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NBA PM: Another Look At The NBA Draft Lottery

Another run at the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery… Kansas big man Joel Embiid has a stress fracture in his back… Breaking down where things stand with Phil Jackson and the Knicks.

Steve Kyler

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Let’s Look At The Lottery:  With most NBA teams having less than 20 games remaining on their schedule, the playoffs are coming into focus for some franchises, while for the others the 2014 NBA Draft and the upcoming NCAA Tournament will take center stage. Here is a mock draft for the projected lottery portion of the draft, based on standings as of games played through 3/10/14:


The Traded Lottery Picks:  Here are the current traded pick scenarios effecting the lottery portion of the draft. Keep in mind that all non-playoff teams make up the NBA Draft lottery pool with the actual random selection for the draft lottery order scheduled for May 20.

#9 = Charlotte Bobcats: Receives Detroit Pistons 2014 first-round pick (1-8 protected in 2014, top 1 protected in 2015, unprotected in 2016) via Ben Gordon trade on 6/26/12.

#10 = Denver Nuggets: Receives New York Knicks 2014 first-round pick via Carmelo Anthony trade on 02/22/11.

#11 = Philadelphia 76ers: Receives New Orleans Pelicans 2014 first-round pick (1-5 protected in 2014-2020. 2020 second-round pick afterwards) via Jrue Holiday trade on 7/10/13.

#12 = Orlando Magic: Receives less favorable of Denver Nuggets/New York Knicks 2014 first-round pick via Dwight Howard trade on 8/10/12.

»In Related: The Complete List of Draft Picks Owed .

The Good News, Bad News On Joel Embiid:  Yesterday in this space we covered the reports that Kansas big man Joel Embiid, who has missed the last two Jayhawk games, was seeking a second opinion on his bothersome back. The second opinion revealed what Kansas already knew: Embiid has a stress fracture in his back.

The typical recovery time on this kind of injury is anywhere from 4-6 weeks, which Kansas coach Bill Self said Embiid is about halfway through.

In a statement released by the team, Self ruled Embiid out of this week’s Big 12 Tournament and that Embiid was an extreme long-shot for the opening week of the March Madness Tournament.

“This weekend is out,” Self said. “Next weekend, we feel like is a long shot, but the doctors are hopeful that if Joel works hard in rehab and progresses that it is possible that he could play in the later rounds of the NCAA Tournament if our team is fortunate enough to advance.”

Embiid sought a second opinion at the urging of his family as there was clearly concern about the full scope and recovery of this kind of injury.

Embiid is considered one of the top prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft, and while there has been speculation that he might forego the draft this year, sources close to the situation surrounding Embiid indicated that staying in school for another year would be a last resort move if he cannot get healthy.

»In Related:The Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects powered by DraftExpress.

The most common form of back stress fractures in athletes is called lumbar spondylolysis and is caused by overuse and repetitive bending. Rest and muscular rehab is the usual course of treatment and most stress reactions clear up over time.

In severe cases treatment can last up to 12 weeks, so Embiid’s status is still very much up in the air.

A quick text message survey of a handful of NBA executives yesterday revealed that Embiid’s draft stock likely wouldn’t take a huge hit, mainly because most NBA teams viewed him as a long-term project player to begin with. A couple of executives commented that Embiid likely would have to undergo a lot more medical testing in the draft process as a result of not only his back issues, but his problematic knee. Those executives said that was happening regardless given concerns over his overall durability.

If it were deemed Embiid would require surgery at any point, he might see the floor come out from under him much like Boston’s Jared Sullinger saw in 2012, but that does not seem to be the case with this injury.

If the injury is genuinely lumbar spondylolysis, the likely impact on the draft is low. However, if Embiid is unable to play in the tournament, he could get overshadowed by his peers at the top of the draft board such as teammate Andrew Wiggins, Duke’s Jabari Parker or Kentucky’s Julius Randle.

Most of the teams projected to draft in the top five have seen Kansas live more than a handful of times, though, so that might not as big an impact, but it’s clear that doubt about Embiid as the top overall pick grows if he can not play.

Fun With Frank:  The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola offered up an interesting update on the Phil Jackson to the New York Knicks situation. Here are some of the bullet points:

“It is entirely conceivable that Jackson is leveraging the Knicks to score a gig with the Los Angeles Lakers, where his long-time girlfriend Jeanie Buss holds a management position. It is also entirely conceivable that the Hall of Fame coach is doing his due diligence to determine whether he can work with Dolan and risk tarnishing his pristine legacy with a failed marriage in New York.”

