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2016 NBA Mock Draft: Consensus Ver 5.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts will do a 2016 NBA Mock Draft. Here are their fifth mocks.

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Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2016 NBA Draft. Included is an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts and information from the pre-draft process.


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Alex’s Notebook: This week, one of my big switches was having Skal Labissiere going No. 9 to the Toronto Raptors. Previously, I had Henry Ellenson in that spot, with Labissiere going No. 11 to the Orlando Magic. That could still happen – as the Magic do like Labissiere – but it just really seems like Skal is gaining momentum and could very seriously go top 10.

This weekend, Labissiere held his Relativity Sports Pro Day at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. While the workout was limited to one-on-zero, he displayed his skill set and raised eyebrows. Twenty-three teams sent representatives to the Pro Day, and nearly 60 NBA personnel people were in the building.

Labissiere made an effort to show off his NBA range, doing plenty of drills that had him shooting from the three-point line and even a bit behind it. He shot the ball well, and also showed off some nice moves like a step-back and turn-around.

His athleticism and length are off the charts. Quite frankly, this is the kind of setting where Labissiere thrives because there isn’t competition. There’s nobody to take advantage of his thin frame and he isn’t in game situations.

While it seems crazy to draft a guy top 10 based on just seeing him thrive in that environment, it happens all the time in the NBA and it’s because teams are in love with potential. Skal has a very, very high ceiling, which can erase a lot of concerns in draft rooms.

Here is video of Labissiere’s workout, so you can see for yourself how he looked (and listen to him explain his development, Kentucky experience, weight issues and more):

Joel’s Notebook: Fun fact: Steve Kyler loves to call me on the drive home from draft workouts to tell me how things are going. After covering back-to-back pro days in Florida this past week, he told me something interesting he kept hearing from people he’d speak to at these events: “After the top two players in the draft, the rest of the first round is a dart board.” There’s nothing crazy, for example, about Marquese Chriss going in the top five. There’s nothing crazy about Skal Labissiere landing in the top 10. There’s nothing crazy about anybody going anywhere, and I’ve already got a feeling that there will be five or more players selected in the first round that completely blow us out of the water, so I tried to include a few of those guys in this mock.

All that said, knowing that literally anything could happen in this draft, it shouldn’t surprise any of us when certain players rise and others drop for seemingly no reason. In this mock, I pushed Chriss up to No. 6 since so many other mocks seem to have him on the rise and there’s almost always that one guy every year who does exactly that. Labissiere got a jump this week, too, mostly because there will come a point when teams are judging ceiling over floor, and Labissiere still does boast one of the highest ceilings in this draft class.

On the other hand, there’s Jaylen Brown, who fell all the way to Milwaukee at No. 10, which could very well be a godsend for both parties involved. Jakob Poeltl has tumbled a bit for the second week in a row for me, which I can’t really explain, and Zhou Qi almost fell out of the first round completely this week.

It’s hard to say how this will play out, but we know enough at this point to know that the draft will be exciting and unpredictable – as it should be.

Moke’s Notebook: It’s funny how sometimes it seems that we are running around in circles. Based on some intel I’ve gotten over the past week, my top 10 looks radically different from last week.

I remember entering this season, Ben Simmons was the name that popped up most frequently when people mentioned prospects with “game-changing” abilities, and as the season progressed, Brandon Ingram seemed to close that gap to the point where some people expected him to supplant Simmons as the top pick (and some did have that for a while, actually). However, as the weeks have progressed, all indications are that the Sixers are leaning toward Simmons and will eventually select him – and it’s difficult to second-guess that decision.

Where this draft is really getting interesting, though, is at number three. Ingram and Simmons will go first and second, in some order, but what the Celtics do at number three will have a domino effect across the remainder of the first round. Over the past week, I’ve been getting conflicting information about Dragan Bender. If a team, such as the Celtics, takes Bender at number three, they are selecting him more because of what they believe he can be. Buddy Hield and Kris Dunn, on the other hand, are perceived as known quantities. And while neither may seem to be a fit in Boston due to their roster, remember: we once had the same thoughts of Stephen Curry, whom the Warriors selected despite having Monta Ellis and a few other guards on that roster. All that being said, most mocks have the Celtics taking a big man, but with Evan Turner expected to command a hefty payday this summer, I would not at all be surprised to see them opt for a wing. In that regard, Jaylen Brown makes a lot of sense, especially considering the dearth of small forwards in the draft. So I have Brown going to the Celtics at number three with that selection causing a ripple effect in my top 10. With a few of these placements, I put players where I thought they made the most sense.

