The Pistons could wind up with the No. 1 overall pick for the second straight year. In Chad Ford’s Mock Draft 2.0, they’ll take Auburn freshman forward Jabari Smith with the first pick. According to Ford’s sources, Detroit GM Troy Weaver would love to pair up Cade Cunningham with Smith. Ford throws a curveball with the second pick, with the Magic selecting Purdue wing Jaden Ivey. That leaves Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren for the taking at No. 3, where the Rockets snap him up.
We have more from around the basketball world:
- Private equity firms have increasingly become a force in NBA ownership, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic notes. Private equity firms have purchased stakes in five teams, and their influence will continue to increase as the value of franchises continues to climb.
- ESPN’s Bobby Marks not only takes a look at potential buyout candidates this month, he also turns his attention to the offseason, breaking down the free agent class, teams with significant cap space and significant players eligible for extensions. Regarding cap space, he notes that the Pacers and Trail Blazers have moved onto the list due to their trades. The Pistons, Magic and Spurs were already projected to have cap space.
- The Nets, Sixers and Celtics did the most to upgrade their 2021/22 rosters before the trade deadline, according to The Athletic’s Seth Partnow. The Bucks, Jazz and Suns made slight alterations that could help them in the postseason, in Partnow’s evaluation.