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NBA Draft links and opinions: Is Malik Monk overrated?

Kentucky guard Malik Monk (5) laughed as his team practiced at FedExForum in Memphis, Tn., Thursday, March 23, 2017. Monk is expected to be among the first 10 picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Kentucky guard Malik Monk (5) laughed as his team practiced at FedExForum in Memphis, Tn., Thursday, March 23, 2017. Monk is expected to be among the first 10 picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft. cbertram@herald-leader.com

The NBA Draft is Thursday. The show starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN. So as we get closer, here are some more links:

Matt Norlander of CBS Sports thinks Malik Monk will go too high: “Monk is similar to (Markelle) Fultz: He can step into the NBA and average double-digits as a rookie and has been slotted in the top eight of mocks since November. He was a top-five prospect coming out of high school, and really only slid from that spot within the past 10 weeks. He's a great scorer, but not much more (19.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 45 percent shooter). He lacks aggressiveness in getting to the hoop (John Calipari publicly implored Monk multiple times last season to draw more contact and get to the foul line), doesn't naturally distribute, isn't even a B-level defender and his upper body is in need of some weight-room bolstering.”

Kent Babb of the Washington Post on projected No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz: “On one of the biggest nights of his life, Markelle Fultz is slouching and sleepy-eyed, his head buried in a hoodie and his mind someplace in the past. An hour ago, he was in a Midtown Manhattan ballroom with Magic Johnson and Walt Frazier, wearing a bowtie as the Boston Celtics secured the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Now Fultz, a versatile and physically gifted point guard widely projected to be that top selection, is in a dark steakhouse near Rockefeller Center, his face glowing as he reads excited texts from his mother.”

[Bam Adebayo’s three-point shooting impresses Hornets]

Andrew Sharp of The Crossover has De’Aaron Fox at No. 4 in latest mock draft: “A few weeks ago I spent the day with De'Aaron Fox for this profile, and concluded two things. 1) Fox is probably the biggest gamble in the top 10 because of his jumper, but 2) his ceiling is as high as anyone available, including Fultz. He spent the beginning of his freshman year battling nagging injuries and struggling to assert himself, but over the second half of the year he became a different player. He was impossible to keep out of the lane, and he was relentless on defense. As he gets stronger, his speed will only get more dangerous, and if he gets even a half-decent jumper, he's a superstar. All of which is to say: if Jackson and Ball are off the board, it makes sense for the Suns to bet the next 5-7 years on Fox and Booker.”

[De’Aaron Fox has his NBA Draft suit all picked out]

Chris Gasper of the Boston Globe says Danny Ainge is betting on himself: “The deal has generated both agita and disappointment among the Parishioners of the Parquet who were readying the rafters for Fultz’s jersey number and eager to see him play alongside fellow University of Washington product Isaiah Thomas. Whether you disapprove of the trade or consider it a shrewd move by Danny the Dealer, here’s the unavoidable takeaway — Ainge had more faith betting on himself than he did on Fultz.”

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer wonders if Celtics fans can trust the Progress: “According to a high-level front-office source, the reason the Sixers “only” paid a price of two first-round picks is because both teams see little separation between no. 1 and no. 3. It’s more about preference of player — Philly loves Markelle Fultz’s talent and his fit with its developing roster. The timing of the deal and the protections on the pick suggests both teams were negotiating on common grounds. Of course, a lot can happen between now and the beginning of free agency. The Celtics could use the assets they got from Philly to acquire a star player like Paul George or Jimmy Butler; they could trade down again; or they could increase their cap space to push for max free agents like Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin (if they opt out of their contracts). They have an overflowing treasure chest of picks and useful players like forward Jae Crowder and guard Marcus Smart they can package together if they want to.”

[NBA Draft links, rumors and predictions after big trade]

Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register reports the Lakers remain fixated on Lonzo Ball: “Unfortunately for Lonzo and his father, LaVar, who announced the Lakers are their best fit, they're not running the draft. Magic Johnson is and he has questions about Lonzo, not to mention the three-ring circus around him with LaVar as ringmaster. If this is Lonzo's pro debut, it's Magic's, too, as head of the Lakers basketball operation. For Lonzo, it's win-win since he'll go high to someone. For Magic, it's excruciating with the dire impact that being wrong would take on the once-proud/now-raggedy franchise.”

Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star on Paul George’s message to the Pacers: “At least now, the Indiana Pacers get it. For the past year, regardless of who’s been in charge, they’ve completely missed the Paul George story even as it was obvious what their transparently homesick superstar was thinking. What was he thinking? Goodbye.”

