As the NBA season winds down the draft rumors for 2014 are heating up.
This years draft is considered significantly better than last years, and a number of teams are looking to nab a strong, franchise player to bolster their squads.
Let’s check out the latest rumors and news about the draft:
-The Boston Celtics are reportedly targeting Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart with their top pick, reported the Digital Journal. Smart reminds them of Rajon Rondo, but with more offense.
Another option is snagging Julius Randle of Kentucky.
-Smart’s recent blowup negatively impacted his draft prospects, though, reported Yahoo. “His stock is going to take a hit,” one NBA general manager said. “He has shown in the past few months that he is prone to outbursts. He kicked a chair (against West Virginia). He’s under a lot of pressure. The team is not doing well, struggling.
“Fans say things in the NBA every day. He has a history of letting people get under his skin. The NBA fans will test him.”
-ESPN has several versions of a mock draft, but one by Chris Ford has Joel Embiid going first to the Milwaukee Bucks, which have a 25 percent chance to win the lottery. That version has Kansas teammate Andrew Wiggins going second to the Philadelphia 76ers (19.9 percent) and Dante Exum from Australia going to the Orlando Magic (15.6 percent).
-Joel Embiid is on everyone’s radar now. “He has had the biggest impact on this draft so far. Entering the season, the conversation was about Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, and then scouts starting falling for Embiid. Scouts were falling in love with him and then looking over their shoulder hoping that no other teams were noticing how great he looked. Obviously, he kept improving and the secret got out,” a scout told Basketball Insiders.
“He’s able to do so many things at his size that nobody else can. He has amazing footwork, great athleticism, nice touch and a beautiful stroke on his shot. He may have the highest upside in the draft because he still has so much room to grow.
-Dante Exum is another player to watch outside of Wiggins, Parker, and Randle. “I have seen him play live a limited number of times, but I have to say that he’s really intriguing. He has a legitimate chance to go No. 1 in this draft. He’s that good. His upside is enormous. I won’t be surprised if he goes No. 1 on draft night. If we land the No. 1 pick, he’s a guy who we’re seriously going to look at,” the scout said.
“There is nothing that suggests that he won’t be a great player. He’s athletic, he can shoot and he can handle the ball. He’s incredibly versatile. He really can play three positions, which is attractive to a lot of teams. I’m excited to watch him develop and see what kind of player he becomes.”
-Jabari Parker of Duke might not leave school just yet. He told the Associated Press that he hasn’t made up his mind. “If I feel like there are things I could improve on or things I left, like during the season, then I will probably come back,” Parker said.
“Saying that I didn’t give it my all and that I have regrets, that I have to come back because I owe this program so much. A deciding factor is where I’m going to grow the most, whether it’s in the NBA or even in college, the learning experiences that I need as far as (growing as) a basketball player.”
-Aquille Carr, an intriguing prospect, is focused on getting into the draft after playing a season in the D-League following his graduation from high school. “I’ve been working out everyday, three times per day; early in the morning and late at night,” he told Ridiculous Upside.
“I’m working on my jump shot, getting it more consistent. I’m adding new stuff to my workouts, too.”I’m working on my jump shot, getting it more consistent. I’m adding new stuff to my workouts, too.”
-Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, wants the draft expanded to more rounds. “I’d like to see four rounds so you can draft guys overseas, get more guys drafted that are your property so you can try to develop them,” Cuban told the Star-Telegram.
“Because once they get into the ‘I’m a free agent, I wasn’t drafted grind,’ … you’ve got to realize that toward the bottom of the second round there are teams that pick for financial reasons, and that takes advantage of guys that might have otherwise been picked. Rather than me making a call, ‘Hey, so-and-so, you’re the 61st pick in the NBA draft,’ It would be better to have the draft [expanded], but again, it’s not my say.”