By JOSH NEWMAN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Murray State point guard Isaiah Canaan injured his right ankle on Tuesday while working out for the Atlanta Hawks. With the NBA Draft coming in one week, the projected first-round selection doesn’t know what his workout situation is moving forward, nor does he seem too concerned about it.
“It’s getting better, it’ll probably have me out a couple of days,” Canaan told a small group of reporters at PNY Center on Thursday afternoon. “Probably won’t be back until next week, but it’s getting better. I’m sure my agent (Mark Bartelstein) is talking to some people. I’ll know when I get back to Chicago tonight, but I’m just trying to get healthy as fast as I can. I’ll be out a couple of days and we’ll go from there.”
Currently slotted as the No. 28 overall pick by DraftExpress, Canaan said he caught a slick spot or sweat spot on the floor while trying to make a defensive play. The injury was severe enough that he sat out of a scheduled workout with the Nets on Wednesday, but did fly in to be interviewed by members of the front office, including assistant General Manager Bobby Marks.
“I’m just trying to make sure I make a good impression on whatever team that I’m sent to workout with and come next Thursday, I’m just looking forward to working out with a good team where I’ll be able to help,” Canaan said.
Canaan, a two-time Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and a consensus All-American second-team selection as a junior in 2012, has worked out for a dozen teams, including the Knicks on June 5. Both the Knicks and Nets should be in the market for a point guard, which made Canaan’s presence at PNY on Thursday all the more intriguing. The Nets pick 22nd overall with the Knicks two picks later at No. 24.
While Deron Williams is the obvious starter at the point for the Nets, they may be in the market for a backup with C.J. Watson set to decline his $1.1 million player option and hit the open market. The Knicks had new Nets head coach Jason Kidd retire on June 3 and may lose Pablo Prigioni to free agency, necessitating a need for another point guard.
“I feel like I can do a lot of things for a lot of teams and to be able to play under Jason Kidd and alongside D-Will, as a point guard, you couldn’t ask to be in a better situation,” Canaan said. “I feel like I can help a team in a majority of ways. ”Whoever calls me, I’m looking forward to it. I worked out with the Knicks, I was supposed to workout with Brooklyn and they both love me, so I guess it’s a game of who’s able to get to me first. Whatever team decides to choose me, I’ll be happy to help that team.”
As a senior Canaan averaged a team-best 21.8 points per game for the 21-10 Racers, who fell in overtime, 70-68, in the OVC title game. In that contest, Canaan scored 22 points to go along with 10 assists and nine rebounds in 44 minutes.