Thursday’s NBA Draft centers around the big three of Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, and Andrew Wiggins and the 24-hour news cycle has certainly led to a lot of questions at the top of the draft board. Some reports suggested that Parker “tanked” his workout with the Cavaliers, while Embiid underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot.
By virtue of striking lightning in a bottle and winning the NBA Draft Lottery, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been on the clock since their lucky ping pong ball survived until the end. This past week, the Cavaliers announced the hiring of David Blatt, who has spent his entire 21-year coaching career overseas. Tyronn Lue, who was the runner-up for the head gig, is now the associate head coach and the highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA.
Will the hire effect who the Cavaliers take? Where will Joel Embiid get selected? Where will other big name college players like Doug McDermott, Shabazz Napier, and Marcus Smart get taken? Bovada.lv has odds on several NBA Draft Props and there are some opportunities to make money on Thursday’s night’s festivities.
Who will be selected with the first overall pick?
Andrew Wiggins – 1/2
Jabari Parker – 7/5
Joel Embiid – 12/1
With news of Embiid’s injury, the Milwaukee Bucks have stated that they won’t even take him second, so it’s extremely unlikely that the Cavs will go that route. That leaves it down to Wiggins and Parker. Prior to the negative reports about Parker’s workout, he was reportedly the player that the Cavs front office wanted to take and he’s probably the best fit.
Assuming the Cavs keep the pick, the right bet to make is Jabari Parker. Cavs sources indicated that Parker didn’t look himself and that it seemed that he would rather go to Milwaukee, who holds the second pick, but once Parker’s name is announced, he’ll have no choice but to play hard. With the Cavs possibly surrounding him with additional talent, plus a chance to play with fellow Duke Blue Devil Kyrie Irving, look for Parker’s name to be called first.
Pick: Jabari Parker
NBA Draft Position Over/Under:
Dante Exum: 3.5
With plenty of raw talent, Australian point guard Dante Exum has been regarded as a player that won’t bust, even he fails to reach superstar status. Exum has great size for a guard at 6’6” and the Bucks and Sixers are both prime contenders for his services.
Pick: Under 3.5
Joel Embiid: 5
Big men with injuries always come with a lot of red flags and Embiid is no different with the back problem and now a stress fracture in his foot. Somebody in the top five will buy the talent and hopefully won’t regret their decision a la Greg Oden.
Pick: Under 5
Julius Randle: 6.5
The Kentucky Wildcat is the most recent one-and-done freshman from John Calipari’s program. Randle has dealt with a minor foot injury, but he seems to have the work ethic that so many 19-year-olds in the draft lack. The Lakers keep popping up for his services at #7 in mock drafts, so teams willing to gamble on Embiid may push him down.
Pick: Over 6.5
Marcus Smart: 5.5
Marcus Smart may have been better off leaving before his sophomore season as a down year and the overblown fracas with a fan hurt Smart’s draft stock. Most mocks have Smart going comfortably higher than #5 and with Parker, Wiggins, Exum, and Embiid all strong possibilities #1 through #4, Smart doesn’t have much margin for error on this prop.
Pick: Over 5.5
Doug McDermott: 9.5
Dougie McBuckets basically put Creighton basketball on the national stage, but is that enough to be a top nine pick? Teams have to ask themselves if McDermott is a starter or a terrific sixth-man that can make a huge impact on a game. His defense is limited and his athleticism may be lacking.
Pick: Over 9.5
Nik Stauskas: 10.5
The Lithuanian-Canadian sophomore did a lot to help a Michigan team that looked like it was in trouble without Mitch McGary for most of the season. Stauskas probably impressed in workouts and interviews and somebody is going to buy into his stock because of his consistency and great jump shot.
Pick: Under 10.5
Tyler Ennis: 18.5
Ranked as the third-best point guard in the draft behind Exum and Smart, Ennis did some special things at Syracuse during his freshman season. The Bulls at #16 make a ton of sense for Ennis. Some are concerned with his defensive prowess after playing a zone at Syracuse, but he brings energy, intangibles, and great passing ability.
Pick: Under 18.5
Shabazz Napier: 25.5
The most obvious comp to Napier is former UConn Husky Kemba Walker, who had a similar tournament to Napier when the Huskies were the surprise national champion. He doesn’t have the same ceiling as Walker, nor does he have the explosiveness. As one of a handful of seniors projected to go in Round One, his interviews likely went well, but talent wins out in the NBA Draft.
Pick: Over 25.5
NBA Draft Over/Under
Number of non-NCAA Players Drafted First Round: 4.5
The leader of this pack is Dante Exum, who is a top-five lock. Dario Saric from Croatia is likely to be the next non-NCAA player taken off the board, however, he is at least two years away from being allowed to play in the NBA if he signs the deal offered by a pro team in Turkey. Next up could be 6’10” 20-year-old Clint Capela from Switzerland. His talent should put him in the first round, but at just 211 pounds, there’s a “project” label attached to him. Other first-round possibilities include Jusuf Nurkic from Bosnia and Artem Klimenko from Russia.
Pick: Under 4.5
This is a rather strong and rather deep class of college players that has been both easy to scout and carries considerably less risk. There could be a surprise addition from Europe that sneaks into the first round. With five players projected to be possible first-rounders, but no consensus outside of Exum and Saric, take the under.
How Many Freshmen Will Be Selected in the First Round: 8.5
The mock draft consensus shows six out of the top 10 picks as freshmen. Add Tyler Ennis, Zach LaVine, and James Young and that makes the over a winner. LaVine isn’t a consensus, but Ennis and Young are likely to be top-20 picks. That leaves 10 picks at 21-30 for one more freshman to come off the board. The odds are good of that happening.
Pick: Over 8.5
How Many Seniors Will Be Selected in the First Round: 2.5
Doug McDermott and Shabazz Napier are the two most likely seniors to go off the board. Cleanthony Early, Patric Young, Adreian Payne, and CJ Wilcox are all very strong possibilities as well. Definitely lean to the over with this prop bet because the chance of less than five Europeans in the first round opens up slots for polished players that can help right away.
Pick: Over 2.5
Head on over to Bovada.lv and lock in these draft props before the big night on Thursday!
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.