- The Suns are most likely to pick Bender provided they don’t end up with a top-2 pick, Ford argues in the same piece. Phoenix has a 24.5% chance at landing a top-2 pick and a 82.8% chance at landing a top-5 selection.
- Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins has his first workout tomorrow with Indiana, but he has several more on tap after that, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv, who tweets that Cousins will work out for the Nuggets, Spurs, Rockets, and Suns.
The Celtics have a tentative workout scheduled with Duke small forward Brandon Ingram, a prime contender to become the No. 1 pick, reports Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link). The outcome of the lottery will determine whether it takes place, according to Murphy, and presumably, the Celtics will have to land one of the top two selections. Ingram is the top prospect in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings and second in the listings Chad Ford of ESPN.com compiles.
See more draft news on day three of the combine:
- Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson and Kansas forward/center Cheick Diallo have told teams they’ve decided to stay in the draft rather than pull out by May 25th to retain their college eligibility, reports Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
- The Pacers, Warriors, Spurs, Wizards, Rockets and Mavericks are among the teams that have spoken with Syracuse swingman Michael Gbinije, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
- Notre Dame point guard Demetrius Jackson has interviewed with the Suns, Spurs, Kings, Trail Blazers and Bucks, observes Rod Beard of The Detroit News, who also cites Jackson’s previously reported interview with the Pistons.
- Villanova shooting guard Josh Hart has worked out for the Clippers and has another workout scheduled with the Hawks on May 24th, as Zagoria relays. He’ll also work out for the Celtics and Spurs, and his previously reported workout with the Sixers takes place Monday, Zagoria reveals. The Knicks, Wizards, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Pacers, Grizzlies and Jazz interviewed Hart at the combine, according to Zagoria.
- Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan has the Pistons, Hawks, Wizards and Suns among the teams on his interview list, Zagoria tweets.
Skal Labissiere‘s impressive private workout on Wednesday didn’t quite measure up to the hype, contends Chad Ford of ESPN.com in an Insider-only piece, who pegs the draft range for the Kentucky big man as No. 9 to No. 20. The Suns and Kings are among the teams Labissiere has interviewed with at the combine, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv, echoing previous reports about interviews with Philadelphia and New Orleans. Ford’s sources remain solidly in the camp of Ben Simmons over Brandon Ingram for the top overall pick, while it appears it’s a battle between Jamal Murray and Kris Dunn for the No. 3 pick, Ford hears. Still, no one had a more impressive combine showing Thursday than Cheick Diallo, a high second-round prospect, according to Ford. Both his strengths and weaknesses were on display, as Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress detail. The Kansas center/forward says he’ll probably remain in the draft, as Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv details, adding the Warriors, Mavericks, Nets, Sixers, Knicks and Raptors to the list of teams he’s interviewing with at the combine.
See more updates as the combine continues:
- The Lakers interviewed Ingram, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
- The Bulls, Hawks, Kings, Spurs and Rockets are among the teams interviewing Cal swingman Jaylen Brown, as he told reporters and as Basketball Insiders relays in a video. Also on the list are Boston and Minnesota, as we passed along earlier.
- UNLV shooting guard Patrick McCaw listed the Raptors, Bucks, Hornets, Cavaliers and Heat, as well as a previously reported meeting with Boston, among his interviews, as Basketball Insiders relays in another video.
- Wisconsin power forward Nigel Hayes will work out for the Suns, Celtics and Knicks, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link). Ford heard some negativity surrounding his performance Thursday.
- The Pelicans, Knicks, Mavericks, Hornets and Lakers are the previously unreported teams on the interview list for Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, as J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic relays. Ford heard from NBA types down on Trimble’s showing Thursday.
- Former Iona combo guard A.J. English met with the Pelicans and will do so with the Wizards and Nets, Zagoria tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
- The Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets and Grizzlies are the previously unreported teams interviewing Seton Hall shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead, Zagoria relays (Twitter link). He’ll work out for the Sixers on Monday, the Pacers on Wednesday, the Celtics on May 20th and the Bulls on May 23rd, a source tells Zach Braziller of the New York Post (Twitter links). Boston, Indiana and Chicago are particularly interested in him, Braziller hears.
The NBA draft combine began Wednesday and kicks into high gear today. The players have been measured, with the the NBA releasing the results on its website, and drills and five-on-five action will take place for willing participants. The general rule is this: The more highly regarded the prospect, the fewer combine events in which he takes part. Cameron Payne was the only eventual 2015 lottery pick who did any basketball activity at last year’s combine, notes Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (Twitter link). Top-pick contender Ben Simmons is among those who are skipping the combine altogether, while lottery prospects Kris Dunn and Deyonta Davis will be limited participants, Givony and Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com report (Twitter links). Interviews with teams are a key part of the combine, as The Vertical’s Bobby Marks details, but teams don’t directly select the players they interview, as Marks explains.
Here’s more news on the draft:
- Givony, writing for The Vertical, said the private workout Skal Labissiere had Wednesday was one of the best he’s ever seen. The big man from Kentucky also interviewed with the Sixers on Wednesday, a source told Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly (Twitter link).