More than one league source cautioned that while the Knicks are way out in front on Phil Jackson publicly, they are not the only team with Jackson’s ear on a possible front office job. The Detroit Pistons are said to be very much in the mix and the Cleveland Cavaliers have at least reached out, although their interest is somewhat muddied at this point. Jackson did some unpaid consulting for Pistons owner Tom Gores last summer, and the two have become somewhat close according to sources. Current Pistons president Joe Dumars is in the final year of his contract and sources close to the situation say it is unlikely that Dumars remains with the Pistons beyond this season.

As much as everyone tries to link Jackson back to the Lakers, sources near that situation say Jackson returning to oversee the rebuild is highly unlikely.

“In his second tour with the Knicks, [GM Steve] Mills again played by Dolan’s rules and in the end he could be out of job faster than you can say “Larry Brown.”

Mills, who is restricted from speaking to the media, was dispatched to offer Jackson the chance to hold the same title Jackson’s mentor, Red Holzman, once held. Jackson declined and that’s when things took a turn for the worse — for Mills, that is.

“The meeting was a disaster,” said a person close to Mills. “Phil doesn’t want to work with Mills. It is a mess.”

There has been some speculation about what role Jackson would play with Mills still on the job. If Isola is right, and he usually is, Mills being asked to hire his replacement would be such a James Dolan kind of move.

Jackson has made it clear he does not want to coach again and as much as the Knicks might want that from him, Jackson’s goal is to lead a team and assemble his own front office and coaching staff. If that is indeed the case, that means Mills, along with Knicks executives Allan Houston and Mark Warkentien could be on notice.

”For months, [Knick coach Mike] Woodson’s camp has indicated that the head coach doesn’t really trust Mills and to some extent Allan Houston. Apparently, Woodson’s instincts were right, since the Knicks made a play to replace him.”

This is not the first report of unrest between Woodson and the Knicks front office. Mills has traveled with the team for large chunks of the season and has sat in on coaches meetings and practices in a very public way. Knicks sources said this was simply a new GM taking stock of the situation and getting up to speed on what’s working and what’s not. However, Woodson’s camp viewed it as meddling in the process and casting doubt on his job from the jump. It hard to imagine anyone would blame the Knicks’ coaching struggles on Mills, but it is clear that some of the doubt and uncertainty surrounding Woodson hasn’t been quelled by the front office.

“If Jackson joins the Knicks, the next to go could be Carmelo Anthony, the team’s best player and free agent in waiting. George Karl, Anthony’s former coach in Denver, said on ESPN radio Monday that Melo is not Jackson’s “type of player.” Jackson, it should be noted, is not represented by CAA.

The fact that Melo hasn’t been kept abreast of a potential major front office shakeup speaks volumes. Dolan and Carmelo were once joined at the hip. Now it seems as if Dolan is treating Melo like he is a member of the media. Okay, maybe not that bad, but close.”

This one is interesting, mainly because it’s a commonly asked question when mentioning Jackson running the Knicks. Would he and Carmelo Anthony fit? The short answer is Jackson might be exactly what Anthony needs to reach his full potential. Equally having a star player is always easier than obtaining a star player, especially if that star player walks away for nothing in return.

If Anthony opts out of his existing agreement as he is expected to do, losing him without anything in return simply hampers the situation in New York next season, especially given how much they gave up to obtain him from Denver in 2011.

However, not having Anthony and what would be roughly a $24.86 million salary cap hit in July of 2015 might be more meaningful for a total rebuild in New York. As things stand today, assuming the Knicks cannot offload any ugly contracts, the team has $17 million in likely salary on the books for the summer of 2015. Said another way, without Anthony taking up some $24 million in space, the Knick could get to a useable salary cap figure of $45 to $50 million to go after a free agent class that could feature Miami’s LeBron James if he doesn’t opt out this offseason, Boston’s Rajon Rondo and Minnesota’s Kevin Love to name a few.

»In Related: The New York Knicks Team Salary

“Jackson is destined to bring in his own people, starting with a general manager to handle the day-to-day operations while he splits his time between the beach, his Montana ranch and New York. In that order.

The next Knicks head coach could be Byron Scott or maybe Kurt Rambis. A person close to Jackson raised an interesting candidate: Steve Kerr, the former Suns GM turned TNT broadcaster. Kerr played for Jackson but has no head coaching experience.”