For the Suns specifically, Bender might make some sense considering the young talents the roster already has. It may make sense to swing for a homerun, especially with Devin Booker and Alex Len having shown some signs last season. The remainder of my top 10 just seems to fit for a number of reasons.

In the lottery, there seems to be a consensus as to who the top 15 players selected will be, but there is nothing close to a consensus with the latter half of the draft. That is especially true as it relates to some of the international prospects. I believe that DeAndre Bembry, Demetrius Jackson, Juan Hernangomez and Diamond Stone will each provide incredible value taken in the latter half of the draft. Where this entire thing will blow up is an instance when a team that has one pick decides to take a flier on an international prospect. Imagine the outcome if the Pistons opted to select either Petr Cornelie or Thon Maker? Imagine.

The good news, though, is that we are nearing consensus in some key areas of the draft. And all I keep hearing from those in the know is that there is incredible depth here in the class of 2016.

Steve’s Notebook:  Over the past weekend, two Pro Days were held in South Florida – one in Miami with Elite Skills Training and the other at IMG Academy with Relativity Sports. There were 20 NBA teams present for the first workout in Miami and 23 at the IMG workout.

While the lottery-level guys showed what you would expect, there were a few surprises and a lot of rumor mongering going on among the executives.

The biggest surprise was Juan Hernangomez. While he did not play against anyone, he did put his skills on display and he was impressive. His range all the way around the NBA three-point line was stellar. His aggressiveness around the basket in pad-contact drills was excellent. In talking with his agents, Hernangomez does not have a buyout in his contract so he’s free to come to a NBA team right away if that’s the best plan. Hernangomez also said he’d be fine staying in Europe another year or two if that’s the best plan. His skill and flexible attitude may make him hard to pass up in a fairly flat draft class. He has also been listed in various places as a small forward, which is not at all accurate. He’ll be a power forward in the NBA.

As for draft scuttle, there is a sense that Vanderbilt’s Wade Baldwin may already have a draft commitment. More than one team questioned the validity of the “concussion” that kept Baldwin out of his Pro Day in Chicago. At this point in the process, everything is over analyzed so take that for what it’s worth.

The L.A. Clippers have told a few agents that they are trying to move up in the first round and have been trying to get higher rated players in for workouts. It’s unclear exactly how the Clippers would move up or what they even have to offer, but as things sit today the Clippers are drafting at 25. The Nuggets have the No. 15 pick, while Boston has the No. 16 pick – both are second selections for those respective teams, so those are worth watching. The Clippers are believed to be looking for a small forward, but that’s the thinnest position in this draft class.

One name that took a beating this weekend was Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Dragan Bender. Long considered the third-best prospect in the draft, more and more teams said they would not consider him with their pick, pointing to all kinds of issues either with his style of play, his overall skill set or simply a lack of belief that Bender would be a special NBA talent. If there is one guy in the mix at the top of the board who could have a long draft night, it might be Bender. This could be a case of trying to lower the expectation bar or the typical driving down of draft value, but the sense from executives in both gyms was that Bender may not be the guy in the top five.

Here are six guys on the way up:

  • Oklahoma’s Isaiah Cousins. Cousins had some strong workouts and could be firmly in the mix in the 35-45 range.
  • Oregon’s Elgin Cook. He just had pins removed from a broken finger and is ready to start NBA workouts. He was impressive in his Pro Day and a few scouts said they thought he was viable in the 45-55 range and were eager to get him in their gym.
  • Maryland’s Diamond Stone. Not only has he changed his body pretty aggressively, he has been doing well in workouts. Stone could be a sneaky play at the bottom of the first, but more than a few executives said he’s more likely to be among the next wave drafted in the second round in the 30s.
  • Washington’s Marquese Chriss. There are some who say Chriss may be the highest upside guy on the board. The Celtics are said to be very high on Chriss and that’s creating some interest and buzz from others. Chriss could legitimately go as high as 3 to the Celtics.
  • Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere. His Pro Day wasn’t much more than a glorified shooting drill, but NBA executives in the stands still admitted there was too much talent there for him not to get drafted really high. The question for Skal is where? The Orlando Magic met with Skal minutes after his workout ended and most pundits believe 11 to the Magic is his floor. The problem with that is Skal is scheduled to meet with virtually everyone from the second pick down to eight and is not likely to workout for anyone outside that range.  There are two spots his camp sees as promising: Four to the Phoenix Suns (who are literally playing with house money because of what’s on their roster now) and seven to the Denver Nuggets (who were on hand for the Pro Day as well). In the end, 11 might be the most realistic spot for Skal, but for now his camp believes there is enough interest in the top eight that he makes this list.
  • Syracuse’s Malachi Richardson. While he did not make my top 30, his name continues to generate a lot of positive buzz, so much so it’s going to be hard to keep him out of the first round going forward. The problem is no one seems to have a feel for where he lands. Some mock drafts have him going 15 to the Nuggets or to the Hawks at 24, while some have him sliding into the early second round. Richardson is clearly worth watching and his stock seems to be on the rise.
Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 18 seasons. Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last nine years. Moke Hamilton is a Senior Writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last six years. Joel Brigham is a Senior NBA Writer and has covered the NBA for the last 11 years.

