NBA Draft: News, notes & intel surrounding props on the market for Tuesday, June 20th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

June 20, 2023 08:42 AM


We are just days away from the NBA Draft, and the news is changing almost every second. Here we will try to sort through some of the latest rumors and what those rumors have done to the betting market.

Betting market at odds with reports surrounding the second and third picks

When Kelley Bydlon and I were recording Hardwood Handicappers yesterday the odds screen at DraftKings was lighting up. When we started our episode Scoot Henderson was -150 to go second overall and Brandon Miller was -175 to go third overall. One hour later both were -250 to go second and third respectively. 

Clearly the betting market thinks it has some read on the decisions that will be made by both Charlotte and Portland. But, that flies in the face of some of the information reported in the last 12 hours.

ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported about three days ago that Miller was “penciled” into the second overall pick by league front offices. ESPN NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony added to that speculation with his latest mock draft, placing Miller in the second overall pick. 

From Givony’s mock this morning:

“With the draft just days away, the prevailing thought amongst teams we've spoken with remains that the Hornets will wind up going with Miller. That said, the news that Henderson put in an excellent first workout in Charlotte has led some around the league to, at the very least, poke holes in that assumption.”

It’s not concrete, but Givony has been pretty stubborn in his analysis of the second pick. In his report last week that Henderson turned heads in the workout with Miller in Charlotte he still had Miller as the selection for the Hornets. It is just one industry insider, but it's fascinating to see the information completely at odds with the betting market.

Cam Whitmore is “falling” down draft boards

Givony went on SportsCenter last night and reported that Villanova forward Cam Whitmore was “falling” down draft boards. Whitmore had been placed no lower than fifth overall to Detroit in a vast majority of mock drafts by Givony and most others in the industry, so it was surprising to hear the sudden change of heart. The actual fall was more shocking.

In Givony’s mock draft this morning he had Whitmore going ninth to the Utah Jazz. Whitmore reportedly “struggled with his shooting and intensity in some workouts” throughout the pre-draft process, according to Givony. The result was a drop all the way to the fringes of the top 10 selections.

The betting market has responded as well. Whitmore’s draft position has always been 5.5 but the price on the Under reached -350 at one point. As of this morning DraftKings has snapped back to -135 on the Under price. It seems odd that a player like Whitmore, who had been nearly cemented inside the top five, now finds himself in this position.

Detroit Pistons are deciding between three players

James Edwards, Detroit Pistons beat writer for The Athletic, appeared on Sam Vecenie’s podcast Game Theory this morning and revealed some fascinating news regarding Detroit’s selection. 

According to Edwards, the Pistons are down to three players: Amen and Ausar Thompson and Jarace Walker. First, it is surprising to hear that Whitmore is not being considered for the pick, but it does support the theory that he is sliding down the boards. 

Second, Edwards indicated that there are people in the building who absolutely love Ausar Thompson, not Amen:

“There are teams, and it might not just be Detroit, that have Ausar above Amen. It’s more than one. I have gotten the sense that they like him. That there are people who really like him.”

This has been a long time coming for those who have been tracking the betting market. We had Rafael Barlowe from NBA Big Board on Hardwood Handicappers back in May and we discussed the possibility of Ausar being selected ahead of his brother. The betting market had been moving in that direction, as Amen was initially a -700 favorite in their matchup before bottoming out at -250 at one point.

Now, if Amen goes to Houston obviously he would win that matchup, but one place the market has not adjusted on Ausar is his draft position. His position is 5.5 at DraftKings with a -340 price on the Over. Bettors can also get +350 on him to be selected fifth overall.

Houston Rockets selection at fourth overall is almost decided

One other nugget coming from Givony’s mock draft this morning is that Amen Thompson is considered to be the “frontrunner” for the fourth overall selection. There was a thought that Whitmore could be the selection if James Harden ended up with Houston, but that seems to be less of a possibility as time goes on.

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