Archive for the ‘ NBA Draft Blog ’ Category

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune quoting Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders on the value of top NBA draft prospect Karl-Anthony Towns:

karl-anthony towns

Most expect the Wolves to take Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick. And while Flip wasn’t saying who he’s taking, he did extol Towns’ virtues when asked about the Kentucky center.

Here’s what he had to say when asked about Towns’ best attributes: “Everyone talks about his versatility,” Saunders said. “He’s known right now [as] more of a defensive player. He’s very much underrated offensively, I think, because of playing [in Kentucky coach John Calipari’s] situation. By far, he’s the best pick-and-roll defensive big man in the draft. If you base things on it analytically, he’s the top analytical player, everything he’s done, on a per-minute basis. There’s a reason that people are looking at him as being one of the top players in the draft.’’

These are the players invited to the 2015 NBA draft “Green Room.” The NBA invites players to attend the event that are expected to be selected fairly high up in the draft. There are always exceptions, surprises and disappointments, no matter which means are or are not listed.

· Devin Booker (Kentucky)
· Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky)
· Sam Dekker (Wisconsin)
· Jerian Grant (Notre Dame)
· Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona)
· Stanley Johnson (Arizona)
· Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)
· Kevon Looney (UCLA)
· Trey Lyles (Kentucky)
· Emmanuel Mudiay (Democratic Republic of Congo)
· Jahlil Okafor (Duke)
· Kelly Oubre, Jr. (Kansas)
· Cameron Payne (Murray State)
· Bobby Portis (Arkansas)
· Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia)
· D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State)
· Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky)
· Myles Turner (Texas)
· Justise Winslow (Duke)

Hawks face uncertainty as NBA draft approaches

Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution painting a picture of the Atlanta Hawks’ situation as both the NBA Draft and free agency approach:

The Hawks will enter the NBA draft not knowing if they will have two, one or zero gaping holes on their roster.

It’s not an enviable position.

The draft is Thursday, and six days later comes the start of free agency. Two-fifths of the Hawks’ starting lineup — DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap — will hit the open market and are free to sign with any team. Both could be gone. One or the other could depart. Both could return.

Drafting for need is illogical. The prevailing alternative would be to draft the best available player. Not necessarily.

“We do our best to separate the draft from free agency,” assistant general manager Wes Wilcox said. “Certainly, they are connected. Our focus in every draft is to identify the best player who fits us. There is the long-standing debate over drafting the best player versus drafting for a position of need. It’s certainly something we all juggle. We’ve become comfortable with being guided by what we call our draft objective, which remains the same every year, we want to draft a guy who fits without our culture, fits (coach Mike Budenholzer) and his system and can add to and become a piece of our core.”

Lakers draft workouts continue

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog reporting the latest on Lakers NBA Draft workouts:

Only two hours earlier, the Lakers worked out a prized prospect that might pave the way for a once storied franchise to return to prosperity.

Later on Tuesday afternoon, the Lakers worked out a player that might not even become available in the NBA Draft.

Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor intrigued the Lakers as a possible No. 2 pick with his size, post play and eagerness to wear purple and gold. Murray State sophomore guard Cameron Payne intrigued the Lakers as a possible prospect should they somehow climb up in the NBA draft after their No. 2 pick and before their 27th and 34th selections.

Willie Cauley-Stein as confident as anyone in 2015 NBA Draft

Here’s the Denver Post reporting on a high-rated prospect in the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft:

Among the tattoos on the right side of Willie Cauley-Stein’s neck is one famous phrase.

Hakuna Matata.

No worries.

It’s a large part of how he views the pre-draft process.

“I see myself as the No. 1 player in the draft, but it is what it is,” said the 7-foot, 240-pound former Kentucky standout. “You can just take it day-by-day, put in the work and the draft is going to be the outcome of whatever the draft is.”

Is he mad at not being mentioned in the same breath with former Wildcats teammate Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke star Jalil Okafor, the first two players expected to be chosen.

