Thursday’s NBA Draft, as of now, is like a Michael Bay film.
A ton of garbage is flying at you at a rate you can hardly fathom. All of a sudden, it’s all gone. The smoke clears. And you still don’t know what the flip you have.
Flip Saunders agrees. (See what I did there?)
And with rumor after rumor taking root in Twitter and spreading to blogs (like this one) and to the eyes of executives like Flip Saunders, who aptly reply with a candid “LOL” (which does a great job to represent the time in which we live) it can be tough to make sense of it all.
So we might as well except that Michael Bay directed the “Transformers” franchise into the grou… I mean… we might as well except the rumors. They had to start somewhere, right? Surely, they must be serious?
Let’s get a handle on what we “know.”
It was believed, at first, that Nerlens Noel would be going first to Cleveland. He believed it too. During his interview on ESPN the night of the Draft Lottery, he could hardly keep it a secret that he expected to be picked first.
But recent reports have indicated an Eric-Fisher-like rise of Len, the Maryland center, who has leaped Kentucky’s Noel in some mocks. Those that believe Len will go to the Cavs No. 1 overall cite “better fit” as a reason.
Let’s say Len does go first. It is believed the Orlando Magic, sitting at No. 2, are high on Noel.
According to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, if the Cavs pass on Noel, the Magic are “leaning strongly toward selecting him” with the No. 2 pick in the draft.
The Magic are encouraged by the offensive play and rebounding of Nikola Vucevic, but the second-year big man was not nearly as effective on the defensive end. Noel would fit a major defensive need for the Magic, who finished 25th in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Noel could play center, while Vucevic can play the other twin tower position at power forward.
The Cavs have Anderson Verejao, who is a good defender and terrific rebounder, but a lackluster offensive performer. Add Len, and the Cavs are hoping for a deadly Kyrie Irving/Len pick-and-roll game.
Orlando doesn’t need an offensive center. But the Cavs have its pick of the two, and the Magic won’t know who falls to No. 2 unless the Cavs give away the secret before Thursday night’s draft.
Reportedly, the Cavs are trying to trade the first pick and are looking for a big man in return.
The Cavs aren’t in love with Len, don’t need Len, they just prefer Len (if the reports are true). They would be better suited to find a veteran big that can contribute right away and assist Cleveland in a playoff run. Or they believe they could get Len later in the draft and trade down.
According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com, Cleveland offered New Orleans the top overall pick in exchange for point guard Greivis Vasquez, the No. 6 overall pick and a 2014 first-round pick.
Having reportedly failed to land Kevin Love, it seems Len could be the second option for the Cavs, and a veteran big man is the first. (In the mix of all of this, Cleveland is also searching for a small forward.)
Or maybe the Cavs go with Nerlens Noel. Why would they do that? Simply: they could cave into the mass-media pressure that says Noel is the superior prospect. More complex-ly: they could be hoping to trade him for more value.
Then what happens? Well, the disappointed Magic could opt for a trade. The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly high on Indiana guard Victor Oladipo.
Take it from Marc Stein of ESPN, who wrote that the Timberwolves are trying to move up in the draft to land either Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore, and have reached out to the Magic, Bobcats and Suns “offering Derrick Williams and the No. 9 and No. 26 picks in return for Orlando’s No. 2 pick, Charlotte’s No. 4 pick or Phoenix’s No. 5 pick.”
Possible scenarios, then.
1.: Cleveland selects Alex Len. Orlando selects Nerlens Noel. We all move on with our lives.
2a. Cleveland selects Nerlens Noel (possibly trading him later). Orlando selects a guard. Len falls.
2b. Same stuff happens first. Orlando trades the pick. Len falls.
3. Michael Bay directs a kick-ass “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film and all is forgiven.
Of the three options, I would say the third is least likely. 1, 2a and 2b all have odds of 33 percent each, according to my math.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t. This is one of the hardest drafts to mock. No one knows anything and everyone knows something.