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NBA Saturday: A New NBA Mock Draft

An expanded look at the latest NBA Mock Draft including the logic behind each pick and the latest rumors on which ones could be traded… The role medical plays in the NBA Draft.

Steve Kyler

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Explaining The Latest Mock Draft:  Every week all the way up to the 2014 NBA Draft, we will drop what we have always called our “Consensus Mock Draft,” and while some poke fun at the idea that the four personalities powering the multi-opinion mock rarely agree and have a “consensus,” the idea is what is the “consensus of the draft” and what we often find is there really isn’t one.

Recently, more and more of you have asked for a deeper dive into mock drafts with explanations behind each pick. We have built some pretty elaborate draft tools to organize the process, and those tools were not built with detailed explanation in mind. We’ll work on that going forward, but for now I’ll break this out manually for you and give you at least my thoughts on the latest mock draft version.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Every week I introduce a new variable in my process. Until we really start to get a sense of which players a team is narrowing in on, I play the wrinkle game. I ask myself: What does the draft look like if this event happens? That changes from week to week.

If you wonder why I do it this way, it’s because this is how NBA teams do it. This is how teams prepare for every eventuality. Believing that one guy has to go number one and the next guy absolutely has to go number two is how you end up unprepared on draft night. Teams play through every draft scenario possible, so I try and do the same with my mock drafts.

With that in mind, here is this week’s mock:

#1 – Cleveland Cavaliers

Joel Embiid – C – 7’0″ – 240 – 20

This draft was filed before the news surfaced that Embiid may have had issues in his medical review with the Cavaliers. If the report of “numerous” issues is true, you can safely say Andrew Wiggins slides into the number one spot and Embiid takes a tumble. The problem with this lone report of issues is that none of the other media outlets in Cleveland or the top news breakers in the business are following suit on this story. So for the time being, until more is known on Embiid, the assumption is that he is healthy and his workout and medical review went as initially as reported. He is the top guy until medical reports to the contrary rule him off the board.

#2 – Milwaukee Bucks

Jabari Parker – SF/PF – 6’8″ – 241 – 19

There is a real chance that Dante Exum lands here. However, for the purposes of this week’s mock draft wrinkle, Exum slides and the Bucks take the safest bet on the board. A lot of this pick is going to come down to new ownership. There is a sense that they are willing to “dare to be great,” but at the same time they want to see progression in their new asset and adding Parker gives them a better “win-now” chance than taking Exum. Wiggins is very much in play here as well, but Parker seems to be a more natural fit with what the Bucks already have on the roster.

#3 – Philadelphia 76ers

Andrew Wiggins – SG/SF – 6’8″ – 197 – 19

If Embiid goes one and Parker goes two, then Wiggins lands at three. For months there have been reports that the 76ers really were high on Wiggins and that they would have taken him number one overall had they landed the pick. If Wiggins is there at three, he is Philly’s guy. The dark horse here is Exum, although this week’s mock assumes he tumbles, so down the board he goes.

#4 – Orlando Magic

Marcus Smart – PG – 6’3″ – 227 – 20

Smart has been in to the see the Magic twice already, and while some have read that to be they have him first on their board and some say they might, there is another school of thought and that is his first workout was not what both expected hence the second visit. The Magic are keeping things very close to the vest, so it’s unclear if Smart had a poor workout, or was unable to compete for some reason, which has been suggested. The Magic were linked to Smart last year and while Exum theoretically would still be on the board here, this week’s mock assumes he falls, and that means Smart is Orlando’s guy.

#5 – Utah Jazz

Noah Vonleh – PF/C – 6’9″ – 247 – 18

There are a few things floating around about Vonleh. The biggest being that Noah has opted to change his shooting mechanics; the net result is he is not shooting the ball as fluidly in workouts as he did at Indiana. It was a puzzling move for sure and it’s one he is clearly pushing back on in workouts. The Jazz seem poised to draft a four man if they stay in the fifth pick. There have been several indications from teams lower on the board that Utah might be trying to trade down on draft night. If the Jazz stay at five, Vonleh looks like their man. There have been some comments about Vonleh’s conditioning, but it does not seem to bother teams enough to warrant his stock taking a hit. Julius Randle is a real option here too, however with reports that he may have a foot issue that could require surgery at some point, Vonleh may be the safer, more opportune pick.

