Draft Rumors: Top Two Picks, Daniels, Nembhard, Matkovic, More

Magic executives have made it clear they’ll do their homework on all their options for the No. 1 pick, even beyond Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link).

However, most NBA teams believe that process will be a formality and consider Smith to be the clear favorite to become the Magic’s pick, according to Givony. NBA executives also overwhelmingly view Holmgren as the probable No. 2 pick for the Thunder, Givony adds.

Givony and his fellow ESPN draft expert Mike Schmitz shared several more tidbits based on their conversations with talent evaluators at last week’s combine in Chicago. Let’s round up a few highlights…

  • NBA teams were “buzzing” about Dyson Daniels‘ performance in Chicago at his Pro Day, comparing him to NBA players like Tyrese Haliburton and Khris Middleton, according to Givony, who has moved the G League Ignite wing up to No. 6 on ESPN’s big board.
  • Andrew Nembhard‘s willingness to play through a minor quad injury and his strong performance in the second game of the combine scrimmages helped boost his stock. The Gonzaga guard “leapfrogged” a handful of players who sat out the scrimmages and has a legitimate shot to be drafted near the end of the first round, says Givony.
  • Croatian big man Karlo Matkovic was one of the under-the-radar risers as a result of his combine showing. He’s considered far more likely to be drafted than he was a week ago, and his agency says he’s had more requests for private workouts than he has available dates, per Givony.
  • Mark Williams‘ 9’9″ standing reach will make him the longest player in the NBA, according to Schmitz, who says the Duke center has a chance to be selected ahead of Jalen Duren in the lottery.
  • Canadian prospect Leonard Miller looked a step slow during the combine scrimmages and now appears more likely to attend college at Arizona or join the G League Ignite rather than staying in the draft, writes Givony.