Archive for the ‘ NBA Draft Blog ’ Category

NBA poll results: Best rookie

A poll on InsideHoops.com that ran in part of June and part of July asked which 2017 NBA draft prospect will go on to have the best NBA career.

With over 1,200 votes tallied, here’s how fans responded:

Lonzo Ball 28%
Jayson Tatum 17%
Markelle Fultz 14%
Josh Jackson 12%
De’Aaron Fox 10%
Dennis Smith 8%
Malik Monk 2%
Jonathan Isaac 2%

Other 6%

Frank Ntilikina arrives in USA for draft

Here’s the NY Post reporting on an intriguing international prospect who is expected to be selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, which takes place Thursday night:

French point guard Frank Ntilikina, after arriving at Liberty International Airport in Newark on Tuesday for Thursday’s NBA draft, denied a report his preference is to be drafted by the Mavericks over the Knicks.

Ntilikina, 18, reiterated the Knicks are a strong option for him because he fits well into triangle principles. The Mavericks have hired his Strasbourg coach, Vince Collett, for Dallas’ summer-league team. If the Knicks pass on Ntilikina at No. 8, the Mavericks, whose owner, Mark Cuban, flew to Venice recently to meet Ntilikina, are expected to nab him at No. 9.

“I have no preference like that,’’ Ntilikina told The Post. “All I need is to be in a really good project for me. I know it will all then depend on me. The NBA draft is just a step to the real goal — to make a big career in the NBA. I just want to be in a good project and atmosphere.’’

Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo announced today that the team has acquired the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Boston Celtics.

In exchange, the team sends the third overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and a future first-round pick to Boston.

The future first-round pick that Boston will receive will be the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, provided that such pick is No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, or No. 5 in the 2018 NBA Draft. If the Lakers’ 2018 first-round pick is No. 1 or is No. 6 or later, the Sixers will instead convey to the Celtics the rights to the more favorable of the Sixers’ own 2019 first-round pick or the Sacramento Kings’ 2019 first-round pick, provided that the more favorable pick is not the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. If the more favorable of the Sixers’ and Kings’ 2019 first-round picks is the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Sixers will instead convey the rights to the less favorable of those two picks.

“We’re thrilled to be able to select what we expect be an impact player with the third pick in this year’s very talented draft class, while also adding a highly valuable future asset as we continue to build towards Banner 18,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

With the acquisition of these two first round picks, the Celtics now potentially own the rights to seven first round selections over the next three years, including picks from Brooklyn (2018), Memphis (2019, protected 1-8), and the LA Clippers (2019, protected 1-14).

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this trade, which puts us in the enviable position of selecting first overall in consecutive draft years,” Colangelo said. “History suggests that No. 1 has the greatest odds of producing franchise-level talent and we are confident that this year’s draft class has that very potential. Thursday night will see us take another significant step toward building a successful and sustainable basketball program.”

The Sixers will choose first overall for the fourth time in team history. Philadelphia chose Ben Simmons with first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Allen Iverson in 1996 and Doug Collins in 1973.

“I am incredibly excited that we’ve acquired the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft,” Josh Harris, Sixers Managing General Partner, said. “This pick provides us a tremendous opportunity to add another foundational player to our promising core. Bryan and his team have done a great job in positioning our organization for what we believe will be long-term success.”

Multliple reports say that the Celtics may trade the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft to the Sixers, who have the No.3 pick. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting:

Saturday was Markelle Fultz Night for the 76ers.

Hours before Fultz’s arrival at the team’s practice site in Camden, Joel Embiid tweeted out a selfie of himself and Dario Saric standing in front of a locker with a Markelle Fultz name plate.

There was an overflow of reporters and photographers taking pictures as Fultz walked into the building at 7:08 p.m. wearing a black Sixers cap.

And the team’s employees and guests watched intently as Fultz’s workout - that weeks ago seemed nothing more than wishful thinking - took place.

The Washington point guard working out for the Sixers was an indication that the team is getting closer to acquiring the only perfect fit in Thursday night’s NBA draft.

2017 NBA Draft is critical for Sixers

Before you say anything: Yes, the draft is of huge importance each year to every team with both a horrible record and a high pick. But with the Sixers, it’s different. They’ve invested years into a very long rebuilding process. And if they can land a difference-maker this year — or at least another big-time prospect who is an actual keeper — then the team’s future can finally take shape. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer with more:

The Sixers had top-three selections in each of the next three drafts. In each one, they didn’t have to make tough decisions.

The 2014 draft was regarded as a three-player affair with Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, and Jabari Parker. Even with a broken right foot, Embiid was thought to be far superior to any draft prospect not named Wiggins and Parker. So with those two off the board, the Sixers did the obvious and drafted Embiid.