#6 – Boston Celtics

Aaron Gordon – PF – 6’9″ – 220 – 18

Last year there was a sense that the Celtics were going to come away from the draft with Kelly Olynyk, and while the C’s did not draft him, they did trade around and ultimately landed him. There is that same buzz going around about Aaron Gordon. The Celtics could take Randle here, but there is a real sense that the Celtics have locked in on Gordon, so for the purposes of this mock he lands in Boston at six.

#7 – LA Lakers

Dante Exum – PG/SG – 6’6″ – 196 – 18

The wrinkle in this week’s mock was that Exum falls out of the top tier. The truth is if Exum is still on the board at No. 5, there may be some trading taking place. However, if Exum is there for the Lakers at seven, he is their guy. Julius Randle could get some play here as well.

#8 – Sacramento Kings

Nik Stauskas – SG – 6’6″ – 207 – 20

The Kings are said to have three players very high on their board: Marcus Smart, Nik Stauskas and Elfrid Payton. Smart should be long gone by the time the Kings pick at eight, leaving Stauskas and Payton. This one really is a coin flip. There is a case for Stauskas as a perimeter threat and backup combo guard, but there is also a case that Payton could be the point guard of the future. The Kings are very much in the market to trade around, especially if they can nab additional assets. Eight might not have a lot of appeal before the draft, but if a key player starts to tumble, they could be in business. A dark horse here for the Kings is Randle, so that’s one worth noting.

#9 – Charlotte Hornets

Doug McDermott – SF – 6’8″ – 218 – 22

There is a belief that the Charlotte Hornets won’t let McDermott get past them. However, if Randle is still on the board that might be too much to pass on. The Hornets are open for business on the ninth pick and would be willing to move it for the right veteran player. However, this mock assumes the Hornets draft and McDermott seems to be their guy. If Stauskas is still around at nine he could be a Hornet as well.

#10 – Philadelphia 76ers

Julius Randle – PF – 6’9″ – 250 – 19

At some point risk gets outweighed by reward, and Randle becomes too attractive at 10 to pass up, especially for a Philly team that was patient with Nerlens Noel last year. If Randle is off the board, then Dario Saric, Jusuf Nurkic and possibly James Young become possibilities depending on what is on the board at 10.

#11 – Denver Nuggets

James Young – SG/SF – 6’7″ – 213 – 18

The Nuggets have a few options available to them. They are said to be very high on Stauskas and Gary Harris, but Young might present the most dynamic option for them at No. 11. There has been some talk about a package deal with the Bulls that could see Chicago picking at 11, so that’s one to watch.

#12 – Orlando Magic

Dario Saric – SF/PF – 6’10” – 223 – 20

Assuming the Magic draft a point guard at number four, there is a chance they go with big guy like an Adreian Payne or Nurkic, but there have also being some rumblings that the Magic might go with a “draft-and-stash” at 12, meaning Saric becomes an option here. Assuming the Magic do not trade out of the 12, which is a real possibility, Saric might be the best draft-and-stash option. There has also been some talk about Zach LaVine at 12, which might make sense if Arron Afflalo is moved this summer.

#13 – Minnesota Timberwolves

Adreian Payne – PF – 6’10” – 239 – 23

There have been three names strongly linked to the Timberwolves: Stauskas, Young and Payne. In this mock, two of the three are gone, so Payne is the guy. With the inevitability of the Wolves having to trade Kevin Love, Payne is ready to play at the four spot. He’s not Love, but he could hold his own from day one, hence his appeal.

#14 – Phoenix Suns

Rodney Hood – SF – 6’8″ – 208 – 21

The Suns need perimeter scoring and that’s what Hood will provide in the NBA. There are a couple of other options here but Hood looks to fit the team’s culture and the biggest need. The Suns hold multiple picks so there is a chance they grab Nurkic as a best talent “draft-and-stash” here and hope for Hood later.

