There likely won’t be much drama with the first overall pick on draft night, now that the Sixers have reportedly informed LSU’s Ben Simmons they’ll be selecting him. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of surprises the rest of the way. According to ESPN’s Chad Ford (via Twitter), all six teams picking between Nos. 3 and 8 – the Celtics, Suns, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Nuggets, and Kings – are shopping their selections to some extent. This year’s draft class is viewed as having a consensus top eight, with a drop off after that point, so those picks could generate plenty of trade interest.
Here are a few more draft notes, rumors, and updates:
- General manager Bryan Colangelo acknowledged today that moving up into the top eight would be a cutoff for his Sixers to keep in mind if they try to land a second lottery pick (Twitter link via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer). Colangelo added that Philadelphia is “entertaining discussions” about packaging the 24th and 26th overall picks in a deal to move up in the draft (Twitter link via Tom Moore of Calkins Media).
- Former Kentucky guard Jamal Murray figures to be one of those top eight players to come off the board, and Kentucky coach John Calipari said today in a conference call that Murray is hoping to land with the Timberwolves. “He loves Minnesota. As a matter of fact that’s where he’d like to go,” Calipari said. “I know Jamal likes that situation, the young guys” (Twitter links via Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune). Youngblood examines the Wolves’ options in the event that they keep or trade that No. 5 overall pick.
- Masai Ujiri‘s Raptors have the ninth overall pick, but the GM insists there’s a trade market for that selection, despite the perceived talent drop-off after the top eight, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN, who tweets that Ujiri seems pleased with his team’s options whether he keeps or trades the pick.
- The Hornets will likely select a wing player with the No. 22 pick in the draft, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer speculates. Florida State shooting guard Malik Beasley, Michigan State swingman Denzel Valentine, Virginia shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon, St. Joseph’s small forward DeAndre’ Bembry and Vanderbilt center Damian Jones are five players who might be on the board and fill a need for the club, according to Bonnell. Small forward Nicolas Batum and shooting guard Courtney Lee will be unrestricted free agents next month.
- The Trail Blazers intend to be aggressive on draft night even though they don’t currently hold any picks, writes Mike Richman of The Oregonian.