Man, what a great time of the year to be an NBA junkie. The conference championship series are in full swing, and it’s that magical time between the lottery and the draft. Mock drafts and rumors are bandied about with a level of responsibility befitting a 15-year-old on Full Throttle.
The amount of content out there regarding the draft is almost dizzying — Chad Ford is doing his usual stalwart job on ESPN.com, DraftExpress.com seems to be pumping out 3 or 4 pieces a day, and even Rick Bonnell got into the act with a stretch of 6 blog posts in 4 days last week.
And it’s only going to get better (worse?) now that the official pre-draft camp is underway in Orlando. So let’s look at a couple of rumors and tidbits regarding the Bobcats.
DeAndre Jordan promise?
This is my favorite rumor of the draft season so far. It’s been widely reported and commented on at this point, so much so that I can’t even remember the original source. The initial version, based on Jordan’s agent’s declining invitations for workouts with certain teams, was that Jordan must have a promise in the top 5. That seems to have relaxed a bit, such that the promise may just be in the top 10 or so.
The promise (if it even exists) is almost assuredly not from the Bobcats. No doubt Jordan is an intriguing prospect, but he is several years away from contributing, if he even pans out. No way the pick would get used on a project with Larry Brown at the helm.
Ultimately, the rumor of a promise for Jordan is likely just some hype from his agent. But it is still interesting for this reason: most have Jordan pegged in the 8-12 range. If he gets picked earlier, that means someone in the 3-8 range slips a bit and the Bobcats might have someone surprising fall into their laps.
Which leads me to the next item…
Brook Lopez slipping to Bobcats at #9?
According to Chad Ford’s latest mock draft, that could happen. I have previously established that Brook Lopez would be an intriguing pick for the Bobcats. He is as close to being “NBA-ready” as any big man in the lottery, and would provide an offensive presence inside for the Bobcats. This would allow Okafor to concentrate on his strengths, defense and rebounding.
The previously accepted thinking was that Lopez would get a long look from the Timberwolves at #3, and then not slip past the Grizzlies at #5. However, with the combination of 1) possible trades involving lottery picks, 2) teams falling for potential superstars (OJ Mayo, Anthony Randolph) over players that clearly fill needs like Love or Lopez, and 3) the aforementioned possibility that a team ahead of the Bobcats reaches a bit for Jordan or Westbrook, there is a slight possibility that Lopez could slip to us.
Specifically, Ford’s latest mock has the T-wolves picking Mayo, the Grizzlies going with Randolph, and the Bucks reaching a bit for Westbrook — this would leave Charlotte with their pick of Lopez, Jordan or Love. Not bad, huh?
It’s becoming clear that the Grizzlies, picking at #5 with a similar need for an impact big man like the Bobcats, will really play an important role in who the Bobcats eventually pick.
It’s also become abundantly clear that, with all of the possible trades, misinformation and rumors, the Bobcats are going to have to work out quite a few players in order to prepare for the draft.
To that effect, let me direct you to NBA.com’s repository of highlight videos for the top prospects this year. Good stuff, especially for Randolph and Jordan, who were on national TV minimally this past season.