NBA Draft 2014: Assessing Latest Prospect Stock Rumors

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NBA Draft 2014: Assessing Latest Prospect Stock Rumors
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Predicting where prospects will land in the NBA draft remains a puzzling process.

At this point in the year, we already know the draft's selection order, team needs and what prospects have to offer. However, there are always plenty of curveballs thrown our way.

Sorting through rumors can be a daunting process due to the heavy amount of smoke screens applied by NBA franchises—no one wants to show their hand before the draft begins.

Regardless, rumors offer plenty of insight—albeit, perplexing at times—into the mindsets of teams leading up to the draft.

Let's take a look at a few rumors that could alter the draft stocks of certain prospects should they come to fruition.

 

Aaron Gordon Over Julius Randle and Noah Vonleh?

There are plenty of talented big men atop this year's draft class.

Three power forwards are expected to be selected within the top 10 picks of this year's draft, according to a tweet from Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

But which one will be selected first?

Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times spoke with one NBA executive during a BDA Sports workout in Santa Monica. The executive spoke of his team's thoughts on the trio.

One executive, who didn't want to be quoted to protect his team's draft strategy, said he preferred Gordon to the two other big men in the same range (Julius Randle of Kentucky and Noah Vonleh of Indiana), citing Gordon's potential impact defensively.

That may come as a surprise to many.

After all, according to a tweet from Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com, the Minnesota Timberwolves think differently:

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out on draft day.

 

Zach LaVine a Top-10 Pick?

LaVine remains a very interesting draft prospect.

He's a fantastic outside shooter with a freakish amount of athleticism—both of which were well on display at this year's draft combine.

Here's a refresher of LaVine's big vertical, courtesy of NBA Draft's Vine account:

The high ceiling is there; however, is it enough to warrant a top-10 pick?

According to a tweet from Pincus, that's the word on the street:

If LaVine does go in the top 10 of the draft this year, rest assured things will be shaken up in a big way.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports ranks LaVine seventh of all shooting guards in this year's draft class. Could an early LaVine selection hurt the draft stocks of Gary Harris and Nik Stauskas? That's a good possibility.

 

Who's Going No. 1 Overall?

Ever since the Cleveland Cavaliers struck gold in the draft lottery, earning the top overall pick, questions regarding which prospect the team will select have been abundant.

Of course, there are conflicting reports.

Goodman spoke to sources who claimed center Joel Embiid was at the top of Cleveland's draft board:

The Cleveland Cavaliers have 7-footer Joel Embiid at the top of their draft board, but it's still early in the process and the team needs to obtain medical information on the Cameroon native's back injury, sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday.

Sources also told ESPN.com that although Embiid is first on the organization's wish list, that doesn't mean that Cavs general manager David Griffin -- who had the interim tag lifted earlier this month -- isn't also considering Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker with the first pick.

However, Rotoworld's Adam Levitan tweeted a different take from ESPN's Chad Ford:

Sure, plenty of this will have to do with how Embiid looks as he recovers from his back injury. Although, looking at a tweet from Bleacher Report, his back looks just fine:

There's a strong possibility we won't know which of these players will be the first selected until the Cavaliers are officially on the clock.

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