Were he eligible, Wembanyama would be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft, and it’s not a stretch to posit that he would likely have rated as the top prospect in any draft in the past decade, dating back to the Anthony Davis draft in 2012. While most front offices know they likely won’t be bad enough to select Wembanyama, everyone knows he’s on the horizon. In conversations with NBA personnel at the combine earlier this month, the optics of the upcoming Wembanyama draft became a fascinating topic. Players his size tend to come with injury risk, but it’s hard for league execs to otherwise envision scenarios in which he doesn’t go No. 1. For teams presently mired in the rebuilding process, this information begs the question: does it makes sense to try and orchestrate a step forward next season at all, when remaining near the bottom of the standings ensures a legitimate chance at selecting Wembanyama?
The pending arrival of 7-foot-3 French teenager Wembanyama—who is more than a year away from being drafted, but has gathered as much steam in the NBA community as any prospect since LeBron James—almost guarantees that the draft discourse for 2023 will differ starkly from what we’re currently wrestling with. Right now, there’s variance of opinion, but the discussion surrounds three or four top prospects with reasonable cases at No. 1 (I feel strongly about Jabari Smith being the guy, but can understand other arguments). Barring injury or any unexpected plot twists, Wembanyama will begin his draft cycle billed as a true consensus No. 1 prospect, and will presumably hold that spot until draft night.
Assumptions by scouts and executives all lean toward the Orlando Magic taking Smith. Shooting and defense give him an edge over Banchero, and there is some fear from teams when it comes to the 195-pound Holmgren, who's also a year older than Smith. Scouts also expect Smith to help close the deal with the Magic during interviews and his likely visit to Orlando. After making 79 threes (42.0 percent) and 42 pull-ups (40.0 percent), per Synergy Sports, he has a case as the best shooting freshman big to ever enter a draft. And that's an obvious draw to a Magic team that finished No. 28 in three-point percentage.
This draft has the potential for some unexpected twists and turns. The belief among NBA executives and scouts is that picks Nos. 4 and 7, held by the Kings and Blazers, could be available in a trade. The top three picks are unsettled, and there are proponents for both Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr. to go first overall next month. That has the potential for a chaotic top 10, which would have trickle-down effects.
1. Jabari Smith: It was a toss-up between Smith and Holmgren for the top pick, with Smith narrowly winning out. “Jabari’s ability to shoot and spread the floor will be heavily valued by teams,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype after the lottery. “The fallback is Rashard Lewis as a worst-case scenario.”
“I feel as they start to make the rounds, teams will start to fall in love with guys, which is what generally happens,” Weltman said. “Leverage [will] kind of unfold from there. We’ll have a lot of interesting discussions with teams. Obviously, we don’t go into this thing looking to trade our pick. We look to add a really talented, young [and] high-character guy to our talent base and roster. “This really doesn’t change the way we’ll approach the draft. We’re really excited to be able to fall in love with somebody and pick that player.”
“I could see a reason to pick all three of them,” Eric Musselman told The Athletic this week. “They’re all legitimate top-three picks. If you’re drafting that high and there’s not much separation, trade the pick. But these guys are all worthy. The amazing thing to me about all three of them is what they can do at their size and age. These are freshmen. We aren’t talking about somebody in their fourth or fifth year who is maxed out. So now it’s what is their work ethic and what kind of organization do they end up with? That’ll determine how these three careers unfold. But they each have the tools you’re looking for at the top of the draft. In the NBA, it’s simple: What super skill do you have that sets you apart from others? If you don’t have one, then you’re just a rotation guy.”
Paolo Banchero, Duke Musselman on offense: “He was the one we just had no answer for. Our scouting report couldn’t take anything away from him. When they needed a basket, it went to him. He got the ball off where we couldn’t double-team or soft-trap him. He makes 3s and just kept improving as a 3-point shooter over the year. He knows how to draw fouls. He’s excellent in the midrange. He’s got a good jab-step, pull-up jump shot. Got a really good turnaround jump shot. Can run the floor. Actually, you know what? I think he might be even more athletic than Jabari. It’s probably about even.”