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Mock Drafts

2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 7.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2018 NBA Draft.

Basketball Insiders

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Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2018 NBA Draft. Included is an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process.

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 | 6.0

Benny’s Notebook: Fine, I’ll relent: Luka Dončić, sadly, finally drops in my mock. There’s too much noise to ignore it any longer. While I’m willing to admit that there’s plenty to like about DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, and Jaren Jackson Jr., I still believe that Dončić will be the best player in this class. If he does fall to Memphis, how great of a fit would that be? Even if there are doubts about Dončić’s ceiling, putting his NBA-ready game in alongside Mike Conley and Marc Gasol would be an instant victory for the Grizzlies. At just 19 years old, Dončić has already won most of what Europe had to offer — he’d be an excellent catch for Memphis after their nightmare season.

I suppose there is only one mock draft left before the real deal and I really thought I would have moved Michael Porter Jr. up by now. His volatility could shake up the entire lottery — but his workout in Chicago went extremely well, apparently. Out of all the names in the mix for a top seven selection, Porter Jr. remains the one with most intrigue — expect lots more to come here over the next week. Finally, the New York Knicks are doing their due diligence ahead of their pick at No. 9 overall, working out Lonnie Walker, Robert Williams, Aaron Holiday, Kevin Knox, Miles Bridges and others as of late. With Kristaps Porzingis out for the foreseeable future, this is certainly an important selection for New York.

Moke’s Notebook: We’ve had quite a bit of action the past week, with the Suns seemingly going out of their way to give us some drama at the top of the draft. I’ve been told by a few people in the know that they’ve settled on DeAndre Ayton as their guy, but that they’re doing their “due diligence” on other prospects, most notably Jaren Jackson, Jr. and Trae Young. I can’t see the Suns passing on Ayton for either of those guys, so I’ve still got him tabbed as my top overall pick.

Jackson’s stock has risen quite dramatically, and whether the Kings hold on to their pick or trade back (which they’ve been rumored to be considering), I could see him and Bagley III swapping places as the second and third players drafted. Luka Doncic probably won’t slip past the Grizzlies at four, but it’s worth noting that stock of Michael Porter, Jr. has risen incredibly high. There was an ESPN report out of New York this past week that’s consistent with what I’ve been saying since the Combine: Porter is the dream scenario for the Knicks. I could see them engaging the Hawks on a trade involving the 9th pick and Frank Ntilikina for the 3rd pick. That wouldn’t surprise me in the least, though I’m sure the Knicks would prefer to include a player like Trey Burke.

As we get to the mid-to-late lottery, I won’t lie, there’s quite a bit of guessing. The main reason why is because most teams covet the same players, and to a large extent, the teams in the latter half of the lottery will be forced to settle on the second of third ranked prospects on their big board. Two guys who might get drafted much higher than we’re projecting, though, are Lonnie Walker and Jalen Brunson.

After this week, we’ve got one more shot at a solid mock draft, as we are just eight days away from the real thing. Hopefully, we’ll get some additional intel.

Jesse’s Notebook: While workouts continue and players like Luka Dončić commit to staying in the draft, there are still a wide range of scenarios that can play out. The Sacramento Kings have scouted Dončić but they reportedly have strong interest in other players and could look to trade down to extract more value in the draft. There seem to be several viable trade scenarios that could shake up the board and throw all mock drafts off the rails. The Clippers, armed with the 12th and 13th picks, could push to trade up in the draft and acquire a top-10 player. However, it looks like Los Angeles will have some notable talent to choose from when they are on the board.

