A night-before-the-Draft recap

Over the last three weeks, piece after piece of NBA Draft information has emerged. With the Draft less than 24 hours away, here’s a primer for the night. (The Draft is televised on ESPN with coverage starting at 7 p.m. but selections starting at 7:30. It is located in the Prudential Center, the very stadium of the Sweet 16/Elite Eight games this year.)

Enes Kanter:

Could go as high as: No. 1

Could go as low as: No. 5

Teams in play: Cleveland, Minnesota, Utah, Toronto, Washington, random team that trades up.

General consensus: Going No. 4 to Cleveland, pairing up with Kyrie Irving, or possibly Washington if they trade up, pairing up with John Wall.

Item of Interest: Kanter declared that he would have “dominated” college basketball had he played this year, claiming he is the best prospect in the Draft and that UK would have won the national title had he been eligible. I had heard various UK players say that having Kanter would have boosted UK’s chances of winning, and that isn’t a knock on Josh Harrellson. Kanter was simply better. But that’s the two-sided nature of nonexistent realities: you can say something would have happened all you want, and you will be neither right nor wrong. Maybe UK would have won; maybe their offense would have been centered around Kanter and he might have had a 3-14 shooting night in the second round and UK lost. We will never know. I will say that I have no idea if Kanter actually believes his statement, although I would guess he does, but he really doesn’t have a better answer. Considering that the biggest hesitation about him stems from never having seen him, confidence in his abilities is the way to go.

Brandon Knight:

Could go as high as: No. 3

Could go as low as: No. 7

Teams in play: Utah, Cleveland, Toronto, Sacremento

General Consensus: Goes No. 3 to Utah, a team looking for a long-term option at point guard.

Item of Interest: John Calipari saying that Knight would meet a team’s vision for his potential today on KSR. And I think that is a pretty intelligent answer. With his work ethic and driven mindset — two cliches that almost all athletes naturally possess to even make it as far as the NBA, but two traits that Brandon Knight seems to have in above-average quantities — it’s hard to envision Knight flaming out. He may not become a superstar, but I think his “floor potential” is relatively high.

DeAndre Liggins:

Could go as high as: mid-second round

Could go as low as: undrafted

Teams in play: Those wanting to add a defensive presence with a solid outside shot

General Consensus: Doesn’t seem to be one. He’s either plucked in the second round or falls out of the draft.

Item of Interest: The dude’s exclamation marks on his Tweets. He has at least five in every single one since the day he created the account. And I don’t remember, in all my hours of transcribing quotes from his interviews, ever thinking to myself: “Man, that sentence he just said really deserved seven exclamation points.” When I try to hear him saying the words in his Tweets, I can’t do it. I have no idea what Liggins would sound like in that tone. It’s unnerving.

Josh Harrellson:

Could go as high as: late second round

Could go as low as: undrafted

Teams in play: Those wanting a big body who don’t mind taking a relatively low-upside player with a late pick.

General Consensus: Will go undrafted

Item of Interest: Harrellson told me Tuesday that teams were most impressed with his shooting, because it was a talent he knew he had but not one he was able to show at UK (when his role largely consisted of him handing off the ball or crashing the offensive glass). But it did remind me of when he drained a three-pointer, against Louisville. Everyone went crazy: did that kid really just sink a three? And I also remember going back and reading about his first year at UK, when he actually demonstrated the ability to hit from outside at a clip big men usually can’t. (He hit 5 of 15.)