One NBA GM tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that uncertainty about entering the draft recently expressed by Jabari Parker, along with similar sentiments from Joel Embiid earlier this year, are par for the course. He says the high profile players will all say they are considering staying in college until after the NCAA season, when they will all declare for the draft (Twitter links). Here are more rumors surrounding the draft:
- Mark Heisler of The Orange County Register says that not one NBA source he’s talked to likes Andrew Wiggins as a sure-fire blue chip player. Heisler says NBA personnel people are now only in agreement on Embiid as a top-level prospect.
- Still, an anonymous Eastern Conference scout tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that the 2014 draft class is much better than last year’s, and should be important for the league. The scout also gives his take on Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, Dante Exum, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, and Noah Vonleh.
- Adi Joseph of USA Today looks at the draft stocks of Andrew Harrison, Rodney Hood, and Bryce Cotton.
- Mavs owner Mark Cuban told reporters, including Dwain Price of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that he wishes there were additional rounds in the NBA draft. “I’d like to see four rounds so you can draft guys overseas, get more guys drafted that are your property so you can try to develop them,” Cuban said. “You’ve got to realize that toward the bottom of the second round there are teams that pick for financial reasons, and that takes advantage of guys that might have otherwise been picked.”
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss are expected to scout the Big 12 tournament next week, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (via Twitter). Prospects in the Big 12 for the 2014 draft include Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson, LeBryan Nash, and Markel Brown. Embiid, Wiggins, and Smart are projected in the lottery, where L.A. will likely be picking. The Lakers owe their second round pick to the Bucks, although they could certainly acquire one on or before draft night. Here are more rumors surrounding the draft:
- Turkish team Anadolu Efes is set to offer NBA draft prospect Dario Saric a five-year deal worth 6 million euros, or about $8.32MM, a source tells Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia, who notes that there are rumors the offer would cover only three years. Saric, a potential lottery pick, is undecided about whether to enter the draft this year, but he’s seriously considering the offer from Turkey, Carchia hears. The deal would include an NBA escape clause for 2016, when Saric will be automatically eligible for the NBA draft.
- Saric is expected to hire a new agent at the end of the season, and his choice figures to significantly impact his call on his decision to declare for the draft, Carchia tweets.
- Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com has Saric at No. 10 on his latest draft board, which features Jabari Parker on top.
- An NBA scout tells David Mayo of MLive.com that Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas would likely go in the late teens or early-20s if he entered the draft this year.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Commissioner Adam Silver’s desire to raise the minimum draft age by another year has fueled plenty of talk about the most effective way to develop NBA prospects. Tom Ziller of SB Nation takes a look at Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s recent assertion that the D-League should supplant the NCAA. College basketball isn’t going away, as Cuban suggests it should, but Ziller thinks a higher minimum age could result in greater use of the D-League as a conduit to the draft. In the meantime, here’s the latest from a landscape still dominated by one-and-done collegians:
- Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in Jonathan Givony’s updated mock draft and top-100 prospects list at DraftExpress. Givony has Jahlil Okafor atop his new 2015 mock draft.
- Chad Ford of ESPN.com agrees with Givony through the first two picks for this year, but Ford has Dante Exum going No. 3 to the Magic in his Insider-only mock draft.
- Ford and Givony place Arizona shooting guard Nick Johnson 54th and 60th, respectively, in their prospect rankings for this year, but sources tell Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com that the junior is leaning toward entering the draft (Insider link).
We’ve heard that new commissioner Adam Silver would be interested in raising the age limit for players to 20, thereby putting a stop to “one-and-done” guys who enter the draft after just one year of college. Kevin McHale would support such a change, but he actually suggests increasing the minimum age to 21 would be even better, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. McHale thinks it would benefit both the schools and the kids:
“I’d like to see us do the three years out of high school or 21 (years old), like football. I just think it would help the colleges. I think it would help the kids. And I know they don’t think so, because they want to say, ‘Hey, I’ve got to get in the market. I’ve got to make all my money and all that stuff.’ But you don’t make money if you have a three-year career, if you come in at 18, 19, and you’re not ready.”
Here’s more on the proposed idea and the NBA draft in general:
- It isn’t just McHale interested in implementing a 21-year-old age limit. Outspoken Dallas owner Mark Cuban echoes McHale’s sentiments, tweets Dwain Price of the Star Telegram.
- Adi Joseph of USA Today examines the draft stocks of Marcus Smart and Russ Smith. Joseph thinks that Smart is a lock to be a top 10 selection, but sees Smith as a high second-rounder who still needs to improve his passing.