There is still no consensus on the overall health of Michael Porter Jr. It appears that he continues to round into shape but the long-term concern is something teams have to consider. There seems to be little risk that Porter Jr. drops out of the top-10 at this point, but it’s tough to pin down where he may ultimately land. If Porter Jr. overcomes his health issues, the team that selects him could end up with the best player from this draft class.

Elie Okobo has generated some positive momentum and seems likely to be selected in the first round. Okobo has potential on both ends of the floor and could be a surprisingly effective player if he ends up with a team that puts particular emphasis in building up his overall skill set.

Steve’s Notebook: As things are starting to take some shape at the top of the 2018 NBA Draft, there are some things to watch in the final week of the draft process. It seems the Phoenix Suns are locked in on DeAndre Ayton. The Suns have been leveraging the power of the top overall pick to get looks at the other top names in the class, but the overwhelming belief in NBA circles and what’s coming out of Phoenix is Ayton is the guy.

The Sacramento Kings at number two still seems fairly wide open. The prevailing thought in NBA circles is the Kings have serious eyes for Michael Porter Jr., however that’s far from locked in according to sources close to the process. The shortlist in Sacramento seems to be Porter, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marvin Bagley III, and Luka Dončić. The Kings don’t seem to be locked in on Dončić, but sources close to the team say he is still very much in the conversation.

The Hawks at number three get interesting because they still seem to be open to trading their pick, but only if they can net Trae Young in the process and gain more assets, either additional picks or young guys on rookie scale contracts. There is a sense that the Hawks are trying to move Dennis Schröder around the draft. It’s unclear if there is any real value to have for the Hawks, but they seem more than open to it. It is not out of the question the Hawks take Young at three, so that could be an interesting draft domino.

Some other draft scuttle is that UCLA guard Aaron Holiday may have a promise in the mid-teens; word is he has been invited to the NBA Draft Greenroom.

Kentucky forward Kevin Knox could be the Cavaliers’ guy at number eight. His floor is expected to the be the Clippers at 12.

The Lakers, Clippers, and Celtics have all explored move-up options, but at this point, it does not seem like any of them are willing to pay a hefty premium to move up, but they are situations to watch as the draft unfolds, especially if players start to fall in a very unexpected sequence.

There will be one more Mock Draft on Wednesday of next week, so stay tuned.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 19 years. Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last eight years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last four years. Benny Nadeau is an NBA Writer and just finished his first season covering the NBA for Basketball Insiders.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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VIDEO: Kevin Knox – The Preparation Pro Day

Kentucky’s Kevin Knox talks about working out for NBA teams, showcasing his skills at The Preparation Pro Day in Miami and more.

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Kentucky’s Kevin Knox talks about working out for NBA teams, showcasing his skills at The Preparation Pro Day in Miami and more.

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Mock Drafts

2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 6.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2018 NBA Draft.

Basketball Insiders

Published

on

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2018 NBA Draft. Included is an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process.

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0

Benny’s Notebook: It’s June! Draft month is finally upon us, which means the player pool is set and boards are starting to solidify. For now, my top half of the draft remains unchanged — but if there’s a late riser left, look no further than Lonnie Walker. He’s been impressive throughout the draft process thus far, so, needless to say, this is not an unpopular opinion. Walker only averaged 11.5 points and 1.9 assists as a freshman at the University of Miami, but the NBA-worthy skillset is apparent. His uber-athletic and explosive first step makes Walker difficult to defend and his 6-foot-4, 200-pound fame only adds to that scoring prowess. At just 19 years old, Walker could become one of the best guards in the draft, which is high praise considering the others around him.

After that, there’s a pair of highly-touted European prospects worth checking in on, Džanan Musa and Élie Okobo — both of whom seem destined for late first-round selections. Although Musa has slipped a little of late, the 6-foot-9 Bosnian sharpshooter could be an absolute force with the right coaching. His defense certainly needs work, but Musa can already score in a whole variety of ways. Imagine getting him under the tutorship of Brad Stevens or Gregg Popovich — then the possibilities are truly endless.

Okobo, on the other hand, has been a recent riser and it’s not hard to see why. In France, he averaged 12.9 points and 4.8 assists on 39.4 percent from three-point range. Last summer, Okobo won a bronze medal at the FIBA Europe U-20 Championship and seems poised to become a regular on the senior team soon enough. Oh, and he also dropped 44 points on 8-for-11 from deep in a postseason game against AS Monaco in May. At 20 years old, Okobo looks like he might be just scratching the surface — so which team will take the plunge?

