The NBA playoffs are in full swing with the conference finals fast approaching, but many teams have already turned their attention to the offseason - specifically, the NBA Draft. Teams are getting their first up-close looks at prospects with workouts ahead of the NBA Combine next week, and with the draft lottery looming on Tuesday, rumors are starting to swirl about who teams are targeting. Here are the latest NBA Draft rumors you need to know:
Knicks targeting Mikal Bridges
The New York Knicks still have not found a reliable starting-caliber small forward since trading Carmelo Anthony and they're hoping to find that guy in the draft.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks have identified Villanova forward Mikal Bridges for that reason.
If the Knicks stick at their current ninth seed, Villanova small forward Mikal Bridges, fresh off an NCAA title, will probably be available and they have interest. They also are intrigued by the larger upside of Michigan State’s Miles Bridges.
Bridges is very quick for someone who is 6-foot-6, and with a wingspan over seven feet, he has tremendous upside as the ultimate 3-and-D prospect. While his offensive game improved during his junior year, he will be more of a shooter at the NBA level as he hasn't proven he can consistently create his own shot.
Bridges averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game last season
Sixers eyeing Trae Young
The Philadelphia 76ers traded up to No. 1 to take Markelle Fultz in last year's NBA Draft, but given his shoulder injury and change in shooting form that led to him struggling a good deal, they are looking into selecting another point guard this June.
Of course, 6-foot-10 Ben Simmons served as their starter at the position this year but head coach Brett Brown was forced to use him at forward late in the playoffs due to his inability to shoot from the perimeter. That has left the Sixers with some question marks in the backcourt and has them eyeing Oklahoma guard Trae Young, according to Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders.
At this point, though, I’ve already begun hearing that the Sixers have their eyes on Trae Young while the Knicks are enamored with Mikal Bridges. Again, though, this early in the process, any information that comes out should be taken with a grain of salt.
Young had an up-and-down season for the Sooners, guiding them to the top five in January before struggles, fatigue, and the lack of help from his teammates caused them to have a losing record in Big 12 play.
Still, though, Young managed to become the first player ever to lead the country in points (27.4) and assists (8.7) per game. His incredible quickness, vision, range, and ability to create shots for himself give him tremendous offensive upside at the next level.
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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's draft stock rising?
Young is expected to be the top point guard taken in the draft but Kentucky's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who's stock has been rising since taking over as UK's starter early in the college season, may challenge him, according to Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders.
I anticipate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rising up teams’ draft boards as they get a closer look at him and envision how versatile he could be in a few years when he adds some more muscle to his frame. Gilgeous-Alexander has a developed skill set and the size to be a plus-defender against NBA point guards, shooting guards and maybe even small forwards. Getting a two-way lead guard with that sort of defensive potential will be hard to pass up for any team that doesn’t already have a standout guard who can play effectively on both ends of the court.
Gilgeous-Alexander's size (6-foot-6) and vision give him good upside as an NBA point guard but, as he showed at Kentucky, also allow him to play off the ball effectively in certain lineups.Back to the NBA Newsfeed