The 2012 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday June 28th 2012, and the with the NBA combine taking place over the weekend, the rumor mill has really started to heat up. Below is the buzz and rumors that we are hearing regarding the NBA Draft. This thread will be updated with new rumors, so please check back for the latest information:
-Just to confirm, Anthony Davis will be the first pick in the draft by the New Orleans Hornets, no question. Do not believe anyone who says differently, or tries to start up ridiculous rumors or trade scenarios, it’s a done deal.
– According to ESPN’s Chad Ford the Cleveland Cavaliers called the New Orleans Hornets and offered four draft picks (#4, #24, #33, #34) for the top pick in the draft and were quickly told “No.” The Hornets are keeping the pick, and drafting Anthony Davis.
– The Charlotte Bobcats are shopping the second pick in the draft, and the rumors is they are looking to land a young, established player and a draft pick in exchange. The hot rumor at the moment has Memphis trading small forward Rudy Gay and their first round pick (#25 overall) to Charlotte in exchange for the second pick, where the Grizzles would presumably select Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. There are also other teams interested in the selection, one being the Boston Celtics, who have two first round picks (#21 & #22) overall, but it is unclear which player they would trade along with a pick (or picks) to Charlotte. I assume they would not trade point guard Rajon Rondo following his breakout playoff performance, but we know General Manager Danny Ainge has been close to shipping the sometimes difficult Rondo out of Boston in the past. The second pick will reportedly also draw interest from other organizations, possibly including the Portland Trailblazers who own the #6 & #11 selections in the first round and the Golden State Warriors who own #7 and #30. If the Bobcats do not trade the selection, they are expected to select either Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson, who is currently gaining steam.
– The Washington Wizards are in a good spot with the third overall pick, they like both Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal, and one of those players will be on the board. If both Kidd-Gilchrist and Beal are available, the Wizards are currently slightly favoring Beal, because of his superior shooting ability and pure offensive skill set. See the link to the mock draft above for more details.
– The Cleveland Cavaliers have the fourth pick in the draft and seem to be totally locked in to North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes. The Cavs loved Barnes last year, and have already done their homework on him, before he withdrew from the draft to return to UNC. I wonder if things would change if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fell to the fourth pick, but as of right now, the Cavs will be selecting Barnes fourth.
– The Sacramento Kings are in a great spot as well, they will get one of the top players on their draft board with the fifth pick, likely between Kidd-Gilchrist, Robinson, Beal or Barnes. I think this is the furthest Robinson falls, again, he is really impressing scouts with his athletic ability for a man of his size. The darkhorse here would be Connecticut’s Andre Drummond, who is an incredible athlete for his size (6’11 275lbs) and has scouts drooling with his potential, but did not produce at UConn.
– The sixth pick belongs to the Portland Trailblazers (Which should belong to the Brooklyn Nets who traded the pick to Portland in possibly the worst trade in NBA history, detailed here) and this is probably the ceiling for Damian Lillard, the top point guard in the class out of Weber State. The Blazers are desperate for a young point guard, and Lillard has been wowing scouts with his shooting ability and athleticism. He is more of a combo guard then a pure point guard, but if the Blazers want him, they will have to pick him here because he will not last to their next pick (#11).
– I am not going to discuss the entire draft pick by pick, please check the mock draft for that (link at the top of this post) however here are some other rumors I am hearing.
– The Toronto Raptors have the eighth pick in the draft and are trying to trade it, looking to land a veteran small forward in return, and rumor is they have targeted Philadelphia’s Andre Igoudala or Rudy Gay of Memphis. If the Raptors stay at eight, expect them to target a scoring wing, with Baylor’s Perry Jones III, Washington’s Terrence Ross or Syracuse combo guard Dion Waiters.
– The most interesting position in the NBA Draft, and probably the deepest this year, is shooting guard (and I’m considering Barnes a small forward). Bradley Beal is expected to be the first shooting guard selected in the draft, but after that, there are several players competing to be the second two guard drafted. The players in the running for the next shooting guard selected are Dion Waiters, Terrence Ross, UConn’s Jeremy Lamb, and Duke’s Austin Rivers. Each scout seems to have a different take on where these players rank on their big board and it is going to be very interesting to see how they shake out and where they land on draft night. I personally like Terrence Ross, he has to get stronger physically, but he is an incredible athlete and shooter with great size who reminds me a little of when Oklahoma City’s James Harden came out of Arizona State.
– Lots of rumors that the Philadelphia 76ers really like Jeremy Lamb, however it is unclear if he will be on the board when they pick fifteenth. There is a chance, depending on how the shooting guards come off the board, but a lot of teams like Lamb and at this point I would consider it a long shot.
– We know Dion Waiters has received a lottery promise (he pulled out of workouts, because a team in the lottery promised they would draft him if he is still on the board) however it is unclear which team “promised” Waiters.
– A player that is really on the rise is St John’s freshman small forward Moe Harkless, who needs some development and is far from a finished product, but exudes potential. There are rumors that some teams have Harkless in their top ten on the big board, he has shown elite athleticism and defensive prowess, and although his jump shot needs work he can still score in transition.
– A number of teams like Illinois big man Meyers Leonard, he is big and surprising athletic, with a nice jump shot. Do not be shocked if he is selected before the likes of North Carolina’s more heralded center Tyler Zeller on draft day.