This one has a whole lot of legs. Kerr, who was the General Manager in Phoenix for a couple of years, not only has a desire to get back into the operations side of things, he does have a genuine interest in coaching.

Adding Kerr to a Jackson-led staff not only would give him a coach that he knows and trusts. It would also give him an on-the-ground resource to help bridge the day-to-day of managing a team. It is doubtful Kerr would be coach and general manager, but if Jackson is going to run the team remotely having a coach that understands the front office side too, might be smart and helpful.

Sources close to the situation with Kerr have said for a while that Kerr wants to explore coaching and with Jackson he could get an interesting runway especially if the name of the game for the Knicks is tear it down first to rebuild in a better way. Kerr could get a nice honeymoon year next season and have his feet completely on the ground for 2015 when a rebuild could take place.

Its highly likely Jackson taps a true front office guy to run the day to day for him, much like Larry Bird has Kevin Pritchard running things in Indiana. If Jackson nabs Kerr as his coach, watch for Cleveland interim GM David Griffin to surface as a candidate for GM. He and Kerr have some history from their days in Phoenix and Griffin has a reputation for being a smart and savvy solider that’s willing to do the leg work that Jackson is unlikely to have a lot of interest in. A Jackson-Griffin-Kerr tandem would be extremely credible on a lot of fronts.

»In Related: This Week’s NBA Power Rankings.

The Knicks were expecting an answer from Jackson yesterday and he continues to hold the line. There are lots of conflicting reports. The Knicks side of things continues to say that Jackson is leaning towards the Knicks. Outside of New York, the story is somewhat different, with more and more people talking about Jackson leveraging the Knicks interest to land a better gig elsewhere, with most assuming the Lakers are the Jackson’s front runner.

Stay tuned to Basketball Insiders, we’ll keep you updated as this continues to play out.

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, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton , @JCameratoNBA and @YannisNBA.

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.

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Mock Drafts

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 4.0

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 2019 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 2019 NBA Draft. With every new version, you’ll see 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 as well as a notebook, outlining each writers’ thoughts, observations and reporting on the draft.

Keep in mind; we are trying to find commonalities, which is why it is called the Consensus. The writers involved do not see each other’s selections until these are posted. It is done deliberately to make sure each writer is not influencing the others.

As this process plays out, the mocks will evolve, so look for a new Consensus each Wednesday, all the way up to draft day on June 20th.

Here is this week’s Consensus Mock:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0

Spencer’s Notebook: With the NBA Draft Lottery set and the 2019 NBA Combine in the books from Chicago, there are some significant changes to my mock draft.

Brandon Clarke tested out at the top of his position with a 34-inch standing vertical, a 40.5-inch max vertical and a 3.15-second three-quarter court sprint. He was already a lock to go anywhere from the lottery to the early 20s before the event, so it’s clear that this performance should vault the Gonzaga forward leaped into the top 10.

Outside of the physical portion of the Combine, the rumor mill was churning. We learned of multiple promises for players going to teams, including one about Darius Garland being rumored as the Los Angeles Lakers guy once he left the combine. However, it is the Phoenix Suns that many also believe are interested in the Vanderbilt product with the sixth pick.

Another situation to monitor is the New York Knicks and the third overall pick. Everything seems to be hinging on what happens with the Anthony Davis situation in New Orleans. The Pelicans’ new vice president of basketball operations, David Griffin, would prefer the All-Star big man to stick around once they bolster the team’s core of Jrue Holiday and himself with rookie sensation Zion Williamson.

An ultimatum will be extended to Davis—if he changes his mind about wanting out, they’ll bury the hatchet. If he sticks to his original request, Griffin will begin looking for trade partners.

The Knicks would like to choose the second scenario. Their main focus is on adding marquee free agents to usher in a new era of basketball at Madison Square Garden. If the rumors are true and Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving come to town, they probably won’t want to play with a rookie in the chase for a title. Offering the third pick along with a combination of their young talents—Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Allonzo Trier—could be a package worthwhile for New Orleans in the Davis talks.

If Davis is moved elsewhere—Boston is a destination often mentioned with Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and picks or if the Pels persuade him to stick around for one more year before his free agency period hits in the summer of 2020, New York could be stuck in a predicament. RJ Barrett should be the pick at three, yet there are members of the team’s coaching staff who are enamored by another highly touted Duke prospect—Cameron Reddish.

