NBA Draft Report: Is Len rising to No. 1?
NBA draft rumors involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and the No. 1 pick have centered on names such as Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and Kansas guard Ben McLemore, and even Georgetown forward Otto Porter.
You can now add Maryland center Alex Len and UNLV forward Anthony Bennett to that suspenseful list.
It’s true, as executives around the league say it is clear Cavs general manger Chris Grant and his staff are considering all options at the top of the draft.
That includes potentially trading the first pick — although that scenario seems unlikely. For one, rarely do teams with the first pick receive what they consider equal value in return. For another, no one has been able (or willing) to trade the top pick since 1993.
As for Len and Bennett, several opposing GMs say they don’t believe the Cavs would actually select either with the first pick. But those GMs also admitted the Cavs have given no indication what they might do, so hey, anything is possible at this point.
Nor will the Cavs drop any hints, as most of us are unlikely to know who they’re actually taking until David Stern steps to the podium and makes the announcement June 27.
That said, Len is a particularly intriguing prospect, a 7-foot-1 big man with a well-rounded game. Some who have scouted Len feel he is a better player than Noel now, and will be in the NBA, too.
Len (255 pounds) is bigger and considered more advanced offensively than Noel (6-foot-11, 206). It should also be noted that Len scored a college-best 23 points and
grabbed 12 rebounds when Maryland faced Kentucky and Noel in November.
Many talent evaluators compare Len to Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, who just completed his rookie season.
The Cavs passed on Valanciunas with the No. 4 pick in 2011, instead selecting power forward Tristan Thompson. So some insiders think Len might actually make sense for the Cavs.
Bennett, on the other hand, is a 6-foot-7 (mostly power) forward. While he can step away from the basket and hit perimeter shots, his strength is his inside play. With big men such as Thompson and Anderson Varejao already on the roster, it’s hard to envision where Bennett might fit.
Basically, the Cavs could use a classic small forward, and Bennett doesn’t exactly match that description.
Still, no one expected the Cavs to draft Thompson fourth, or guard Dion Waiters at the same spot last summer, until the very last minute.
Read: With no obvious choice on the board, the Cavs just might be preparing to pull another draft surprise.
• One opposing NBA GM said he feels the Cavs have “reached too often” in the draft during the three-year Grant era. “They could’ve gone with the simple picks, like Valanciunas in 2011 and (Harrison) Barnes last year, and they’d be in the same place, maybe better off. Just my opinion, but we have a tendency to over-think things and act smarter than everyone else in this business.”
• Multiple sources told FOX Sports Ohio the Philadelphia 76ers are high on Michael Carter-Williams, a 6-foot-5 point guard from Syracuse. All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday is already on the roster, but the Sixers believe Carter-Williams could come off the bench and produce at both guard positions, sources said. The Sixers own the No. 11 overall pick.
• As has been reported repeatedly, the Orlando Magic are putting out feelers to see what they could land in return for the second overall selection. One source indicated, however, the Magic are “far from desperate” to trade it.
• The latest buzz says the Houston Rockets will make a strong bid for Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger, supposedly on the trading block. Word is Granger is available after missing all but a few games this past season with a knee injury, but that the Pacers aren’t against keeping him.
• Of course, it’s not exactly a secret the Rockets will remain in a holding pattern until they find out what becomes of Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, an unrestricted free agent.
• New Sacramento Kings coach Mike Malone is excited about working with center DeMarcus Cousins, sources said — and while Cousins may have been available briefly, he isn’t now.
• The Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats have been in discussions involving the Bucks’ No. 15 pick, sources said.
• Following a workout with the Utah Jazz, Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum told Salt Lake City reporters, “This culture is perfect for me.” The Jazz’s first pick is No. 14 overall. Most draft experts don’t expect McCollum to last that long.