– Another player that teams are coming around on is Iowa State forward Royce White, who has really impressed teams during interviews, and on the court. On skill alone he is one of the most talented players in the draft, but his highly publicized anxiety disorder and fear of flying had scared some teams off early in the draft process. I like White’s game a lot personally, however I have to admit, I do not see which position he fits at in the NBA. Although he is physically developed and strong, he is a little short (6’8) to play power forward in the NBA, and clearly not quick enough to play small forward.
– The biggest enigma to me is still Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, who is physically gifted and passes the eyeball test, however is a tweener small/power forward (6’8 244lbs) and scout seem split on where he fits best in the NBA. I an hearing that some teams consider him a top ten pick, while others have him falling into the 20’s.
– Thomas Robinson has really been impressing scouts. He put to bed any concerns about his size, when he measured close to 6’9 and 244lbs with a 7’3 wingspan and showed his freakish athletic ability while impressing in interviews. He will be selected somewhere between second and fifth overall in the draft, I think the Kings at #5 are his floor.
– I have heard from several sources that they fully expect the Atlanta Hawks to be active on the trade market this summer and that the pieces most likely to move are Josh Smith and/or Marvin Williams. The Hawks would also listen to offers for Joe Johnson, but his huge contract makes him difficult to trade. Expect the Brooklyn Nets to be interested in these players, but they simply do not have many assets.
– Hearing Kevin Garnett would like a three year deal to stay with the Boston Celtics, however he will have plenty of interest from other teams on the free agent market.
– Sounds like the Memphis Grizzlies will trade Rudy Gay this summer, because they do jot think he is a great fit with their offense, and his trade value is extremely high. Count the Charlotte Bobcats, Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, and Toronto Raptors among the early interested teams.
– Again hearing that the Minnesota Timberwolves will trade Michael Beasley to open up more playing time for Derrick Williams, and as long rumored the Lakers are interested.
– There are rumors that the Cleveland Cavaliers are in discussions with the Portland Trail Blazers regarding a four draft pick swap. In the deal, Cleveland would ship their two first round picks (#4 and #24) to Portland for their two first round picks (#6 and #11). It is no secret that the Cavs have targeted North Carolina guard/forward Harrison Barnes with their first pick and believe he will be available later than fourth overall, so they are looking to trade back a few spots and add another asset. Portland would be targeting Flordia shooting guard Bradley Beal, who the organization loves, with the fourth pick.
– The Golden State Warriors are going to draft someone that can help them on the glass in the first round, they were the worst rebounding team in the NBA in 2012, and if Andre Drummond is on the board at seven I think he will be the pick. There have been rumors that the Warriors like Perry Jones III or Terrence Jones, but they also have four total draft picks and could be a candidate to trade either up or down.
– There is little doubt that the dream scenario for the Detroit Pistons would to select a big man who can rebound and defend with the ninth overall selection. This would allow them to play Greg Monroe in the high post, where he can utilize his passing skills and soft touch. Ideally UConn big man Andre Drummond would be the pick for the Pistons, his size and athleticism would fit perfectly next to Monroe on the Detroit front line, however since early in the draft process I thought that Drummond being available with the ninth pick was a pipe dream. Now I’m not so sure. I still expect Drummond’s stock to rise as we approach Draft Day, you just don’t see a lot of athletic and ripped 6’11 275lb 18 year olds (he won’t be 19 until August) entering the NBA. I think he will be an absolute monster in the NBA, but he is a project and will take time to develop. While I still don’t think Drummond is available at nine, somebody has to slide in this loaded draft, and I can envision scenarios where he is unexpectedly on the board when the Pistons are on the clock. If Drummond is gone, I could see Detroit selecting UNC shot blocker John Henson.
– Hearing that as long as the Boston Celtics make a respectable offer and don’t insult him, Kevin Garnett will be back in Boston next season, he wants to finish his career there and the feeling is mutual. Probably a two-three year deal, but expect him to play two more seasons. UPDATE: I’m hearing that there are only two options for K.G. returning to the Celtics or retirement. That’s it.
We all know the Philadelphia 76ers are desperate for a shooting guard who can hit the three pointer with accuracy and both UConn’s Jeremy Lamb and Washington’s Terrence Ross would be great fits in Philly with the fifteenth pick in the draft. I think that a sleeper pick for the 76ers is Mississippi State big man Arnette Moultrie, he is 6’11 with long arms, and is an excellent rebounder who can both stretch the defense with his jumper and score inside. Like the shooting guards, he would add a new dimension to the 76ers offensively, although a talented shooting guard should be option one.
– Philadelphia 76ers guard Lou Williams confirmed on his Twitter that he is opting out of the final year of his contract and will become a free agent. According to multiple sources, Williams wants to return to Philly and the 76ers want him back.
– Celtics forward Brandon Bass, who stepped huge for Boston during the playoffs, is unlikely to pick up his $4 million player option after setting career highs in points (12.5) and rebounds (6.2) per game, making him a free agent. Bass loves Boston and has expressed his desire to return to the Celtics on a long term deal. That Glen “Big Baby” Davis for Brandon Bass trade with Orlando keeps looking better and better from the Celtics perspective.
As mentioned above, keep it here for more rumors, as I will update this thread regularly.