June 6, 2012
By Joe Kotoch
With the NBA Draft just over three weeks away the rumblings are picking up and misinformation is being disseminated by teams hoping to gain any advantage possible. This week the city of Chicago is at the center of the basketball world, from a draft perspective, with the NBA Combine. During the combine, teams officials will socialize with agents and media, alike. Rumors will be created out of thin air, a promise or two may be made to an agent and prospect, and draft prospects will be poked and prodded. Here is a some of what the PBD staff is hearing so far.
The Charlotte Bobcats are open to the idea of moving the second pick but are asking a steep price. According to a source, Charlotte will want one impactful draft pick this year and one other prospect with high upside that may be in the NBA right now. From the sound of things the Bobcats most logical partners from a trade standpoint might be Cleveland, Sacramento, and Portland.
Speaking of Cleveland, the Cavs are serious about their interest in Andre Drummond and will schedule time with the Connecticut big man to have him in Cleveland and work him out. From sources in Cleveland, the Cavs are intrigued by Drummond's potential and high upside and want to hear from him what seemed to go wrong during his freshman season.
Minnesota again appears willing to deal its pick at 18. The Timberwolves are looking for players that can help now and are not inclined to take a project when their young core is starting to win. Based on the teams drafting immediately after the Wolves its safe to say that a team in the mid-20's might try to move up.
Kansas PF Thomas Robinson is a name to watch. Robinson's range appears to start at 2 and end at 6. One western conference executive told PBD that Robinson "is a man out there. You can see he has the physical skills and is a winner. He just needs to show offensively that he won't turn into a jump shooter." The same executive feels that Robinson is the ideal player for the Bobcats but unless Charlotte moves out of that spot won't take him.
A few second round names that are moving up into the first round are Will Barton, John Jenkins, and Doron Lamb. Interestingly, all three prospects are very good shooters, which might signal that teams in the 20's might be looking for that skill on draft night. Barton is by far the most intriguing of the prospects because of his size and athleticism. Jenkins is a relatively safe pick who should be a solid perimeter shooter/scorer. Lamb arguably has the smoothest stroke and can also handle the ball.
Two players who are slipping in the 20's and might wind up in the second round are Tony Wroten and Fab Melo. The issue scouts have with Wroten is his jumper, which is awful. Some scouts have suggested he may best be served as a PG, who will utilize his athleticism and quickness to penetrate and facilitate in a similar fashion to Rajon Rondo. Melo, on the other hand, is seen as being extremely raw offensively, so much so that one respected former GM said that Melo "will probably outlive whichever coach and GM take him." The implication from this source is that Melo needs to develop on the court for at least two seasons, which makes him a risky pick with all the baggage he already has from his days at Syracuse.
Lastly, most of the league acknowledges this is a down year from an international prospect standpoint but one scout told PBD that teams will still roll the dice on Euros in round 2 because clubs can stash them overseas and limit their payrolls next season.