Moke’s Notebook: Things are starting to get very, very interesting. Although my lottery picks are mostly the same as they were last week, there’s a growing sense among those with whom I’ve spoken that Trae Young has a shot at going as high as third to the Atlanta Hawks. If the Orlando Magic do indeed lose out on Young (I’ve been told he’s in consideration for them) then I wouldn’t be surprised to see them land on either Kevin Knox (whom they had in for a workout this week) or Michael Porter, Jr. There’s still a fair amount of reservation surrounding Porter, though, but the general consensus seems to be that he won’t get past the Knicks at ninth. The Knicks are said to be looking for the either Young or Porter to fall to them, and if not, then Knox and Colin Sexton would be the next two on their depth chart. Either way, it’s still pretty early in the process, as most of the top prospects are just beginning to do their individual workouts.

While I do think this draft is rich with talent, from a depth standpoint, the general thought is that there are five players who have star potential, another five who will be solid role players and quite a few diamonds in the rough. Nobody knows who those diamonds are yet, which is why you’ll see a fair amount of volatility once you get outside of the lottery.

It’s looking like Keita Bates-Diop and Donte DiVicenzo will be available in the 20s, and I think either would present good value at those spots.

If Wendell Carter falls to the Clippers at 12th (definitely possible if the Mavericks take Mo Bamba), they might have cause for celebration.

This is how I see things stacking up based on what I’ve heard. Let’s see where we are next week.

Jesse’s Notebook: There is still no consensus clarity on what the Sacramento Kings will do with the second overall pick but I now think there’s a solid chance they pass on Luka Dončić. If Dončić falls to No. 4, expect the Memphis Grizzlies to take him. The Grizzlies want someone who can step out onto an NBA court and contribute immediately, and that’s Dončić.

We are starting to get some more clarity on how things may shake out after the Lottery picks but things could change a lot from now until draft night. This draft has a lot depth in terms of potential role players, but it doesn’t feature many prospects outside of the Lottery who have star potential. Thus, team need and fit is likely going to be a determining factor more than overall talent once we get outside of the top-14 picks (or around that area). So if a couple of teams decide to reach on a player or two, it could throw off the entire board and throw off projections.

The most interesting group of players to keep an eye on are the wing players. There is plenty of depth at this position and teams could start zoning in on their preferred wing players as they come in for workouts.

Steve’s Notebook: With less than two weeks remaining until NBA teams must lock in on their picks, things are going to get real from here. Most of the marquee players are either scheduled to visit or have started to visit NBA teams, and many are holding their own “controlled” Pro-Days. Teams are often mixed on the value of a Pro-Day, mainly because they are typically run by the player’s personal trainers and are designed to showcase not only the player, but the trainer too.

Marquee level players also rarely workout against anyone. So, what do you really learn from a guy running drills he runs every day against a chair or thin air? Hence the draft myth of how good a player did against the chair or worse yet, when he fails to perform and loses to the proverbial chair.

A good agent will tell you the worst thing you can do is get a silly contact-related injury prior to the draft. NBA Draft history is littered with high-level prospects who get a significant injury while training and can’t workout for teams at the level or frequency they would need to solidify a higher draft position.

The other part of the Pro-Day is using the audience a marquee player draws from NBA scouts and executives to showcase lesser draft prospects that may be represented by the same agent or have the same trainer. This can be an added value for those players that might not have gotten a top tier decision maker to really look at them.

Once the Pro-Day cycle ends things will get serious. For some players, this is when they will start asking for firm commitments to establish a “floor,” or the lowest point in the draft a player might go. If a player doesn’t have a floor going into next week, they may be in for a long draft night.

It is not uncommon for players at the top of the board to agree to a workout a little outside their projected range to ensure they have a floor they are comfortable with. So, look for the odd workout or team meeting to surface next week as players try to lock in a floor.

Specific to this draft, Michael Porter Jr.’s Pro-Day seems to be the key to who he will ultimately share medical with and workout out for. The narrative around his situation is once teams see him and are ready to commit, they will make their decision on who to visit and who they will share medical information with.

On the surface, all of this sounds too calculated, but in reality, there is a business behind the draft. For the players and agents involved, there is a desire to work the process to the best of their ability, because at the end of the draft where you get drafted, usually isn’t nearly as important as the fit of the situations. Searching for the right fit is why so many agents and players work the process to ensure they land in the best situation to have a long and fruitful career.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 19 years. Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last eight years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last four years. Benny Nadeau is an NBA Writer and has just finished his first season covering the NBA for Basketball Insiders.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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