Jabari Smith, Auburn Musselman on offense: “He’s so unique with his ability to make shots from so deep and doesn’t need a lot of dribbles to get them off. He can shoot over people. There’s just not a lot of guys his age or size who can shoot transition 3s off the run and catch like he can. It’s a little bit like Klay Thompson, who doesn’t dribble a lot and can be in a dead sprint, catch, plant and stick it. Jabari does that really well, which is a remarkable thing at 6-10. Our plan was just to crowd him, not let him go left at all. We felt like if he got the left-hand, 1-2 dribble, he was virtually unstoppable. He’s really unique, because you don’t often see a right-handed player love to put the ball on the deck with his left hand. We went through all his makes and felt like he was probably the most unique right-hand guy we’ve ever seen.”
Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga Musselman on offense: “Tremendous upside with his length, shooting and passing. He’s really intriguing. For us, the game plan was to get up under him out on the perimeter, get as low as we possibly could and try to swallow up any dribbles that he might take. And then in the post, it was to use our low center of gravity and try to be as physical as possible. Any time he sets screens, just be as physical as we could and try to impede his path anywhere that he was on the floor. We wanted our strongest, most physical player on him.”
The Orlando Magic won the lottery this week and will have the opportunity to add to their frontcourt as the top of the draft is dominated by a trio of power forwards in Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero. "This is the draft lottery of the power forwards and three very different players," said Adrian Wojnarowski. "We'll see how this shakes out, but certainly I think Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga and Jabari Smith of Auburn... I think the consensus right now is those are really the two players competing for No. 1 with the Magic."
Following the NBA draft lottery setting the full 2022 draft order, Italian-American Paolo Banchero talked to ESPN’s NBA Countdown about what he is ready to offer to any team picking him up on 23 June. “I feel like I’m the no.1 pick in the draft just because I’m the best overall player,” claimed the former Duke standout, “I feel like I check all the boxes. Whether that is being a great teammate, being able to be a star player, or doing whatever the coach needs. I’ve been aware my whole life. When I get to the NBA, that is going to be the same goal for me. Just combining all those things and knowing what I have to work on to be better is the formula for me.”
“There are a lot of guys. Obviously, there is a couple that I really try to take things away from,” he added replying to a question on modeling his game off established NBA stars, “LeBron [James], Jayson Tatum, Giannis [Antetokounmpo], Carmelo [Anthony]. Guys who got similar physical build. But I also feel like I am unique in my own ways. I take parts from all of their games and try to put them into mine. I couldn’t give you one player but I am definitely inspired by some of those guys.”
Khobi Price: The Magic won the lottery and will have the No. 1 pick.
Shams Charania: Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr., the potential top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, sits down with @Stadium: “Yes, I believe I’m No. 1.” On the values learned from an NBA dad, translating in a position-less era, much more.
JD Shaw: 2022 NBA Draft Lottery Order: 1. Magic 2. Thunder 3. Rockets 4. Kings 5. Pistons 6. Pacers 7. Blazers 8. Pelicans 9. Spurs 10. Wizards 11. Knicks 12. Thunder 13. Hornets 14. Cavaliers
David Hardisty: Chet Holmgren says he thinks he can be a "50-40-90 player" in the NBA. He believes his ability to create his own shot and score on his own will be on display.
WME Sports and BDA Sports today announced their NBA Draft class, headed up by potential No. 1 pick Chet Holmgren. The former Gonzaga star will be represented by BDA Sports Founder & CEO Bill Duffy.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Gonzaga 7-footer Chet Holmgren – the No. 1 prospect in the ESPN Top 100 – will enter the 2022 NBA Draft, he tells ESPN: es.pn/3L6bYUd
With a spectacular freshman season in the books, Paolo Banchero has become the newest member of the Blue Devils’ one-and-done club by declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft. The Seattle native announced his decision Wednesday via social media, and is the second member of this year’s roster to announce their departure from the program.
With March Madness officially wrapping up on Monday night as the Kansas Jayhawks took home the national title, the focus now shifts towards the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23rd. One of the potential top picks, Auburn standout Jabari Smith, has officially announced he is taking his talents to the next level.
Charles Barkley was breaking down the Duke vs. Arkansas men's basketball matchup in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight on Saturday afternoon for TBS. He spent some time discussing Duke forward Paolo Banchero, and Barkley had high praise for Banchero. "I'm talking to all these NBA coaches and general managers, because I been looking at a lot of tape for the last couple months on college," Barkley said. "Coming in, I said, 'Yo' man, there are two or three different guys you can take with the No. 1 pick in the draft.' Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah — hell no. You taking this dude (points to Banchero picture) right here."
"Watching him play on tape and then watching him play the last few games — Kenny Smith just said it — his ability to shoot, put it on the dribble, and I didn't know he could pass the ball like he can. "If you got the No. 1 pick in the draft — I love my kid at Auburn (Jabari Smith); I love Mr. Chet Holmgren — but this dude better be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft."
Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren was not shy when asked about the obvious stereotypes that come with being a basketball star who looks like him. “I was a white kid with a bowl cut,” the 7-foot-1 power forward told Andscape last month. “People were like, ‘This little white boy is trash.’ At the end of the day, I’m not going to worry about it. Everybody stereotypes in one way or another, whether it’s ethnicity or how you dress or what music you listen to, it doesn’t matter. Everybody’s going to have an opinion, everybody’s going to judge you. You can’t worry about it.”
But it’s also rooted in his personal upbringing, growing up in South Minneapolis in a diverse neighborhood. “It is just great to be able to be exposed to different things because at the end of the day, if you haven’t seen something you don’t really know about it,” Holmgren said. “That is why people can have misconceptions about one person to the other. That is why I feel I’ve been blessed to not only have been around a lot of Black culture, but other cultures in general.”
“I learned about different types of foods to different types of music and clothes,” Holmgren said. “I was around it and it grew on me. Now, I see it as that’s my style. That’s my type of music that I listen to. That’s the food I like. That is something that I enjoy in life.” He added, smiling as he reminisced: “I love all types of foods. … The soul food that I like is greens, cornbread, brisket, ribs. You can go down the list, I love it all. Macaroni and cheese. There’s a Jamaican place that’s two blocks from my house. And they have some of the best jerk chicken in the world and plantains. It’s just great to be able to be exposed to different things.”
Ryan McDonough: Execs from NBA Lottery teams are in San Francisco tonight to scout two studs in the mix for #1 overall pick - Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren and Duke's Paolo Banchero Those two will match up on Saturday if Duke and Gonzaga win tonight - with a trip to the Final Four on the line
Jaden Ivey is quickly putting himself in position to be the top overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. Today’s NBA has progressively become guard-centric with “high usage” players essentially seen as having the importance of an NBA team’s quarterback. It’s not just Ivey’s elite speed and athleticism that makes him unique. His isolation ability, and creativity getting to the basket or pulling up from the perimeter is quickly becoming elite. Ivey’s game parallels players such as Donovan Mitchell and Russell Westbrook with his dynamic explosiveness and ability to beat opponents off the dribble.
One scout who spoke to HoopsHype on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of their team said they have moved Holmgren to their No. 1 overall spot on their big board after the opening weekend of the tournament. The scout remarked that in addition to his size and length and other on-court skills the big man has showcased, Holmgren also had a fantastic “disposition and demeanor” on display.
Opponents are shooting just 31.7 percent in the paint when Holmgren is on the floor. That outstanding figure ranks Holmgren in the 99th percentile, via CBB Analytics. Holmgren plays an instrumental role in Gonzaga’s defensive identity and among all prospects in this draft class, he has a strong case for the mostlikely to earn All-Defense consideration in the NBA.
Not only have the majority of his long-distance shots come from the fast-paced offense but, according to Hoop Math, the big man is shooting an absurd 47.3 percent on three-pointers in transition. He is constantly a threat to knock down the trailer three-pointer when in transition, which makes him an excellent floor spacer. Another aspect of his offensive style that should intrigue scouts is that he actually has a fairly low usage rate. The offense does not have to revolve around Holmgren for him to make a difference and help the team win.
Basketball insider Jeff Goodman talked to an NBA GM over the weekend and took in some interesting chatter about Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren’s draft status. Goodman said the anonymous GM told him that he would take Purdue’s Jaden Ivey over Holmgren in the top three due to concerns regarding his body translating to NBA level strength. Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Duke’s Paolo Banchero, and Chet have been considered locks by most experts to go in the top three all season. But Ivey’s great play and Holmgren’s unorthodox body structure are starting to shake things up as we get closer to the draft.
In an Insider-only story for ESPN, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz explore why Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren is such a polarizing player for NBA scouts. As ESPN’s duo explains, Holmgren is a one-of-a-kind prospect who can’t be easily compared to current or former NBA players, making it more difficult to evaluate both his potential upside and his potential risk.
Chet Holmgren has heard the chant a few times this season from opposing fans: “Over-rated!” The lanky 7-foot freshman always has an answer, usually in the form of a thunderous dunk, 3-pointer or swatted shot into the stands. “You hear it, but at the same time you’re pretty locked in,” Holmgren said after finishing with 21 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots in a recent win over San Francisco.
A highly touted prospect when he arrived in Spokane, Washington, Holmgren didn’t dominate as expected early in his freshman season. Wanting to fit into Gonzaga’s team-oriented game, he often deferred to teammates, occasionally at the expense of passing up a good shot. As the season has progressed, so has Holmgren’s assertiveness. He’s dominated at times, showing off the rare skill set that has him projected to be among the top three picks in the next NBA draft, possibly No. 1. “He is just very, very skilled,” San Diego coach Sam Scholl said. “He has a tremendous feel. He is physical. He is not afraid to bang.”
Based on what I’ve gleaned over the past couple months from conversations with a wide range of NBA executives and scouts, this is currently a two-player race for the No. 1 spot, with Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Duke’s Paolo Banchero having separated from the pack. I ranked Smith as the draft’s top prospect after seeing him play live for the first time last month. Based on what we’ve seen to this point, I’d venture further and give Smith the edge as the slight favorite.
Which player goes first will still hinge on which team wins the lottery, but the vast majority of NBA evaluators I’ve spoken with have agreed that Smith and Banchero have set themselves apart as the top two prospects.
Duke big man Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren received the majority of hype as potential no. 1 picks in the 2022 draft entering the college season. But Auburn freshman forward Jabari Smith Jr. has entered the conversation, and even surpassed them in the eyes of many scouts and executives around the league.
Two weeks after announcing his presence to the college basketball world with an impressive performance against Kentucky at Madison Square Garden, Duke freshman Paolo Banchero helped solidify his status as the presumed No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft with another breakout performance against No. 1-ranked Gonzaga in Las Vegas. “He will be No. 1 [because of] his size, strength and ability to score at all 3 levels,” one of the 60 NBA GMs and scouts said after Banchero’s performance Friday night in No. 5 Duke’s 84-81 win over the Bulldogs.
“It was Paolo Banchero and it really wasn’t even close. He looked like the No. 1 pick today,” ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz said on air after the game.
Two Duke basketball players face charges in Orange County following a driving while impaired arrest early Sunday morning. According to court records, Michael Savarino, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s grandson, was arrested for DWI while star freshman Paolo Banchero is charged with aiding and abetting DWI. The N.C. Highway Patrol made the arrest in Orange County at 1:10 a.m. Sunday.
N.C. Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Christopher Knox told the News & Observer that Savarino was stopped for a stop sign violation while driving on Brushy Creek Road outside Hillsborough. The officer observed signs of impairment and Savarino was taken into custody. A breathalyzer test showed a blood alcohol content of .08. A copy of the arrest report and corresponding citations, obtained from Orange County District Court, confirmed Knox’s statement, and showed the responding officer administered two breathalyzer tests to Savarino, who was driving a white 2017 Jeep SUV registered to Banchero.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: The Detroit Pistons have landed on a decision to select Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NBA Draft (ESPN and ABC at 8 PM ET).
Before long, Jalen Green was the highlight of the G-League—the fastest player on the court, a multi-level scorer and apt defender, all the while delivering the same highlight reel, high-flying displays that made him famous on the internet. He’d write down goals on yellow sticky notes on his door and cross them off when he accomplished them. Before leaving that Walnut Creek apartment and relocating to LA, the only one left read, “Be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.” “Number one pick,” he tells me, “that would be a dream come true. I ain't going to lie. That happens, I'm going to have a breakdown,” he laughs. And, naturally, he has preference in mind. “I want to live in Detroit.”
Jalen Green: “I feel like I’m the best player in my class,” he says. “There’s a lot of talk about [consensus number one pick] Cade Cunningham and other people...but I’m the best player. And I feel like nobody can do what I do. I show up every time the lights come on. Whether it’s some weak players or the top in the country.”
There’s rarely quiet around Jalen now: the buzz of a nearby phone, the clicking of cameras, the throngs of fans can be incessant. The unhinged Instagram comments on casual pictures with friends from people he doesn’t know, the constant judgements on his behavior, the cold shoulder when he comes back home to Fresno. "Fresno's like a small city, so it’s real small minded. It’s like a crab bucket,” Jalen admits, dropping his head back underneath his hoodie. “You've got a bucket full of crabs. They all pull on you when you try to get out. You can fall into crime there, all that type of stuff. If you don't have the right home, right surroundings, right people around you, that shit can lead you down the wrong path.”
“Number one pick,” he tells me, “that would be a dream come true. I ain't going to lie. That happens, I'm going to have a breakdown,” he laughs. And, naturally, he has preference in mind. “I want to live in Detroit.” He feels that spot is important to his journey, a reward for his endurance. When I ask him as dinner ends what he wants out of his career, he offers a singular ambition. “I want my respect,” Jalen tells me. “As a person and a basketball player. What comes with this is that people don’t know what you’ve got to sacrifice and go through. Especially when you’re in a small city and basketball takes you down this road and everyone’s still in that small city. It’s personal. A lot of people talk about you on the side. It can get back to your family and everything. And they don’t know what you’ve been through, by yourself, while you’re on that journey.”
A commitment by the Detroit Pistons to select Cade Cunningham first overall "could be imminent," sources tell Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Both the front office and ownership are on the same page on Cunningham.
There’s a lot of group think at the top of this draft. Across the 14 different big boards I included, all but two had Cade Cunningham as the top prospect. Similarly, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, and Jalen Suggs are ranked in the top four in some order in the vast majority of big boards. I kind of expected there to be more diversity for the simple reason that there’s not really any penalty on the media side for being wrong about draft prospects — draft heads are still going to click and read draft content.
The Pistons, their general manager said Tuesday afternoon, remain open to all possibilities a little more than 48 hours ahead of Thursday night’s NBA draft – with all eyes on the Pistons with the No. 1 pick. “I said it from the onset: We’re going to have a process and we’re going to turn over every stone,” Troy Weaver said. “That’s what we’re doing. Everybody’s made the pick but us. But we’re going to continue to do our work, turn over every stone and land where we’re going to land. We’re confident in our work and we’re enjoying the process.”
Weaver says there is zero credibility to anything reported about what the Pistons intend to do. “I don’t really comment on rumors. I’m just stating, don’t believe anything you read. The rumor mill does nothing for us right now.”
Weaver reiterated his sentiment from lottery night regarding the quality of the top of the draft. “I don’t see Shaq or LeBron, but I see some high-level guys. We like all those guys at the top and we’ll continue to do our work. These guys are projecting to be very good players and we’re going to get a very good player to help us continue to restore the Pistons.”
Rival front offices continue to wonder: Are the Detroit Pistons legitimately cooling on Cade Cunningham as the No. 1 overall selection … or simply trying to encourage stronger 11th-hour trade offers for the top pick? One league source insists that one of the factors keeping the Pistons from committing fully to the selection of Cunningham is Jalen Green’s recent stellar workout that apparently made the strongest of impressions.
It would be a surprise if the Pistons don’t keep this pick and draft Cunningham, but league sources say that Jalen Green had an outstanding workout with Detroit last week. The front office will mull trading down if teams keep making offers, but teams will have to pay a significant price to move up. Unless things quickly change in the next 48 hours, expect Cunningham to bring his versatile talents to the Motor City.
Cade Cunningham has been the public favorite to go No. 1 to the Detroit Pistons since the lottery. While Detroit is surely doing its due diligence, is there any reason to doubt that Cunningham will be the first name we hear on Thursday night? Matt Babcock: I expect Cade Cunningham to be the top overall pick in this draft, selected by the Detroit Pistons. However, I’ve been told that the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder have been knocking the Pistons’ door down. Rumor has it that the Thunder offered the No. 6 pick and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in exchange for No. 1 -- the Pistons declined. If the Pistons receive an offer better than that one, they may need to seriously consider it.
Chad Ford: How confident is Jalen Green that he won’t slide past the Rockets at No. 2? He’s only doing workouts with the Rockets and Pistons. He has no plans to workout for the Cavs or anyone else.
Stadium Bets: The Rockets are pursuing the No. 1 overall pick from the Pistons, according to our #NBA Insider @ShamsCharania . Check out Draft Decisions, presented by @FDSportsbook .
Much of the chatter I’ve heard the past couple weeks has suggested that the Rockets prefer Jalen Green to Evan Mobley at this spot. There have been reports in recent weeks that Houston has interest in trading up with Detroit to take Cunningham, but the vast majority of speculation from other teams has centered on Green as the presumptive fit at No. 2.
Rod Beard: Cade Cunningham on the top prospects in this draft class: "I've been saying for a long time that we have one of the best classes in a long time. I appreciate that we've all been pushing each other throughout."
James Edwards III: Cunningham on his passing: "I take a lot of pride. Anytime I watch basketball or a player, that shows how much they know the game. ... It's a huge skill. I'm only going to try and get better at it."
Rod Beard: Cade Cunningham on the city of Detroit: "I love Detroit. I've already been listening to Detroit music -- way before the lottery ... it's a city that has a lot going on and getting the sports team rolling will be huge for the city."
Rod Beard: Cade Cunningham on NBA player comparisons: "I hear a lot of the Luka comparisons and I can see it." He said Penny Hardaway, Magic, Jason Kidd are models for him.
Rod Beard: Cade Cunningham on playing without the ball: "I could. Wherever I get placed, I'll find ways to be effective and impact the game for my squad. When I got in to training camp, I'm going to go in and play my game and be made."
Rod Beard: Cade Cunningham on his 2-year-old daughter Riley: "Being a teenage father definitely makes you grow up quickly...she's the top priority. It made me lock in on the sport I love."
James Edwards III: Asked Cade Cunningham what he learned about the Pistons during his visit: "The organization has a lot of great people within it. Starts with the owners. Troy Weaver is a great GM. I learned a lot on my visit. If they take me, I'll be happy to be there."
James Edwards III: Cunningham: "I wanted to meet with the team that had the No. 1 pick because I feel I'm the No. 1 pick. If the Rockets get the No. 1 pick, I'd meet with them if there is enough time."
The Detroit Pistons, owners of the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA draft, are conducting individual workouts with some of the top prospects in the draft pool this week, sources told ESPN. The Pistons hosted Cade Cunningham for a light workout in Detroit on Tuesday, and are slated to bring Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs in for private workouts in the coming days. The Pistons would like to bring Evan Mobley in, but have yet to schedule a visit, sources said.
Cunningham, the longtime front runner for the top overall selection, is not planning on conducting any additional visits, sources said, and would be extremely pleased to land in Detroit. Green, the No. 2 prospect in the ESPN 100, is currently only planning on conducting one additional workout, at the training facility of the Houston Rockets, owners of the No. 2 pick.
James Edwards III: Sure everyone has seen the photos by now lol but Cade Cunningham is in Detroit and met with the Pistons, per sources.
The Rockets are very interested in Oklahoma State forward Cade Cunningham and could make a move to acquire him in the 2021 NBA draft, per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Houston currently owns the No. 2 pick, with Cunningham seen as the frontrunner to go at No. 1 overall.
However, reports have indicated that the Rockets have some interest in trading up with Detroit to acquire that pick. Other sources have said that Detroit isn’t a lock to pick Cunningham at the top, anyway, with G League Ignite guard Jalen Green also among the options. Here’s what O’Connor said Monday on The Bill Simmons Podcast: "I’m hearing the same thing as you. That the Rockets love Cade, that they would want to try and get him — whether it’s trading up, or hoping that Detroit passes on him at No. 1."
EuroHoops Scouting: FIBA U19 WC All Tournament Team: Nikola Jovic (Serbia), Chet Holmgren (USA), Zach Edey (Canada), Victor Wembanyama (France), Jaden Ivey (United States). Tournament MVP: Chet Holmgren (USA).
Eurohopes: USA beats France (83-81) and wins the #FIBAU19 with a game to remember by Flag of France Victor Wembanyama ('04): 22 PTS, 8 REB and 8 BLKS. Flag of United States Jaden Ivey ('02) and Kenny Lofton Jr (‘02) combined for 32 PTS while Chet Holmgren (‘02) had 10 PTS and 5 AST in 23 MIN.
According to league sources, it’s believed the Rockets have been fixated on Cunningham but don’t believe in offering up to Detroit what it would take to move into the top spot. That leaves them just deciding to pick the next best player at No. 2, right? Not necessarily. Houston could look to trade out of No. 2 in exchange for a more definite young star, i.e. someone already in the league.
The Pistons will take Cade Cunningham at No. 1 … right? Detroit’s brain trust said all the right things after winning the NBA Draft Lottery — that it wasn’t wedded to the do-everything Cunningham, the brilliant Oklahoma State playmaker, that the Pistons would give strong consideration to Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs or G-Leaguer Jalen Green with the top selection. They’ll no doubt do their due diligence on everyone else, including USC big Evan Mobley. But you can’t overthink No. 1. There’s no one making a true compelling argument against the obvious choice of Cunningham, a 6-foot-8 guard with a 7-1 wingspan, amazing passing ability and poise.
Eastern Conference executive 1: All worthy candidates to at least consider, but Cade is hard to pass on. Eastern Conference executive 2: Now, maybe (GM Troy Weaver) sees something in Mobley that nobody else sees. And that could be him. Troy knows how to pick ’em. So maybe he sees something in Evan that he doesn’t quite see in Cade — long term, for their team. The other part about Evan is Wasserman. Arn (Tellem, the former mega-agent, who is now the Pistons’ vice chairman) created Wasserman, so there could be a connection there.
Western Conference executive 1: He has it. He surveys the game for the first 15, 20 minutes, then says “what do we need?” And he does it. He’s Scottie Barnes (Florida State’s forward, expected to go high in the Lottery) with a jump shot. That’s my problem with Scottie. (Cunningham)’s Jayson Tatum. Same size. Can score from anywhere on the court.
A few weeks ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrated a victorious lottery night, claiming the third pick in this ballyhooed 2021 NBA Draft. But the Cavs could be looking to move up even further -- if the price is right.
