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Memphis' James Wiseman is front-runner to be No. 1 pick in NBA draft, according to a report

Memphis' James Wiseman is front-runner to be No. 1 pick in NBA draft, according to a report

The talent at the top of the 2020 NBA Draft class doesn't quite live up to the expectations that are generated from the top picks in an ordinary year. And with so much uncertainty among the top prospects, many evaluators find it tough to predict which direction teams will go. 

There's a clear-cut top three in James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball. But Wiseman only played three games at Memphis before he was suspended and then withdrew from the school. Ball played overseas in Australia and suffered an injury.

Of the three, Wiseman has stood out in the eyes of many NBA executives, according to Stadium's Jeff Goodman. In an anonymous poll of 35 executives, 20 would select the 7-foot-1 center as the No. 1 pick.

There's a lot to like about Wiseman. He has the 'star-power' and an explosive game that comes with being a top pick. As a pure raw athlete, a lot of teams would love the opportunity to develop him. With his size, he could instantly have an impact as a rim-protector and rebounder. There's just skepticism on his lack of play in college and not playing a competitive game since November. 

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Georgia's Edwards (10 of 35 votes) was second, LaMelo Ball (four votes) was third. 

While Wiseman may be the front-runner, it's irrelevant unless the team picking wants him. A report from the San Francisco Chronicle states that Golden State - who currently has the worst record in the NBA - is not interested in either Wiseman or Ball. Last year Zion Williamson was overwhelmingly thought of as the top selection. There was no debate. Every team would have taken him No. 1. 

This year, not so much. 

“I wouldn’t even want the No. 1 pick,” one NBA general manager told Goodman. “If I have it, I’m trying like hell to trade it.”

It's a weird draft this season, even weirder with the coronavirus pandemic throwing a wrench in preparation. Many teams say they would like to take Wiseman, there was even one executive that would dive deeper into the class and take Dayton's Obi Toppin. 

“This is an underwhelming draft at the top,” a high-ranking executive to Goodman. “It’s as difficult for the No. 1 pick as I’ve seen in a long time.”

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Report: Pacers' Victor Oladipo opts out of NBA restart in Orlando

Report: Pacers' Victor Oladipo opts out of NBA restart in Orlando

Victor Oladipo has opted out of playing in the NBA's restart in Orlando, marking the biggest star yet who was expected to play backing out.

The news, which was first reported by the Athletic, is a health precaution as he aims to get 100 percent healthy for next season. He had played only 13 games this season after missing a full year due to a torn quadriceps tendon.

Oladipo, 28, is a two-time All-Star. His absence leaves the Indiana Pacers, the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference, without their best player.

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The Wizards happen to play the Pacers as part of their new eight-game schedule to close out the regular season. Now they won't see Oladipo, who they had yet to face this season. 

Given Oladipo's recent injury history, it is not all that surprising he would make this move. But it also could open the door for other players of his stature to decide similarly.

Oladipo is a star in the league, but not on a team expected to compete for the title. Will others in a similar boat decide not to go? Wizards guard Bradley Beal, for one, is still mulling his own decision on whether to play.

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Rui Hachimura 'sad' Olympics were delayed, hopes to still play in Tokyo next year

Rui Hachimura 'sad' Olympics were delayed, hopes to still play in Tokyo next year

Though he understands the reasons why, Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura can't help but be disappointed in the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, which were set to take place in Tokyo, Japan later this month.

Hachimura figured to play a prominent role for the host country, as one of Japan's most famous athletes and the best player on their basketball team. The plan is to play the games in 2021, still in Tokyo, and Hachimura hopes that remains the case despite continued uncertainty for all sporting events amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"I'm honestly so sad about it. We can't do anything about it," he said on Friday. "Of course, I would like to play in the Olympics. Next year, we'll see how things go."

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Hachimura had participated in some lead-up press events for the 2020 Olympics representing his country in the months before coronavirus hit. But, really, he had been looking forward to the 2020 Olympics for many years.

Hachimura has already made history as the first Japanese-born player to get selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. The Olympics this year were supposed to be another major step forward for the sport of basketball in Japan.

"Japan Olympics was one of my dreams to do. It was big to me. Ever since I started in basketball, they talked about the Olympics in 2020. Then, this happened," he said.

Hachimura should be able to still participate next year as long as the schedule works out. As of now, the NBA is aiming to begin the 2020-21 season in December. That would put them on track to end in time for Hachimura and other players to play in Tokyo.

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