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NBA AM: 2014 NBA Draft Mock Lottery

Where will Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker go? Check out our 2014 NBA Draft mock lottery … Paul George, Roy Hibbert leading Pacers to promised land?

Alex Kennedy

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Miami HEAT big man Chris Bosh addressed the media at All-Star Weekend.

2014 NBA Draft Mock Lottery

After talking to a number of league sources in recent days, I decided to put together a mock lottery for the 2014 NBA Draft. A lot will change between now and draft night, but here is an early look at the top of the draft:

A few notes:

  • Executives remain infatuated with Joel Embiid and his upside. More and more executives believe that he’ll be the No. 1 overall pick. However, it really depends on which team wins the lottery. If it’s a team that already has a long-term answer at center, Embiid may go slightly lower than expected.
  • Noah Vonleh is someone to watch throughout the pre-draft process. The 18-year-old is 6’10 with a 7’4 wingspan and executives rave about his potential and his ability to score inside and out.
  • You probably recognize the name Dario Saric from last year’s pre-draft process, when he received some hype before ultimately pulling his name out. This year, he’ll be a lottery pick.
  • Jabari Parker slips to No. 5 because I’ve talked a few executives who are concerned that he’ll be a tweener in the NBA.

For more coverage of the 2014 NBA Draft, check out our NBA Draft section.

Basketball Insiders launched our first digital magazine last week, an in-depth 2014 NBA Trade Deadline Guide. The issue can be purchased on Turn-Page, which allows you to view the magazine on your desktop, tablet and smart phone. It can also be purchased through the app store for Apple devices and Android devices. Here are some excerpts from the magazine’s features.

George, Hibbert May Lead Pacers to Promised Land

At the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Roy Hibbert pulled Paul George aside and made a prediction. The teammates were in town for different reasons – Hibbert was making the first All-Star appearance of his career while George was participating in the Rising Stars Challenge and Slam Dunk Contest – but Hibbert predicted that they would be soon be perennial All-Star teammates.

At the time, it was far from a sure thing. George had averaged just 7.8 points as a rookie and he was still extremely raw as a sophomore. But Hibbert, who is four years older than George, saw just how hard the Fresno State product worked on his game and was blown away by his potential.

Hibbert, of course, was right. George would go on to make the All-Star team in his third year and this season, the both Indiana Pacers represented the Eastern Conference at All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. When George starts talking about how everyone doubted him, Hibbert likes to chime in and remind him that he had at least one ardent supporter and believer early on.

“If you ask him who was the first person to say the sky is the limit [for him], he’ll tell you that I was the one,” Hibbert told me last year. “I’ll take all of the credit for that. I remember being with him in Orlando last year for the All-Star break and I told him the sky is the limit. I told him that he’s going to be an All-Star and he’s going to be great. He’s been putting in the work and he deserves everything.”

Hibbert is excited about how George has developed, and he believes he still has room for more growth. He’s starting to do the little things that separate good players from great ones, such as changing his nutrition, spending time in the weight room and having a consistent sleep schedule among other things.

“He has grown up a lot, on and off the court,” Hibbert said of George. “Last year, he used to eat pizza for breakfast on game days. Now, he is taking his health and nutrition [seriously] and getting sleep. He comes in early and gets some shots before games. He took it one step further than what Reggie [Miller] did – he lifts before every game and then sometimes lifts after games at home too. He is developing into a nice pro.”

Now, George and Hibbert are the Pacers’ catalysts. The team is built around them – two players who are capable of dominating on both ends of the floor and strive to do just that. George is filling the stat sheet on a nightly basis and averaging 22.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals. Hibbert is one of the NBA’s best interior presences, averaging 11.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and a league-best 2.5 blocks. Both players excel in head coach Frank Vogel’s system and put their team’s success over their own. They were honored to make their second All-Star appearance.

“I appreciate the coaches seeing my body of work,” Hibbert said. “I just try to play the game the right way and I’m happy I got picked by the coaches. … It’s great. I’m happy to be here.  I was nervous, thinking that I wasn’t going to get in, but team success helped me get in and my body of work.  I’m happy the coaches [chose me], and I’m happy for Paul to be able to go out there and start.”

“I’m still wide eyed,” George said. “Even with this being my second one, there is still a lot of stuff that is new to me.  I just learned from the first experience that the main thing is having fun.  It’s a real loose and fun environment here, and I’m happy to share it with Coach Vogel and Roy.”

While everyone is talking about Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James in the Most Valuable Player race, Hibbert believes his young teammate should hoist the trophy.

“Paul [is the MVP],” Hibbert said of his teammate. “I mean, we’re the number one team in the East. He plays both sides of the floor.  To me, it’s not just about scoring; he distributes the ball and he does literally everything.  … I’d say it goes Paul, Kevin, LeBron.”

