NBA Draft Preview: Top Five Storylines for the NBA D-League
What's at stake for the NBA's minor league at the 2014 NBA Draft? Here are the five storylines to watch leading up to the Draft:
It appears likely. Mock drafts project the Texas Legends shooting guard to come off the board somewhere between the 15th and 30th picks. Maybe he won't land in the lottery as some predicted before his dismissal from UNC, but it's clear Hairston salvaged his draft stock in the NBA D-League. And if he goes before No. 35, he'll surpass Glen Rice Jr. as the league's highest-ever draft pick and potential trail blazer.
Hairston seems to be connected to a new team every day. First it's the Celtics, looking for scoring punch at No. 17. Then it's the Bulls, who own picks 16 and 19. Then it's Charlotte, a natural fit for the Greensboro native and former Tar Heel.
Will the Knicks trade into the first round with eyes on Hairston, as has been rumored? Will another team -- the Mavs, who watched him closely all season? -- make a play? Package his NBA-ready body with his proven NBA range and professional experience, and PJ could fit in virtually anywhere.
The other Greek Freak has also become the NBA D-League's other touted Draft prospect after impressing during his season in Delaware. It's impossible not to love his boundless energy and explosive athleticism, which have made him a solid second-rounder all along. But after he worked out with more than half of the NBA over the past month, the idea of Thanasis going early in the second or even at the end of the first has gained momentum.
The entire Antetokounmpo family is hoping it happens. Bucks fans are crossing their fingers. Even smoothie bars are bracing for their arrival (probably).
Giannis and Thanasis' meteoric rise to the NBA has already been heartwarming, but putting them on the same team would be the true dream come true. "The team would play with passion and energy," Thanasis said in an understatement at the Combine. "I hope the Bucks draft my brother, but I can't put pressure on the Bucks," Giannis said at the Lottery.
This year's crop of NBA Draft-eligible prospects actually runs six deep. These four are long shots to hear their name called on Thursday, however, with the very athletic, very raw Pelle most likely to surprise. All four certainly have enough talent to intrigue NBA teams this summer, and Carr, for what it's worth, already has an NBA-level fan base. Just check the highlights (and the view count):