#15 – Atlanta Hawks

T.J. Warren – SF/PF – 6’8″ – 220 – 20

The Hawks proved last year that are willing to be patient with draft picks so Nurkic, Kristaps Porzingis or even Zach LaVine become real options here. With that said, the best fit for the Hawks today might be T.J Warren. Warren is an elite level scorer and could contribute right away for a Hawks team that showed this season they are not that far away when healthy.

#16 – Chicago Bulls

Zach LaVine – SG – 6’6″ – 181 – 19

The Bulls could go a number of ways here including Payton or Tyler Ennis. However, if LaVine is here, and the Bulls have not traded up as some suggest they might, he might have too much upside and athleticism to pass.

#17 – Boston Celtics

Elfrid Payton – PG – 6’4″ – 185 – 20

There are likely four teams above the Celtics that could pluck Payton or trade up to grab him. It’s unlikely he is here, but if he is word is the Celtics would draft him at 17. The question becomes will he be there at 17? Porzingis is said to be a strong option as is Saric if he is there. If Nurkic is still on the board, this could be his landing spot too.

#18 – Phoenix Suns

Clint Capela – PF – 6’11” – 222 – 20

With their earlier pick, the Suns solved their top need with Hood; at this pick they start looking at draft-and-stash. That puts them on Nurkic, Porzingis and Capela. Capela seems like the choice, although it really is a coin toss.

#19 – Chicago Bulls

Tyler Ennis – PG – 6’2″ – 182 – 19

The Bulls are said to be very high on Ennis and view him as their answer at backup point guard and in some situations as part of a Ennis-Derrick Rose backcourt. If Ennis is here and the Bulls still hold the pick, this is likely where they go. With their earlier pick we had them with LaVine, so it could be interchangeable.

#20 – Toronto Raptors

K.J. McDaniels – SF – 6’6″ – 196 – 21

The Raptors are said to be very high on Payne, but this mock has him gone to the Wolves, which leaves them looking for a defensive-minded wing and the best of the bunch may be K.J. McDaniels. This could also be where Nurkic, Porzingis or Capela land if they are still on the board.

#21 – Oklahoma City Thunder

Kristaps Porzingis – PF – 7’0″ – 220 – 18

The Thunder are said to covet Porzingis and may trade up to ensure they get him. He has a $1.6 million dollar buyout on his deal, so going higher would help him land in the NBA next season. Expect the Thunder to look at picks a little higher in a package of their two lower-tier selections. If the Thunder miss on Porzingis, look for them to consider Nurkic and Jarnell Stokes at some point before it’s done.

#22 – Memphis Grizzlies

Gary Harris – SG – 6’4″ – 205 – 19

The Grizzlies want a perimeter scorer, and while this is really low for Harris there are some scouts that are low on him. They feel on draft night he could be primed to slip, especially if other guys start to slide down the board. There is a real chance Harris is gone to Chicago in the teens, but if he is here at 22, he is what Memphis is looking for. Cleanthony Early is an option here as is McDaniels.

#23 – Utah Jazz

Kyle Anderson – SF – 6’8″ – 230 – 20

The Jazz are not likely to make this pick when it’s said and done. However, assuming they are drafting here, Kyle Anderson offers an interesting package of size and ball handling. He is not viewed as the most athletic guy in the bunch but his high basketball IQ and the mismatches he could create at point forward make him an interesting wrinkle for the Jazz.

#24 – Charlotte Hornets

P.J. Hairston – SG – 6’5″ – 229 – 21

Assuming the Hornets are in this pick, this is likely where Hairston lands for a number of reasons. As a franchise, the Hornets have taken some players with character flags, and when it comes down to it Hairston might the most ready option left on the board. He can flat out score and if they are still in this pick, and Hairston is still there, that’s the perfect fit for both.

#25 – Houston Rockets

Jerami Grant – SF – 6’8″ – 214 – 20

The Rockets covet a long, smart perimeter player and Grant may be the best option left on the board. The Rockets are always tough to read because they work out more than 60 players every year, but Grant seems to fill the biggest need and may be the best talent left on the board. Early and Nurkic are also options with this pick.