Hibbert’s improvement in recent years has been remarkable as well. He’s the frontrunner for this season’s Defensive Player of the Year award because few players can affect a game defensively like Hibbert. Not only does he swat away nearly three shots per game, he alters many others and scares the opposition from going in the paint. Rather than just relying on his size and natural abilities, Hibbert studies what other players do on offense so that he has a better chance of shutting them down.

“It’s knowing tendencies,” Hibbert said. “I watch a lot of film on guys to see how they shoot the ball.  I try not to jump off my feet to contest shots around the basket and definitely not further away from the basket.  So knowing tendencies [is helpful]. When they pump, I put my hands up, crowd them and then they’re probably going to pass it back out.”

Now that the Pacers are once again an elite team with likeable stars, fans are responding in Indiana.

“There is a good vibe,” Hibbert said. “Before, people never used to come to the games, but were slowly getting them back.  We have had a couple sellouts during the week as opposed to just the weekend.”

Both Hibbert and George have come a long way since the center made that prediction in Orlando. They’re now two-time All-Stars signed to max contracts on the best team in the East. All that’s left is getting past the Miami HEAT and winning a title. This could be their year.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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Mock Drafts

2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Final

For the last eight weeks, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts have offered up their views on the 2018 NBA Draft, here is their Final 60-pick Consensus.

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For the last eight weeks, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts have offered up their views on the 2018 NBA Draft, here is their Final Consensus, with notebooks to follow:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 | 6.0 | 7.0

Benny’s Notebook: It’s finally here — whew.

This is our last set of mocks and mine is mostly the same over the first 30 picks. One week after dropping Luka Dončić down, I’m moving him back up to No. 2 with Sacramento. Obviously, Marvin Bagley III appears to be the popular favorite here, but Dončić has just continued to impress during his never-ending season with Real Madrid. Truthfully, the Kings can’t really go wrong here — but Dončić is the type of do-it-all prospect that the franchise could really use moving forward. For now, the jury is out on Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield, and Skal Labissiere but pairing Dončić with De’Aaron Fox feels incredibly shrewd.

Elsewhere, Jerome Robinson has been a late riser and will head into the draft night as a hot topic. The Hawks own three first round picks and walking away with Bagley, Robinson, and Grayson Allen would be a no-doubt success. They’ll have plenty of intriguing options in each slot, so watching how they mix-and-match their selections by position and current roster talent may be one of the draft’s most interesting narratives.

Another team with picks to shuffle around are the Brooklyn Nets — current holders of No. 29, No. 40 and No. 45. While reports have indicated that the Nets would like to move up, it’s tough to see them giving up any future picks after finally leaving the Billy King era behind. Some combination of those picks could see them snag a higher selection, but nominally at best. No matter what picks they end up with, look for general manager Sean Marks to swing for the fences as usual.

Ultimately, a full 60-pick mock will come with some second-round guesswork — but I feel confident about those names included here. As I mentioned last weekend, international players will almost certainly get selected, and I’ve included five of them here: Rodions Kurucs, Isaac Bonga, Issuf Sanon, Arnoldas Kulboka and Tryggvi Hlinason. Embrace the overseas journey!

Moke’s Notebook: We’ve finally arrived at the final mock draft, and there are a few poorly-kept secrets that we can relay with some confidence on the day before the 2018 NBA Draft. First, unless there is a late change of heart, the Phoenix Suns will draft DeAndre Ayton. We have a similar amount of certainty in the Sacramento Kings’ love with Marvin Bagley III, but the draft will basically have two completely separate permutations based on what the Atlanta Hawks opt to do with the third pick. The word on the street is that the Hawks like Trae Young, but are reluctant to take the risk on him at third with so many “can’t miss” prospects available in the top five. Aside from the Hawks infatuation with Young, we also have been led to believe that both the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies covet Luka Doncic. Considering the fact that the Grizzlies have been rumored to be open to trading back, though, it suggests that there isn’t really one prospect for whom they’re head over heels, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Grizzlies actually walk away with Mo Bamba. That second permutation of the draft will likely come to fruition if the Mavs do leapfrog the Grizzlies for Doncic after executing a deal with the Hawks…

Aside from that drama right at the top of the draft, we’ve known for several weeks that the Knicks covet Michael Porter, Jr., and I’ve been led to believe that he and Kevin Knox are the two prospects most likely to wind up as Knicks with Collin Sexton sitting at third on the depth chart.

What’s important to understand about the pre-draft process and the mock drafts that we do is that the entire monthlong process between the Combine and the draft is a period of discovery where teams (as well as us) are consistently getting new information that changes our predictions. And at the end of the day, that’s all these are—predictions. So while we do have a high degree of certainty with respect to which prospects are coveted by which team, one player being drafted much higher than initially thought (keep an eye on Kevin Huerter and Wendell Carter, each of whom have lottery-busting potential) or one slipping (I’ve heard that Trae Young or Michael Porter could fall to the backend of the lottery) could literally change everything.