Sean Devaney of the Sporting News on the Clippers’ interest in George: “Any team trading for George would be gambling that it could persuade him to stay in free agency, and not bolt for the Lakers in 2018. That limits the teams Indiana can deal with to a handful of contenders or teams willing to take a risk. The Clippers have slipped in their status as contenders, but they’re not risk-averse and can get George to Los Angeles, if not with the Lakers. The Clippers could work out a three-team trade to accommodate a guy like Redick or Griffin.”

[John Calipari sees future of Kentucky basketball, plus more links]

Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated writes on the value of Josh Jackson: “For the better part of three months, the majority of the 2017 NBA draft discussion has been about point guards: whether Washington's Markelle Fultz or UCLA's Lonzo Ball has bigger star potential, or whether Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox is actually better than Ball, or whether N.C. State's Dennis Smith or French import Frank Ntilikina is a steal at the back end of the lottery. But after the seismic trade that was agreed upon over the weekend, with the Celtics sending the No. 1 pick to the 76ers in exchange for the No. 3 pick and another future first-rounder, this draft could be as much about Kansas wing Josh Jackson as it is those floor generals.”

Mark Bradley of the AJC on how the Hawks can learn from the Sixers: “The NBA East, lately terrible, just saw two of its members fortify themselves. The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics swapped draft picks, leaving the Sixers positioned to take the point guard they didn’t have and the Celtics to add a wing to their collection of guards. To go with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor — though one of the latter two could be traded soon — Philly will get Markelle Fultz. There’s no assurance the Sixers will become a great team or even a good one, but this is among the most impressive arrays of young talent the NBA has seen since … well, since ever.”

Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports thinks Jonathan Isaac has a high ceiling: “Isaac's numbers weren't eye-popping for a deep and talented Florida State team. He averaged 12 points and 7.8 rebounds, made 3-pointers at a 34.8 percent rate and blocked a 1.5 shots per game. Pretty good! But not nearly as good as he can be. Isaac might have the highest ceiling in this entire draft. The reason is because his development as a young basketball player resembles Anthony Davis' development. Like Davis, Isaac grew up as a normal-sized wing until his height shot up late in high school. He's 6-foot-11 now, but his college coach told me he believes Isaac could still be growing. He has guard skills in a center's body. That plays perfectly in today's NBA, which values versatility on both ends of the floor.”

David Kahn of Sports Illustrated on Dell Curry: “And, in a much lesser known incident, it happened to me. In 2009, just days after my May 22 hiring as President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the agent for Steph Curry told me that Steph’s father, Dell, did not want his son to be drafted by Minnesota — ‘No offense,’ as I recall Jeff Austin, his agent saying to me at the Chicago draft combine.”

John Calipari’s draft picks at Kentucky

Year

Player

Rnd

Pick

Team

2010

John Wall

1

1

Washington

2012

Anthony Davis

1

1

New Orleans

2015

Karl-Anthony Towns

1

1

Minnesota

2012

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

1

2

Charlotte

2011

Enes Kanter

1

3

Utah

2010

DeMarcus Cousins

1

5

Sacramento

2013

Nerlens Noel

1

6

New Orleans-c

2015

Willie Cauley-Stein

1

6

Sacramento

2014

Julius Randle

1

7

LA Lakers

2016

Jamal Murray

1

7

Denver

2011

Brandon Knight

1

8

Detroit

2015

Trey Lyles

1

12

Utah

2015

Devin Booker

1

13

Phoenix

2010

Patrick Patterson

1

14

Houston

2014

James Young

1

17

Boston

2010

Eric Bledsoe

1

18

Oklahoma City-a

2012

Terrence Jones

1

18

Houston

2016

Skal Labissiere

1

28

Sacramento

2010

Daniel Orton

1

29

Orlando

2012

Marquis Teague

1

29

Chicago

2013

Archie Goodwin

1

29

Oklahoma City-d

2016

Tyler Ulis

2

34

Phoenix

2012

Doron Lamb

2

42

Milwaukee

2015

Andrew Harrison

2

44

Phoenix-e

2011

Josh Harrellson

2

45

New Orleans-b

2012

Darius Miller

2

46

New Orleans

2015

Dakari Johnson

2

48

Oklahoma City

2011

DeAndre Liggins

2

53

Orlando

a-traded to LA Clippers

b-traded to New York

c-traded to Philadelphia

d-traded to Phoenix

e-traded to Memphis

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