Top Five Early Favorites for NBA Rookie of the Year

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By Ryan Feldman
rfeldman@thehoopsreport.com

Friday, June 24, 2011

In the past, many of the top draft prospects refused to work out against other players. But times may be changing. Other than Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and the international players, every other player is willing to work out against other players this year.

Even Enes Kanter, who previously wasn't going to work out against anyone, is now working out against Tristan Thompson and Markieff Morris in Cleveland today. This may be an attempt for Kanter to prove he is worthy of consideration for the No. 1 pick and to lock up a spot in the top four.

Kanter also met and worked out with the Toronto Raptors in Chicago on Monday.

Today in Toronto, Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight will go head to head. Knight goes in as the favorite for the Raptors at No. 5, so Walker would need to really outplay Knight to hear his name called at No. 5. That workout will also include Isaiah Thomas.

The Utah Jazz are currently trying to organize a workout on June 15 that could include Walker, Knight and Jimmer Fredette. Walker rescheduled his workout with the Sacramento Kings, originally scheduled for Thursday, for June 13.

Two teams actively trying to trade down are the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers, according to sources. The Cavs have been telling agents they are actively trying to acquire a draft pick in the 10-19 range, which is why certain player with no chance of being picked in the top four are coming to Cleveland for workouts. The No. 1 and No. 4 picks are the Cavs' only first round picks. This would certainly be an option if they believe Derrick Williams and Enes Kanter will both be gone in the top three picks. The Jazz are exploring every option, especially trading down from the No. 3 pick.

The Philadelphia 76ers are keying in on Donatas Motiejunas with the No. 16 pick, according to a source. The Sixers want to add size and post depth, and Motiejunas is a 7-footer that can really score well in the post. The Sixers are also hoping that a guy like Jonas Valanciunas or Tristan Thompson could fall to them. Nikola Vucevic could also be a sleeper for the Sixers' pick. There is a chance that Motiejunas and/or Valanciunas could withdraw from the NBA Draft by the June 13 deadline. If this were to happen, the Sixers could explore trading their pick to move later in the first round or possibly even out of the first round.

According to a source, the Golden State Warriors are keying in on Klay Thompson with the No. 11 pick because consultant Jerry West is very high on Thompson.

The Milwaukee Bucks, who hold the No. 10 pick, are very high on Alec Burks and even recently took him out to dinner when he was in Milwaukee last Friday.

The Washington Wizards will hold an important workout today that includes Kawhi Leonard, Jordan Hamilton and Jordan Williams. Leonard is a serious option for the Wizards at No. 6. From all indications, unless they are able to trade up and get Kanter, the Wizards will be choosing between Leonard and Jan Vesely.

The Indiana Pacers will host Marshon Brooks, Jon Leuer, Klay Thompson, Matt Howard and E'Twaun Moore today. Thompson likely won't be there at No. 15 and Leuer, Howard and Moore aren't options at No. 15. For Brooks, this will be an especially important workout. If he really impresses, he could be an option for the Pacers at No. 15.


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