Sidelines with John Clay

NBA Draft links, rumors and predictions after big trade

Former Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox, center listens to a question at the NBA draft basketball combine Friday, May 12, 2017, in Chicago. Fox is expected to be one of the top five players selected in Thursday’s NBA Draft in Brooklyn.
Former Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox, center listens to a question at the NBA draft basketball combine Friday, May 12, 2017, in Chicago. Fox is expected to be one of the top five players selected in Thursday’s NBA Draft in Brooklyn. Associated Press

With the NBA Draft set for Thursday, some links of interest:

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Celtics-Sixers trade for top pick: “An overflow crowd of reporters and photographers saw Markelle Fultz walk into the building at 7:08 p.m. wearing a black Sixers cap. And before the end of the night, the Sixers and Boston Celtics agreed on a blockbuster deal that will make Fultz a Sixer during Thursday’s NBA draft. The trade is scheduled to become finalized on Monday.”

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times believes the top five picks are now a certainty: “The consensus from many NBA executives is that the players who’ll be taken with the top five picks in Thursday’s NBA draft are a foregone conclusion. It’s the order in which these one-and-done collegiate players will be selected that remains open for debate.”

Chad Ford of ESPN has De’Aaron Fox going No. 4: “The Suns are hoping that Ball falls to No. 4. They like him and think he’s a good fit in their system alongside Devin Booker. If he’s not there, it will be among Jackson, Fox and Tatum. With Jackson off the board, Fox seems like an ideal fit. The Suns are loaded with offensive talent. Getting Fox’s defensive versatility, intensity and playmaking should really improve the Suns and open the door to an Eric Bledsoe trade.”

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports has Fox going fifth and Monk sixth: “The Magic shot 32.8 percent from 3-point range this season, which ranked next-to-last in the NBA. So they need shooting in the worst way. And Monk could provide it. The athletic combo guard made 39.7 percent of his 3-point attempts while averaging a team-high 19.8 points for a Kentucky team that won the SEC and made the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Why he doesn’t use his athleticism more to get into the lane consistently remains a mystery. But if Monk ever does that, he could develop into an All-Star. The potential for stardom is there.”

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer believes Bam Adebayo is a possibility for the Hornets at No. 11: “Bam Adebayo played high school ball in High Point, then one college season at Kentucky before turning pro. Kentucky coach John Calipari said during the draft combine he thought Adebayo would end up a lottery pick. Adebayo has some elements in his game that resemble a young Dwight Howard. If I had to pick a wild card, both for the lottery and for the Hornets’ pick, Adebayo would be it.”

[Transcript: NBA Draft analysts talk Fox, Adebayo, Monk, Briscoe and Diallo]

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee says Kings are ready to go with Willie Cauley-Stein: “None of the three gives Sacramento the offense and rebounding that traded All-Star DeMarcus Cousins provided on a nightly basis, but if the Kings are shifting to a more perimeter-based team, they can get by relying on on Koufos and Cauley-Stein. The spot should be Cauley-Stein’s now. Two years ago, the Kings were delighted to draft him, even with Cousins already on the team. After waiting for his time last season, there’s no reason he should not be a starter in his third season.”

USA Today lists the top 10 prospects at each position: “3. De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky. Fox’s trajectory is up, up, up. He’s an outstanding athlete with a great court sense. More Rajon Rondo than John Wall, he fits the pick-and-roll heavy offenses of the NBA with one issue: his jump shot. That may prevent him from being a superstar, but he’s an elite defensive prospect and natural playmaker.”

Joshua Schrock of NESN reports the Celtics have a crazy number of No. 1 picks: “All in all, this now leaves Ainge and the Celtics with seven first-round picks in the next three drafts. Boston owns the No. 3 pick in the 2017 draft, three first-round picks in the 2018 draft — their own and via the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets — and three first-round picks in the 2019 draft, including their own, and via the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers.”

[Follow former Kentucky players at Ex-Cats]

Andrew Lynch of Fox Sports on five ways the trade could play out: “While all the Sixers-Celtics rumors were flying, a report that Magic Johnson is “in love” with Fultz flew under the radar. Indeed, my first reaction to the leaks out of Boston was that the Celtics are trying to drum up even more value than the Sixers are offering. Could Boston trade down to No. 2 with Los Angeles, then perhaps turn around and move that pick to a team like the Suns or Kings to fall back to No. 4 or 5?”

Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post says the Celtics are taking a leap of faith: “That’s a terrific draft haul in a normal situation — especially when combined with another unprotected pick coming Boston’s way next summer from the Brooklyn Nets as the final piece of the remarkable trade the two franchises made in 2013 that should ensure the Celtics two chances to crack the top three spots in the draft for a third straight season. But the entire point of that deal with the Nets was to try to give the Celtics, then entering a rebuilding phase, a chance to draft a franchise-changing player. And, by most accounts, Markelle Fultz — the presumptive No. 1 pick, either by the Celtics or Sixers — is precisely that kind of player.”

Chris Forsberg of ESPN says Danny Ainge is channeling Red Auerbach: “Over the course of the next 36 hours, Fultz got another unexpected Auerbach history lesson, this time in the business of basketball. It was Auerbach who parlayed the No. 1 pick in the 1980 draft (Joe Barry Carroll) into Robert Parish and the No. 3 pick in the draft, used to select Kevin McHale. Those two players would pair with Larry Bird to ignite Boston’s original Big Three era.”

[Marcus Lee recommends more testing of waters]

Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated asks who wants to bet on De’Aaron Fox: “1. De’Aaron Fox had my attention as soon as I found out that Kevin Garnett was his favorite player growing up. I’d never heard a young player name KG when that question’s been asked. Certainly not a guard. ‘I’ve heard some stories,’ Fox explains the morning we first meet. ‘Every one talks about how intense he is. Even when he was done playing, he’s still that same intense person. I don’t know what I’d say, but I want to meet him.’”

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