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May 07, 2014

Wednesday night report: Dolphins draft and Heat-Nets chatter; UM commit speaks out; Marlins feat

Wednesday night news, views and notes:

### As much as the Dolphins like Zach Martin and Taylor Lewan – they’ve been telling people that for weeks – it’s becoming increasingly clear how costly it would be to move up in the draft, if you believe Mike Mayock’s prediction tonight that the clear-cut top four offensive tackles will go in the first 10 picks.

Mayock, within the past hour, predicted Lewan will go sixth to Atlanta and Martin ninth to Buffalo. Moving up from 19th into the top 10 would take the 19th pick, a second-day pick and potentially more.

The Dolphins have explored trading up --- and trading down, for that matter --- but the safer move would seemingly be to either: 1) Trade down, acquire an extra pick and select an offensive tackle in the late first round (Ju’Wuan James, Morgan Moses, perhaps Joel Bitonio – who can play guard or tackle); OR

2) Stand pat and select Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier or one of the top three cornerbacks at No. 19 if any of them surprisingly falls, and then address offensive tackle at No. 50 or trade up a bit in the second round to do it.

Mayock doesn’t expect the cornerbacks to fall; he has Justin Gilbert going eighth, Darqueeze Denard 10th and Kyle Fuller 15th.

The Dolphins told one NFL official that their preference is to pick offensive line help early and a receiver later on, along with augmenting a few other positions, such as linebacker and potentially tight end, cornerback and safety.

Though they haven’t ruled out taking a receiver early, the view here is that would be foolish when Miami already has the division’s best unit (Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and Rishard Matthews are a very good top four.)

And remember, the Dolphins also need a guard, with Stanford’s David Yankey among those that Miami has expressed interest in.

### Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey has been eyeing small-school prospects, hoping to find diamonds in the rough.

Some of the names to remember: The Dolphins summoned three to team headquarters who they like (Marist defensive end Terence Fede, North Dakota State offensive tackle Billy Turner and Liberty cornerback Walt Aikens) and traveled out of town for private workouts and meetings with Hampton 6-3 cornerback Courtney Bridget, Monmouth cornerback Tevrin Brandon (dismissed from Connecticut in 2012 for third-degree assault) and tight end teammate Michael McCafferty, Concordia-St. Paul end Zach Moore, Delaware tackle Erle Ladson and California (Pennsylvania) safety Dewey McDonald. They also like Lane College receiver Greg Moore and Minnesota State-Mankato end Chris Schaudt.

### Please see the last post for a look at what 13 draft analysts would do if they were making Miami's pick. 


Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce went silent on Wednesday, much like their performance in Game 1 against the Heat a night earlier.

Whereas Garnett and Pierce declined to speak to reporters a day after Garnett’s first scoreless playoff game of his life and a generally non-impactful eight-point game by Pierce, several other Nets had plenty to say in the wake of their 107-86 setback:

### Swingman Joe Johnson wondered whether the Nets’ 4-0 season series edge against the Heat gave them a false sense of security.

“We knew we were playing the champs and it wasn’t going to be easy,” he said. “I’m not sure everybody understood that. They definitely have a switch. We have to understand the value of each and every position and I’m not sure we did that.”

### The Nets were mortified by Miami’s 52-28 edge in point paints.

Point guard Deron Williams cited a myriad of missteps on a night Miami shot 56.8 percent from the field: “Switching when we weren’t supposed to be switching. The help side defense wasn’t there. Got beat on cuts. Little things that if you do them over and over, they definitely cost you.”

### Offensively, what irked the Nets was that they often settled for jumpers instead of attacking. “We just can’t play one-on-one against this team,” Johnson said.

Johnson scored 17 on 7 for 11 shooting, but said Shane Battier was “a pest” defending him, not only by trying to deny him the ball, “but [trying] to make it as tough as possible when I do catch it.”

Battier returned the compliment on Wednesday, calling Johnson “as efficient a scorer as anybody in this league.”

### Williams’ bottom line? “We can’t sit around and just shoot jump shots against this team. We have to get to the free throw line. I’m going to try to push the ball in transition and try to initiate the offense quickly. When you let them get their defense set, it’s tough to score on them.”

### Williams said he needs to have a clear advantage over Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole.

Williams had 17 points (including long threes just before the second- and third-quarter buzzers) in 29 minutes but also had as many turnovers (three) as assists. Chalmers and Cole also combined for three turnovers and three assists, as well as 18 points, in a combined 50 minutes.

### Chris Bosh has said Johnson will be the answer to a trivia question one day, as the player who emerged with the richest contract from the LeBron James-led, star-studded 2010 free agent class.

“I like to fly under the radar,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I don’t care about the accolades.”

### Chris Andersen (knee contusion) insisted today that he will play in Game 2.


### A day after three-star Georgia-based defensive tackle Quentez Johnson de-committed from UM, four-star Orlando-based running back Dexter Williams said he’s considering other options but has not de-committed from UM.

“I’m just really open,” he told rivals.com, before adding that “right now” Miami “is the place for me.” Then he added "your mind could change." USC and Notre Dame are among others in the mix.

Shortly after Johnson de-committed, four-star UM oral commitment/defensive end Scott Patchan tweeted: “If you commit to a school, you should be faithful to that school 100 percent. I’m tired of hearing about kids decommitting. Don’t commit then.”

### There are about 150 pitchers in the starting rotations of Major League teams, and four of the Marlins’ five rank in the top 33 in ERA among all starters, which is pretty impressive.

Miami is the only team with three in the top 25: Jose Fernandez (fourth, 1.74), Tom Koehler (ninth, 1.99), Henderson Alvarez (25th, 2.62). And Nathan Eovaldi is 33rd at 2.78.

After today’s game, I spoke to several Mets who raved about the Marlins, who swept them to move into a first place tie this afternoon. Opposing players don’t believe what we’re seeing is a fluke.

### Former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy has been contacted by the Golden State Warriors about their coaching job and has interest, Yahoo! reported tonight. Van Gundy would be missed on Dan Le Batard’s ESPN Radio show, but the job is the perfect fit for him: A good team, not far from where he grew up.

Other reports have said the Warriors’ first choice is TNT’s Steve Kerr, who also is being pursued by the Knicks.  

### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz