Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are widely expected to be taken by the Wolves and Lakers with the first two picks, but the next group of players are close enough that they’ve generated quite a bit of confusion for the order after the top big men. Here’s the latest buzz on the teams that hold the ensuing picks.
Ken Berger of CBS says essentially that the Sixers appear to favor D’Angelo Russell, though everything is on the table for where they might select. The Sixers are arguably the toughest team in the league to forecast, with the only clear part of their plan that they’re always willing to squeeze a desperate team and acquire more picks.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Givony also supported the Russell to Philly chatter:
Growing consensus among teams that Philadelphia will pick D'Angelo Russell at #3. Strong workout cemented his status. Porzingis didn't visit
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 24, 2015
More from Givony:
Which European draft pick would freak out Knicks fans more, Kristaps Porzingis or Mario Hezonja? Heard both are strongly in play in New York
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 25, 2015
Also, and take this with a grain of salt, Bulls reporter Sam Smith writes, “One move making the rounds lately has them going to Denver and No. 7 for No. 4 and getting Jusuf Nurkic.” The Knicks have been rumored to want Trey Lyles, and Hezonja could still be there at #7 anyway if they prefer him, so it’s surely a deal they’d be interested in, but there’s very little reason for Denver to want this deal.
The Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins has Orlando selecting Hezonja in his mock draft, though not as a slam-dunk selection. He believes that Justise Winslow fits their program better and that ultimately Porzingis is their guy, but that they may require a trade to move up and acquire the Latvian. That would require dipping again into their pool of assets after sacrificing a first-rounder to Philly (one they previously acquired from the Sixers) in order to secure Elfrid Payton last year.
Berger also notes the Celtics are exploring all options to get into the top 10 and that Miami’s plan for the 10th pick is complicated by not knowing the statuses of free agents Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.
On the Lowe Post podcast, Ford noted Willie Cauley-Stein is a candidate for Sacramento in part because he’s long-time friends with DeMarcus Cousins (although Cousins may be on his way out). He also mentioned that certain teams could be scared off of Cauley-Stein because of the fears that his ankle will require surgery at some point, which would sideline him for 4-6 months. Gregg Doyel says he won’t get past the Pacers at #11.