In the view of NBA general managers and scouts, The league’s 2017 draft is poised to be the strongest in a decade, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider-only link), who has updated his big board with profiles of this year’s top 30 prospects. Washington guard Markelle Fultz remains atop Ford’s board, though he acknowledges that it’s no slam dunk that Fultz will be the No. 1 pick in June. Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson, other candidates for that top spot, held their respective positions at Nos. 2 and 3, while Dennis Smith and Jonathan Isaac moved up to round out Ford’s top five.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Givony’s latest prospect profiles for The Vertical include a player who may be the early frontrunner to come off the board first in the 2018 draft. According to Givony, 17-year-old Luka Doncic is making waves in Europe with his play for Real Madrid this season, having become the youngest player to secure a rotation spot for a Euroleague team since Ricky Rubio in 2007. And so far, Doncic’s production is blowing away Rubio’s, Givony writes.
Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…
- After appearing in 62 games last season for the Mavericks, longtime NBA big man Charlie Villanueva didn’t re-sign with Dallas or land with a new team in free agency. However, Villanueva doesn’t appear to be ready for retirement yet. The 11-year veteran issued the following tweet on Tuesday: “I want back in #NBAcomeback.”
- Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams will co-captain one of the eight BIG3 teams this summer, according to a press release from the league. The team featuring Lewis, Williams, and three additional players will be known as the 3 Headed Monsters.
- Cliff Alexander, who was in camp with the Magic in the fall and has spent the season with Orlando’s D-League affiliate, was traded on Tuesday. According to a press release, the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s NBADL affiliate, acquired Alexander from the Erie BayHawks in exchange for Long Island’s third-round pick in 2017. In 22 D-League games this season for Erie, the Kansas product has recorded 11.9 PPG and 8.0 RPG.