Rumors and spin are the oil that lubricates the NBA draft engine. What has changed is those rumors have gone from being in smoke-filled back rooms to social media. There are too many rumors, too much spin to keep up with around today’s NBA.
Here is a round-up of legitimate NBA draft rumors and some of the buzz flying around the league. Take it all with a grain of salt, but here is the latest spin from around the league.
• The Minnesota Timberwolves would love to trade out of the No. 1 pick for a player who can help them win now. Team president Gersson Rosas told NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh he was open to it on a recent Tom Haberstroh podcast, and the buzz around the league has continued to be they want to make a move. Kevin O’Conner wrote this at The Ringer in his mock draft: “Executives around the NBA say the Timberwolves prefer to trade down or out of this pick to bring in a win-now player to help Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.”
• We know that Bob Myers and the Warriors also are open to trading out of the No. 2 pick, and the buzz is they continue to look for a trade for their pick as well.
• The question is: Who would be a buyer for those picks? There was some thought in NBA circles that the Knicks would be willing to move up from the No. 8 spot to land the potential of LaMelo Ball — and new Knicks’ president Leon Rose is reportedly highest on Ball and James Wiseman in this draft. Still, New York is reportedly more interested in trading down than up. If the Timberwolves or Warriors find a taker for those picks, they will not get the same haul they would most seasons. Nobody is high on the top of this draft board.
• Speaking of Wiseman, the 7-footer out of Memphis (technically), Sam Vecenie of The Athletic said he is hearing Wiseman is drawing interest because he’s seen as a “safe” pick compared to others at the top of the draft. “Having talked to sources who have seen Wiseman work out in Miami, there is some real enthusiasm about his play… A lot of executives I’ve spoken with actually consider Wiseman to be among the safer players in the draft. Simply put, few executives doubt that his size, length and athleticism will translate into being a starting quality NBA center.”
• Where the doubt comes in is with Wiseman is if he can be a star player. A few around the league say yes, but there is a lot of concern he will not be happy in his role in the league. The concern is he wants the ball, wants to face up and attack like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Anthony Davis, and Wiseman simply isn’t that good. He’s not going to be that guy at the NBA level. Would he continue to work hard in a lesser role?
• One thing that is not part of the NBA draft rumors but a fact: Potential No. 1 pick LaMelo Ball, who brings a huge Instagram following with him wherever he lands, has already signed a shoe deal with Puma.
OFFICIAL: Potential #1 pick LaMelo Ball has signed a multi-year shoe deal with PUMA. pic.twitter.com/VKWAvbtGcQ
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) October 14, 2020
• If the Warriors keep the No. 2 pick, might they target Deni Avdija out of Israel? O’Conner at the Ringer thinks so. “Avdija makes sense as a target due to his versatility, playmaking, and high basketball IQ, all qualities that helped Golden State reach five straight NBA Finals.”
• Speaking of trading out, even the Dallas Mavericks at No. 18 are looking to do it for a rotation player, reports Jeremy Woo at Sports Illustrated. “It’s unclear whether the Mavs will actually make this selection for themselves, as this pick has been made available in trades in hopes of landing immediate rotation help, per sources.” The reality: If the top teams are having trouble moving their picks, how would Dallas do it at No. 18?