Draft Rumors: Zizic, Baldwin, Greene, Wizards

Croatian center Ante Zizic, who is under contract with Cibona Zagreb, is open to going the draft-and-stash route, according to international journalist David Pick (Twitter links). The 19-year-old, 6’11” Zizic is considered a first-round talent. He’s ranked No. 26 by DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony and No. 22 on ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s Big Board. Several international scouts have told Ford that Zizic, the fourth-ranked center, could be a steal in this year’s draft because of his low-post game, rebounding and toughness. Zizic declared for the draft earlier this month, but with his contract tying him to Cibona for another year, it’s either become a draft-and-stash pick or pull out of the draft by June 13th, Pick notes.
In other developments regarding the June 23rd draft:
  • Forwards Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are the top two picks in ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s latest mock draft. Ford projects that the Sixers, who have the best odds of gaining the No. 1 selection, will grab Simmons because of the higher upside he has compared to Ingram, with the Lakers then taking the Duke freshman. Point guard Jamal Murray (Celtics) and power forwards Dragan Bender (Suns) and Henry Ellenson (Timberwolves) round out Ford’s top five.
  • Vanderbilt point guard Wade Baldwin has signed with Priority Sports, tweets ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Baldwin was linked earlier this month to Priority Sports as his potential representative, according to a tweet from Pick. The 6’3” Baldwin is currently ranked No. 16 by Givony, while Ford pegs him at No. 23.
  • Kansas swingman Brannen Greene has signed with Sam Goldfeder of Excel, Goodman reports in a separate tweet. Greene barely cracks the Top 100 list by Givony at No. 99, while Ford doesn’t list him on his Big Board.
  • UNLV’s Derrick Jones is officially staying in the draft and has signed with Aaron Turner, Goodman reported in another tweet. The 6’6” small forward is not ranked in the Top 100 by either Givony or Ford.
  • The Wizards do not plan to trade into the draft despite the strong possibility they will lose their first-rounder, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Washington sent a top-nine protected pick to the Suns in the deadline deal for power forward Markieff Morris. Unless the Wizards get a top-three selection via the lottery, they’ll lose the pick. Team president Ernie Grunfeld told Castillo and other media members he’s not keen on making a draft-related deal. “We look at Markieff as being our draft pick, and I don’t think we’ll get a player where we’d be drafting that can do the kind of things that he can do, and be under contract for three years like that, and still be young but proven,” Grunfeld said.
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