With the NBA Draft set to get underway in less than 48 hours, the traditional surge in rumor and speculation around the annual event is upon us.
With the young talent (and the franchises eyeing them up) keeping tight lipped on just how they see the night unfolding it is sure to be a dramatic event for all concerned.
But, while much is still unknown, it does look like one of the 2015 class' most exciting talents is suffering a dramatic slide down the draft board as teams become familiar with an old injury that they fear could have a lasting impact.
According to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express, Kentucky big man Willie Cauley-Stein is losing traction at the top due to fears that a foot injury suffered back in the NCAA Tournament of 2014 has not healing correctly.
Per the report:
"Five separate NBA teams we spoke with all indicated varying degrees of concern after consulting with their team doctors this week, with some saying it may cost the Kentucky big man a few spots on draft night."
Cauley-Stein had, as recently as last Thursday, been seen as a possible option for the Orlando Magic at the number five spot. Concern, though, that a pin that was inserted into his foot to repair a fractured bone is sitting at the wrong angle, as well as "some question marks about his background" now mean he could well slip out of the top 10 altogether.
Cauley-Stein isn't being helped by the lingering injury that has kept Joel Embiid - the last hyped big man to enter the draft with a history of foot injuries - from playing any minutes for his franchise since being selected third overall in 2014.
In at 11?
The current climate of fear and concern means the Kentucky star could fall all the way to the Indiana Pacers at the number 11 spot. The Pacers have long been public in their praise of the 7 foot-plus defensive prodigy, GM Larry Bird calling Cauley-Stein a "$100 million player" back in May.
The former Kentucky man's agent, Rick Kleiman, meanwhile has attempted to dispel fears over his clients long-term health, telling the media that Cauley-Stein is fully healed and is not stressed about where he lands.
Still, having once been considered a top five candidate, a combination of injury fears and the fact that several teams towards the back end of the first 10 picks are simply not a fit for WCS mean the big man could be spending a little longer in the green room that initially anticipated.
NBA fans: Would you take a risk on Cauley-Stein, and who do you want your team to pick on June 25? Have your say in the comments below...
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