Dereck Lively’s strong showing during the pre-draft process could make him a top-10 pick, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. The Duke center was considered to be a mid-to-late first-rounder when he declared for the draft, but sources tell Wasserman that he has been impressing teams with his shooting touch during his pro day and workouts.
Lively didn’t have a large role in the Blue Devils’ offense, averaging just 5.2 points and 3.4 field goal attempts per game. However, teams have watched his videos from high school and believe he may have potential as a stretch four. That combined with his shot-blocking ability give him the profile of a modern NBA big man.
The Wizards at No. 8 are considered the highest potential draft spot for Lively, according to Wasserman, who hears that the Mavericks at 10, Magic at 11, Thunder at 12 and Pelicans at 14 are also interested.
There are more draft rumors to pass along, all from Wasserman:
- Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson both have supporters in the Hornets‘ front office, sources tell Wasserman. Today’s planned workout and meeting with owner Michael Jordan could tip the scales on which player is selected at No. 2. Miller has been the presumed pick for several weeks, but Wasserman hasn’t been able to track down how that rumor began. Most scouts that he’s talked to see Henderson as the better player, but Charlotte has to consider who would fit best alongside LaMelo Ball.
- The Rockets‘ choice at No. 4 appears to be coming down to Amen Thompson or Cam Whitmore. Sources tell Wasserman that the team likely views Thompson as the best player available, but its confidence in landing James Harden in free agency could influence whether it wants a play-maker like Thompson or a scorer like Whitmore. The Villanova forward has been impressive during pre-draft workouts and has made the decision more difficult for Houston’s front office, Wasserman adds. Sources tell him that Thompson is still considered the more likely choice because of his fit with Jalen Green.
- Olivier-Maxence Prosper has raised his stock continuously since the draft combine and may go in the top 20, according to Wasserman’s sources. The Marquette guard has worked out for at least 16 teams, displaying defensive skills, a competitive attitude and shooting potential. Several lottery teams are interested, according to Wasserman, but they may consider trading down for him.
- Arkansas’ Anthony Black is considered to be the most likely choice for the Wizards, and sources tell Wasserman that the Jazz are expected to take Black at No. 9 if Washington passes on him.
- Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin appears to have reached lottery status, with rival teams seeing the Raptors as his floor at No. 13. Wasserman notes that Bufkin hasn’t taken part in many workouts, which could indicate that he has received a draft promise.
- Wasserman identifies Lively, Bufkin, Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino and France’s Bilal Coulibaly as players who have probably risen into the lottery, leaving Baylor’s Keyonte George and Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr. as the most likely to slide into the 15-20 range.
- Belmont’s Ben Sheppard may be a target for teams looking to trade up into the middle of the first round, Wasserman adds.
- Wasserman hears that the Rockets aren’t expected to keep their pick at No. 20 and appear willing to trade it for a future first-rounder.
- Once Kansas sharpshooter Gradey Dick is off the board, UConn’s Jordan Hawkins will be the next target for teams in need of shooting help, according to Wasserman, who states that the Magic might consider him at No. 11.