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NBA PM: Executives in Love With Joel Embiid

NBA executives love Joel Embiid and he may end up being the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft … LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant tonight

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Several months ago, nobody thought that Joel Embiid would be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He wasn’t even expected to be the No. 1 prospect on Kansas’ campus.

In a loaded draft class that’s expected to include potential stars Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart and Dante Exum among others, Embiid was an afterthought prior to the start of the season. After all, the Cameroonian seven-footer just started playing organized basketball in late 2011. Whenever Embiid’s name did come up, the word “raw” was sure to follow.

However, 20 games later, Embiid has been a monster. He has developed much quicker than expected, showing significant progress from game to game. He’s averaging 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 22.5 minutes while shooting 66.7 percent from the field.

Embiid has shown glimpses of brilliance throughout the season. Two weeks ago, he had 16 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and two steals in a win over No. 8 Iowa State. The very next game, Embiid nearly recorded a triple-double in a win over No. 9 Oklahoma State, finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks. It’s remarkable how far he has come as a player in such a short amount of time.

NBA scouts and executives are blown away by the center’s development. Many teams now view Embiid as the best prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft. Some are so high on the center that they say the gap between Embiid and the rest of the pack – Wiggins, Parker, Randle, Smart, Exum, etc. – is significant. That’s why Embiid has climbed to No. 1 in most mock drafts in recent weeks. More and more teams are moving the big man up their draft board, and believe he has the highest ceiling of all the 2014 prospects.

This would’ve sounded crazy until very recently, but NBA decision-makers have fallen in love with Embiid. When an executive starts talking about things they like about Embiid, they can go on forever. They drool over his graceful movements, soft touch, exceptional footwork, incredible instincts, high basketball IQ, 7’5 wingspan, extraordinary athleticism and, of course, limitless potential. He’s drawn comparisons to Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon, which may seem crazy, but you can’t help but notice a lot of The Dream’s traits in Embiid when watching him play.

In 2011, Embiid played organized basketball for the first time when Luc Richard Mbah a Moute traveled to his native Cameroon to hold a basketball camp. Embiid hadn’t even watched much basketball at that point, but he was able to pick up on the game quickly.

According to Jason King of Bleacher Report, Embiid was able to translate skills he learned from other sports over to basketball. His footwork was honed on the soccer field, while his aggression and blocking ability originated on the volleyball court. Embiid’s father, Thomas, actually wanted his son to pursue a professional volleyball career in Europe, and had to be persuaded to let his son attend Mbah a Moute’s alma mater, Montverde Academy, to pursue his professional basketball dreams.

At this point, it’s looking like Mr. Embiid made the right decision. If his son is the top pick in this year’s draft, Embiid would make $4,592,200 in his first year and potentially more than $20 million on his first contract. Embiid is a strong candidate for the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and he won’t slip much further if another prospect ends up going first overall.

Not bad for a kid who just recently started taking basketball seriously.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant Set to Face Off

Tonight on ESPN, LeBron James’ Miami HEAT and Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder will go head-to-head, putting arguably the two best basketball players on the planet against one another. Both players are looking forward to the match-up.

“Oh yeah, it’s a challenge,” James said of covering Durant, according to Fox Sports. “It’s not secondary it’s first-dary. He’s one of the toughest coverages. It’s between him and (Carmelo Anthony) for me individually. It’s a game within a game. You want to win, but you also want to try to do your part in who you’re going against. I like going against the best and K.D.’s definitely up there.”

“I’m looking forward to just going up against him,” Durant said James, according to NewsOK.com. “Everybody wants to see the one-on-one matchup. I know that’s the big thing. But we’re going to matchup together, so I’m sure you guys are going to get what you want. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the Thunder versus the HEAT, and it’s going to be fun playing against them.”

James said that it’s impossible to guard Durant one-on-one, which Durant said was “flattering.” Durant returned the compliment, saying that James is one of the most difficult players to cover in the league.

“He’s a tough guy to cover,” Durant said. “But I’m going to go out there and play with extreme effort every play and just give it my all and rely on my teammates. I know I can’t do nothing on this court by myself. I just got to rely on my teammates.”

Right now, Durant and James are locked in a race for this season’s Most Valuable Player award. James has taken home the trophy in four of the past five season, with Durant finishing second three times. Both players downplayed the importance of winning MVP.