The Cleveland Cavaliers met with Reddish last Friday, but at the same time, their front office is a big fan of Barrett’s. Should the Davis scenario not go the way the Knicks would hope, maybe the two could work out a deal to swap picks? Cleveland does have two first-round picks (five and 26) and quite a few assets to offer. New York is reportedly interested in moving Frank Ntilikina as well.

The trade idea is purely that, but it almost sets up perfect, doesn’t it?

Jesse’s Notebook: The NBA Lottery certainly shook things up last week with the New Orleans Pelicans winning the Zion Williamson sweepstakes and the Los Angeles Lakers landing the fourth overall pick. With the Lottery and Combine behind us, there is a bit more consistency in most mock draft boards.

The player I am keeping an eye on right now is Cam Reddish. Reddish didn’t have a standout freshman season at Duke, but his combination of athleticism, skill, and upside make him an intriguing prospect. I would not be surprised if a team with a top pick takes the risk that his game is well-tailored for the NBA and his lone season at Duke is not indicative of the player he will become. There is also a risk that Reddish slips a bit on draft night, but that is a less likely scenario in my opinion. For more on Reddish, take a few minutes to read this insightful article from Basketball Insiders writer Shane Rhodes:.

Drew’s Notebook: The NBA Draft combine is complete, and we’ve walked away with a few key learnings:

First of all, it appears that some promises were made to a select few prospects including Darius Garland and Rui Hachimura. This sets a floor for them and their camp. While it’s not entirely clear which teams made them promises, in some instances, it’s pretty intuitive (e.g., PG-desperate Suns probably ensured Garland’s camp that they’d nab him at six).

The guy who I’m most enamored with based on the combine is Luka Samanic. Samanic is a 6-foot-10, 227-pound forward with a 6-foot-10.5 inch wingspan. He demonstrated a nice shooting stroke last week at the combine and proved he can stay in front of quicker guards for periods via the 5-on-5 scrimmage. While he’s incredibly unlikely to break into the lottery, I see Samanic climbing into the late first-round.

Bol Bol continues to be an enigma. His wingspan is impressive, and we know he can stroke. But at 7-foot-3 and 209 pounds, will he be able to impact that gain enough from a physicality standpoint and/or stay healthy? Those are huge questions for whichever team selects him – which will likely be team with a relatively high lottery selection.

I was discouraged by Naz Reid registering a 14% body fat percentage (highest of all prospects) –especially since he was someone I pegged as a sleeper in the draft. Now his position as a first-round draft pick may be in question. However, I still feel that Reid’s ability to shoot threes mixed with his 7-foot-3 wingspan spells huge potential. This should be viewed as an opportunity to snatch up a strong prospect at a lower spot considering NBA training regimens.

Tyler Herro represents another challenge for front offices. His 6-foot-3 wingspan was a bit of a surprise, and it presents a slight problem for whoever ultimately selects him – albeit one that can worked around given the right personnel. Fortunately for Herro, it was assumed by many that his floor is a three-point shooting specialist. So while his wingspan presents a physical limitation, he wasn’t assumed to be an above average athlete/attacker/defender anyway. He’ll still probably be a top-20 pick given the perpetual need for shooters.

Finally, the big news (pun intended) out of the combine was Tacko Fall. Fall is 7-foot-7, 289 pounds with an 8-foot-2 wingspan and a 10-foot-2 standing reach. Fall is definitely on the raw side of all serious prospects, but his mobility and skill set are fairly impressive considering his size. He is not a serious consideration for any team in the first round; however, it will be interesting to see who roles the dice on Fall in the mid-to-late-second round. While Fall and Mitchell Robinson are ENTIRELY indifferent players, teams may look back at passing on Robinson and think twice before passing up another unique big man.

With the draft less than a month away, teams have already begun ramping up their workout schedules. We will learn a lot more in the next few weeks. And we’ll probably be fooled by a number of smoke screens, too. Stay tuned!

Steve’s Notebook: With NBA teams now past the Combine and well into Pro Days, there has been a tremendous amount of chatter on where some players may have early draft commitments, and how teams may really feel about some of the notable names.

It’s important to clarify the role commitments have in the draft process. There are two kinds of commitments teams will offer a prospect, one is the hard fast promise. The promise is exactly what you think it would be, a team zeros in the player they want and offers to select that player with their pick removing the pressure and uncertainty of the draft process in exchange for the player shutting down workouts and access for other teams. Players and their agents take a little risk in trusting the team will keep their word, which is why teams typically shy away from promises unless its exactly the player they covet.

