2014 NBA Draft Rumors

Sim Bhullar To Enter Draft

April 16 at 7:50pm CDT By Charlie Adams

Next Mexico State center Sim Bhullar will enter the NBA draft, writes Josh Gershon of Scout.com (on Twitter). Bhullar is a sophomore with massive size, standing at 7’5″ and weighing in at 355 pounds. During his second season as an Aggie, Bhullar put up 10.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per night while averaging just over 26 minutes every contest. His massive size advantage over opponents allowed him to shoot 64.8% from the floor while posting 3.4 blocks per game.

The move to declare for the draft is a bit puzzling because questions still linger about the big man’s ability to succeed at the next level. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated is among those perplexed by the decision, suggesting Bhullar would be wise to find another source of career advice (Twitter link).

Bhullar isn’t on Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress‘ list of top 100 prospects, but a report last month suggested the he could be taken in the second round by a team intrigued with his colossal size. Yesterday marked the last day early entrants could withdraw from the draft and still retain NCAA eligibility, so Bhullar will be ineligible to return to New Mexico State even if he isn’t drafted.

Draft Order Situations To Watch Tonight

April 16 at 4:59pm CDT By Chuck Myron

There are 15 games on the NBA schedule tonight, and only one of them, the contest between the Hawks and Bucks, won’t have any bearing on the 2014 draft order. With the help of our Reverse Standings, I’ve sketched out what’s at stake in each matchup.

Bulls at Bobcats
Charlotte owes its first-rounder to Chicago, so the outcome of tonight’s game could be doubly meaningful for the Bulls. A Chicago win would ensure the Bulls of the No. 16 pick via Charlotte, but it would drop Chicago’s own pick as low as No. 21. If Charlotte wins, the pick it sends to the Bulls might fall to 17th, while the Bulls’ own pick might go as high as No. 19.

Pacers at Magic
The Magic would seal the third-best lottery position with a loss, but a win might drop them to fourth. The Pacers’ pick belongs to the Suns, who’d be assured of No. 27 with an Indiana loss. Phoenix might wind up with No. 26 if the Pacers win.

Mavericks at Grizzlies
Dallas will have a chance to keep its first-round pick if it loses, but only if the Raptors and Bulls both win and the Mavs win a series of coin flips to determine who picks 19th. Otherwise, the selection goes to the Thunder, who might wind up picking as high as 20th if the Mavs lose and as low as 23rd if the Mavs win. The Grizzlies’ pick might go as high as No. 19 with a loss and as low as No. 23 with a win.

Jazz at Timberwolves
The Jazz can have, at best, the third-best chance of winning the lottery with a loss, or, at worst, the fifth best with a win. The Timberwolves are locked into the 13th position for the lottery.

Rockets at Pelicans
Houston might pick as high as 24th with a loss and as low as 27th with a win. New Orleans, which owes its first-rounder to the Sixers unless it wins one of the top three picks in the lottery, will be locked into the 10th lottery position with a win, but the Pelicans might climb into the ninth lottery position with a loss.

Pistons at Thunder
Detroit, which owes Charlotte its pick if it doesn’t wind up eighth or better, will be locked into the eighth lottery position with a win, but the Pistons might climb to seventh if they lose. The Thunder will pick 29th if they win, but they might pick 27th if they lose.

Lakers at Spurs
The Lakers will have the sixth lottery position if they win, but they might move into fifth with a loss. San Antonio is locked into the final pick of the first round.

Wizards at Celtics
Washington owes its selection to the Suns, who’ll pick as high as 16th with a Wizards loss and as low as 18th with a Wizards win. The Celtics might have a lottery position as high as fourth with a loss and as low as sixth with a win.

Nets at Cavaliers
Brooklyn’s pick goes to the Celtics, who’ll pick 18th if the Nets win, though the pick might go to No. 17 if the Nets lose. The Cavs can lock up the ninth lottery position with a loss, but a win could drop them to 10th.