“It doesn’t rank too much,” James said. “It’s a great accomplishment and I thank my teammates every time I get a chance to be part of that. But like I said, I love being the MVP of our team. If it results in me being MVP of the league from among your peers, it’s a great achievement.”

“You guys pump that up,” Durant said of the media hyping up the MVP race. “Fans pump that up more than the players, I think. Every day is a process for me. I’m just trying to work every single day to get better. And at the end of the year, I guess, we’ll see where we’re at. But every single day, I just try not to look past it and just keep working and see where we are. I try not to worry about that because I can’t control none of that. All I can control is how I play, how I approach the game and how I prepare and the rest will take care of itself.”

This season, James is averaging 26 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists. Durant is averaging 31.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists.

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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NBA Trade Rumors: Jazz considering trade offers for Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale, and No. 30 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft

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Per one interesting announcement from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Utah Jazz are open to trading forward Bojan Bogdanovic, forward-guard Joe Ingles, small forward Royce O’Neale, and the No. 30 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. Fischer stated, “The Utah Jazz are known to be one of the few teams actually searching to move playoff-tested talent. Retaining Mike Conley is an offseason priority, sources said, and the Jazz have held numerous discussions with teams around the league about offloading salary to create for Conley in free agency.” Point guard Mike Conley is set to become a free agent this offseason. Though, general manager Justin Zanik will aim to re-sign the 33-year-old guard in the coming weeks. Conley earned $34.5 million in the 2020-21 season.

“League personnel most often mention Joe Ingles as the Jazz wing to watch, and Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale are also considered available for trade as Utah narrows its focus towards building a contender around Donovan Mitchel. The Jazz are also open to discuss trading their No. 30 pick, sources said.” In the 2020-21 season, in 72 games played, Bogdanovic averaged 17 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. On May 1, 2021, in the team’s 106-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors, the six-foot-seven Croatian scored a season-high 34 points, shooting 12-for-22, and he finished his performance with four rebounds and four assists as well. On July 7, 2019, he signed a four-year, $73 million contract with the Jazz.

In 67 games played last season, Ingles averaged 12.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. The six-foot-eight forward is set to earn $14 million in the 2021-22 season. Plus, among the mentioned players, Royce O’Neale has contributed the least. In 71 games played last season, he averaged seven points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. On January 19, 2020, the forward signed a four-year, $36 million extension with the team. He will earn $8.6 million next season. According to The Athletic, in the team’s seventh workout for draft prospects, they viewed Quentin Grimes, David Duke, Matt Mitchell, and a few other players. In the first round, if the team chooses not to draft any of the players they are holding workouts for, the organization will trade the No. 30 pick.

Just for a reminder, retrieved from Spotrac, the 2021-22 NBA luxury tax threshold is $136,606,000. Utah’s active roster cap is $133,284,695, the maximum cap is $112,414,000, and the current cap space is $72,990,215. Furthermore, center Rudy Gobert currently has the highest guaranteed contract on the team. On December 20, 2020, Gobert signed a five-year, $205 million extension with the organization. Gobert is set to earn $35.3 million in the coming season, whereas Donovan Mitchell will earn $28.1 million. Gobert and Mitchell combined consume 47.6 percent of the team’s salary cap. For the upcoming 2021-22 season, the Jazz have a guaranteed total of $129,719,453. Based on the team’s future outlook, the Jazz will have to make a trade or two in order to retain their star players. This should go without saying.

NBA Analysis Network reported a few days ago that a potential Jazz-Knicks trade target is Bojan Bogdanovic. Greg Patuto proposed the Knicks receiving Bogdanovic, while the Jazz would receive Kevin Knox II, and the Nos. 19 and No. 32 picks of the 2021 NBA Draft. Now, this could still happen at some point during this draft week, but then again, sports bettors and fans alike understand that these news reports could be just rumors. The most intelligent, unforthcoming general managers know not to leave bread crumb trails for the media, especially leading into the offseason. They will do everything necessary to protect their foolproof plans.

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2021 NBA Draft Best Bets Analysis for the Player Draft Position Market

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The 2021 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 29 at 8:00 p.m. (EST). The draft will be televised on ESPN and ABC. The location of the draft is at the Nets’ Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Nonetheless, although ABC is indeed airing the draft this year, they are only televising the first round. This is the first NBA draft to be held in the month of July since the 1947 Basketball Association of America (BAA) Draft.

