The NBA folks ‘chatted’ about an incredible workout Benoit Mathurin had with the Pistonsaccording to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who says there are rumors that members of Detroit’s front office are “infatuated” with the Arizona guard.
Jaden Ivey and Keegan Murray have long been considered favorites to join Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgrenand Paolo Banchero in the top three, but maybe the Pistons will subvert that expectation by targeting Mathurin. For what it’s worth, however, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider Link) still believes Murray is the favorite over Mathurin at No. 5 if Ivey is out of the picture.
In his latest simulation project, Givony also reports that the Pistons general manager Weaver of Troy is part of Jalen DurenNBA’s biggest fans. Although Duren is unlikely to be seriously considered at No. 5, the Pistons could consider returning to the first round if he slips at all, according to Givony, who points out the Hornets (#13 and #15) as a possible business partner for Detroit in a deal involving Gordon Hayward.
Elsewhere in his fictional draft, O’Connor writes that the Nuggets (No. 21 and No. 30) and Grizzlies (No. 22 and No. 29) both struggled to pack their picks in an effort to advance to the first round.
O’Connor suggests Denver’s picks probably aren’t enough to move through the middle of the first round unless the team is willing to include a young player or another future pick. However, he writes that the Grizzlies explored picks as high as the Knicks‘ selection at No. 11. To reach that peak, Memphis would likely have to accept an unwanted salary or include another asset beyond the team’s first two rounds in 2022.
Here’s more information on the 2022 NBA Draft, which is just hours away:
- League leaders continue to connect LSU forward Tari Reason to Rockets at No. 17, according to O’Connor. Meanwhile, Zach Harper of The Athletic has heard from sources that the Celtics are also high on Eason and could try to advance to the first round by using a young rotation player to draft him. An earlier report said Boston was open to discussing Grant Williams and Payton Prichardand Harper adds Aaron Nesmith to this list.
- Auburn Jabari Smith tells Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes he’ll be surprised if he doesn’t pick first overall tonight. Virtually all major sports bets made Paolo Banchero the favorite to go No. 1 late last night, but those chances have since backward in the other direction. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer speculates (by Twitter) that the Banchero buzz may have been related to the contact he and his camp had had with the Magic Wednesday after a Monday visit was canceled, but Fischer – like ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski – reiterates that Smith remains the favorite to be the No. 1 pick.
- SNY.tv’s Ian Begley (video link) watches Duke’s AJ Griffin as the likeliest pick for the Knicks if they stay at No. 11.
- The raptorswho went from No. 20 to No. 33 in the draft following their Young Thaddeus exchange in February, do not consider the gap between these two selections to be significant, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic. As Koreen observes, there is less consensus on prospects lower on the draft boards than there is at the very top, so many of the players drafted between numbers 20 and 32 may not be at or near the top of the Toronto chart.