who are being considered amongst the fourteen lottery teams. Over the course of the hour-long session, I was able to talk to Xavier Henry, Cole Aldrich, Ed Davis, Patrick Patterson, Ekpe Udoh and Paul George. Each of these players has been tabbed as a top-ten pick at some point, and each of them has the potential to land in Houston.
Click on the player names to hear the audio.
TM: Is there one player that you model your game after in the NBA right now?
XH: I really don't try to model my game after him, but I like Joe Johnson's game. I like how he does his thing. I like how he's quiet, he doesn't try to get into any jawing matches - nothing like that. He just goes out, takes care of his business - if the game's over, game's over.
TM: Do you envision yourself more as a role player on a team? Or do you think you can be a good shooting guard or small forward for any club?
XH: Yeah, I think I can be a good starting shooting guard or small forward because I can do it all. I can take it to the rim. I can shoot it. I play the game as hard as I can. And I do it efficiently. That's big to do - to do stuff with efficiency. So, I try to do my best to do that and not get too wild on the court, and I do a good job of it.
TM: Do you have a certain player that you might model your game after who is in the NBA right now?
CA: I wouldn't say I model my game after a certain particular person, but I try and take bits and parts from everybody's games. With Dwight Howard, he's got a really nice running hook. He's kind of a defensive-oriented guy, but, you know, learning from him... a lot of people say I'm like a Joel Przybilla. Which, in my mind, is a good thing. 'Cause he's been in the league for what, eleven years? So to have that career that he had would be awesome.
TM: Do you envision yourself wanting to go to a team where A) You might not play as much but they're set enough to where they might be winning more games, or B) Do you want to go to a team where you might make a bigger impact, but [that team] may not get the guaranteed wins.
CA: To me, personally, it doesn't really bother me whether I'm on a really good team -- say, the Celtics -- or being on a lower team. It doesn't really matter to me. I just want to go out there and play ball. It's been since we lost in the tournament that I've really gone out and played 5 on 5 full court, so I really want to get back out there.
TM: Just how hectic has this process been for you since Day 1? You know, getting all this stuff done for all these teams and trying to make yourself look as good as you can?
ED: From day one it wasn't that bad. I was working out in California just trying to get my wrist back to 100%. But starting last Tuesday, I worked out for the Clippers. Then I went to Utah on Thursday, went to Indiana on Sunday, Detroit on Monday and came here Tuesday. It's just been a lot of back-to-back and it got hectic that last week, but before it was all a smooth process.
TM: Do you envision yourself going in the top ten? Or if you were to fall, would that be a big deal to you? How would you react to that?
ED: Not at all. Everything happens for a reason. If I'm in a good situation, then I'm happy.
TM: Is there a particular player that you might like to play with depending on which team you go to? Someone who really sticks out?
ED: It would be an honor to play with some of the great point guards, as in Chris Paul, Deron Williams and guys on that caliber. It'd just be fun.
TM: Is there a certain player that you might model your game after?
ED: Chris Bosh. I really like him - he's a lefty, 6'11, can put it on the floor, can shoot it... I watch his game a lot.
TM: There is a chance you could end up in Houston. Have you talked to Chuck Hayes at all, former Wildcat obviously. Do you guys kept in touch at all for any advice particularly?
PP: We've spoken before in the past, but we haven't talked that much during this process. He told me just to enjoy the process and he said he loves Houston. He rarely wants to leave except when he has to go see family, so he's told me and informed me that Houston is a great place to live.
TM: Speaking of Houston, Carl Landry used to play there. Some people have compared you to him. Do you think you could end up being like him, in that you're a very versatile power forward who can play center. Do you agree with that comparison?
PP: It's a possibility. I'm not that certain if I can play center, but as far as being a face-up four man and someone who can put the ball on the floor and spot up and shoot it... I'm definitely trying to improve my game in every single area and not be just limited to one spot.
TM: There's a chance you could land in Houston. How would you think it would be to stay in Texas?
EU: That would be great! Baylor fans all around going crazy.
TM: How do you think you could fit in with the Rockets? They already have a couple guys there, but they need some size. You could maybe bulk up and play some center, but do you think you'd be a power forward at first?
EU: Yes, sir. No question. With Yao Ming - I think he's set to come back this year. I think I'd be able to come in and really learn from him and Scola.
TM: Is there a certain player that you model your game after?
EU: Kevin Garnett. Just watching him - his footwork is great, really.
TM: Would you prefer going to a team where maybe you'd win more but not necessarily see as much playing time on? Or would you want to go somewhere where you could make an immediate impact and get yourself some good name recognition?
EU: Boy... both. I don't really know how to answer that one. If it's a winning situation, I'm still working hard and learning. If it's a losing team, I'm working hard and getting my chance to play.
TM: Paul do you feel like you have a chip on your shoulder, just coming from a smaller school and being late to the party in terms of people talking about you with the bigger names up there?
PG: Yeah, I think I'm the one that's got the advantage coming into workouts. I do play with a chip on my shoulder. For me to get a chance to play against those guys and show what I'm made of really helps me out.
TM: Do you model your game after a certain player in the NBA right now?
PG: I really study and watch Tracy McGrady closely. Same body type height-wise. He was kind of in the same situation I was. So, I want to tone my game towards him.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Houston and to The Dream Shake for more draft coverage entering Thursday night's event.