The following summer, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Jahlil Okafor were regarded as the top three prospects. The Sixers went the safe route by selecting Okafor third over Kristaps Porzingis after Towns and Russell went first and second.

The 2016 draft was Colangelo’s first with the team. The Sixers were awarded the first overall pick. He had to decide between the super-hyped Ben Simmons or the good but undersize and raw Brandon Ingram. Colangelo did what most would have done by selecting Simmons.

Now, he’s faced with a decision that is arguably tougher than parting ways with Holiday, who had an injury history the Sixers concealed from the Pelicans.

Many NBA Draft prospects intentionally avoid mentioning a favorite team, or who they hope to play for. Not Lonzo Ball. He hopes to be a Laker, and has no problem stating that to the world. Here’s ESPN.com with more:

After an individual workout in front of Lakers brass — which included Magic Johnson, the player he patterned his game after — point guard Lonzo Ball reiterated his desire on Wednesday to play for his hometown team.

“Of course,” Ball answered during an eight-minute media session that followed the workout. “It’s home.”

Ball also said that if the Lakers pass on him, he would play for any team.

“I’ll go to any team and just do what I do,” Ball said. “Play basketball.”

Here’s ESPN LA reporting on the Lakers, whose young squad is finally putting together some wins, but at a questionable time when taking the future of the franchise into consideration:

As the 3-pointer left D’Angelo Russell’s fingertips and lofted through the air, the game, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers’ draft odds, hung in the balance.

When the ball bounced on the lip of the rim and fell through, Staples Center erupted, which is the appropriate reaction when the home team wins.

But with the 110-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Lakers’ fourth in a row, Los Angeles (25-55) missed an opportunity to make ground on the Phoenix Suns (24-57), who had defeated the Dallas Mavericks earlier in the night, as the Lakers battle to keep their top-three protected 2017 lottery pick.

For the first time since the 2012-13 season, when they won their final five games of the season, the Lakers have won four games in a row. This should be a cause for celebration — but these wins are coming at the worst possible time. With two games remaining on the Lakers’ schedule, and one for the Suns, their respective fates are likely set, which means the Lakers will head to New York on May 16 for the 2017 draft lottery with the third-best odds at the No. 1 overall pick and a 48.6 percent chance of keeping their lottery pick.

Markelle Fultz will enter 2017 NBA Draft

Talented guard Markelle Fultz, who will likely be one of top picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, will officially leave school and go pro, the school announced today. Here’s their announcement:

University of Washington freshman Markelle Fultz will be entering the 2017 NBA Draft, the University announced Friday. Fultz, who was an All-Pac-12 First Team and All-Freshman Team performer after leading the league in points at 23.2 per game, will hire an agent and not return to play for the Huskies.

“It’s been an honor to play in front of the Husky fans and I really appreciate all of the support you guys have given me,” Fultz said. “After sitting down with my Mom and the coaching staff, I’ve made the decision to enter the NBA Draft. Although the season hasn’t gone as planned, it’s really truly been a blessing to be here. I’ve learned a lot of lessons on and off the court, especially from coach Romar and his coaching staff. I’m always going to be a Husky for life.”

“The last three years of Markelle Fultz’s basketball career have been nothing short of amazing,” said head coach Lorenzo Romar. “He has made one of the quickest improvements of any athlete I’ve seen in a long time. Markelle has decided to enter the NBA Draft and we totally support his decision. We appreciate him giving his all, on and off the court, while he was part of our program and I will enjoy watching him play for many years to come. Even though he was only here for a short time, I truly believe he will be a Husky for life and that started before he even enrolled at UW as he went and supported our women’s team last year in the postseason in Maryland. We wish him the best of luck and look forward to following what will likely be an exciting career.”

Fultz finished his time at UW averaging 23.2 points per game, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds while setting the Husky freshman scoring record with his 579 points. He is the first guard in 25 years to average 20-5-5 and was on the watch lists for numerous national awards including the Bob Cousy Award, Naismith Trophy, John R. Wooden Award and the Waymon Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award.

Cavaliers and Trail Blazers trade draft picks

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired an unprotected first round draft pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a 2018 first round pick, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

The 2018 pick sent to Cleveland was originally acquired from the Cavaliers along with Anderson Varejao in exchange for a future second round selection on Feb. 18, 2016.

Portland now holds two first round selections in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The 2017 Sixers draft situation

In possession of their own pick and the Los Angeles Lakers’ top-three protected pick, the 76ers will probably be picking twice in the lottery. The good news for the Sixers is that this draft is shaping up to be a pretty deep one. Even better news is that it’s deep with what they need: guards and wings.