- Billy Baron has been putting up huge numbers at Canisius, but some have wondered if he will be able to be productive at the next level. An NBA scout told Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that Baron could be a second-round selection if he impresses at the NBA camps (Twitter link). His athleticism and defense are his two biggest weaknesses, the scout says.
- Over at ZagsBlog, another NBA scout tells Zagoria that this year’s college freshman have been overhyped. The scout thinks that Julius Randle would do well to stay another year at Kentucky but acknowledges he will almost certainly opt to enter the draft.
- In the same piece, Zagoria reveals that the scout’s top three players unsurprisingly consist of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Joel Embiid, in no particular order.
The buyout market is the primary focus for many playoff-bound teams, but May 20th is the next significant date on the calendar for other clubs. That’s the date of the draft lottery, when bouncing ping-pong balls will determine the future for a handful of franchises. No matter how it turns out, teams are no doubt preparing for every possibility, and we’ve got the latest on the 2014 draft here:
- Some scouts say Tyler Ennis is strongly considering a return to Syracuse for his sophomore season, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Still, the point guard is widely considered a top-10 talent, and most such prospects end up declaring for the draft, whether they hesitate or not. Ennis is No. 10 on the ESPN Insider board and No. 9 in the DraftExpress rankings. Executives around the league last month reportedly worried that Jabari Parker wouldn’t enter the draft, but Kennedy hears from scouts who are confident that he’ll turn pro (Twitter link).
- The Sixers would like to use one of their haul of second-round picks on Thanasis Antetokounmpo, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. He’s a fringe first-round pick, and the Sixers might not get a crack at him, particularly if the Bucks wind up with the top pick of the second round. Still, Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo tells Deveney that he isn’t sure he’d like to compete with his brother for playing time at the same position on the same team.
- Andrew Wiggins is the new No. 1 on the latest draft board from Chris Mannix of SI.com. Ennis checks in at No. 7.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told reporters, including Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, that if Los Angeles makes a deal, it’ll be one that address issues in “2014/15 and beyond” (Twitter link). Another tweet from Trudell explains that the club won’t be dealing for a player that can make an immediate impact, and Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears from Kupchak that it’s actually been pretty quiet around the office as far as trade talks go (Twitter link). Let’s round up a few more tidbits in our nightly look around the league..
- Adam Zagoria of Sheridan Hoops looks toward the 2020 Summer Olympics and sees Canada’s potential team as a formidable force. Zagoria hears that college studs Andrew Wiggins and Tyler Ennis are expected to join forces with current NBA players Anthony Bennett, Andrew Nicholson, Kelly Olynyk, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph. It’s possible a similar team could assemble for the 2015 Olympic qualifiers, but Zagoria thinks 2020 is when the expected Canadian roster will be able to reach its full potential.
- Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu revealed he is interested in a potential NBA expansion into Europe. “Adam Silver, the new commissioner, is a great contributor to the sport,” said Bertomeu. ”We have met and I think that we have a future together. We want to increase our cooperation and we want to see things realistically.” Lefteris Moutis of EuroHoops.net has the full story.
- Silver looks even beyond Europe and sees opportunity for the NBA in markets all over the world, he tells Sam Amick of USA Today in an exclusive interview. “To me, the U.S. is less than 5% of the world’s population. So when I look at markets like the billion people in Africa, the over billion people that live in India, the (1.3 billion) that live in China, just those markets alone where we’re just barely scratching the surface, there is so much opportunity out there for us.”
- Amick’s piece sees Silver address a variety of hot-button issues, including the lottery, the minimum age for draft eligibility, and the latest CBA.
The Raptors continue to be aggressive in their search for the right Kyle Lowry trade, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, who echoed his own late-January dispatch on the subject as he answered reader questions in a chat. Ford also says the Sixers are still leaning toward taking Andrew Wiggins over Jabari Parker if they have the opportunity at draft time. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- The Blazers had talks with the Sixers in December about Spencer Hawes, tweets Jake Fischer of Liberty Ballers, who wonders if Portland will reignite those discussions now that Joel Freeland is sidelined for at least the next month with a sprained right MCL.
- Sixers camp invitee Khalif Wyatt has signed to play in the D-League, reports Gino Pilato of D-League Digest (Twitter link).
- The Celtics are keeping an eye on Turkish league center Colton Iverson, whom they took 53rd overall this past June, as Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia observes.
- Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com goes over the likely scenarios for the Celtics at the deadline, writing that it’s more likely the team trades Keith Bogans in the summer than in the next eight days.
- We rounded up news on the Knicks in a separate post.