The other type of commitment teams make is what’s commonly referred to as the floor – the lowest level a player will likely fall. Teams tend to make these kinds of commitments to players they like, but understand that they may go higher, but in the event the player falls, they know they have a landing spot.

Why does either side care about all this? For teams it is hard to plan around uncertainty, there are so many things that can happen around the draft and knowing they can secure a player they want, means they can move on the seeing what else can be done to improve the roster or gain assets. For players, it allows them to lighten the workout load and possibility for an injury, and start focusing on their NBA careers. It’s always possible a team can grab a player earlier than expected, but for the most part teams and agents work fairly hard to make sure promises are kept.

With all of that in mind here is what’s being talked about in NBA circles:

Word is Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland received a promise in the top ten, with most believing is was the Phoenix Suns that made the promise with their sixth overall pick. League sources said it’s possible that the Lakers still consider Garland with the fourth pick, but the prevailing thought is Garland will not workout or meet with anyone below the sixth pick.

Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura is also believed to have received a draft promise in the top 12, with the Minnesota Timberwolves believed to have been the team to make the promise with their 11th overall pick. The problem with promises outside of the top five or six picks is the domino effect of players falling out of the expected range, but at this point, it seems Hachimura is headed towards being a lottery pick.

Oregon’s Bol Bol is something of a draft enigma. According to a team drafting in the mid-teens, they do not expect he’ll be on the board when they drafted, and there was a belief that he was the first name on the board for the Atlanta Hawks with their eighth overall pick. The Hawks hold two picks in the top 10, so they have the luxury of taking a gamble on Bol. While Bol doesn’t seem to have a promise, there is a belief one of the teams with two first round picks would grab him, simply because his upside is off the charts.

Washington’s Matisse Thybulle was believed to have a promise from the Oklahoma City Thunder at 21, however, a few days after the Combine wrapped, the tone on that promise changed. The current chatter has the Celtics making that promise with their 20th overall selection. One league source said that Thybulle checked all of the advanced analytic boxes that the Thunder covet in a player, so it will be interesting to see if the Thunder try and jump in front of the Celtics to nab a player they are believed to be very high on.

There are a couple of other players to watch as the workout process continues:

Boston College’s Ky Bowman has been doing very well in individual workouts, and there is talk that he may have played his way in the solid second round situation, if not a late first. Bowman has had some solid workouts and seems to be a name to watch as the process plays out.

Duke’s Cam Reddish had his pro day in Phoenix yesterday, and while he only did one on zero work, there are many in NBA circles that believe he’ll be a Paul George-type NBA player, and that he is firmly in the hunt in the top 10.

Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter skipped the annual NBA Draft combine, but there is a belief that he is high on the board for the LA Lakers with the fourth overall pick and the Cavaliers with the fifth overall pick. Hunter seems to be a player whose draft stock is improving simply be being absent.

Things on the team front will heat up the first week of June, that’s when teams are expected to start seeing lottery level players in their gyms, and that’s when will really lock in on players.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 21 years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last five years. Spencer Davies is also a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last three years. Drew Maresca is an NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders and is finishing his first season covering the NBA.

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, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 3.0

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 2019 NBA Draft.

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The 2019 NBA Draft lottery produced some unexpected results. Here are the results:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0

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, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 2.0

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 2019 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 2019 NBA Draft. Each week you’ll see 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 as well as a notebook, outlining each writers’ thoughts, observations and reporting on the draft.

Keep in mind; we are trying to find commonalities, which is why it is called the Consensus. The writers involved do not see each other’s selections until these are posted. It is done deliberately to make sure each writer is not influencing the others.

As this process plays out, the mocks will evolve, so look for a new Consensus each Wednesday, all the way up to draft day on June 20th.

Here is this week’s Consensus Mock:



Version: 1.0

Jesse’s Notebook: The NBA Combine is set to take place next week with 66 players expected to attend. Many of these players are going to scrimmage, take measurements, go through a variety of drills, and interview with teams. The Combine should provide a good amount of intel on these prospects that either isn’t available yet or has thus far been overlooked. This is also the time when teams will start giving more clues about their thoughts on certain prospects, what their respective teams are looking for and who is catching the attention of several teams. Oftentimes prospects start setting themselves apart and climbing team draft boards based on their performance at the Combine. On the flip side, some prospects are likely to start falling down team boards as new information is discovered. However, this is also a time where some players may get too much hype based on their measurements and other data points (let’s not forget the hype surrounding Luke Babbit after the 2010 Combine).

