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2014 NBA Draft | Lasry likes Jabari Parker, Chad Ford likes Andrew Wiggins, and the numbers love Joel Embiid

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

Twitter | Parkinson: Lasry likes Jabari Parker...and that's OK
I'm not sure anyone was expecting ABC political reporter John Parkinson to break any NBA draft-related news at the White House Correspondents Dinner, but apparently there was at least some basketball talk in between elbow-rubbing and political joking on Sunday night in Washington.


Alright, now take a deep breath.

In a general sense it's not particularly surprising for Lasry or anyone else to like Parker--he's among the favorites for the top overall selection for some good reasons--but we should also be mindful that both Lasry and Edens have stressed that they believe "trained professionals" should be the ones making the final call on basketball-related decisions.

So even if Lasry has a particular affinity for Parker, I'd caution against assuming that Parker is now definitely the guy should the Bucks claim the first overall pick. This will most certainly be a process, and word is that Lasry and Edens have no intention of micro-managing it from the ownership suite. That should be considered good news, even if most everything else is a bit up in the air while we await league approval of the team's sale. Speaking of which: Gery Woelfel tweets that the deal should still be approved by the end of next week, which just so happens to be the same one month timeline that we were assuming when the deal first went down.

ESPN | Ford: Big Board 9.0
While Parker and Joel Embiid certainly have their admirers, Chad Ford says the draft still begins with the guy he's been hyping for the better part of two years: Andrew Wiggins.

I've been speaking to sources inside each of these teams for months, and it looks like a majority of them -- especially the three teams with the best chance of landing the No. 1 pick (the Bucks, Sixers and Magic) -- are leaning toward Wiggins right now. That can change with workouts, the draft combine, etc. But I think it's his to lose.

Dean on Draft | Big Board #1
Dean Demakis' big board (note: this is not a mock) isn't like every other big board out there, though if you listened to our podcast series with Dean you already knew that (Part IPart 2 and Part 3). Joel Embiid and Dante Exum hold down the top two spots, relegating Parker to #3 (see Dean's concerns about Jabari) and Wiggins all the way down to #6. DISCUSS.

Vashro | 2014 NBA Draft Rankings
I've been a fan of Layne Vashro's analytical draft work for the past couple seasons (hooray for math!), so it's about time I tell you to check out his 2014 rankings, which are based on an expected wins produced (EWP) model that uses prospects' minutes played, age, height, weight, SOS and box score stats to project their peak pro production using 30 years of NCAA-to-NBA player history.

Vashro's pure EWP model rates Embiid as the draft's best prospect, followed by (surprise, surprise!) UCLA's less-heralded Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, with Parker and Elfrid Payton rounding out the top five. If that's a little too out there for your taste, Vashro also has a second model (the "Humble" version) which bakes in the scouting rankings of Chad Ford and DraftExpress. Those look a bit more like the sort of rankings you're used to seeing, with Embiid still #1 but followed by Parker, Wiggins and Marcus Smart.

Also, while we're talking about Vashro's stuff, linked below are some interesting correlations and regression data showing how well NCAA stats correlate with NBA production. Rebounds, assists and blocks are explained very well by college production (note the high correlations and R^2 in the regressions), while other basic stats show rather weak relationships between the college and pro levels. The most interesting insight to me: collegiate three-point percentage is only weekly correlated with pro three-point shooting, though adding FT% and 2P% adds significant explanatory power to the regression.


DraftExpress: Unofficial Chicago combine invite list
DX's latest projection of who is in and out of the Chicago pre-draft combine doesn't have much in the way of surprises: basically every North American with any shot at the first round will be there, while the only notable international invite is Aussie sensation Dante Exum. Mark your calendars: the fun starts May 14 and runs through the 18.