As we continue to inch closer to June's NBA draft, the rumor mill is beginning to rotate at breakneck speed.
Especially with this year's draft seeming to rub everyone a different way, there is a healthy mixture of teams trying to move down, move up and out of the first round. No one seems to be happy where they stand in the current order.
Additionally, we're entering the period where players are being given promises by organizations, and that is only further shaking things up.
With the buzz and speculation running rampant, let's take a look at the most recent talk surrounding the June 27 draft.
Pistons Targeting a Point Guard?
It's no secret that with the No. 8 overall pick, the Detroit Pistons will be in the market for a backcourt player—with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, they boast arguably the most tantalizing low-post duo in the league.
But while many believe the expected selection to be a shooting guard or even a small forward, ESPN's Chad Ford (insider account) is hearing otherwise:
I'm hearing with increasing frequency the Pistons might target a point guard. The team thinks Brandon Knight might be more effective at the 2, and if they could get a big point guard like Carter-Williams, he could be the perfect fit in the backcourt with Knight.
It's interesting that Detroit would want to move Knight to the 2. According to 82games.com, he played as the Pistons' point guard 41 percent of the time, during which the team went plus-38. He played as their shooting guard 17 percent of the time, where they played to an atrocious minus-154.
Nevertheless, if they are intent on drafting a point guard, Michael Carter-Williams is the likely choice with Trey Burke likely off the board and Dennis Schroeder's value not quite that high.
And at the very least, Carter-Williams and Knight would make for a formidable defensive backcourt.
While Knight only averaged 0.8 thefts per contest last season, his advanced statistics were spectacular—when he was on the court, the Pistons gave up 106.2 points per 100 possessions. When he stepped to the bench, they gave up a 113.9.
Carter-Williams, on the other hand, has the size, length, quickness and playmaking ability (fourth in America in steals per game) to be a menace defensively at the next level.
Another player to keep in mind at that spot is C.J. McCollum, whose versatility would allow the Pistons to continue playing Knight at both guard positions.
Does Sergey Karasev Have a Promise?
This year's class seems to have an abundance of international players with sexy upside, but the range of potential draft spots with those players is vast.
More simply, high-ceiling-high-risk players could go anywhere from the top 10 to outside the first round.
But according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, at least one of those players is guaranteed to hear his name in the opening 30 picks:
Sergey Karasev has returned to Moscow until the NBA draft in late June, fueling speculation among front-office executives that a team has given the Russian teen star a strong first-round guarantee, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Karasev is labeled primarily as a shooter—which he is:
But he is much more than that as a prospect. He has a high basketball IQ for a 19-year-old, and at 6'7," displays an impressive ability to put the ball on the deck or make the right pass.
You aren't getting a great athlete with the young Russian, but he's a shooter who will able to score in a variety of crafty ways and involve others as a valuable complementary player.
Don't be surprised if he cracks the top 20.
Are the Blazers Trading Their Pick?
With two lottery picks last year, Neil Olshey—in his first draft as general manager—hit a home run (Damian Lillard) and a solid single (Meyers Leonard).
He clearly knows what he's doing, which means that his reported reluctance to keep the No. 10 pick (via The Oregonian's John Canzano) should tell you a little something about this year's draft:
Maybe it's gamesmanship. Maybe it's good poker strategy. But the whisper coming from One Center Court in recent days has been that Portland isn't currently enamored by any one player and if they were drafting today they'd deal the pick.
Even if J.J. Hickson in fact leaves this summer via free agency, the Blazers still have four-fifths of a tremendous starting lineup with Lillard, Wes Matthews, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge.
That big three of Lillard, Batum and Aldridge is very soon going to be nearly as good as any other trio in the league.
As such, in the Blazers' case, it's about building depth. Leonard and Will Barton have tremendous upside, and Eric Maynor is a good role player, but no one else on the roster is all that compelling.
Olshey and the Blazers' scouting department have proven their ability to make the right pick in the draft, and unless the No. 10 selection in a weak draft is going to land them a starting big man, they would be better off continuing to improve the bench and future.
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