The 2014 NBA draft's top prospects will all know their respective fates soon, but there are still nearly two days to go before all the NBA rumors floating around stop.
The rumors often give us a good indication of which players will be taken when, but ultimately, we don't actually know until the names get called on draft night. With so many talented prospects in this year's class, I wouldn't be surprised if the draft took some interesting twists.
All teams value prospects differently. That's what makes drafts so compelling. With this being the case, we might see a reach or two early in the first round.
The interest in some of the draft's top prospects is booming right about now. Here are the top rumors surrounding Noah Vonleh, Doug McDermott, Elfrid Payton and Nik Stauskas.
The Orlando Magic could benefit from improvements all across the board, but Ken Berger of CBS Sports pointed to the frontcourt as an area that the team would like to bolster:
The Magic's dilemma: They want a top frontcourt player to pair with Nikola Vucevic and may not be able to get one they're comfortable with at No. 12. In that case, sources say they may opt for Indiana's Noah Vonleh with the fourth pick.
Vucevic and Vonleh would represent a strong pairing under the basket. Vucevic has come into his own in recent seasons, averaging over 13 points and 11 rebounds per game each year. Vonleh would add more athleticism under the basket, but he can also pop out and hit shots from the perimeter.
Vonleh will most certainly be available at No. 4. In some order, the first three picks of the draft should be Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Dante Exum. Things can change, but in all likelihood, Vonleh represents one of the better second-tier guys of the lottery.
Around the No. 12 selection, Vonleh, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle won't be there. Guys like Gary Harris, Adreian Payne and Rodney Hood will probably be available, but those aren't players the Magic want to build around.
Vonleh is a good choice at No. 4, especially given their options later on.
Doug McDermott will more than likely go within the first 10 picks on draft night, and Sean Deveney of Sporting News wrote about how the Chicago Bulls might trade up to No. 8 to make McDermott their selection:
Chicago has had multiple talks with Orlando, both about the No. 12 pick and shooting guard Arron Afflalo, and with Denver about No. 11, but a source told Sporting News that the Bulls have also engaged with the Kings in a potential deal for the No. 8 pick.
Chicago’s focus in such a scenario would be Creighton star Doug McDermott, who averaged 21.7 points and shot 55.0 percent from the field (45.8 percent from the 3-point line) in four years with the Bluejays.
This would be an interesting choice for the Bulls. The Bulls are good fits for Hood and Zach LaVine later on with their mid-round picks (No. 16 and No. 19). LaVine has an incredibly high ceiling, and Hood fits Chicago as a wing player who can both defend and shoot from distance.
McDermott is a very strong shooter and presence on the court, but he doesn't defend the way Hood can. Head coach Tom Thibodeau has built a defensively sound roster that can pressure opposing players and force turnovers.
While not a horrible defender, McDermott is most known for his ability to score. Might he be a detriment to the team's defensive schemes when he's on the floor? Possibly.
A move to No. 8 would prevent the Charlotte Hornets, No. 9, from taking McDermott. Charlotte has been linked to McDermott recently.
Elfrid Payton and Nik Stauskas
Like I said earlier, the Magic have a ton of options at No. 4. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders broke down another scenario:
Two names no one is talking about at 4 are Elfrid Payton and Nik Stauskas… both are players the Magic are really high on at the #12, but will likely both be gone at #12. There is a chance that Orlando grabs one of them at #4… or trades out of the #4 to insure they get one or both from the draft pool.
While Payton and Stauskas might not be there at No. 12, reaching for either of them at No. 4 would be a huge mistake. They aren't more valuable than guys like Vonleh, Gordon, Randle, McDermott or Marcus Smart.
Who should Orlando take at No. 4?
It's hard to know what you'll get from Payton, even if he has impressed in workouts. Coming from a mid-major in Louisiana-Lafayette, anything can happen in his career. He's a question mark.
Stauskas should not go No. 4. He's an unbelievable shooter who has potential handling the ball and creating his own shot, but it isn't wise to take little more than a spot-up shooter at No. 4.
He has potential in other areas, but right now, Stauskas is better suited for the late portion of the lottery. I think he'd still be there at No. 12.
The Magic will improve no matter what they do at No. 4, but there are good selections to make and bad selections to make. These would be bad selections.
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