With the NBA Draft coming up on Thursday night, we spoke to Chris Stone of Sporting News, The Step Back, and and Rush the Court. Not many people know the draft as well as Chris. You can follow him on Twitter at @cstonehoops. Here is the Q&A:
Dylan Burd: Michael Porter Jr. seems to be the biggest wild card in the draft. I’ve heard him going as high as 2 and as low as 9. Where do you think he will be drafted?
Chris Stone: Your guess is as good as mine. Porter’s range is wide. I’d guess he likely goes closer to the bottom of that range with Chicago at No. 7 being his floor. The concerns about his injury, time at Missouri and ability to do more than score are real.
Dylan Burd: Who are your biggest sleepers in this draft? Some late first round/second round picks that you think can be really good players.
Chris Stone: I’m a big believer in De’Anthony Melton. He just turned 20-years old and has elite feel indicators. The jump shot is a major question mark, but if it improves, he has the potential to be a steal. Josh Okogie also fits the mold. He’s a potential 3-and-D guy with some upside as a one-on-one stopper.
Dylan Burd: Do you see Kawhi Leonard being traded on draft day? If not him, which other stars can be traded before or on draft day?
Chris Stone: Honestly, no idea. The Spurs appear to be backed into a corner and obviously draft night is a ripe time to make a deal. Whether or not San Antonio will act or wait remains uncertain.
Dylan Burd: Who do you think the New York Knicks will draft at pick 9?
Chris Stone: This all depends on who’s available. The Knicks have worked out a number of top prospects. Collin Sexton and Trae Young make sense as potential point guard options, either Mikal or Miles Bridges fit on the wing and Wendell Carter could form an interesting frontcourt partnership with Kristaps Porzingis. Don’t sleep on Kevin Knox here either.
Dylan Burd: Which teams do you see trading up in the draft? Trading down?
Chris Stone: Plenty of teams have been rumored to be exploring trade opportunities. The Hawks and Grizzlies have reportedly explored moving down while the Clippers have reportedly looked at moving up. The margins between prospects at the top of the draft are thin, so it might make sense to pick up another asset while moving down to select a similarly rated player.
Dylan Burd: What a bold prediction you have for this draft?
Chris Stone: Long-term, Deandre Ayton won’t be one of the three best players in the class. He’ll be a productive NBA player, but I have significant questions about his ability to impact winning.