Hopefully the Charlotte Hornets don't intend to select Aaron Gordon in the 2014 NBA draft, because he won't be there when they're on the clock at No. 9.
League sources told Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears that the 18-year-old forward "is receiving consideration from the Orlando Magic (pick No. 4) and is not expected to get past the Sacramento Kings with the eighth selection."
Like anyone else who is wildly athletic and can rebound and block the occasional shot, Gordon's draft stock stands to be boosted by Joel Embiid's recent foot injury. They don't play the same position, but any team in need of help up front will now have to weigh smaller options—as in not 7-footers—before committing to Embiid and his alarming amount of red flags.
Fans of teams picking outside the top eight needn't worry too much. There is still a chance Gordon could slip lower.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman has Gordon going at No. 10 to the Philadelphia 76ers. Chad Ford of ESPN.com (subscription required), meanwhile, has him being snatched up by the Boston Celtics at No. 6.
Where Gordon will ultimately fall remains a mystery, keeping in theme with the rest of this year's draft. Even before Embiid's injury, there was no clear-cut No. 1 pick. It was between him, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins. Everything and everyone else would fall into place after them.
Now that Embiid's draft stock is in limbo, things are more complicated. He could go in the top three or he could fall outside the top five. Either way, it affects those initially projected to be drafted after him.
Whatever happens, don't be surprised if Gordon doesn't make it past the top eight, the top six or even the top four.
As Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal noted, Gordon boasts a skill set that should allow him to make immediate contributions at the NBA level:
He's already an excellent defender who seems prepared to take his talents to the next level with a seamless transition, and while the jumper and offensive awareness are still works in progress, there have been enough indications of future development that they shouldn't be considered particularly problematic.
There's also the confidence factor. Gordon has that down.
"If and when I reach my full potential, I think I will be better than everybody [in this draft]," he said via Spears. "I think I will have an edge."
Beyond his athleticism and pleasant aplomb, there are teams with clear needs at the 4 spot in the top half of the lottery. From the Magic at No. 4, to the Celtics at No. 6, to the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 7, the demand for potent power forwards is high.
Expect Gordon to go early.
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