When former Xavier guard Semaj Christon declared for the NBA Draft back in late March, the scuttlebutt was that Christon was projected as a borderline-first round pick. He was certainly looking to improve on that with his showing at the Combine in Chicago and during individual team workouts, but it seems that his stock has not risen like he had hoped. The most likely culprits holding him back are his lack of physical strength and his inconsistent jump shot. That said, he does possess good NBA size and quickness.
While some people have doubts if Christon will hear his name called on Thursday night in Brooklyn, New York, here are some teams that are potential landing spots. Whether it's as one of the 60 players picked on Thursday, or eventually as an undrafted free agent.
The Charlotte Hornets could be looking to get bigger at the point guard position with their current starter, Kemba Walker, being undersized for an NBA lead guard. Hornets head coach Steve Clifford has made it clear he believes "size and quickness" are keys when you get into the NBA Playoffs, which is where the Hornets found themselves last year for the first time since the 2009-10 season . In addition, backup point guards Luke Ridnour and Jannero Pargo are both unrestricted free agents. Bringing in Christon would mean potentially saving some money with his rookie contract instead of having to pay someone like Ridnour who made $4.32 million last season or even Pargo who made nearly $1.4 million last season. Chad Ford's latest mock draft released Monday has Christon being taken by the Hornets with the 45th pick in the 2nd round.
The Toronto Raptors had Christon in for a workout on Monday and reports indicate they liked what they saw. The only point guard from their 2013-14 roster that they have control over right now is former Marquette guard Dwight Buycks and even he is a guy they could opt to not bring back because it's a team option for 2014-15. Greivis Vasquez is a restricted free agent and they would have to pay him north of $3 million next season to keep him and the biggest offseason retention job will have to be to keep Kyle Lowry. It doesn't make a ton of sense to bring Christon in unless Lowry or Vasquez are gone but it appears they will only be able to afford one of those two. The other variable here is that the Raptors have been rumored to like Tyler Ennis if he falls to them at 20 in the first round.
Christon worked out for the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, and if they liked what they saw from him it could determine what they do with Donald Sloan's team option. Rumors are circulating that Sloan may be on the chopping block if the Pacers can snag a point guard they like with the 57th pick in the 2nd round. And it would seem Christon could be that guy. He would join fellow Musketeer David West with the Pacers if that were to happen, and I think Xavier fans would be thrilled to see that.
The final team is the Brooklyn Nets who will work out Christon on the final day before the draft. Brooklyn currently has no picks in the 2014 Draft so it is possible that they are bringing in Christon to see if he would be a viable candidate to sign if he does not get selected by any teams in the Draft. It is also possible that the Nets would be willing to trade for or buy a second round pick. A backup point guard behind Deron Williams is a position of need with Marquis Teague and Jorge Gutierrez combining to play a total of 55 games last season. Teague is signed through the 2014-15 season and then has a team option in 2015-16 but Gutierrez's team option is for next season and it would pay him $816,482, which would be probably $350,000 higher than Christon would get as a rookie next season.