#26 – Miami HEAT

Jarnell Stokes – PF – 6’8″ – 263 – 20

Stokes continues to float around the bottom of the first in several team’s draft scenarios. A lot about Stokes will be who is there when teams with the last five start picking. Stokes had a great work out with the Miami HEAT and it’s believed that he is fairly high on their board, however if guys like Nurkic, Early and Napier are still there, things may change.

#27 – Phoenix Suns

Jusuf Nurkic – C – 6’11” – 280 – 19

Nurkic may be one of the top-15 most talented options in the draft. Factor in that his contract buyout isn’t silly and that he could be in the NBA right away, he may be gone well before the Suns pick at 27. That said, there have been some questions about Nurkic off the court and that has some teams pausing on his potential. It’s highly likely that Nurkic is gone significantly higher, but if he is here at 27, he’ll be gone to Phoenix.

#28 – LA Clippers

Cleanthony Early – SF – 6’7″ – 209 – 23

There is a real chance the Clippers go point guard here, especially with guys like Shabazz Napier and Jordan Clarkson on the board. That said small forward was a problem for the Clippers all year and Early, if still on the board, might be the best talent and solution for the Clips, who can look for a backup point guard in trade or in free agency.

#29 – Oklahoma City Thunder

Shabazz Napier – PG – 6’1″ – 175 – 22

There are a lot of places the Thunder could go with the 29th selection, and the most likely is they bundle it with No. 21 to move up and the 29 belongs to someone else. However, with Reggie Jackson poised to join the starting line up at point guard next season, the Thunder will need some spark from the bench and Napier could be that guy. There are a few other options to watch, namely Walter Tavares, Stokes and Spencer Dinwiddie.

#30 – San Antonio Spurs

Walter Tavares – C – 7’3″ – 265 – 22

The Spurs are likely playing the best future upside card here and that’s where Tavares, Artem Klimenko and even Vasilije Micic get some consideration. Of the bunch Tavares at a legit 7’3 might present the most potential to be a solid NBA player. The Spurs continue to look a year or two ahead when drafting toward the bottom and with last year’s first round pick Livio Jean-Charles likely joining the team this year, there is no urgency on this pick playing right away.

There will be two more Consensus Mock Drafts before the actual NBA Draft on Thursday, June 26. They will drop on Wednesday the 18th and a final one on Wednesday the 25th. Basketball Insiders will publish a final Mock Draft on Draft Day in this format, featuring all 60 picks and the logic behind each selection.

Until then, if you want to know everything you can know about the 2014 NBA Draft – make sure to get your copy of the 2014 Basketball Insiders Draft Magazine – it’s available for both Android and Apple mobile devices and from a web-platform for virtual any device you have.

Medical And Its Role In The Draft:  Over the last week there have been two high profile stories about medical issues and draft picks. The easy response is to say ‘there is too much talent, you can’t pass’, but the truth is botching a draft pick or having a pick fail out for medical reasons is an avoidable mistake, one teams take seriously.

There was a report out of Cleveland this week suggesting that Kansas big man Joel Embiid did not do well in his medical exam with the Cavaliers and that he had a “number of physical ailments.”

This report has been in conflict with other reports suggesting Embiid’s workout and medical went fine and there were no issues.

So which report is true? Honestly we won’t likely know until after the draft, as the Cavs likely signed confidentiality agreements in exchange for getting Embiid into their doctors.

Kentucky big man Julius Randle is undergoing something similar. Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Randle would likely need foot surgery to remove a screw inserted in his foot after a bone break in high school. Randle has since denied this story and has gone on the offensive to say his foot is fine.

So what are we to believe? Here is how it plays out:

Most players, Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker excluded, go through intense medical review at the annual NBA Draft Combine. This includes MRI’s, full blood panels and heart and health testing. These results are then made available to all 30 NBA teams, who have their medical staffs review and “flag” anything notable or of concern.

These “flagged” players then get discussed among the training staff and the decision makers. The idea behind it is to understand what’s going on with the player. How it could manifest itself if drafted, and whether or not the medical and training staff believe it could impact a player’s career, both in the short-term and in the long-term.

