The NBA Draft takes place on Thursday night from Madison Square Garden. Like virtually everything else in the world these days the draft is interesting at least in part because you can bet on it. Bodog and 5Dimes are both among several books that are offering a full range of NBA Draft props. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting ones:
Who will be the fifth player drafted? – This one is interesting to think about because there is so much to consider here. The top two picks – Wall and Turner – seem to be stabilizing, but there is no clear sense of what will happen third and fourth. There also could be some trades in play with the top six or seven picks. Even if none of the picks move we still have to try to figure out what Sacramento will do, and that’s not easy. It seems like DeMarcus Cousins is the player they like most, but they just traded for a big man – Samuel Dalembert – so that clouds this picture. Cousins in the solid favorite for this pick at -140, but this might be a god spot to look for some value. Greg Monroe of Georgetown has also apparently impressed Sacramento. He’ll likely be available with this pick, he’d fill Sacramento’s needs, and he’s a more attractive +150. Al-Farouq Aminu at +500 is a top five talent, but he doesn’t seem like a logical fit in Sacramento based on what we have heard. The final option is Cole Aldrich at +900. That’s a sucker bet – he doesn’t seem to be on Sacramento’s radar, and would be a real stretch with this pick. If Sacramento did really like him they would likely trade down to get him.
Who will be the eighth player drafted? – This pick belongs to the Clippers, and it’s interesting right now because there aren’t any clear signs of what they are thinking. I’v heard five or six different names plugged in here, and none of them can be dismissed outright. Gordon Hayward, the tournament star from Butler, is the favorite at +140. He makes good sense here, and I think he’s the likely choice on one condition – if Al-Farouq Aminu is off the board. Aminu would be hard to pass up here, but it seems reasonably unlikely that he’ll fall this far, so I’m not sure his +200 price represents any significant value. Ed Davis at +250 and Paul George at +350 round out the choices available. I think Davis has a good chance of being gone with the seventh pick, and George is a bit of a stretch going this high.
Quincy Pondexter drafted in first round? – I’m a little surprised that the yes is favored here at -180, with no at +140. At best the Washington small forward is only in play for the last three or four picks on the board. Washington seems the most likely to take him with the last pick of the first round, but I don’t necessarily believe they’ll keep that pick, and even if they do there are other guys who would be attractive here as well – like Jordan Crawford or Dominique Jones if they were available. I think it’s at least as likely that Pondexter falls into the first several picks of the second round.
Lance Stephenson drafted in first round? – I’m quite surprised that yes is favored at -155, with +115 for the no. The only first round team that I have heard any serious buzz around Stephenson from is Milwaukee, but I’m just not buying it. Stephenson has upside, but his attitude sucks, and he was a real disappointment last year. If Milwaukee likes him then there is no reason for them to pick him with their 15th pick because they could likely have him in the second round.
ACC players drafted in the first round – over/under 4.5 – The under is the solid favorite at -165, with the over at +125. Obviously it would be nice to take the over, but is it justified? Maybe. There are three lottery locks from the conference – Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech, Ed Davis of North Carolina, and Al-Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest. Solomon Alabi of Florida State stands a very good chance of being a first rounder, too – probably somewhere in the 20’s. That means we need just one more with a decent chance. There are three guys who have at least an outside chance of a first round selection – Gani Lawal of Georgia Tech, Trevor Booker of Clemson, and Greivis Vasquez or Maryland. The over is a gamble, but it’s not a terrible one.
Kentucky players in the lottery – over/under 2.5 – The over is heavily favored at -170, but I think there could still be value in it that price. The first two are obvious – John Wall is a lock to go first, and DeMarcus Cousins is highly unlikely to last beyond sixth or seventh at the latest. That means that they need just one more. There are three guys who are all but first round locks, and each have lottery potential. The most obvious is Patrick Patterson.The power forward appears to be coveted by both Memphis and Toronto in the 12th and 13th spots. Center Daniel Orton doesn’t have many numbers to his credit last year, but he has a ton of upside, and could make sense as a pick for a team with some patience. He could be in the discussion for Indiana, New Orleans, and perhaps Toronto. He’d also make some sense in Houston, where he could be an insurance policy behind Yao Ming. Finally, we have Eric Bledsoe. Even though he played in the shadow of Wall all year he’s likely the second best point guard in a weak point class, and there are several teams in the bottom half of the lottery that have needs on the point. It’s not out of the question that a team will take a gamble on him.