Markelle Fultz is the front-runner to be the No. 1 overall pick. He’d be an excellent fit as a point guard who is more of a scorer/shooter (49 percent from three) than a facilitator to play with Simmons (not to say Fultz is a poor passer). Malik Monk of Kentucky is an undersized combo guard who, like Fultz, can light up the scoreboard. Lonzo Ball of UCLA is another combo guard with the ability to shoot (43 percent from three) and dish (8.3 assists).

Then there’s athletic wings like high-flying Kansas freshman Josh Jackson who can do a little bit of everything. The ACC has two long, athletic wings that can wreak havoc on both ends in Florida State’s Isaac Austin and Duke’s Jayson Tatum. Landing one of these guys would give the Sixers scary length and a potentially disruptive defense.

– CSN Philly

Quick Take: At some point, two things have to happen for the Sixers: 1) Full health. 2) A clear indication that their season will be one of serious competition, and not riding the bottom of the standings anymore. Perhaps that’ll happen in 2017-18.

The 2016 Draft is tonight, and rumors will be flying around like crazy all evening. We’ll share the most interesting stories, and we especially like stories that tell a bigger tale even if the deal doesn’t happen — like what a team’s goals may be and what they hope to accomplish. Here’s ESPN.com with the latest:

The Philadelphia 76ers are increasing their efforts to acquire the No. 3 pick from the Boston Celtics in Thursday night’s NBA draft, league sources tell ESPN.

Numerous rivals described the 76ers as the most active team in circulation, with a trade involving Nerlens Noel looking more and more likely.

Five of the leading 2016 NBA Draft prospects — Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, Jamal Murray, Dragan Bender and Kris Dunn — have signed with adidas. They will play a collaborative and instrumental role in driving performance insights to create new footwear and apparel. They will also be featured in upcoming brand campaigns, activations and global tours.

“For my family and I, joining adidas is truly something special,” said Brandon Ingram. “The chemistry with adidas felt right. Every day I’m working hard at developing my game and they can help me do that on a new level. I’m always looking ahead, trying to find a chance to do something different on and off the court. adidas allows me to create and that’s something I can’t do anywhere else. The best is yet to come.”

“Our playbook is simple – partner with the best players and use their insights to change the game and connect with young athletes,” said Chris Grancio, general manager, adidas global basketball. “It’s no secret that at adidas players have a voice to share ideas and insights that will create the best basketball gear in the world. We’re proud to welcome them to our family and we look forward to getting started.”

Buddy Hield works out for Lakers

The 2016 Draft is approaching, and one prospect worth keeping an eye on is 6-4, 214-pound senior Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield. Here’s ESPN LA reporting:

Buddy Hield wasn’t satisfied with his shooting performance during his private workout for the Los Angeles Lakers at their practice facility in El Segundo, California, on Saturday, so he asked for another try. And then another one.

During his last go-round, which was in front of a contingent of media, Hield started off hot before missing consecutive shots. He began yelling to pump himself up, saying, “C’mon Buddy Fresh!”

After the pep talk, Hield went on a shooting streak, exhibiting the elite stroke that made the Lakers bring him in for a second workout and has them considering him with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday.

When asked how “Buddy Fresh” inspired the uptick in shooting, Hield revealed his on-court alter ego.

“It’s my own nickname. It’s my alter ego,” Hield said.

The Bulls finished 42-40 this past regular season and failed to qualify for the playoffs. A profound disappointment. Their leading scorer was shooting guard Jimmy Butler, who in 67 games played averaged 20.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals in 36.9 minutes per outing. Butler is also the team’s most valuable asset should management decide to make big trades, blow this whole thing up and rebuild the squad from scratch. Will it happen? Here’s the Chicago Tribune with the latest:

Jimmy Butler will reportedly represent Bulls at Draft Lottery

It might be time to hold off on those Jimmy Butler trade rumors.

In a sign of commitment not present at management’s season-ending postmortem, the Bulls have asked their two-time All-Star to represent the franchise on the dais at the May 17 NBA draft lottery, sources said.

Butler, who has been working out in Los Angeles, is headed back to Chicago soon. He then is scheduled to travel to New York and join longtime media relations official Matt Yob, who will be the Bulls’ presence in the lottery’s backroom.

The Bulls, sitting 14th as the non-playoff team with the best record, have just an 0.5 percent chance at the top pick and a 1.8 percent chance to move into the top three.

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer with insight on the Sixers, whose relatively new president of basketball ops appears to have been fully prepared for the job:

One might think that Bryan Colangelo is way behind in the evaluation process for the NBA draft.

After all, the June 23 event will come just 74 days after he was officially introduced as the 76ers president of basketball operations.