Sixers at Heat
Miami might pick as high as 24th with a loss and as low as 27th with a win. Philadelphia is locked in to the second-best lottery position.

Raptors at Knicks
The Raptors might pick as high as 19th if they lose and as low as 22nd if they win. The Knicks owe their pick to the Nuggets, who in turn owe the Magic the least favorable of the Knicks’ pick and their own pick. Denver and New York are tied, but one of them will finish in the 11th lottery position and the other will finish in the 12th lottery position regardless of tonight’s outcomes.

Clippers at Trail Blazers
The Clippers will pick 28th if they win, but they might drop to 29th if they lose. The Blazers owe their pick to the Bobcats, who’ll pick 24th if Portland wins, but might pick as low as 26th if Portland loses.

Suns at Kings
The Suns are locked into the 14th lottery position. The Kings will have the seventh lottery position if they lose, but they might drop to eighth if they win.

Warriors at Nuggets
The Warriors owe their pick to the Jazz, who’ll pick 23rd if Golden State wins and might pick as high as 21st if Golden State loses. The Nuggets owe the least favorable of their own pick and the Knicks’ pick to the Magic. Denver and New York are tied, but one of them will finish in the 11th lottery position and the other will finish in the 12th lottery position regardless of tonight’s outcomes.

Agent Says Dario Saric To Declare For Draft

April 16 at 8:29am CDT By Chuck Myron

Dario Saric‘s new agent, Misko Raznatovic, says his client will declare for the NBA draft, as he tells Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Still, Raznatovic isn’t sure whether Saric will withdraw by the June 16th deadline, as he did last year, or remain in this year’s field of early entrants, suggesting that if he and Saric feel that the 6’10″ forward will go within the top 10 to 14 picks, Saric won’t pull out. Saric nonetheless believes that he’ll sign with a European team and remain overseas for another year or two regardless of whether he’s drafted this year, though he hasn’t made a final decision about that, as Raznatovic explains.

Saric is No. 9 in Givony’s prospect rankings, and No. 14 with Chad Ford of ESPN.com, though Ford says he’d have Saric higher if it were clear that he’d play in the NBA next season. That seems to indicate that Saric will be drafted high enough to meet Raznatovic’s threshold for remaining in the draft, making him a likely “draft-and-stash” player. Some teams have been burned when they’ve used high draft picks on overseas players unwilling to immediately come stateside, most notably the Magic, who spent the 11th overall pick in 2005 on Fran Vazquez, who’s yet to play in the NBA. Raznatovic insists that Saric won’t go down that path.

“I really believe that after talking for five minutes with Dario, that doubt will be gone,” Raznatovic said. “He cannot wait to become a NBA player, and this is his ultimate goal. He will be in the league no later than 2016, and with good chances to start earlier.”

The agent, who announced that he’d signed with Saric last week, is the latest to dispute a report late last month that Saric had agreed to a deal with a team in Turkey that wouldn’t allow him to go to the NBA until 2016. Raznatovic suggests that his ties to Dusan Ivkovic, another client of his who’s rumored to become the next coach of the Turkish team, fueled erroneous speculation that Saric was headed to Turkey.

Saric’s professional future has been clouded with mystery in recent weeks, with back-and-forth fueled by his father and a former agent, among others. Raznatovic downplays the significance of comments from Saric’s father, who’s advocated that his son stay in Europe, saying that the elder Saric isn’t anti-NBA and is just looking out for his son’s well-being. Raznatovic promises that the instability surrounding his client is over, though I suspect there will continue to be speculation about Saric until he signs with an NBA team.

Elfrid Payton To Enter Draft

April 15 at 10:27pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Louisiana Lafayette guard Elfrid Payton will enter the NBA Draft and sign with Aaron Mintz, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (via Twitter). The 6’3 guard played a total of three seasons for the Ragin’ Cajuns, making considerable improvements in scoring every year. According to Haynes, Payton is projected to be selected in the first round. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress totes Payton as the 26th best prospect in this year’s draft, while ESPN’s Chad Ford lists him as No. 36.

