At least the Orlando Magic had a chance to meet Shawn Bradley.
The 7-foot-6 center continued his tour of prospective workplaces on Wednesday in Orlando. He took a physical examination but declined to work out for officials of the team trying to decide how to use the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft."It's not as much as you'd like him to do, but it's all we're going to get," Orlando general manager Pat Williams said.
Michigan's Chris Webber, Kentucky's Jamal Mashburn and Memphis State's Anfernee Hardaway have worked out for the Magic in recent weeks. But Bradley, who played just one season at Brigham Young, spent the past two years on a church mission in Australia and doesn't feel he's ready to perform at his best.
"Myself, my agent and my family feel the best situation for me is to just go interview," Bradley said. "If I was to go and play in the condition I'm in now, what would I gain? I wouldn't be able to show what kind of basketball player I am in the kind of shape I'm in."
The Magic have the first pick in next Wednesday's draft and reportedly are leaning toward selecting the 6-9 Webber because they already have rookie of the year Shaquille O'Neal at center. The Philadelphia 76ers have the second pick and have said they'll take Bradley if he's available.
Bradley averaged 14.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.21 blocked shots in his only college season. He said he learned a lot during his stay in Australia but only played basketball once a week.
"I definitely understand the situation coaches, owners and administrators are in," Bradley said. "Here's a guy with a fairly successful freshman year who takes two years off, then comes back and he's trying to play in the NBA. If I was in their position, I'd be asking the same questions. But I know what I can do and I know what I want to become. I know the skills are there. It's just going to take some time to oil them up and get the rust out."
While the Magic aren't thrilled that Bradley declined to work out, player personnel director John Gabriel apparently has seen enough film to draw this conclusion: Bradley has the skills to become an NBA star at either center or power forward.
"I would not be afraid to pick him No. 1," Gabriel said. "He's a big man with some of the skills of a small forward. Of course, he's not going to play small forward, but he can do a lot of different things - shoot, put the ball on the floor. . . . His defensive mindset is to try to block every shot. With him and Shaquille, we'd have a chance to do some things, defensively, that haven't been done before."
Williams appeared less enthusiastic about the prospect of forming a twin towers of Bradley and O'Neal. However, he is sold on the 21-year-old center's talent.
"I wouldn't say he'd be a gamble for us, or anybody else. He will play in the league. The question is how good he will become," Williams said. "There's never been a case like this in NBA history where a player will go this high with such an incomplete piece of information. We're in uncharted waters. There has never been a player of these proportions with basketball ability."