Furious action is expected when the NBA draft commences. What are some thing for fans to watch out for when the clock starts?
Cleveland bypasses Andrew Wiggins and trades back
For the second year in a row, everything regarding the NBA draft rests on what the Cleveland Cavaliers plan to do with the #1 pick. Last year they surprised everybody when they took Anthony Bennett. This time there are three possible avenues expected. The favorite is for them to take Kansas standout Andrew Wiggins, but Jabari Parker is also in the conversation. However, expect the Cavs to seek out a trade instead, moving back a few spaces to collect additional assets and giving up Wiggins to another suitor.
Joel Embiid drops out of the top five
Nerlens Noel was considered the top pick for most of last off-season until injury concerns caused him to plummet down the board on draft night. Suddenly a repeat affair is set. Rated as the best prospect in the class, Joel Embiid watched his future become clouded as he underwent surgery to repair stress fractures in his foot. This after suffering a back ailment during the NCAA tournament. Visions of Greg Oden undoubtedly have begun to scare teams about his long-term potential. Despite so much skill, it’s becoming almost a certainty that Embiid drops out of the top five picks.
Celtics replace Rajon Rondo with Marcus Smart
Rajon Rondo is the last of the old guard who made the Boston Celtics contenders the previous decade. Now the All-Star point guard is on borrowed time, viewed as a premium trade asset. However, Boston cannot and will not do that until they have proper insurance to cover his loss. That is why the team should be considered favorites to swipe Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart. Not only is he big and strong for a point guard, he is an offensive weapon who can penetrate, rebound, play multiple positions and is a leader on the court. With him inhouse, the Celtics would be free to entertain Rondo deals.
Bulls move up to grab Nik Stauskas
One thing is clear. The Chicago Bulls have their fingers dipped in a lot honey pots. As the NBA draft goes though, nearly every source agrees they are looking to move up the board for shooting help. Many believe their target is Creighton standout Doug McDermott, but it’s more likely they have eyes for Michigan guard Nik Stauskas. The Canadian native is widely considered the best pure shooter in the draft. At 6’7″ he has the ideal height for a 2-guard and has remarkable touch and range. On top of that he’s smart handling the ball, giving the Bulls another guy who can distribute. Adding him would permit Chicago to move Jimmy Butler back to his natural position at small forward.
Heat aggressively seek a point guard
The demise of Mario Chalmers really hurt the Miami Heat in the Finals against San Antonio. Not having a solid point guard often forced LeBron James to focus on handling the ball rather than scoring and defending. It is for that reason that Pat Riley has every incentive to sell out in this NBA draft to seek out a point guard. The problem is the Heat sit at the 26th pick. A number of options are out there including Tyler Ennis of Syracuse, Zach Levine of UCLA and perhaps the ideal target Shabazz Napier of Connecticut. It will be a challenge for Miami to climb up the board, but don’t expect them not to try.