At the end of the day, the Clippers are going to walk away with a player that would have gone top 10 in a lesser-talented class. Aaron Holiday, Keita Bates-Diop and Moritz Wagner are the mid-to-late first rounders that I think will have fruitless careers.

It all ends tomorrow night, and I can’t wait.

Jesse’s Notebook: The 2018 NBA Draft is almost here! We enter the draft with a lot of open questions and some uncertainty. As of yesterday, the Atlanta Hawks are now leaning toward drafting Luka Dončić if he is still on the board at No. 3. Some reports suggest that Michael Porter Jr. has a generally good medical outlook, though that does not seem to be a consensus opinion. Porter Jr. is in play to go No. 2 overall but also could slip a bit as well. I still have the sense that big trades could throw off the projections and create significant chaos. I am keeping an eye on the Los Angeles Clippers, who have the 12th and 13th overall picks. They could try to trade up for a top prospect (they have been linked to Luka Dončić in some reporting), but could ultimately stand pat. The Clippers should be positioned to add two talented players that can bring added youth and talent to positions of need.

The Kawhi Leonard situation continues to be a factor that certain teams have to consider in every move they make. Leonard reportedly met with Gregg Popovich last night and seemingly has not changed his insistence in being dealt out of San Antonio. It’s not clear this will have any impact on how teams go about their business on draft night, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Steve’s Notebook: With draft day upon us, there seem to be some answers at the top of the draft board, and a lot more questions in the middle, so let’s start with the top overall pick to the Phoenix Suns. Sources close to the process said last night that the overwhelming belief is the Suns will draft DeAndre Ayton number one. This isn’t a huge shock, but it seems it would take something earth-shattering for him not to be the top pick.

The Sacramento Kings at number two are still a little bit of wild card; the word is that several members of the Kings front office believe strongly that Michael Porter Jr will be an elite player in the NBA and that while he has questions surrounding his back, its worth the risk. It’s unclear if that will win out in the room, but Porter Jr is still firmly in the mix in Sacramento at number two. The conventional wisdom says the Kings will pass on the risk, which puts their next guy on the board in Marvin Bagley III in a Kings draft hat on Thursday.

The Atlanta Hawks seem to be tipping their hand that Euro sensation Luka Dončić is moving into the top spot on their draft board with the Hawks having done some aggressive background on Luka recently and may be ready to take him number three overall. The Hawks are said to be equally high on Bagley and Michigan State big man Jaren Jackson Jr. The Hawks seem to have moved off Trae Young despite weeks of signals that he was their guy. The Hawks are still considered a team to watch in trade down situations, but it’s looking more likely they will use the third pick, and Dončić could be their guy if Bagley is off the board at number two.

The fourth pick is said to be very much in play with the Grizzlies continuing to explore deals to shed contract money (Chandler Parsons) and picking up rookie scale talent or picks later in the draft. The Grizzlies struggled to get top level players to come in for visits and workouts, and many believe they’d rather trade down than draft a player that may not want to be there. If the Grizzlies keep the pick, the belief is it will be Jackson, although his camp has reportedly refused to provide medical information to the Grizzlies and that’s a huge red flag.

The Dallas Mavericks at five have a few options with both Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba being the likely targets. There is a scenario in which Dallas grabs not only the Grizzlies pick at four but retains their own pick at five and takes on Parson who they have a history with. The Mavericks have explored deals all over the place to leverage their existing cap room to obtain talent and assets.

The Orlando Magic at six seem to be all over the place; there were reports that the Magic may have Collin Sexton higher on their board than fan favorite Trae Young, which would line up with commentary that started around the team in early April. The Magic have kept their process somewhat quiet, but there is a real chance the Magic grab Sexton at six if the draft plays out as currently scripted.

The Chicago Bulls at seven could catch a lot of interesting options including both Porter and Bamba. The Bulls were the first team to see Porter and their medical staff did the physical that was circulated to teams. While the upside on Porter is very real, there isn’t a sense the Bulls are ready to pull the trigger despite what Bulls fans may want so that it could be an interesting scenario to watch.

The Cleveland Cavaliers at eight could find themselves with a lot to choose from. The Cavaliers had a last-minute clandestine workout with Trae Young this week and have been rumored to be very high on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If the draft plays out as scripted the Cavs could have their choice of Young, Porter or Bamba and that would be a massive win for the Cavs.

On the trade front league source have pegged Orlando, Charlotte, Dallas, and Miami as teams to watch on the trade front, all of them seem to be willing to make big moves if deals present themselves.

There were reports last night that the San Antonio Spurs and disgruntled star Kawhi Leonard were able to meet face to face. There still is not a sense that the Spurs will pull the trigger on a trade, expect that to take shape today if they decide to open the phones on Leonard.

The Basketball Insider NBA Draft Diary is up: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/2018-nba-draft-diary/ – it will have all the latest news, rumors and trades as they are happening, so it you want to see everything going on in one place, bookmark the Diary and hit it early and often.

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 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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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.

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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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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

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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

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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