Speights Landing Spot Still Unclear

Marreese Speights has received the first official feedback on where his stock sits prior to the NBA draft, and it wasn't positive for the Florida big man. Speights was not one of the 16 players who were invited to attend the event in New York.

History shows that isn't necessarily an indication he won't be selected before others who are sitting in the green room. Jason Williams was not an invitee, but the point guard wound up going seventh overall in 1998 after his one abbreviated season as a Gator. Dwayne Schintzius was an NBA guest, and wound up lasting until pick 24. Speights has a combination of skills some teams find appealing, but getting a read on his possible destination has been difficult. Here are some teams who appear to be better possibilities to select the sophomore:

PHILADELPHIA - Everyone agrees the Sixers need a big man who can play an up-tempo game, so this seems like a possible fit. Speights has worked out for them, and his name has been thrown around frequently in mock drafts as Philadelphia's likely choice. There are several other names who make sense as well that could be available at the sixteenth spot, including Nevada's LaVale McGee and DeAndre Jordan of Texas A&M. One sleeper name that seems to be turning up a lot is Jason Thompson of Rider.

WASHINGTON - The Wizards are known to like Speights, but could be interested in one of the other big men as well depending on who's been chosen before pick 18. Ohio State's Kosta Koufos is a 7-footer known more for perimeter play than anchoring inside, but reportedly is another player Washington would consider as their choice if he's there.

NEW JERSEY - The second most popular potential destination for Speights behind Philadelphia in the current crop of mock drafts. This pick depends on what the Nets do with their earlier selection, the tenth overall, but if they don't take a big man like LSU's Anthony Randolph there Speights looks like a good fit for their needs at 21.

ORLANDO - The Magic could use another big body to grab some rebounds and take pressure off of Dwight Howard, and drafting a home state player's never a bad thing for marketing. Speights fits well with the style of play favored by Stan Van Gundy. Orlando has openly acknowledged interest in Speights.

PORTLAND - As the Blazers seem to do every year, they have bought another team's late first round pick for $3 million. Should Speights tumble to the 27th spot New Orleans previously held, he could be an option for Portland depending on what move they made with their own thirteenth pick.

The earliest Speights could potentially go is likely 12th to Sacramento. Cleveland, Utah and Seattle (with the 24th pick, not the 4th) are all teams with some interest in Speights as well. Falling out of the first round altogether is not out of the question, but not likely.


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