The NBA and the NBPA announced today that blood testing for Human Growth Hormone will commence under the league’s anti-drug program, beginning during the 2015/16 NBA season. According to the official announcement, all NBA players will be subject to three random, unannounced HGH tests annually (two in-season, and one during the offseason), and players will also be subject to reasonable cause testing for HGH. If a player tests positive for HGH, he will be suspended 20 games for his first violation, 45 games for his second violation, and he will be dismissed and disqualified from the NBA for his third violation.
Here’s more from around the league:
- Pelicans GM Dell Demps refuted a report asserting that he and coach Monty Williams were under the mandate this season to make the playoffs or lose their jobs, John Reid of the Times Picayune relays. ”I am hoping to keep the focus on the Pelicans and our playoff run,” Demps said. ”To answer the question, I did not receive a mandate to make the playoffs from ownership or anyone else. That conversation did not happen. Our ownership group has been very supportive, patient and given us all the resources to be successful.”
- 21-year-old Bosnian forward Adin Vrabac, who is currently playing in Germany, will declare for the 2015 NBA draft, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress tweets. Vrabac, who isn’t currently projected to be picked in June, withdrew from last year’s draft after initially declaring his intent to enter.
- The 2016 NBA draft is projected to be a much weaker field than this year’s, Givony told Josh Newman of SNY.tv (Twitter links). The player pool could improve based on which underclassmen decide to return to school this year, Newman adds.
- Chris Mannix of SI.com unveiled his initial 2015 mock draft and his top three players are Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, and Emmanuel Mudiay.
- Despite the 2015 NBA draft still being over two months away, scouts and executives are already turning their gaze toward the 2016 class and Australian Ben Simmons, Howard Beck of Bleacher Report writes. The 6’10” Simmons possesses point guard skills and is the projected No. 1 overall pick next season by Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required), Beck notes. One NBA executive was so enamored with Simmons’ potential, he said that the player was worth tanking for, Beck adds. Simmons will attend LSU next season.