Of course, that league went on to become the National Basketball Association (NBA). For NBA Draft betting, there are plenty of sports books available for American gamblers. The best sports books include Bovada, DraftKings, MyBookie, FanDuel, and BetUS. For NBA Draft Futures, Bovada, DraftKings, and BetGM are reasonable options. Additionally, there are multiple betting apps in existence nowadays that are accessible and easy to use, such as from BetUS, Bovada, BetOnline, and Intertops.

No. 1 Pick: Cade Cunningham (-8000)

Cade Cunningham is the front-runner for the first overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. He is the Big 12 Player of the Year (2021) and consensus first-team All-American (2021). On November 25, 2020, in his college debut, the 19-year-old native Texan earned 21 points and 10 rebounds in the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ 75-68 victory over the UT Arlington Mavericks. On February 27, 2021, he posted a college career-high of 40 points and 11 rebounds, in a 94-90 overtime win over the Oklahoma Sooners. In 27 games played, the six-foot-eight guard averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

On the RSCI Top 100, he also ranked first above all other recruits. With a total of 544 points, Cunningham led the Big 12 in scoring during the 2020-21 season. When asked about how he felt concerning the probability of his No. 1 selection in the draft, he said, “If I am able to go in there and be the No. 1 pick, I’m going to try to carry that same swag in how I walk on the court and make the most out of it and wear the red, white, and blue for sure.” Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver also compared Cunningham to Grant Hill, the No. 3 pick out of Duke from the 1994 NBA Draft.

Reported by CBS Sports, the Houston Rockets are interested in trading up to pick Cunningham. According to Shams Charania of Stadium, the Detroit Pistons and Rockets are negotiating a possible trade. This is considering the fact that Houston also has the Nos. 23 and 24 picks of this draft, too. The sports reporter for The Athletic and Stadium stated, “The Houston Rockets have the No. 2 overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, but I’m told they’re aggressively pursuing Detroit’s No. 1 overall pick. The Rockets have done extensive research on presumptive No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham.” If the organization is serious about trading up, they’ll do everything in their power to make it happen.

 

No. 2 Pick: Jalen Green (+200)

Jalen Green has the highest odds of being selected second in the draft. According to NBA.com mock drafts and various oddsmakers, his draft position is still most appealing to the Houston Rockets, especially if the Pistons are unwilling to make a trade. Green is a six-foot-six shooting guard from the NBA G League. On March 8, 2021, while playing for the NBA G League Ignite in the first round of the playoffs, the 19-year-old shooting guard finished his performance with a season-high of 30 points, seven assists, and five rebounds, in the 127-102 defeat versus the Raptors 905. In 15 games played in the 2020-21 season, Green averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals in 32 minutes played per game.

Per one report from Kelly Iko of The Athletic, the Houston staff writer stated, “USC’s Evan Mobley has been discussed in some circles, as well as Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs, but smart money would be on the Rockets taking the 19-year-old out of the G League’s Ignite on draft night.” He reaffirmed his position and main point a bout head coach Stephen Silas’ likeness to flexible guards by stating, “It’s well known that head coach Stephen Silas has an affinity for versatile guards, and Green has been said to have the highest upside in his class, from a scoring, explosive, and star standpoint.” The California-born athlete could fit in nicely with the Rockets.

No. 3 Pick: Evan Mobley (-200)

Evan Mobley has the best odds for the third overall pick of the draft. Mobley is the seven-foot tall forward/center Pac-12 Player of the Year (2021) and consensus second-team All-American (2021) from the USC Trojans. On March 11, 2021, in the team’s 91-85 double overtime win against the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals, Mobley scored a career-high 26 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks. In 33 games played in the 2020-21 season for the Trojans, Mobley averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and a field goal percentage of 57.8 percent. The Trojans made it to the Elite Eight after concluding their season schedule with the second-most wins (25) in program history. According to the RSCI Top 100, the 20-year-old player was ranked third on the list.

Since Anthony Davis from the Southeastern Conference in 2012, he is the only other player to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Freshman Player of the Year all in the same year. Mobley told the media on Friday, “I feel like as a modern-day NBA big, you have to be able to shoot, guard multiple positions, stretch the floor, and put the ball on the floor a little bit.” He later said in the interview, “I think I’ll be a generational player that no one has really seen before. That’s what I’m aspiring to be, and I’m just going to keep working and staying in the gym until I get there.” The Cleveland Cavaliers are in position to draft Mobley, but teams like the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic could trade up to pursue the player on draft night.

