Siva sits as Blazers conclude workouts

Seattle product, Louisville guard injured before visit

By Candace Buckner, Columbian staff writer

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TUALATIN, Ore. — After more than three weeks, 12 competitive talent showcases and 58 eager prospects entering the doors to the practice facility, the Portland Trail Blazers concluded their pre-draft workouts on Saturday morning.

For the final time, the team evaluated six players in preparation for the NBA Draft on June 27. The Blazers hold a lottery pick at the 10th spot as well as three second-round selections at Nos. 39, 40 and 45.

Although the final sextet did not include a player projected as a top 14 lottery pick, the roster featured the flexible big man Mike Muscala from a mid-major program, Bucknell, as well as point guard Peyton Siva from the NCAA champion Louisville Cardinals.

However, Siva — a Seattle native — tweaked his ankle before arriving in Portland and sat out the Saturday workout as a precaution.

"I didn't want to push too hard this close to draft time," Siva explained. "I felt good the whole night … (but) I didn't feel 100 percent. I felt around 80 or so, but I'd rather do these workouts at 100 percent than not at all."

Siva said the slight injury happened as he was working out in his hometown with former Blazers Jamal Crawford and Brandon Roy. Both players also hail from Seattle.

"It definitely sucks that I couldn't come out here and work out," Siva said, "but hopefully I've left a lasting impression playing college ball and interviewing."

Point taken.

As one of the few players available for the draft with a well-established résumé, Siva is no enigma.

Siva, who turns 23 in October, spent four years at Louisville. As a senior, Siva averaged 10 points a game and steadied the Cardinal offense with a 2.15 assist-to-turnover ratio. Also, Siva helped extend Louisville's season until the NCAA title game where he scored 18 points, assisted on five makes and grabbed six rebounds in the win over Michigan.

Still, mock drafts have projected Siva as a late second-round pick. Those predictions, however, do not match Siva's personal views.

"I always feel that I'm the best point guard (in the draft), but I just have to continue to go out there and prove it," said Siva, who has logged 11 workouts. "Mock drafts are pretty much somebody's opinion that they hear. So I just pretty much go on — I talk to my agent, I talk to teams. Teams give me good feedback, and that's pretty much what I go off on."

The 6-foot-11 Muscala also visited the Blazers as a possible option to fulfill a second-round slot. Although Muscala played four years at Bucknell primarily as a center, he views himself as a stretch-four power forward in the NBA — a belief that Muscala has cemented through his tour of 13 teams.

"I had a (previous) workout where I kind of knew the team liked me a lot going into it and I tried to go in and play like somebody I wasn't," said Muscala, who averaged 18.7 points on 51 percent shooting and grabbed 8.2 rebounds a game as a senior. "I tried to really force things and after that I realized just to go out and play my game. If they like you, they like you. If they don't, they don't."

Elijah Johnson, a four-year guard from Kansas, returned for his second workout. Johnson and Oregon's E.J. Singler were the only players who the Blazers invited back.

Also, forward Chris Evans (Kent State), forward Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State) and guard Michael Snaer (Florida State) participated in the final workout.