The 2014 NBA draft features such a fascinating, unstable and talented crop of players that it's been one of the most talked-about classes in recent memory. Teams are debating over injured players, teenage point guards and everything in between.
Players, hearing the constant chatter about their ability and readiness on the floor, have to combat these debates by defending their skills in predraft workouts and interviews. It's a slippery slope that everyone is carefully treading right now.
With the draft less than one week away, all the chatter has grown louder. Teams are trying to manipulate boards in their favor, especially at the top. We've gathered the latest buzz from around the draft and will break down what it means after a look at where each club will pick on June 26.
|7||Los Angeles Lakers|
|9||Charlotte Hornets (From Detroit)|
|10||Philadelphia 76ers (From New Orleans)|
|12||Orlando Magic (From New York via Denver)|
|16||Chicago Bulls (From Charlotte)|
|17||Boston Celtics (From Brooklyn)|
|18||Phoenix Suns (From Washington)|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder (From Dallas via Houston and L.A. Lakers)|
|23||Utah Jazz (From Golden State)|
|24||Charlotte Hornets (From Portland)|
|27||Phoenix Suns (From Indiana)|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|30||San Antonio Spurs|
|33||Cleveland Cavaliers (From Orlando)|
|34||Dallas Mavericks (From Boston)|
|36||Milwaukee Bucks (From L.A. Lakers via Minnesota and Phoenix)|
|37||Toronto Raptors (From Sacramento)|
|39||Philadelphia 76ers (From Cleveland)|
|40||Minnesota Timberwolves (From New Orleans)|
|42||Houston Rockets (From New York)|
|47||Philadelphia 76ers (From Brooklyn via Dallas and Boston)|
|48||Milwaukee Bucks (From Toronto via Phoenix)|
|52||Philadelphia 76ers (From Memphis via Cleveland)|
|53||Minnesota Timberwolves (From Golden State)|
|54||Philadelphia 76ers (From Houston via Milwaukee)|
|56||Denver Nuggets (From Portland)|
|58||San Antonio Spurs (From L.A. Clippers via New Orleans)|
|59||Toronto Raptors (From Oklahoma City via New York)|
|60||San Antonio Spurs|
Julius Randle Gives Himself Clean Bill of Health
Kentucky's Julius Randle has been on the defensive leading up to the draft following a report from Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski that he could need surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot.
The star power forward and presumed top-10 pick told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin that he's been cleared by the best foot doctor out there.
Julius Randle: "I met with the best foot doctor in the country & he said he wouldn’t do anything with my foot ... No scheduled surgery"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 17, 2014
Even with the questions about his foot, Wojnarowski's report says he would return in time for training camp in the fall. Teams aren't going to punish him that much for what appears to be a short-term problem, if it's even a problem at all.
Given Randle's combination of size (6'9", 234 pounds), rebounding and scoring, he was never going to last long anyway.
Hawks On UCLA Star
Which potential move makes the most sense based on team need?
The Atlanta Hawks were one of the worst playoff teams in NBA history last season, at least based on their 38-44 record. They have a lot of needs to fill, with size and shooting being the two most pressing.
In an effort to solve both problems, the Hawks are reportedly smitten with UCLA star Kyle Anderson. According to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv, who spoke to Anderson's father, the 6'9" power forward will have a second workout with the club on Monday.
Anderson is one of the best ball-handlers among big men in this class and rebounds well despite not being the most physical player at 230 pounds. He can also shoot from beyond the arc, giving him added versatility on a roster that will get better with the return of Al Horford.
76ers Want No. 1 Pick
In his seventh mock draft, ESPN.com's Chad Ford (Insider subscription required) noted that the Philadelphia 76ers were trying to get into Cleveland's spot at the top of the draft.
The Sixers actually have engaged the Cavs about moving to No. 1. They aren't willing to give up both the Nos. 3 and 10 picks. But a combination of No. 3 and Thaddeus Young is a possibility. And it's a great scenario for (Andrew) Wiggins, as well. Of the three top teams, his camp prefers the Sixers as the best possible fit.
The Cavaliers would benefit from that deal just as much as Philadelphia because they are still in a position to get one of the three elite players in the draft (Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker) and add a 25-year-old power forward in Thaddeus Young, who averaged 17.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last year.
Of course, despite having elite talent, Embiid may no longer be in the elite group of players in this draft because of a fractured right foot that will require surgery, via Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.
Embiid's injury could make a deal less appealing for the Cavaliers, who need to ensure that they land either Parker or Wiggins to come out of this draft with someone close to being a superstar after the Anthony Bennett debacle last year.
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