But Colangelo will tell you that he’s far from behind. The 50-year-old said he never stopped scouting prospects in college and Europe after stepping down as Toronto’s president on June 23, 2013. In fact, the two-time executive of the year said he carried on as if he was still running an NBA team, keeping a close eye on the day-to-day happenings around the league.

“I was prepared because I needed to be prepared in the event that one of those other [jobs] that I was being considered for happened,” said Colangelo, who along with Sixers coach Brett Brown and other team officials are here this week at the NBA draft combine.

Here’s a quick video roundup of all 30 picks in the first round of the 2015 NBA draft, which took place Thursday night:

Magic draft Mario Hezonja 5th overall

The Orlando Magic selected guard/forward Mario Hezonja (HEH-zone-yuh) in the first round (fifth overall) of NBA Draft 2015.

Hezonja (6’8”, 218, 2/25/95) has spent the last two seasons playing in the Spanish ACB league with FC Barcelona. Last season (2014-15), he appeared in 31 regular season games, averaging 4.7 ppg., 1.9 rpg. and 1.3 apg. in 14.7 minpg., while shooting .392 (29-74) from three-point range. Hezonja also played in 22 Euroleague contests, averaging 7.7 ppg. and 2.0 rpg. in 16.5 minpg., while shooting .382 (29-76) from three-point range.

Before joining FC Barcelona in 2012-13, Hezonja spent four seasons playing in Croatia. He was a member of the Croatian Senior National Team that participated in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. While with the Junior Team, Hezonja helped Croatia win the gold medal at the 2012 U17 Worlds and bronze at both the 2011 U16 Euros and 2011 U19 Worlds. He was named MVP at the 2011 U16 Euros, averaging 20.0 ppg. and 8.2 rpg.

Knicks draft Kristaps Porzingis

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft, the team has drafted forward Kristaps Porzingis from Latvia.

Porzingis, 7-3, 233 pounds, was an early entry candidate who had played professionally for Cajasol Seville in Spain over the past three seasons. In 75 career ACB games, the 19-year-old averaged 8.1 points, and also added a 9.9 points-per-game average in Eurocup play.

“We could not pass on Kristaps,” Jackson said. “He has eye-opening talent and is ready for the challenge to play in New York City. He can contribute for us this season.”

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has traded the draft rights to Branden Dawson to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for cash considerations.

Dawson, 6-6, 225, was the 56th overall selection by New Orleans in the 2015 NBA Draft. The Michigan State product was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team and Second-Team All-Big Ten as a Senior, averaging 11.9 points and 9.1 rebounds during the campaign.

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have selected Justise Winslow in the first round (10th overall) and Josh Richardson in the second round (40th overall) in the 2015 NBA Draft.

“Today was a great day for the Miami HEAT as we move forward in retooling the team and being able to draft Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “They are two very young gifted players. They can play multiple positions and we feel very fortunate to have them. It’s not only a great day for us, but also for HEAT Nation.”

Winslow, who helped Duke to the 2015 NCAA Championship as a freshman, appeared in 39 games (all starts) for the Blue Devils and averaged 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.33 steals and 29.1 minutes while shooting 48.6 percent from the field, 41.8 percent from three-point range and 64.1 percent from the foul line. He was selected to the All-ACC Freshman Team and the USBWA All-District II Team. He was the third-highest scoring freshman in the ACC and capped the season with the second-most double-figure scoring efforts (31) and the second-highest rebound average by a freshman in the conference. He posted seven double-doubles and finished second on the team in rebounds (252), steals (52), blocks (34) and free throws made (100) while placing third in points (492), assists (82) and three-point field goals made (46). Additionally, during the NCAA tournament, he outperformed each of his statistical categories from the regular season as he started all six games and averaged 14.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.67 blocks and 1.50 steals while shooting 50.9 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three-point range and 75.9 percent from the foul line.

Richardson, who played all four seasons at Tennessee, appeared in 136 career games (110 starts) for the Volunteers and averaged 9.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.08 steals and 28.2 minutes while shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from three-point range and 75.8 percent from the foul line. Finished his career ranking third in school history in games played, ninth in minutes (3,802), ninth in starts, 10th in steals (147), 16th in blocks (88) and 28th in points (1,252). As a senior, he appeared in 32 games (all starts) and averaged 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.09 steals and 36.3 minutes while shooting 46.1 percent from the field, 35.9 percent from three-point range and 79.8 percent from the foul line. Among the accolades he collected during his senior season, Johnson was named to the Associated Press and Coaches All-SEC First Teams, the SEC All-Defensive Team and the Defensive All-American Team. He was also selected to the SEC Community Service Team.

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