A report from ESPN on Wednesday tabbed Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City as teams making “overtures” to evaluate what it would cost to trade for No. 1. Even though this is considered “smokescreen season” around the NBA, sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs are “definitely looking into it.”
So, what would it cost for the Cavs to move up two spots? “Go back and look at the Tatum-Fultz deal,” an NBA executive said. “I think it would cost more than that this year.” “It would be similar to what Boston and Philly did a few years ago,” another exec explained. “Probably No. 3 and an unprotected future first, maybe even one of the young guys (Collin Sexton, Darius Garland or Isaac Okoro) drafted recently.”
This isn’t a terrible offer, especially because the Pistons, per sources, would have strongly considered James Wiseman with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft had they landed it. However, the 2021 NBA Draft is more top-heavy than last year’s class, and Wiseman’s rookie season wasn’t met with great applause.
Brandon Rahbar: Per @Jonathan Givony, OKC is one of a few teams to engage Detroit about trading for the #1 pick. Not likely OKC gives what it takes to get Cade, but it shows the Thunder are looking at ways to move up. If OKC trades up, Cavs at 3 for Mobley or Raps at 4 for Suggs seem more likely.
But would the Pistons really pass on Cunningham if the draft were tonight? I still think the answer is no. I would put Cunningham as the overwhelming favorite to end up in Detroit at that spot still, which, by the way, I've been told he would be very excited about. The recent buzz about other options can be chalked up to a second-year GM doing his homework and trying to make sure he leaves no stone unturned with what might end up being the most valuable pick he ever has in his career.
There is noise about the Detroit Pistons considering multiple prospects. But they'll wind up taking the player every scout expected to go No. 1 all season. Sources say certain Pistons staff members were initially informed that Cade Cunningham would be the pick. Aside from most agreeing he's the top prospect, his fit and archetype are ideal for the Pistons, who could use a high-level creator to initiate offense.
August 19, 2022 | 3:27 am EDT Update
The German forward Isaac Bonga returns to Europe after four seasons in the NBA to sign with the EuroLeague team FC Bayern Munich, sources tell BasketNews. According to BasketNews sources, a 22-year-old had NBA interest but has reached an agreement with the German club.
“[LeBron James] recognizes that it could lead up all the way to the trade deadline before that type of deal could occur.” – Dave McMenamin on the Lakers improving their roster via potential Kyrie Irving, Buddy Hield/Myles Turner, or Utah trades.
Donovan Mitchell’s trade links to the New York Knicks are in full swing again after previous reports indicated that the Knicks have re-engaged negotiations with the Utah Jazz. The 25-year-old has added more fire to the flame after he was spotted in Rucker Park, one of the most iconic basketball spots in New York City, on Wednesday. Mitchell posted a photo of himself hanging out with some kids at the park. The Jazz star was clearly having quite the time (h/t ClutchPoints on Twitter):
In the recent URBONUS podcast episode, James said that he has no bad feelings about Steph, and many took his words out of context. “I think I said a lot of controversial things in general because I think outside the box. But for some reason, every time I mention Steph Curry, everybody gets mad, and everybody assumes I don’t like him,” James smiled. “But I think he’s amazing. To be honest, he changed basketball. Like seven years ago, everybody started shooting threes and playing small ball. Not only because of him. Like 75% of him, and then like the other 25% the Warriors. I don’t have a problem with him,” James told on the BasketNews show.
During his show on 620 Rip City Radio in Portland, host Chad Doing mentioned that he had heard that the announcers would not go on the road with the Blazers. His co-host, Dwight Jaynes, then confirmed the report. “I have confirmed from several sources that that is the plan for the Trail Blazers,” Jaynes said. “That they will not be sending radio or television on the road with their team. Also, what I’ve heard and I’ve tried to check this out, I have not found any other team in the league that’s doing this. I believe they may be the only team in the league doing it — when they’re on the road. And I just think that’s really unfortunate and difficult.”