Southwest Notes: Rockets, Mavs, Whitmore, Wembanyama, Pelicans

Rival NBA executives anticipate that both the Rockets (No. 4) and Mavericks (No. 10) will dangle their first-round picks in trade talks, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports within a post-lottery mock draft. Both clubs have playoff aspirations in 2023/24 after missing out this season.

Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News explores what a Mavericks trade involving the No. 10 pick might look like, speculating that Suns center Deandre Ayton and Raptors forwards OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam may be targets. While those players make some sense from Dallas’ perspective, I’d expect Toronto to seek a more substantial return for either of their forwards, while Phoenix likely won’t be prioritizing draft assets in an Ayton trade.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Which player might the Rockets select at No. 4 if they end up keeping their lottery pick? Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required) explores whether Villanova wing Cam Whitmore might be the choice, noting that adding the 18-year-old would make a young Houston roster even younger. Whitmore said at this week’s combine that he can envision himself playing alongside Rockets guards Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. “They’re athletic-type guards who can score offensively and are the type of people who can get guys involved, guards who can rotate one through five,” Whitmore said. “I think it’s a great fit with athletic-type young guys who can get the job done.”
  • In a column for The San Antonio Express-News, Mike Finger digs into the comparisons between former Spurs big man Tim Duncan and the team’s next franchise player, Victor Wembanyama. As Finger observes, even though Wembanyama has the potential to match what Duncan did on the court, it will be impossible in the social media era for him to stay out of the spotlight to the extent that Duncan and the Spurs did in the early 2000s.
  • Christian Clark of identifies five prospects who could be fits for the Pelicans with the No. 14 pick in the draft, including Kansas wing Gradey Dick, Duke big man Dereck Lively II, and Central Florida forward Taylor Hendricks.
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