Tonight is the night for Ben McLemore, Jeff Withey, and Phil Pressey to find out which NBA teams they will be playing for next season. All three are expected to be drafted but are expected to have very different paths to the NBA.
A string of bad workouts with teams at the top of the draft have led many experts to predict McLemore will fall farther than he should in the draft. Depending on who you listen to McLemore could go anywhere from number one overall to number seven. The question with him may be if there are any teams who want to trade up to get him if he falls far enough down the latter.
The team that seems most interested in trading up are the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rumors suggest the T-Wolves want either McLemore or Victor Oladipo to pair up with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Offers have been made to the Orlando Magic (No. 2), Charlotte Bobcats (No. 4), and Phoenix Suns (No. 5) that include Derrick Willimas and the number nine and 26 overall picks.
For now Chad Ford has McLemore being drafted fifth overall by the Phoenix Suns.
One of the best interior defenders in the draft has seen his stock swing all over the place during the time leading up to the draft. The ceiling for Withey begins with the 17th overall pick which is held by the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are rumored to be wanting to do just about everything under the sun with their 17th and 18th overall picks, but they on the look out for an interior defensive presence off of the bench.
While Withey could go to the Hawks, he could also fall completely out of the first round. If Chicago, Brooklyn, Minnesota, and San Antonio all pass on Withey in the first round, Chad Ford believes Withey could go to the Philadelphia 76ers with the fifth pick in the second round.
The key for Withey – as it will be for Phil Pressey – is to be drafted in the first 35 picks. Top 35 players receive guaranteed contracts based on the collective bargaining agreement. Anyone below that will have less stability with their NBA contract. It would be a surprise if Withey fell below the 35th overall pick, but it certainly is possible.
Phil Pressey is almost certain to be drafted as NBA scouts like his ability to distribute the ball. The question for him is going to be fit and timing. Pressey could use some time in the NBADL to get rid of some bad habits and accrue some more playing time in the way Tyshawn Taylor did last season for Brooklyn.
Right now Ford has Pressey going to the Orlando Magic at 51 overall, but the Magic are also rumored to be in talks with the Los Angeles Clippers to acquire Eric Bledsoe. How this would effect their draft strategy is unknown at the moment.
Portland Trailblazers, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, and Brooklyn Nets have shown interest in Pressey, according to reports.