NEW YORK -- In an NBA Draft widely perceived as a two-player event, multiple reports have surfaced this week that the Philadelphia 76ers will select Ben Simmons No. 1, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers selecting Brandon Ingram at No. 2.
If that holds true when the scene shifts to Barclays Center on Thursday evening, then this draft truly starts at No. 3. At that spot, nearly a half-dozen players have been mentioned in recent weeks, so when the Boston Celtics go on the clock, things could get interesting.
"They talked to me, I came in for a second workout and obviously, if I'm coming on for a second workout, they have some heavy interest," said Cal wing Jaylen Brown, who was once projected as high as No. 1 while a senior at Marietta (Ga.) High School, and is now projected at No. 8 by DraftExpress. "I talked to them about that, and things went well. Boston has a great history, great tradition, and it's a great city. I wouldn't mind being there."
"It would be great working with Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, another Tyler Ulis-type in Isaiah Thomas," said Kentucky freshman guard Jamal Murray, who is currently projected at No. 6. "It would be cool. I would get better offensive and defensively."
Providence point guard Kris Dunn is the current projected No. 3 by DraftExpress, but if he does go in that slot, it may not be to the Celtics.
Reports have surfaced in recent days that Sixers, owners of the Nos. 24 and 26 picks are trying to move up in the first round, potentially all the way up to No. 3, and are using Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel to try and get it done.
ESPN's Marc Stein reported Wednesday that Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge has resisted those pitches, while also noting he is actively shopping the pick.
"If the Celtics select me, I will be astounded," said Dunn, who attended New London (Conn.) High School. "It's been a dream of mine to be in the NBA, so I can't complain about any team.
"I definitely hear it (trade rumors), you hear it every day. I don't try to listen to the stuff, but on draft night, a lot of things can happen. No one knows what's gonna happen, so that's what makes the night so special."
Other players connected to the No. 3 pick at one time or another include Washington freshman Marquese Chriss, and 18-year-old 7-foot Croation star Dragan Bender. Chriss worked out for the Celtics on June 14 in California, as did Oklahoma's Buddy Hield. While Bender worked out for the team on Tuesday at its Waltham, Mass. practice facility.
"They enjoyed the workout and they were interested," Chriss said. "They liked the way I shot the ball. They didn't really go in-depth about picking me or anything like that. It was more of letting me know where they stood and how they felt about me as a player."
"I hope they saw enough in me."