Just eight teams left in the playoffs, it is time for most fan bases to turn their attentions to the future.
Today, the list of invites for next week's Chicago draft combine were revealed. We are also starting to get a heavy dose of mock drafts from a lot of different sites.
In ESPN's, Chad Ford has the Orlando Magic (Link is ESPN Insider) taking Nerlens Noel with the first overall pick. However, Ford reveals that the player the Magic really covet will not even walk across the stage at the Barclay's Center next month.
According to sources, Orlando had its heart set on Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart until he broke its heart when he decided to stay in college. While the Magic need just about everything, point guard might be their biggest area of need.
Ford goes on to say that the Magic could roll the dice on Trey Burke, but they also need athleticism on their front line to pair with Nikola Vucevic, so Nerlens Noel is the likely pick should the Magic get the number one pick (the exact order of the draft will be determined by the draft lottery on Tuesday, May 21).
Aside from Noel being the likely number one pick, Kansas' Ben McLemore and Georgetown's Otto Porter being top five picks, the top 10 feels like a total crap shoot right now.
Ford has the New Orleans Pelicans taking Burke with the fifth pick, but adds that Shabazz Muhammed is in play there, as is Dario Saric out of Croatia. Saric is 12th on Ford's big board and he is ranked No. 22 on DraftExpress' board.
Cleveland looks zeroed in on Porter unless they get the top pick. According to Ford, Porter is number two on their board and would fit in perfectly next to Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters along the wing.
The draft combine is next Thursday and Friday from Chicago. We should hear a lot more rumors about who likes who, etc. then.
That is when we also find out these guys' measurements, which will go a long way in determining what position general managers and other talent evaluators think these guys can play. The NBA Draft itself is set for June 27 in Brooklyn.
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