In 2013/14, Payton averaged 19.2 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.9 APG, 2.3 SPG, and shot 50.9% from the field. In his one appearance in this year’s NCAA tournament, Payton posted 24 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks in 40 minutes en route to a second round loss against Creighton.

Draft Links: Parker, Hollis-Jefferson, Tarczewski

April 15 at 9:10pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

A few days ago, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reported that Jabari Parker’s decision on whether or not he’ll enter the 2014 NBA Draft would be expected by either today or tomorrow. However, Duke basketball associate director of sports information Matt Plizga confirms that the 6’8 forward will not announce his future plans tomorrow, writes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (first reported by the Chicago Tribune).  Regardless of when that decision may be announced, Basketball Insiders writer Yannis Koutroupis analyzes what factors should be considered as Parker weighs his options.

With that aside, here are some more draft-related links to pass along tonight:

  • University of Arizona head coach Sean Miller confirms that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kaleb Tarczewski have opted to stay in school another year, tweets Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star.
  • According to the Michigan State Spartans’ official basketball website, junior swingman Branden Dawson will return for his senior season.
  • Nik Stauskas intends to sign with agent Mark Bartelstein, reports ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link).
  • NBA draft prospect Jerami Grant passes the eye-test as far as length and athleticism goes, though Kevin Pelton, Amin Elhassan, and Chad Ford of ESPN are concerned about his limited offensive game. In an Insiders-only piece, Pelton, Elhassan, and Ford take an in-depth look at the former Syracuse forward through analytics, scouting, and front office perspectives.
  • In another article, Pelton, Elhassan, and Ford evaluate former Michigan guard Gary Harris (Insiders only). Pelton says that Harris should go high in the lottery; Elhassan and Ford focus more on the 6’4″ guard’s ability as a two-way player.
  • In his own piece, Ford passes along his observations from the 2014 Nike Hoops Summit, which included more than a handful of potential NBA prospects who could enter the draft as early as 2015. According to one scout, the talent crop didn’t stand out as much as last year’s class, though among the names who impressed were Emmanuel Mudiay (committed to SMU) and Jahlil Okafor (committed to Duke).
  • The American prospects from the Nike Hoops Summit are grouped according to possible stardom, potential to be an NBA-rotation player, or their ability to become a good college player by Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders.

Isaiah Austin To Enter Draft?

April 15 at 8:11pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

8:11pm: Via his own Twitter account, Austin has denied that he’s made an official decision and says he’s still weighing his options.

7:53pm: Baylor big man Isaiah Austin will enter this year’s NBA Draft, sources tell Jason King of the Bleacher Report (Twitter link). The 7-footer is listed at No. 43 on Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 Prospects list and No. 59 on Chad Ford’s Top 100 rankings respectively. King adds that Austin would have left for the NBA last year if not for injury. Austin’s DraftExpress profile has him listed as 7’1″, 220-pound center, while Ford’s ESPN page has him described as a 7’0″, 215-pound power forward.

As a freshman, Austin averaged 13.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 1.7 BPG in 29.9 MPG. As a sophomore, his blocks per game average rose to 3.1, though his rebounding and scoring numbers dropped to 11.2 and 5.5 in 28.0 MPG. Once considered a potential lottery pick, the Baylor product’s inconsistency and lack of strength have drastically affected his standing, according to Ford. On the other hand, one scout tells SNY.tv’s Adam Zagoria that Austin projects as a “late first-round pick” who helped his draft stock at the end of the 2013/14 season and in the tournament (Twitter link).

Last month, Austin helped Baylor reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, posting 14.0 PPG on 53.8% shooting, 5.3 RPG, and 1.7 BPG in 27.6 MPG through three games.

Nick Johnson Declares For Draft

April 15 at 3:10pm CDT By Chuck Myron

3:10pm: Johnson has formally announced he’s entering the draft, the school confirms (on Twitter).

