Prospects will know their fates on June 26, as the 2014 NBA draft will impact the futures of the next wave of NBA talent.
Big boards will continue to change in the days leading up to the draft, and even though we're still two full weeks away from the first selection, the news and rumors are still spreading like wildfire. Many of the rumors have to do with individual prospects, though trades involving draft picks are starting to get tossed around the rumor mill
Some news and rumors are more interesting than others. The most recent news that should have you buzzing can be found below.
Julius Randle Needs Surgery
This is bad news for teams potentially interested in selecting power forward Julius Randle. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports one of the top NBA prospects of the class needs foot surgery:
University of Kentucky forward Julius Randle, considered a top 10 pick, likely needs surgery on his right foot after the NBA draft in June, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The procedure is expected to keep Randle out six to eight weeks this summer, sources said, but there's a strong expectation within front offices that he'll be cleared for the start of training camp in the fall.
Randle would miss July's rookie summer league as a result of the surgery.
While possibly a minor issue that surgery will repair, Randle's right foot should concern NBA executives. At 6'9" and 250 pounds, Randle is a big man. That's a lot of pressure on his feet to keep him balanced and productive.
There are no signs pointing toward recurring foot problems for the future, but there's now an added risk associated with drafting Randle. When healthy, he's an absolute beast. Should he put the foot issue behind him, the Kentucky product could presumably become one of the top players of this year's class.
This shouldn't impact his draft stock. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if he slipped to the latter portion of the first 10 picks.
76ers Want No. 1 Overall Pick
Currently slated to select third overall in the draft, the Philadelphia 76ers apparently aren't satisfied. Chad Ford of ESPN.com reports (Insider required) that the Sixers want to move up to No. 1, via Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com:
Per Ford, the Sixers have talked about giving the Cavaliers the No. 3 overall pick and forward Thaddeus Young in exchange for the No. 1 pick. There has apparently also been talks of the No. 3 and No. 10 overall picks going to Cleveland for No. 1, but per Ford, the Sixers don't sound willing to give up that much.
Wiggins is the player the fans have wanted for over a year. When it became apparent the Sixers wouldn't compete last year, the fans began hoping the team would tank and grab Wiggins. Other prospects have stepped their games up, but Wiggins is apparently still the guy for Philadelphia.
In regards to what it would take to acquire the top pick, I think the deal involving Young is better for Philly. Trading away both top-10 picks would really set the franchise back, even if it meant acquiring Wiggins.
Imagine pairing Wiggins at No. 1 with a guy like Gary Harris or Dario Saric at No. 10. Losing Young would be difficult, but building for the future is paramount.
Nuggets Could Move No. 11 Pick
The Denver Nuggets haven't had many high selections in the draft over the past several seasons, but that isn't stopping them from potentially moving the No. 11 pick, via Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post:
The Nuggets own the 11th selection in the June 26 draft. It's their highest draft position since 2003, when they took Carmelo Anthony at No. 3. The Nuggets advanced to the playoffs 10 consecutive seasons following the Anthony selection but failed to make it this season after a 36-46 record.
So they'll retool, and they'll start by using the pick as a key cog in the improvement. Trading the selection for a veteran and moving up in the draft are the two areas of most interest to the Nuggets.
General manager Tim Connelly acknowledged talks could pick up soon, via Dempsey: "I don't think things will pick up until the next week or so. But after a relatively quiet trade deadline, I think we'll see a more active build-up to the draft. I would imagine we'll have a lot of trades."
If the No. 11 pick is in play, then Denver better acquire controllable, veteran talent in return. This draft is pretty deep, and there's a very good chance that a quality prospect slips to No. 11. At the very least, a player like Harris, Adriean Payne or Nik Stauskas could be available.
The benefits of trading the pick are obvious, but the benefits of keeping the pick and using it on a high-upside guy are perhaps better. I would lean toward keeping the selection and continuing to build for the future.