Player Draft Position

The top 10 most common picks of this draft are Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Scottie Barnes, Jonathan Kuminga, James Bouknight, Davion Mitchell, Keon Johnson, and Franz Wagner. However, Josh Giddey could be the dark horse for the New Orleans Pelicans, considering they have the tenth pick of the draft. To add to that observation, The Ringer mock draft is showing Corey Kispert at the No. 10 spot. Kispert’s draft value lies within his perimeter shooting. In the 2020-21 season, the six-foot-seven Gonzaga forward shot 44 percent from beyond the arc. He also led the West Coast Conference in three-point field goal attempts (207) and shots made (91) last season.

Furthermore, Charles Bassey has options showing Over 38.5 (-105) and Under 38.5 (-125). Daishan Nix has a draft position presenting Over 50.5 (-125) and Under 50.5 (-105). Plus, David Johnson’s position betting odds show Over 45.5 (-120) and Under 45.5 (-110). A few bettors are predicting Jalen Johnson will go Under 12.5 (+150) in the draft. He has +10000 odds of being selected fifth overall in the draft. Yahoo Sports mock draft writers are predicting Ziaire Williams will get drafted at No. 14 by the Golden State Warriors. Though, the consensus favorite for the No. 14 spot is Oregon’s Chris Duarte. Moreover, Bleacher Report has the Warriors drafting Moses Moody at No. 7. The first-team All-SEC (2021) and SEC Freshman of the Year (2021) has +175 odds of being selected in the top 10 of the draft.

  • All table odds were retrieved from Bovada

Exact Order – Top 4 Pick Odds

In the first round of the draft, the favored exact order is Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, and Jalen Suggs. The current odds are listed at -120. Another realistic possibility is Evan Mobley getting selected before Jalen Green. The exact order odds for this scenario are +600. While the Rockets seem to show the most interest in Green, the organization could pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. Bettors should not assume anything. The Rockets may go after Cunningham, if the opportunity presents itself and trades occur the night of the draft. Moreover, there is also a chance that Suggs could get picked before Mobley.

The odds for that outcome are also +600. The Cavaliers could use another aggressive defender and solid play-maker. Suggs specializes in pick-and-roll situations, so this is something for the Cavs to consider in the long run. In 30 games played, he averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and shot 50.3 percent from the field. As a Gonzaga Bulldog, the 20-year-old guard also won a state championship in his freshman season. Having said all of this, fans need to lower their expectations before the draft. There are times these mock drafts and player interviews are not what they seem.

 

Regarding NBA Draft betting sites, e.g. FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetUS, bettors can bet on the top three or four picks in order, the first player to be drafted by position, a specific player being drafted by a certain team, and the Over/Under player number in the draft. As for placing bets before or during the season, the choices to bet on assists, rebounds, and points per game are other notable opportunities to keep in mind. Not to mention, NBA Finals prop bets, the Finals MVP winner, and regular season MVP winner are other options as well. The 2022 NBA Finals is scheduled to begin in June of next year.

 

 

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2021 NBA Draft Top 3 Picks & Top 10 First-Round Selection Odds

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The 2021 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, July 29. The draft will begin at 8:00 p.m. (EST) on ESPN platforms at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and it is the first time the draft is being televised on both ABC and ESPN. Free agency will also begin on Monday, Aug. 2 at 6:00 p.m. (EST). For NBA Draft betting, there are several available apps for placing bets, like from Bovada, MyBookie, Intertops, BetUS, BetOnline, BetNow, 5Dimes, and Sportsbetting.ag. DraftKings and FanDuel are other feasible options, in addition to the sites listed above.

Anyways, the Detroit Pistons have the first overall pick of the draft, followed by the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, etc. Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham is the projected first overall pick. Jalen Green, the six-foot-five NBA G League player who forwent college basketball and attended San Joaquin Memorial High School, is expected to get drafted by the Pistons. The Pac-12 Player of the Year (2021) and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (2021) winner, Evan Mobley, is projected to get picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

However, teams have been negotiating trades with one another, leading up to next week’s draft. Per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors are expressing interest in trading with the Cleveland Cavaliers in order to move up to the No. 3 spot of the draft. In the second round, the Milwaukee Bucks have the 31st pick of the draft. There is a chance that these are just meaningless internal discussions, existing only to explore the values of specific players and to keep other general managers on their heels.