“You can’t get mad about it,” he said. “You just gotta work for it.”

Pistons draft workouts continue

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on some Pistons draft workouts:

J.P. Tokoto and Rakeem Christmas have a few things in common.

Both are considered second-round prospects for the upcoming NBA draft that could sneak into the bottom of the first round. Both performed well in 5-on-5 during last month’s NBA draft combine in Chicago.

And both were at the Detroit Pistons’ practice facility this morning for a pre-draft workout.

They were joined by Virginia power forward Darion Atkins, UNC-Charlotte point guard Pierria Henry, William & Mary point guard Marcus Thornton and Georgetown small forward Greg Whittington.

Knicks to work out Willie Cauley-Stein

Knicks to reportedly work out center Willie Cauley-Stein

With the NBA Draft coming later this month, much of the fun will be to analyze how important it is that certain teams worked out certain players. Some workouts suggest teams may consider trading up or down, or sending their pick away altogether. Or shocking the world by drafting someone at a completely unexpected spot. Anyway, here’s ESPN NY reporting on the Knicks:

The New York Knicks will host Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein for a workout on June 16, a league source confirmed.

The Knicks have the fourth pick in the draft.

Most draft observers project Cauley-Stein to be taken outside of the top four picks.

The Knicks could go against popular sentiment and take Cauley-Stein with the fourth pick or they could trade for a lower first-round pick and select Cauley-Stein there.

Pondering some Suns draft prospects

Pondering some Suns draft prospects

It’s extremely hard to predict which exact players will get drafted by which exact teams, but knowing which players actually did work out for a team prior to the draft can provide a clue. Here’s the Arizona Republic pondering some Phoenix Suns draft possibilities:

There is the NBA trend of “stretch fours,” the tall power forward who can shoot 3-pointers proficiently to drag a big man out of the paint and create space for an offense.

The next level of that trend is to have a “stretch four” who also is a playmaker for when defenses chase him off the line.

Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker and Arizona’s Brandon Ashley are June 25 draft candidates for that job, and they participated in Wednesday’s Suns pre-draft workout. The Suns could consider Dekker at No. 13 and Ashley at No. 44, although he holds out hope to be a first-rounder.

As Ashley knows all too well from an Elite Eight meeting, Dekker showed the athleticism and shooting to be that type of player during the NCAA tournament. Dekker’s stock bolted to lottery range once the 6-foot-9 junior turned aggressive for a 19.2 tourney scoring average with 42 percent 3-point shooting.

Tyler Haws scheduled to work out for Jazz today

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on Utah Jazz pre-draft workouts:

BYU basketball’s all-time leading scorer is getting his chance to audition for the hometown team.

Guard Tyler Haws, an Alpine native, is one of six players the Utah Jazz have invited to a pre-draft workout for the team Monday at Zions Bank Basketball Center.

The news leaked a day before the Jazz made their announcement Sunday, as Haws told KSL Newsradio’s “Cougar Sports Saturday” program he will be working out for the Jazz on Monday morning. He also told the radio program he has upcoming workouts with the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies.

With the NBA Draft around one month away, teams are conducting pre-draft workouts as they evaluate who to select. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer blog reporting:

Former Delaware State post player Kendall Gray and former Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell are working out for the 76ers on Friday.

Gray and Alan Williams of UC Santa Barbara were the NCAA Division I rebounding co-leaders (11.8 per game) in the NCAA Division I. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Gray also averaged 11.7 points, 2.8 blocks and 1 assist en route to being named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference player of the year.

Timberwolves land first pick in 2015 NBA Draft

The Minnesota Timberwolves had the best chance to win the first pick in the 2015 NBA Draft at Tuesday’s Draft Lottery in New York, but by no means was it a guarantee. Yet they did it. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:

The Wolves, who very much need to bolster their front line, are expected by many to choose between two post men with the top pick, either Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke center Jahlil Okafor. Also Saunders, in a post-lottery press conference, said that is not necessarily the case. Saunders said no decision has been made on which player the Wolves want or will take. The process of evaluation and workouts will continue going forward.

