The Charlotte Bobcats, a team assured of drafting no lower than fifth in the first round and having no second-round pick, seem oddly curious about players projected to be drafted in the middle of the first round.
They interviewed Duke center Mason Plumlee, Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams and Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyck. It’s a stretch to draft any of those guys in the top-five.
This might be just zealous due diligence. General manager Rich Cho is meticulous to a fault, so chatting up too many draft prospects could be in his wheelhouse. But there was something that raised my radar about how curious the Bobcats seem to be about players who could be drafted 10th through 20th.
My gut says this is just, as Bonnell wrote, Cho doing his due diligence. That thorough approach part of what has made Cho such a successful general manager.
Plus, trading down from the top of the NBA Draft rarely makes sense. It’s just too important to get premier talent, or the chance at premier talent, whenever its’ available.
Even in this draft, hailed as the weakest ever, I really like Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo. The Bobcats are guaranteed the opportunity to draft at least one of those five, and if they draft someone else – say Anthony Bennett or C.J. McCollum – it would be because they like that player more than one of the five I like, not because nobody else is available, and that makes a big difference.
If the Bobcats are interested in trading down, five teams have two first-round picks: Cavaliers (No. 3 seed in lottery, No. 19), Suns (No. 4 seed in lottery, No. 30), Timberwolves (No. 9 seed in lottery, No. 26), Jazz (No. 14 seed in lottery and No. 21) and Hawks (No. 17 and No. 18).
Perhaps a trade with the Cavaliers or Suns, in the event Charlotte lands a higher draft pick than the either of those teams, would make sense. That way, the Bobcats could trade down, still have a high pick and gain another pick.