No. 1 Pick Odds

While Cade Cunningham has the best odds (-8000) of being selected first overall, there are a few other aforementioned players here that are at the top of the list, too. Jalen Green has +1500 odds, Evan Mobley has +2200 odds, and Jalen Suggs possesses +2500 odds. Needless to say, however, Cunningham will be selected first before everyone else. Here’s why. According to 247Sports, the six-foot-eight Big 12 Player of the Year (2021) and consensus first-team All-American (2021) ranked No. 1 in the final rankings class of 2020. Heading into college, the native Texan was already an established top-ranked, talented recruit.

Green and Mobley were also highly touted stars coming out of high school, but hands down, Cunningham has the best résumé for NBA scouts and general managers. In 27 games played for the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ 2020-21 season, Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists, helping to lead his team to the Big 12 Tournament and NCAA Tournament. The Cowboys lost 91-81 against the No. 3 Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 Tournament, and then the team lost 80-70 versus the No. 12 Oregon State Beavers in the NCAA Tournament. The Detroit Pistons need all the help they can get.

  • All table odds were retrieved from Bovada 

No. 2 Pick Odds

Jalen Green has the favored odds (-200) of being selected second overall in the 2021 draft, followed by Evan Mobley (+170), Jalen Suggs (+650), and Jonathan Kuminga (+2200). Regarding Green’s G League performance, in 15 games started, he averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. The 19-year-old also played for an average of 32 minutes per game. Despite oddsmakers projecting the highest possible odds for Cunningham’s No. 1 selection, the No. 2 pick is not as clear.

In 33 games played for the USC Trojans, Evan Mobley averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. Referencing the RSCI Top 100 rankings, the seven-foot tall forward/center was ranked third on the list. Below .500 NBA teams, such as the Magic and Raptors, could trade up to draft the big man. It all depends on the teams’ different needs and priorities.

 

No. 3 Pick Odds

Evan Mobley has the best odds (-200) of getting drafted third overall. In the 2020-21 USC Trojans’ season, they lost 72-70 in the Pac-12 Tournament against the No. 23 Colorado Buffaloes. Then, they proceeded to lose 85-66 in the NCAA tournament versus the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs. Mobley had a team-high of 19 points and seven rebounds in that Elite Eight loss.

Though, if Jalen Green is still on the board at this point, it would not be out-of-the-blue if he was selected third ahead of Mobley, considering his odds are +150. For the other odds, Jalen Suggs is next (+250), followed by Jonathan Kuminga (+900), Scottie Barnes (+1200), Davion Mitchell (+6600), and Josh Giddey (+6600).

“To Be Drafted in the Top 10” Odds

With all eyes on the top three picks of the 2021 NBA Draft, there might be some folks speculating if players like Kai Jones and Josh Giddey have reasonable odds of at least making the top 10 in the draft. Jones’ odds are +275, whereas Giddey’s odds are +135. UConn shooting guard James Bouknight has -250 odds. Six-foot-nine, 19-year-old German basketball star Franz Wagner has -150 odds of being selected somewhere in the top 10 overall. Moreover, Jonathan Kuminga’s odds are -10000. The 18-year-old G League player is projected to land sixth in the draft.

Plus, according to several mock drafts, Davion Mitchell is expected to be picked by either the Golden States Warriors (seventh) or New Orleans Pelicans (tenth). His odds are -300. Keon Johnson is another one. Per NBA.com’s mock drafts, K. Johnson is projected to be taken No. 8 overall by the Orlando Magic, assuming this team does not pursue any potential trades to move up. Additionally, FSU’s Scottie Barnes has -10000 odds of getting selected in the top 10, and some mock draft beat writers also have Barnes going to the Magic.

 

 

Draft betting is much like player prop bets and NBA Finals betting. There are plenty of uncertainties and variables one must consider before placing bets, such as a specific team trading up or down during the night of the draft. Think about all the possible outcomes and scenarios before placing a bet, even if you choose to play it safe.

It is imperative for gamblers to search for any news articles or videos the same day of the draft, in order to keep up to date on important breaking news. Before placing bets on professional basketball, keep in mind that Bovada is the best betting site for NBA-related content and requested wagers.

 

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