Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NBA Draft Rumors Heating Up

With just two days remaining before the NBA draft the rumors are running wild like DWG on the softball basepaths.  Even the #1 overall pick is up for grabs.  Many NBA "insiders" and "unnamed sources" and even named sources including Flip Saunders have been throwing chum in the water.  Here are a few of the interesting storylines that are developing...

What do the Cavs do at #1?

The Cavs have been linked with Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel, Alex Len and even Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo.  They've also been involved in some talks about trading the pick with ESPN reporting the Thunder, Blazers and our Wolves have shown interest.

The Cavs have quality players at the PG (Irving), SG (Waiters), PF (Thompson) and C (Varejao, Zeller).  The mostly highly rumored players are McLemore, Len and Noel which is interesting because there are some redundancies of talent at those positions. If they like one of those three to be a star they obviously should take them.  McLemore makes the most sense as Waiters showed some scoring ability, but wasn't a great shooter (41% FG, 31% 3pt).  However, he's still only 21 and he did score 14.7ppg as a rookie.

In terms of fit, I would think an Otto Porter would be desireable as a very athletic and active 6'9" small forward with some solid upside.  Perhaps he's not as much of a sure thing as McLemore or Len/Noel and that also could be why Cleveland is looking to trade back a bit.  Porter gets lots of Tayshaun Prince comparisons, but I don't buy it as I think Porter is more athletic and active running the floor and handling the ball.  I'm also impressed with his work ethic as he's added muscle and improved his outside shooting in his two seasons at Georgetown (22% to 42% from 3).  Check out this video of him:

The Green Room

Barry Larkin's son, PG Shane Larkin has been invited to the green room for the draft.  This is usually a good indicator that someone likes him to go pretty high as usually no more than 15 players are invited.  This is where the player sits with their family and their agent, so maybe a Barry sighting is going to happen.  Names are chosen based on polling of GMs.  Other names that are going to be there are: Len, Noel, Oladipo, McLemore, Porter, Bennett, Burke, Carter-Williams, Zeller, McCollum, Adams, Caldwell-Pope and Karasev.  In 2012, 14 players were invited and the latest one of them went was 17th. 

Wolves Trade Talks with the Nets 

Several reports came out on Monday about the Wolves talking to the Nets about MarShon Brooks.  Brooks is a shooting guard that has a lot of offensive talent, but is now behind Joe Johnson.  His rookie year he averaged 12.6ppg, but that fell to just 5ppg last season.  Brooks is a bit of a volume shooter and has a disappointing career 30.2% 3pt.  He's already 24 too, so he's not super young.  The rumor is that the Wolves would give either Ridnour or Barea, but the Nets are at their cap limit, so something else would have to come the Wolves' way in order for the deal to happen.  The only name I see that has a big enough salary to make it work is Mirza Teletovic or a combo of Reggie Evans and either Tyshawn Taylor or Kris Joseph.  I'm not sure that the Nets would be willing to give that many role players to get Barea or Ridnour.  Another rumor I read says the #26 pick might go in the deal, which is not good.

Blazers Making a Play for Pek

The Blazers are really looking for a center to partner with LaMarcus Aldridge down low since he gets so beat up during the season playing the 4 and 5.  JJ Hickson who played well is a free agent and Meyers Leonard, last year's #11 pick is still probably not ready for prime time.  Tiago Splitter and Pekovic are targets to come in and some beef right away.  Both of these players are restricted free agents, so that means the Blazers can sign Splitter or Pek to an offer sheet and their original team has a right of first refusal.  They are also rumored to be willing to move the #10 pick in a deal.

From Russia With Love?

Andrei Kirilenko has until the 29th to decide whether or not he'll play next year wtih the Wolves or become a free agent.  Hopefully, he's giving Flip Saunders some inclinitation of which way he's leaning.  Either way, Kirilenko is a shorter term solution, so draft decisions shouldn't be affected too much.  That being said, Kirilenko may have been the Wolves best player last season with consideration given to Rubio and Pekovic.  With a healthy Love and Budinger and some lucky/good draft picks, we may once again be talking playoff push with AK47 in tow. 

From Flip's Presser Yesterday

Their final workout on Monday was Tony Mitchell and Flip liked his athleticism.  As you know I'm a fan Mitchell and wouldn't mind at all if he's the #26 selection.  NBAdraft.net has Mitchell going #24 to the Knicks.

Flip says he's been in trade talks, but doesn't expect anything to go down until the day before or the day of the draft when they "have a better idea of where everything's going to be going."  He also mentions that if Derrick Williams were in this draf the would be a top 3 player, which indicates there have at least been some talks around D-Will, but Flip has the value placed very high.  He also says there are no players in this draft that within two years you can be sure they'll be an all-star.

Saunders acknowledges the need for better 3 point shooting and says he's watched a lot of film in addition to workouts, but doesn't give much lean beyond that.  He said they won't be taking a point guard in the first round, but what does he consider CJ McCollum?  Well, when asked to compare McCollum and Caldwell-Pope it's clear he likes them both and says McCollum has more range and been a more consistent scorer. 

For the second round Flip indicates they'll be looking for upside types; maybe euro players.  Full presser is here.

Other Notes:
  • Flip expects Rick Adelman to be back saying they "talk every day".  Great news for Wolves fans.
  • Saunders says that former Gopher Colton Iverson is much improved from his time at the Barn.  Iverson agrees saying, "I'm not the slow slug you saw for three years." 
  • Nate Sandell has a nice piece about Trevor Mbakwe and how he needs to overcome his lack of size, injury concerns and old off court issues to make it to the pros.
  • Knicks F Chris Copeland is drawing interest and the rumor is the Knicks won't be able to match any offers because they are cap strapped.
  • Former 10th overall pick Jimmer Fredette is being shopped and the rumor is it will only take a 2nd round pick to get the former BYU sharpshooter.  In two seasons off the bench Fredette has shot 38.4% from 3 point range.  The Wolves have two second rounders, but they're probably much too late in the round to get Fredette.  He would add to their whiteness and outside shooting.
  • The Celtics are trying to move Paul Pierce, with an end game of landing Josh Smith in a separate sign and trade deal with the Hawks.  The only two teams that have the cap space to take on Pierce's $15MM contract are Cleveland and Milwaukee. 
  • Metta World Peace will decide to accept his $7.7MM player option, making him the anti-Latrell Sprewell.
  • Shooter JR Smith is declining his option to return to the Knicks and is electing free agency.  He has to be considered one of the top shooting guards along with OJ Mayo.

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