- Top-10 prospects Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray are among those interviewing with the Celtics, reports Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).
- First-round prospect DeAndre’ Bembry will work out for the Sixers on Monday, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The small forward from St. Joseph’s met with the Nets on Wednesday, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link), and Bembry also interviewed with the Thunder, Wizards, Spurs, Pelicans and Knicks, Pompey adds (via Twitter).
- St. Joseph’s power forward Isaiah Miles worked out for the Celtics this week and will do so for the Nets on May 19th, Pompey also reports. The Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets, Bucks and Knicks will also work him out, according to Pompey, who adds that he’ll interview with the Pacers and Wizards at the combine and previously interviewed with the Mavs, Spurs, Magic and Grizzlies at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a showcase for seniors.
- The Nets are among the teams working out Kentucky combo guard Isaiah Briscoe, sources tell Evan Daniels of Scout.com (Twitter link), who also echoes previous reports of his workouts with three other teams.
- Oklahoma senior shooting guard Isaiah Cousins will work out Tuesday for the Pacers, Zagoria tweets.
- Oakland University point guard Kay Felder met Wednesday with the Suns, Pelicans, Jazz, Nuggets, Cavaliers, Celtics and Nets, reports Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).
- Evansville center Egidijus Mockevicius will work out for the Nets, Bulls and Pacers, reports Daniel Allar of the Courier & Press (Twitter links). The Nuggets, Cavaliers and Magic are also interested in scheduling workouts with him, Allar adds.
- The Suns highly value the predraft interview process and believe that how a player performs under that type of pressure carries over to how well he responds to adversity on the court, writes Matt Petersen of NBA.com. The team was extremely impressed last year when it spoke with Devin Booker, whom it selected with the No. 13 pick, assistant GM Pat Connelly told Petersen. “He definitely stuck out in the interview,” Connelly said of Booker. “It’s not an easy thing to go into a room with a bunch of people you don’t know. We’re just one of the teams there. We had our early prep feel for Devin, but he came in and he was very confident. He answered questions really well, never got flustered in a situation. Some of the stuff you saw on the court with him now – walking into a new situation or being put in a new situation and looking like he was comfortable – it was the same thing there.”
- Perhaps no team other than the Celtics is better positioned for the future than the Suns are, The Vertical’s Bobby Marks opines. Phoenix will have three first-round picks this year, assuming Washington doesn’t get lucky in the lottery, and the Heat owe two first-rounders for future seasons as a result of the Dragic trade. The Suns also have draft-and-stash prospect Bogdan Bogdanovic, a former first-rounder, as Marks points out.
A major draft-related event takes place this week, as scouts, executives and these prospects will gather for the NBA combine in Chicago from Wednesday through Sunday. Teams will start working out players in earnest after that, though some auditions have already taken place. Here’s the latest on that front with the June 23rd draft little more than six weeks away:
- The workouts that former Indiana University point guard Yogi Ferrell has with the Lakers and Clippers are slated for May 16th and 18th, respectively, tweets Jonathan Goodman of ESPN.com, advancing an earlier report from Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Ferrell will also work out for the Suns on the 20th, Jazz on the 22nd, Bulls on the 23rd, Hawks on the 25th, Mavericks on the 26th, Pistons on the 31st, Wizards on June 2nd, Nets on June 8th, and Knicks on June 10th, Goodman reveals. Ferrell is trying to work his way into the second round, with Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranking him No. 66 while Chad Ford of ESPN.com rates him only 99th.
- Massive UC Irvine center Mamadou Ndiaye will work out for the Rockets and Lakers, Goodman tweets. Givony, who ranks him the 30th-best prospect among juniors, lists Ndiaye at 7’6″, while Goodman says he’s 7’5″. Ford, who also lists him at 7’6″, ranks him the 136th-best prospect overall.
- Utah State small forward Jalen Moore will work out with the Grizzlies on May 16th, the Timberwolves on the 18th and the Nets on the 23rd, as he tells Goodman (Twitter link). Moore is Givony‘s 69th-best junior and Ford‘s 190th prospect overall.
- The Hawks worked out Taurean Prince, Justin Jackson, Nigel Hayes, Pascal Siakam, Alex Hamilton and Wes Washpun on Saturday, a source told Jake Fischer of SI Now (Twitter link).
- The Suns need to decide which combination of players will form their backcourt of the future with Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Devin Booker all likely to vie for starting slots, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes in his offseason primer for the franchise. Another upcoming decision the front office will need to make is regarding the center position, Marks adds. With Tyson Chandler signed for three more seasons and Alex Len set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, Phoenix may not want to pay both players big money and may need to make a tough call on whom to retain, Marks writes.
- The Suns have decided not to re-sign assistant coaches Bob Hill and Corey Gaines, as well as player development assistant Irving Roland, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. It’s somewhat surprising to see the team decline to keep Hill, the former Knicks, Spurs, Pacers and SuperSonics head coach who joined the staff in February at the behest of Earl Watson. Phoenix removed Watson’s interim tag last month, formally making him the head coach.