In 2005, many outsiders marveled that current Clipper Danny Granger was still on the draft board into the teens, ultimately getting drafted at 17 by the Indiana Pacers. What was not really talked about was that Gragner was flagged with a knee issue and many teams knew that he would have problems with that knee eventually. Fast forward to 2014, and Granger has been plagued by knee problems for most of his career.

The Pacers medical and training staff believed they could manage Granger’s knee and that at 17 there was too much upside to pass on and they drafted him.

Having an injury, or being red flagged does not kill a player’s chance to be drafted, although there have been some players whose draft staff took a massive blow after medical issues surfaced in the draft process.

The question always comes down to risk versus reward. Can a team accurately predict the injury probability, can the team’s doctors and training staff manage the problem effectively and is there a better option on the board without issues? Those are the questions the Cavaliers are likely asking themselves with regards to Embiid, and many teams are likely asking about Randle.

Randle’s issue is more procedural in nature, so it’s not as alarming as some long-term or structural issues. However, there is risk anytime a player needs surgery. Grant Hill thought he was having a routine procedure in 2000, and he was never the same after playing the next 12 seasons in and out due to issues.

In Embiid’s case it’s a little trickier. During the NCAA Tournament, Embiid was diagnosed with what’s believed to be Spondylolysis, or a stress fracture in the back. These are very common in athletes and usually clear up with rest and rehab. That’s the good news. The bad news is there is another form of this issue called Spondylolisthesis, which is a defect in the back in which lumbar vertebra “shift” and press against nerves. This one is scary for teams, because it usually requires spinal fusions, which could be career threatening.

Because of the confidential nature of medical information, it’s unlikely anyone is ever going to say specifically what they have seen in Embiid’s back, but that issue alone is very scary despite his immense talent and upside, especially for the Cavaliers drafting number one overall. The best modern example would be the Portland Trail Blazers knowing that Greg Oden was going to have the knee issues that have derailed his career, and drafted him anyway, passing on Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant.

The Cavs find themselves in the same situation. There are potentially three all-NBA type talents available to them with the top pick, and if Embiid genuinely has long-term flags around his health, the Cavs have to look at players that may not have as much risk.

The other thing to know about medical issues in the draft process is that most teams do not see things the same way. One team’s medical staff may see an issue and say ‘this is a big problem’ another teams staff may say ‘it is not that big of a deal’. The Phoenix Suns and Indiana Pacers have a long history of drafting players other teams may have flagged, simply because their medical and training staffs believe they can rehab an injury and those franchises take more risks.

Equally teams that are looking down the road may be more open to players with risks than teams that need their draft pick to produce right away. The Philadelphia 76ers traded for injured big man Nerlens Noel, despite being less than six months post-op on an ACL surgery. Wisely, Noel had his surgery done by Dr. James Andrews, one of the leading knee and ligament surgeons in the country, and made him openly available to teams with issues or questions about Noel’s knee.

The big red flag with Embiid is that his camp has not done that with his back, adding more intrigue and questions to the process. It is believed Embiid saw noted spinal surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins while at Kansas, however it’s unclear if Embiid’s camp is allowing concerned teams to talk with him about Embiid’s prognosis going forward.

While Embiid and Randle are the two names in this draft class being talked about the most, historically there are usually a dozen or more players flagged in some capacity. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday was flagged with an elbow issue in 2009, which saw his draft stock tumble into to 17, despite some teams in the top six expressing interest in drafting him.

The medical process plays a big role in who gets drafted and where, not because teams believe a player will fail; it’s usually because there is a similar option talent wise on the board that does not have issues. There are no certainties or guarantees in this process either and it is far from an exact measure. But as teams try and decide where to spend their picks, the medical information weighs into it in a significant way, not just in the short-term of can he compete in camp, but what are his potential long-term issues?

No two teams see the draft the same way. It is an eye of the beholder process. Some teams are willing to take more risks than others and some teams may view a problem more seriously than another. There is always a point in which the risk associated gets outweighed by the reward.

Both Embiid and Randle will be drafted, that’s an almost certainty. The question becomes how much will injuries weigh down their draft stock, and that’s really a team by team consideration.

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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