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The Downbeat #1381: Smokescreen Edition

Don't believe anything anyone says. Except this Downbeat. yeah ... believe us.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach the NBA Draft, teams are putting up smokescreens to try to confuse other teams about their targets in the draft.  Let's review a few rumors and decide: smokescreen or not a smokescreen?

The Cavaliers in just a few days went from "OMG, OMG, OMG, I, LIKE, LOVE EMBIID."  to a lot of red flags on him.  Why on earth other than health reasons would they cool on Embiid.  Maybe something like this:

Ohhhhhhh ... that's why.  Because the 76ers are in L-O-V-E with Wiggins.  This might push the 76ers to give the Cavaliers a better offer.

ANALYSIS: Smokescreen

Now this one is fun.  If anyone checks the Jazz's mock drafts around the web, takes a look at their roster, then sees this rumor they are going to come up with a "WTF?"  It would appear that they are trying to replicate their logjam of 2 years ago, and have the first all Power Forward team 1 through 5.  Which would work if they could sign Boris Diaw to play point.  HEY, IT COULD HAPPEN.

What is more likely is Nets Daily's musing.  The Jazz are building up assets here.  Dennis Lindsey hinted at Tomic being traded.  Why would he do that?  Because he's pumping up the worth of a player that has never played a minute in the USA.  Dennis Lindsey knows that he has a bare cupboard when it comes to players on contract to facilitate a trade.  Tomic is an intriguing piece.  If he can promise that Tomic will come over this year and play for someone the Jazz can sweeten any trade deal.  Or they can feel comfortable in trading one of their big men and the #5 pick.


The Jazz have only worked out two top prospects so far (both Power Forwards).  The rest have been out of lottery guys.  Why is that?  Let's go back to our game.  Smokescreen or not a smokescreen.  Teams don't want to tip their hat to the players they want.  They want to tip their hat to the players other teams possibly want.  That leaves us to this.

This 2014 draft class is one of the most scouted draft classes of all time.  This class was being hyped 4-5 years ago when some of these young men were learning how to shave.  Some of them are still learning how to shave.  Most teams now have a very complete profile of who they want and who will fit.  Bringing a player in for an individual workout isn't going to change months and months of scouting work.  These invitations are being made with the purpose in mind to throw teams off the scent.

Back to Aaron Gordon, I don't believe this was a smokescreen.  The big question to Aaron Gordon is "Is he a Kawhi Leonard?"  Someone who was tasked with playing inside a system and played within that sphere in college but is immensely more talented than what he showed?  Teams want to know that.  The Utah Jazz want to know that.  This was honest interest.  Do the Jazz draft Aaron Gordon at 5?  I don't believe they do.  But if they trade down from #5 ... that could be a different matter.

Analysis: Not a smokescreen

Oh, the Exum saga.  He doesn't want to work out for Utah.  Jazz don't want him.  They want Vonleh.  Jazz do want him, but would settle for Vonleh.  Yadda-yadda-yadda.  If Exum falls in the Jazz's lap they will draft Exum.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  This is Utah's dream scenario right now.  This allows them to not trade a single asset and leave with a big time talent.  Sorry, Trey Burke, but the Exum smokescreen is up in full force and there's a reason.  Utah likey.

Analysis: Smokescreen with intentions

This is not a smokescreen.  Resident favorite Jazzfan and artist level: expert Jashin Mizuho just put this up.

This is fantastic.