People around the NBA have “gossiped” about an incredible workout Benedict Mathurin had with the Pistonsaccording to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who says there are rumors that members of the Detroit front office are “in love” with the Arizona security guard.
Jaden Ivey and Keegan Murray have long been considered the favorites to join Jabari Smith† Chet Holmgrenand Paolo Banchero in the top three, but perhaps the Pistons will raise that expectation by targeting Mathurin. For what it’s worth, however, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) still believes Murray’s favorite over Mathurin at number 5 is that Ivey is off the board.
In his latest mock concept, Givony also reports that Piston’s general manager Troy Weaver is one of Jalen Durenthe biggest fans in the NBA. While Duren probably won’t be seriously considered at number 5, the Pistons could consider moving back to the first round if he slips, according to Givony, who points to the hornets (No. 13 and No. 15) as a potential trading partner for Detroit in a deal involving: Gordon Hayward†
elsewhere in to be mock design, O’Connor writes that the nuggets (No. 21 and No. 30) and grizzlies (No. 22 and No. 29) both made an effort to pack their picks in a bid to move up in the first round.
O’Connor suggests Denver’s picks probably won’t be enough to move to the middle of the first round unless the team is willing to include a young player or other future pick. However, he writes that the Grizzlies have explored picks as high as the Knicksroster at number 11. To rise to that rank would presumably require Memphis to take on an unwanted salary or pick up another asset in addition to the team’s two first-rounders in 2022.
Here’s more on the 2022 NBA draft, which is now just hours away:
- Leaders across the league continue to connect LSU forward Tari Eason to the missiles at number 17, according to O’Connor. Meanwhile, Zach Harper of The Athletic has learned from sources that the… Celtics are also high on Eason and could try trading the first round with a young rotation player to draft him. An earlier report indicated that Boston was open to discussion Grant Williams and Payton Pritchardand Harper adds: Aaron Nesmith to that list.
- maroon Jabari Smith Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports says he’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get drafted first tonight. Made almost all major sportsbooks Paolo Banchero the favorite to go number 1 late last night but those odds have been since waved back in the other direction. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report speculates (via Twitter) that the Banchero buzz may have been related to contact he and his camp had with the Magic on Wednesday after a visit was canceled on Monday, but Fischer — like ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski — reiterates that Smith remains the favorite to be the No. 1 pick.
- Ian Begley from SNY.tv (video link) watches Duke’s AJ Griffin as the most likely choice for the Knicks if they stay at number 11.
- The birds of preywho moved from No. 20 to No. 33 in the draft as a result of their Thaddeus Young trading in February, don’t consider the gap between those two rosters significant, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic. As Koreen points out, there is less consensus on prospects further down the draft boards than at the top, so some of the players drafted between Nos. 20 and 32 may not be at the top of Toronto’s board.