Jabari Parker‘s Duke team played at Boston College tonight, and Celtics GM Danny Ainge was spotted in attendance by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, presumably to get a look at the forward (Twitter link). Parker did not disappoint, totaling career highs in points (29) and rebounds (16) for the Blue Devils. Here are some more notes surrounding the upcoming draft:
- Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe covers Parker‘s looming decision to enter the draft or not, and weighs opinions on whether his skill set will translate to the level of an NBA franchise player, potentially for the Celtics.
- Jake Henson of Sheridan Hoops updated his mock draft lottery, slotting Kansas freshman Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins in the first and second slots, respectively.
- Matt Moore of CBS Sports thinks that Aaron Gordon‘s talent level is so high, he could have gone first overall in last year’s draft. Moore gives a thorough rundown for Gordon’s game and stellar upside, while also pointing out some of his current weaknesses.
Here’s the latest we’ve come across regarding the 2014 NBA Draft:
- Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com (via Jeff Goodman of ESPN) tweets that Kansas center Joel Embiid is leaning toward staying another year in school. If true, this significantly impacts the 2014 draft, as the 7’0 big man has been projected by some to be the number one overall pick in June.
- In a piece for Zagsblog, Zagoria mentions that there are some sources close to the Kansas program who believe that Embiid would prefer to stay in school, although they also think the opportunity to play in the NBA next year may eventually be too great to pass up.
- In that same article, NBA analyst Greg Anthony tells Zagoria that he thinks Embiid should return to Kansas for another season: “(Joel’s) instincts aren’t where you want them to be. At (the NBA) level, they don’t teach, they coach…Our league drafts potential, it doesn’t draft a polished, finished product. I think a lot of these kids are really, really good and really talented but a lot of them could use another year.”
- Anthony applied the same logic to other heralded collegiate freshmen, including Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, and Aaron Gordon: “I would say that Jabari’s probably the most polished of all of them…And listen, it’s gonna be hard for them not to come out, I get that part. But it wouldn’t hurt any of them to come back to school…I’m a proponent of guys being able to come out of high school. I think these kids are more talented than the draft we had a year ago, but you want them to be a little bit more polished when they come here.
- Prospective 2014 lottery pick Dante Exum made it recently known that he’d like to be drafted by the Lakers next June, getting the ball rolling on speculation that his representation might try to find a way to dissuade undesired teams from drafting him. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders doesn’t put any faith into the idea that Exum’s agent can force the Australian point guard’s way to Los Angeles, adding that the rookie contract scale removes a lot of power out of the agent’s hands during the draft process. Overall, Kyler believes Exum’s comment has been blown out of proportion and warns not to read into it too much at this point, especially since Exum has yet to meet with a single team (All Twitter links).
In studying NBA history, one would be hard-pressed to find a championship team that didn’t draft and develop at least one star player who eventually led them to the Larry O’Brien trophy. As far as recent history is concerned, the 2003/04 Pistons appear to be an exception and Kobe Bryant technically wasn’t selected by the Lakers (he was traded for on draft night), but for the most part, fostering homegrown talent has been an undeniable component of the title equation.
Although not every team finds their future franchise cornerstone in every draft, the possibility of finding a young prospect who shows promise or presents a skill set that fills a need is enough to make the event an important one for the development of every NBA franchise. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News passes along the latest of what he’s heard regarding the 2014 Draft, and you can find it below:
- Kentucky coach John Calipari has been telling people from around the NBA that his twin recruits, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison, won’t be entering the 2014 NBA Draft. Deveney adds that many of the mock drafts worth reading have already moved the two to their 2015 projection.
- With that being said, a source with knowledge of the situation doesn’t think the Harrison twins should be counted out of this year’s draft just yet. Both are still reportedly giving strong consideration to entering their names for 2014, and while Calipari will be influential, their family – who played a big part in their commitment to Kentucky last year – will help make the final decision.
- Although there are restrictions against college players accepting anything from agents, there is no rule prohibiting them from forming relationships, even during the college season. According to Deveney, it’s no secret that potential number one pick Andrew Wiggins has been tied with Rich Paul of LRMR Marketing, the same agency that represents LeBron James. Most fellow agents expect the Kansas star to sign with Paul once he declares for the draft.
- Paul is also believed to be a candidate to represent Duke’s Jabari Parker, although Deveney writes that former Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong – an associate of reputable longtime NBA agent Arm Tellem – is also in the mix, especially since Parker is a Chicago native.
- Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State – currently projected to be a top five pick – has been linked to Aaron Mintz of the CAA, who represents Pacers star Paul George among others.