And while the Wolves technically didn’t improve their position – they, of course, could not – they kept their position. It is the first time in 19 trips to the lottery that the Wolves have emerged with the top pick.

With the worst record during the regular season, the Wolves had the best chance (25 percent) of getting the first overall pick. That said, the odds were 3-to-1 against that happening. Minnesota had a 21.5 percent chance at the second pick, a 17.8 percent chance at No. 3 and a 35.7 chance at the fourth pick.

That meant a 64.28 percent chance at the top three picks.

Draft lottery disappointment for Knicks

Draft lottery disappointment for Knicks

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on the Knicks, who after Tuesday’s Draft Lottery only came away with the No. 4 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft:

Phil Jackson did not hit the jackpot, and he did not even land the all-important consolation prize.

The pain and embarrassment of the worst season in franchise history did not result in the Knicks winning the lottery for the second time in 30 years on Tuesday night - or even finishing in the top-2 - as the Ping-Pong balls determined they will select fourth overall in the NBA draft on June 25.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, which had a 25 percent chance of winning the lottery as the NBA’s worst record, were awarded the top pick and the right to choose between the consensus top two prizes of the draft class - 19-year-old big men Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of Duke.

Magic interview power forwards at Draft Combine

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel reporting on the Magic, who have a nice set of guards on their roster but can use some help up front:

Attempting to detect a pattern in the players a team interviews at the NBA Draft Combine is a dangerous exercise.

Orlando Magic officials, for instance, don’t disclose the names of the 18 players they spoke with during the event. Making matters more difficult: The league assigns the interviews based on the demand for specific players. So the prospects the Magic interviewed weren’t necessarily the people the Magic wanted to interview most.

But if the Magic are intent on shoring up their power forward spot through the draft, the team made some progress in its research. Team officials interviewed at least six power forward prospects during the combine — UCLA’s Kevon Looney, Kentucky’s Trey Lyles, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, Arkansas’ Bobby Portis, Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas and LSU’s Jordan Mickey — those players said.

NBA Draft 2015 being held in Brooklyn

The 2015 NBA Draft will be held in Brooklyn NY’s Barclays Center. It’s the third year in a row the draft is being held in that arena.

Here’s more info: 2015 NBA Draft location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn NY

Nets cannot count on upcoming NBA drafts

Here’s the New York Post providing perspective on the Brooklyn Nets NBA draft situation for the next few seasons. And no, the dog in the photo above is not draft-eligible, so don’t ask:

Nets cannot count on upcoming NBA drafts

Nets general manager Billy King will meet with the media Wednesday morning to address his team’s season and what lies ahead this summer.

The Nets have no control of their own first-round draft picks between now and 2019 — and are without a first-round pick in 2016 and 2018, with both of those selections headed to the Celtics as part of the trade that brought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn in 2013. That leaves many challenges ahead for King, who will try to keep the Nets competitive between now and July 2016, when they are scheduled to have plenty of cap space to remake their roster.

There is still a whole season to play until then, however, and finding the most competitive way to bridge that gap will be King’s biggest challenge.

2015 NBA draft tiebreakers broken

2015 NBA draft tiebreakers broken

Four ties among teams that finished the 2014-15 NBA regular season with identical records were broken today through random drawings to help determine the order of selection for the 2015 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, which will be held on Thursday, June 25.

The drawings were conducted live on NBA TV earlier today in New York City by Rod Thorn, NBA President, Basketball Operations. The tiebreak process was overseen by Denise Pelli, a representative from the accounting firm of Ernst & Young.

The results of the drawings:

· Indiana (38-44) won a tiebreaker with Utah.
· Dallas (50-32) won a tiebreaker with Chicago.
· Memphis (55-27) won a tiebreaker with San Antonio.
· Houston (56-26) won a tiebreaker with the LA Clippers.

Justise Winslow will enter 2015 NBA Draft

Duke freshman Justise Winslow will enter the 2015 NBA Draft, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Tuesday.