Mock draft boards are already all over the place and are sure to start shuffling even more as we move towards the Combine. However, the overall picture should start to become a bit clearer as prospects interview with teams, receive feedback, and as front office executives start making soft commitments to players and leaking out information about the players they have an eye on.

Spencer’s Notebook: In version two of our consensus mock draft, my top nine draft picks stayed the same as they were last week, but there was some slight tweaking otherwise.

As Steve said in the inaugural mock, predicting selections outside of the top slots is difficult. A good amount of teams could be picking for their need first and foremost rather than having a simple “best player available” approach. The picture will be a little clearer next week when we learn the results of the NBA Draft Lottery on May 14.

My most notable observation—there is an abundance of talented wings, raw and polished, in this 2019 NBA Draft class. Younger players such as RJ Barrett, Jarrett Culver, Cameron Reddish and De’Andre Hunter have the tools to succeed. However, finding the right organization to put those respective skill sets to use in the correct manner will be imperative to every one of them to reach their full potential.

Playoff teams are going to be able to add the more pro-ready prospects at that position, with multiple upperclassmen forwards who may be able to help right away – regardless of what team they end up with. Rui Hachimura, Cameron Johnson, Brandon Clarke, Matisse Thybulle and Grant Williams all fit the bill in that sense. While collegiate experience hardly compares to that of the NBA, the maturation of playing the game longer puts these guys ahead of the curve if you were to ask me.

Drew’s Notebook:Not much has changed since last week. The most noise we’ve heard in the last seven days is around accepted invitations to the NBA Draft Combine, as well as workouts. But fear not NBA fans, the Draft Lottery takes place this Tuesday with the Combine beginning the very next day. Things will definitely heat up soon!

With that being said, I spent a lot of time looking at the top teams in terms of draft order and thought a lot about their needs: the Bulls, Suns and Wizards could all be interested in adding a lead guard. This is, of course, an exercise in futility because we have not yet landed on a final draft order. Never the less, this led me bump Darius Garland up a few spots. I think he is extremely NBA-ready. And while a little undersized, he has an IT factor that most prospects at his level do not possess (excluding Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett). Garland could develop into Kyrie Irving-type of player, or he could end up closer to D.J. Augustin. But I really like his confidence and how he moves with the ball. And until the Draft Lottery dictates the final order on 5/14, I’ve got to arrange prospects by my feelings on overall talent.

Another guy I plan to plan to study more closely is Sekou Doumbouya. I was compelled to drop him a few spots after watching more film of him over the weekend, but his youth (18 years old) and perceived versatility indicate that he’ll grow into an effective NBA player, assuming he’s given the proper time and resources to develop. And potential is just as important (if not more) as refined skill. I’m excited to see what, if anything, we can learn about Doumbouya at the Combine.

Tuesday, May 14 can’t get here soon enough.

Steve’s Notebook: The invite list of the 2019 NBA Draft Combine is out, and 66 players accepted the NBA’s invite to take part in the NBA’s annual draft showcase event. It’s important to note that there are three types of invitations; the first is extended to those players expected to go in the top 20, which does not require participation in the on-court portion of the Combine. Those players will undergo medical testing and face to face interviews with teams. The next group will do the same medical and interviews but are also expected to participate in the on-court portion as well. The third tier are those players willing to be last minute alternates in the event players pull out.

This year the NBA is holding a G-League event for draft-eligible players, just prior to next week’s Combine, the NBA has pledged the possibility of a full Combine invite to players that stand out among those additional 40 plus players that were invited to participate.

Why is a Combine invite important? In a typical year, more than 70 percent of players invited to the Combine end up being drafted, making the Combine list a pretty solid barometer on who is legitimately in the draft discussion.

There are two notable players that declined the NBA’s invitations, the first being Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Washington’s Matisse Thybulle.

While it is not uncommon for players to bypass the Combine, especially if the players is all but assured to be drafted, it also usually signifies a player may have a draft commitment they are comfortable with making the dog and pony show of the Combine less desirable.

The 2019 NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14th, with the Combine itself getting underway on Wednesday with face to face team interviews.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 21 years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last five years. Spencer Davies is also a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last three years. Drew Maresca is an NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders and is finishing his first season covering the NBA.

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, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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