9:00am: Arizona junior Nick Johnson will announce today that he’s entering this year’s NBA draft, sources tell Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. The shooting guard is No. 57 in the prospect rankings of both Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Zagoria also seconds an earlier report that fellow Wildcat Aaron Gordon will declare for the draft, too.

Johnson, the nephew of Hall-of-Famer Dennis Johnson, is a high-flyer who averaged 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 33.0 minutes per game for Arizona, which narrowly missed a berth in the Final Four with a one-point loss in the NCAA Tournament elite eight. He’s listed at either 6’2″ or 6’3″, either of which would make him undersized at his position, and he never averaged more than 3.2 assists per game in college, suggesting that it would be difficult to convert him to point guard.

Today is the final day for players who’ve declared for the draft to withdraw and retain their NCAA eligibility. So, barring a last-minute change of heart, it looks like Johnson has played his final game at Arizona.

Aaron Gordon Declares For Draft

April 15 at 3:08pm CDT By Chuck Myron

TUESDAY, 3:08pm: Gordon has formally declared for the draft, the school announced (Twitter link).

MONDAY, 8:04am: Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon has decided to enter this year’s NBA draft, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who adds that a formal announcement will come this week. The move is no surprise, as Spears reported late last month that the highly touted forward was strongly leaning toward turning pro.

Gordon is No. 6 in the prospect rankings that Chad Ford of ESPN.com compiles, and he’s No. 8 with Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. He averaged 12.4 points and 8.0 rebounds for the Wildcats, who missed out on a trip to the Final Four with a one-point overtime loss to Wisconsin. Gordon scored just eight points on 3 of 11 shooting in that game, but he nonetheless grabbed 18 boards.

He suffers from the lack of a well-defined position, as our Eddie Scarito pointed out when he examined Gordon last month as part of our Prospect Profile series. He also shot just 42.2% from the free throw line. The 18-year-old possesses outstanding athleticism and plenty of upside, so it’ll be intriguing to see which lottery team banks on his improvement in the years to come.

Glenn Robinson III Declares For Draft

April 15 at 2:42pm CDT By Chuck Myron

TUESDAY, 2:42pm: Robinson has formally announced that he’s entering the draft, the school confirms via Twitter.

MONDAY, 12:44pm: Michigan sophomore Glenn Robinson III has hired an agent and will declare for the NBA draft this week, a source tells Boston Globe correspondent Jake Fischer (Twitter link). Robinson is the son of 1994 No. 1 overall draft pick Glenn Robinson, though the younger Robinson appears to be in line to become a second-round pick. Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranks him as the 34th-best prospect in this year’s class, and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him at No. 43.

Michigan’s Robinson averaged 13.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game this season. He upped his three-point attempts by more than a shot per game, but his accuracy dipped to 30.6% after he made 32.4% of his treys as a freshman. His overall field goal percentage and rebounding were lower this season, too, but it appears he’s still eager to see what he can do in the pro ranks.

The 20-year-old Robinson was part a Michigan team that went to the NCAA championship game in 2013, and the Wolverines were just a game short of a return trip to the Final Four this season. Robinson, a 6’6″ small forward, been surrounded by talented rosters that have included Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Nik Stauskas.

Nik Stauskas Enters NBA Draft

April 15 at 2:39pm CDT By Chuck Myron

APRIL 15TH: Stauskas is indeed entering the draft, as Goodman originally reported he would, the school announced (Twitter link).

APRIL 10TH: 8:49am: Stauskas has taken to Twitter to refute Goodman’s report that he’s decided to enter the draft.

8:37am: Michigan sophomore Nik Stauskas has decided to declare for the NBA draft this year, a source tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. The shooting guard is No. 17 in the list of top prospects that Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress compiles, while he’s No. 18 with Chad Ford of ESPN.com.

The 20-year-old took on an expanded role for the Wolverines this season following the departures of guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., both first-round picks in 2013. He averaged 17.5 points in 35.6 minutes per game. More than half of his shot attempts came from behind the arc, where he averaged an impressive 44.2%. He shot nearly the same percentage on three-pointers as a freshman, so his shooting touch is sustainable.