With the 2016 NBA Draft less than a week away, now is the time when smokescreens, lies and deception really heats up as teams look to manipulate the draft to help ensure they get the players they want.
Hopefully, that's the case with Denzel Valentine and a reported knee issue he's dealing with. It's not something that sounds like it will affect Valentine this year, but more a case of his knees not being able to hold up enough that his NBA career may be shortened.
On Thursday, CBS Sports' Gary Parrish put out his latest mock draft, and it had Valentine going 22nd to the Hornets. However, the big story from that came as Parrish talked about Valentine's potential knee issue.
22. Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State: Valentine reportedly has a "fairly significant knee issue" that is causing concern with some teams, and, I'm told, it could cost him on draft night. Without that issue, he could go in the top 10. But there's no guarantee he'll even go in the teens with it. At some point, somebody, will weigh the risk vs. the reward and snag the former Michigan State star. But, at this point, it's hard to pin things down.
Over at ESPN, Chad Ford has a similar report while also tabbing Valentine to Charlotte.
22. Charlotte Hornets: Denzel Valentine
Valentine is sliding down draft boards over concerns that his knees may not be able to hold up over the long haul. Some teams are very concerned. Others, not so much.
The Hornets love the talent and he's a great fit with the way they want to play. His shooting and passing abilities at the guard position are very attractive. Will they be willing to take the risk?
Depending on how serious this knee issue is, it shouldn't be enough to keep Valentine going in the first round of what's a fairly weak draft.
As for Deyonta Davis, he continues to be projected as the highest Spartan to be drafted this year. He could sneak into the very end of the top 10, but it's looking more like he'll go in that 12-16 range.
Ford has the Spartans big man landing in Boston at No. 16:
The Celtics will be intrigued by several of the international prospects on the board. They definitely don't want to keep all their draft picks, but I think they'll have a hard time passing on Davis if he's on the board.
He has some elite physical tools and could become a terrific defender. The Celtics will have to be patient with him, but he's great value here.
Parrish actually has Davis going 13th to the Suns:
13. Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State: The Suns have three first-round picks. So they can afford a big swing here. And Davis qualifies as such. He declined to test athletically at the combine and will likely need to perform well in private workouts to ensure a place in the lottery. But the 6-11 forward showed himself as a high-level rebounder in limited minutes during his one season at Michigan State, and he was also one of the nation's best shot-blockers. So, at worst, Davis should be a difference-maker on the defensive end at the NBA level.
Wherever Davis goes, he's probably looking at 2-3 years of development before we really start to see what his maximum potential looks like. He showed flashes of becoming a quality big man with the Spartans, and teams undoubtedly will love his upside enough to take him high in the first round.
Where do you hope to see Valentine and Davis land in this year's draft?