By Jon Rothstein
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1. CHARLOTTE’S CHOICE
The Bobcats sent a major buzz throughout the basketball universe last week by hiring St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap as their head coach — and don’t be surprised if they make a splash of equal proportions on draft night. Charlotte has toyed with the idea of dealing the second overall pick to Cleveland for the fourth overall selection plus the 24th pick and possibly one of the Cavaliers’ early second round selections. Such a move would give the struggling Bobcats franchise three potential rotation players instead of one.
2. WHEEL AND NEIL
Newly minted Blazers general manager Neil Olshey has a history of shrewd moves from his tenure with the Clippers and anything less than an impact addition or two would be considered a disappointment to people in the Great Northwest. Portland owns the sixth and 11th selections and appear unlikely to deal either of the picks — but even though many believe Olshey has locked in on Weber State point guard Damian Lillard with the Blazers’ first pick, we’re hearing that Syracuse combo guard Dion Waiters is still very much a possibility for Portland.
3. ROYCE’S RANK
It’s not an oversight that Iowa State’s Royce White isn’t being considered among the prospects set to be taken in the lottery — it’s an insult. White’s versatile skillset and point forward ability make him a unique talent and one that will be a high value pick wherever he’s selected. Remember, White outplayed Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson in multiple Big 12 meetings last season and Robinson is likely to wind up as the second overall pick in the entire draft.
We’re hearing White still a mid first round selection at best.
4. BIG BLUE PRIDE
Kentucky made history in 2010 when five different players were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft and if all things go as planned, Thursday night in Newark will go down as another seminal moment for John Calipari’s program. While all five of Kentucky’s starters from last year’s National Championship team appear to be locks for the first round, veteran Darius Miller should be a high second round selection giving the Wildcats six players selected in the entire draft.
5. ROCKET LAUNCH
No team has been more active leading up to the draft than Houston and now that they’re armed with three first round picks, there’s no telling to what the Rockets end up pulling off. Houston owns the 12th, 16th, and 18th overall picks and could move into the draft’s top ten or put together an enticing package to add a quality veteran through a trade.
Which storylines will you be watching for? Be heard in the comments below!