With the NBA Draft Combine over, let’s take a look at some of the key rumblings from the weekend to key an eye on:
The Phoenix Suns “certainly open” to trading the No. 1 overall pick:
In an interview on ESPN2’s combine special on Friday, Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough said:
We’re certainly open to that (trading the first pick). We’ll consider it. Obviously, we’ll have more information closer to the draft than we do today, after we go through the workout process and the interview process and we get the medical physicals. So we’re open to that.
Big man DeAndre Ayton is expected to be one of the first players selected, but it looks like the Suns are keeping their options open. As we saw last year with the Boston Celtics, there could be value in trading down. It worked out perfectly for Danny Ainge, getting both the guy he wanted in Jayson Tatum and acquiring future assets.
We also heard an interesting rumor via Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst on The Lowe Post podcast. It sounds like Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves might have a strained relationship. What if the Suns get a godfather offer from the Timberwolves involving KAT? Or what if Luka Doncic is the guy they want all along, and they move down in the draft a couple of spots for him? Either way, “being open” is the right play, so this will be something to monitor.
Doncic could fall in the draft:
Speaking of Doncic, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, if the Suns pass on him at No. 1, there are reports he could fall out of the top three.
The growing consensus among NBA decision-makers in attendance at Stark Arena in Belgrade is that the teams drafting behind the Phoenix Suns at No. 1, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks are likely to pass on European prodigy in favor of American frontcourt players.
Even if the Suns opt to go with Ayton, it’s hard to see both the Kings and Hawks passing on Doncic. He is a special talent who deserves to go in the top 3 based on his body of work. This is what he has done in the past eight months:
Eurobasket champion, All-Eurobasket team, Euroleague Rising Star award, Euroleague MVP, Euroleague champion, and Euroleague Final Four MVP.
The Los Angeles Clippers may use their two picks in the 2018 NBA Draft to trade up:
According to several league executives via Kevin O’Connor, the Los Angeles Clippers are open to packaging their No. 12 and No. 13 picks to move up in the draft. Who would they make the jump for? According to O’Connor, they are currently eyeing Michael Porter Jr., as there is a small connection with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, who saw MPJ play in High School.
This was not a championship-caliber team. What can we do to make us better? Or, what can we do to make us more sustainable?
In addition, West spoke about Ballmer’s vision for the franchise’s future, saying:
If you’ve been as successful in life as he has, he doesn’t want something mediocre. He wants something special, and that’s the assignment this front office has been given.
I have a feeling West and Ballmer are up to something, and expect some kind of big splash from them on draft night.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported Wednesday that Hutchison received assurances he had found a “safe landing spot” from a team picking between Nos. 20-30 in the first round.
Smith also went onto say that the Los Angeles Lakers had made a promise of their own to select Robinson with their No. 25 overall pick.
It is easy to see why teams have fallen in love with both Robinson and Hutchison, as both have the “potential” that teams are looking for after the lottery slots. Usually where there is smoke there is fire, but there is a chance both will be gone by the time the Bulls and Lakers select, with the Bulls and Lakers picking at No. 22 and No. 25 respectively.
With the draft exactly a month from today, this is only the beginning of the rumors that will pop up. That is all good with me since this is the time of the year I live for!