The 2011 NBA Draft is just two sleeps away -- as the cool girls on my Facebook say -- which means the rumors, smokescreens and speculation regarding random trades are coming to a head.
First and foremost, however, ESPN's John Hollinger released his always interesting annual player rater on Monday. It's Insider only, however, but worth checking out if only to see how he came to the conclusion that Tristan Thompson is the third-best prospect in this draft class.
Thompson is an interesting enough prospect, and Hollinger clarifies by noting that one-and-dones give his system trouble, but he still obviously impresses Hollinger considering that Draft Express ranks the Texas forward as the eighth-best freshman in his class.
Before getting to everything else, let me do a little company shilling by promoting Tom Ziller's latest mock draft as well as the SB Nation collaborative mock draft going on over at the SB Nation draft hub. Synergy (and not the basketball kind)!
The biggest rumor that will definitely affect Thursday night's draft is the report Jonas Valanciunas does have a buyout clause with his team in Lithuania. Unfortunately, that buyout won't come soon enough for the big man to play in the NBA next season, making it likely that he'll fall further than expected.
Aside from the Valanciunas report, though, trade talk dominated most of Monday's rumor mongering.
Ken Berger had a whole bunch of random rumors regarding which teams like which players and notes that the Knicks are trying to trade up for Jimmer Fredette and that the Wizards and Bucks are trying to trade down. Lots of good little tidbits in there, for those interested in tidbits that aren't related to pineapple.
Adrian Wojnarowski came out with a similar rundown of the latest rumors in his inbox featuring some new Timberwolves trade rumors, Houston trying to package their picks to trade up with the Pistons and the Jazz not really want to draft Jimmer even though that's what the public wants. For what it's worth, I have to agree in saying Chris Singleton is probably the better pick depending on what is available to them with the third pick.
Just in case all of those rumors weren't enough, Pro Basketball Talk rounded up a rumor that has the Suns shipping Robin Lopez to Golden State in return for Ekpe Udoh and the eleventh pick on Thursday night. Considering it's coming from a Phoenix radio guy, I have to think that's more wishful thinking than relevant trade talk, but one never knows around this time of year.
Last, but not least, everybody's favorite Canadian Football League prospect is gaining more buzz. Matt O'Donnell, who worked out with the Celtics earlier in the process, apparently worked out with the Toronto Raptors last week. My sources tell me he might not be the best player at the Bismarck YMCA and won't be drafted, but the same could be said about Pape Sy last year.
Oh, and if anyone was wondering what happened to their favorite draft prospects from the last couple of seasons that aren't in the NBA anymore, they were in Chicago working out for the Bulls this past weekend.