“We’re very happy for Justise and his family,” said Krzyzewski. “He had a sensational year, both on and off the court. He was an amazing factor for our success in winning the national championship. From everything we have found out, Justise is projected to be a high lottery pick and we believe that to be true. This is a great time to take advantage of this opportunity. We’re behind him all the way and love him and his family.”

Winslow, an All-Final Four team selection, joins Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011), Austin Rivers (2012), Jabari Parker (2014) and teammate Jahlil Okafor (2015) as Blue Devil freshmen to enter the NBA Draft after just one season of college basketball.

Winslow, the third-highest freshman scorer in the ACC this season, averaged 12.5 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting from the field. In 31 of his 39 appearances, Winslow scored 10-or-more points, the second most double-digit scoring games by a freshman in the ACC this year, behind only Okafor (35). Winslow’s 31 double-digit scoring games ranks tied for third on Duke’s freshman list, while his 492 total points tied with Jason Williams for eighth on the Duke rookie chart.

Winslow also averaged 6.5 rebounds per game, second most by a freshman in the conference. He became just the second player 6-6 or under for Krzyzewski to average at least 6.0 rebounds per game, joining Chris Carrawell (6.1 rpg. In 1999-00). Winslow posted seven double-doubles during the 2014-15 season, including three-straight double-doubles in games against Virginia, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Winslow was recognized for his athletic prowess by being named to the All-ACC Freshman Team and the USBWA All-District III Team.

– Duke Sports Information

 

Here’s the Philadelphia Daily News reporting on the 76ers and possible league changes to the draft lottery:

The league is looking into changing how the draft works, so that the bottom feeders of the league aren’t assured a top pick. A source told the Daily News that the NBA “has a strong incentive to get this done this year” on changing how the draft works. The source also said that the move is directly related to what the Sixers did last season and what they are forecasted to do this season, with top pick Joel Embiid most likely sidelined for the season after foot surgery and 10th pick Dario Saric contractually bound for two more seasons of play in Turkey.

An ESPN.com report said the Sixers have objected to the possible overhauling of the lottery for 2015, as they possibly could be hurt the most by the proposed changes.

That will probably all be sorted out in October, when the NBA’s Board of Governors meets. In the meantime, it will be another year of some bad basketball, a lot of players hitting the floor that maybe shouldn’t even be in the NBA and a whole lot of losses for the Sixers.

The Philadelphia 76ers announced that they have acquired the rights to Pierre Jackson from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the 47th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Jackson was originally drafted 42nd overall in 2013 and was part of the trade between Philadelphia and New Orleans that netted the Sixers Nerlens Noel and the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft.

Jackson averaged 30 points, 7 assists, 2 steals, 2 rebounds and 1 block in 31 games for the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede in 2013-14. He scored a D-League single game record 58 points on February 4, 2014 and was named to the D-League’s Futures All-Star Roster in 2014. During his senior year at Baylor University, he was named First Team All-Big 12 and was named the Most Outstanding Player in the 2013 NIT.

Here is a wire report via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting on a very nice thing the NBA did last night at the 2014 Draft:

Isaiah Austin drafted by NBA in ceremonial gesture

Between the 15th and 16th picks in Thursday night’s draft came a very special selection by the NBA.

Commissioner Adam Silver announced at that point that the NBA would let Isaiah Austin fulfill the dream of every young player, making him a ceremonial pick.

Just over a week ago, the sophomore center from Baylor who grew up in Mansfield and graduated from Arlington Grace Prep was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the heart. It ended his playing career.

The illness was discovered during a physical for the draft.

“For Commissioner Silver to even invite me here was a tremendous blessing and it just shows how much class that man has,” Austin said. “It’s really been a tough week for me, and it’s been really rough. I’ve just had a tremendous amount of support from everybody around the world, telling me they’re praying for me and everything. I can’t thank everybody enough.”

ISAIAH AUSTIN NBA DRAFT VIDEO

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