LSU combo forward Ben Simmons is getting lots of attention as the No. 1 prospect for the 2016 draft, but it’s much too early to declare him a lock for the top pick, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress said to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports on “The Vertical” podcast (audio link at one-hour, one-minute mark). Duke small forward Brandon Ingram, No. 2 in Givony’s rankings, has fans in high places. “I think Ingram is absolutely still in the mix,” Givony said. “I know a lot of teams that have a real split in their front office right now. Some of them, you love the productivity of Simmons, he’s a safe pick, he’s an easy guy, you know he’s going to be a very, very good NBA player, while some of them say, ‘Hey, I love the upside of Brandon Ingram.’ Who knows what this kid can become three to four years from now? Is he going to be a Giannis Antetokounmpo, or someone like that, who just continually improves physically and skillwise and just becomes this devastating, 6’10” small forward who can score from all over the floor?”
Here’s more from around the league:
- The players on the Rockets enjoy watching interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff grow into his new role with the team, Jenny Dial Creech of The Houston Chronicle notes. “He is growing and learning … it’s like any rookie,” small forward Trevor Ariza said. “They have to take their bumps and bruises. You learn from them. He has done a great job learning – he is here all the time. He has improved game by game and day by day.” Ariza also noted that he appreciates Bickerstaff’s level of communication with the team, Creech adds. “He asks for everyone’s input on how we feel, what’s working, what we see and he puts his own twist on it to make us better,” Ariza said.
- If the NBA D-League is to continue to grow without diluting the available talent pool significantly, the league’s players may need to unionize in order to make salaries more competitive with overseas clubs, Adam Johnson of D-League Digest posits. D-League players don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the NBPA and player contracts are signed directly with the D-League while teams dictate which salary tier players are allotted, Johnson notes. While the pay in the D-League may not be significant, the showcase it provides for prospective NBA suitors is still a major benefit for players, the D-League Digest scribe adds. “Everyone wants to point to the salaries as being an issue, and while it is a valid criticism you can’t put a price on the level of exposure the league provides,” an NBA scout told Johnson.
- For the latest on the business relationship between LeBron James and Browns quaterback Johnny Manziel, check out our sister site, Pro Football Rumors (@pfrumors on Twitter).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.