2018 NBA Draft

Draft Notes: Huell, Rose, Pipkins, Caroline

With the deadline to withdraw from the draft coming on Wednesday, several players have reached their final decisions. Among them is Miami forward Dewan Huell, who will return to school for his junior season, writes Jordan McPherson of The Miami Herald.

Huell, who made a formal announcement on Twitter earlier today, averaged 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 32 games this season. “I’m really excited to get back to work with my brothers so we can accomplish more than ever during the 2018-19 season,” he wrote.

Huell doesn’t appear in the list of top 100 prospects compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and would have been a long shot to be drafted.

There’s more draft-related news to pass along:

Draft Notes: B. Brown, Govan, Lakers, Bulls

Kansas State junior guard Barry Brown will be returning to the Wildcats for his senior year, he confirmed in an announcement today on Twitter.

“Although the process was more than enjoyable, I have decided to withdraw my name from the 2018 NBA Draft,” Brown wrote in a statement. “Thank you to everyone who supported me, and I am looking forward to finishing my senior season as a WILDCAT!”

Brown, who had workouts with the Lakers and Nets, averaged 15.9 PPG, 3.2 APG, 3.1 RPG, and 1.8 SPG for Kansas State in 2017/18. He’ll look to build on those numbers in his senior season before becoming draft-eligible again next spring.

Here are more draft-related notes and updates:

East Draft Notes: Hawks, Wizards, Raptors, Nets

UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday and Villanova floor leader Jalen Brunson headline the list of six players the Hawks will work out on Friday, according to a team press release. Holiday is ranked No. 17 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Brunson is rated No. 26 overall.

Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Rawle Alkins (Arizona), Juwan Morgan (Indiana) and Tony Carr (Penn State) are the other players trying to make a favorable impression. The Hawks hosted Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech), Jalen McDaniels (San Diego State), Markis McDuffie (Wichita State), Doral Moore (Wake Forest) and Brandon Sampson (LSU) on Thursday.

In other draft workouts by Eastern Conference clubs:

Hornets Rumors: Walker, Quinter, Whiteside, Workouts

A lottery pick and a young player would be a reasonable return in any trade involving Kemba Walker, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. In consultation with ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Bonnell takes an in-depth look into the possibility of trading Walker, who has a year remaining on his contract. All-Star caliber point guards are highly valued but any suitor would want to feel they could re-sign Walker. The Hornets could package a bad contract with Walker but only if he committed to re-signing with his new team, Bonnell adds.

In other developments involving the Hornets:

  • The Hornets have parted ways with director of pro personnel Todd Quinter, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Changes are being made in the Charlotte organization with recently-hired Mitch Kupchak running the front office. Quinter is one of the league’s most seasoned scouts, Stein notes.
  • It wouldn’t make sense for the Hornets to pursue Heat center Hassan Whiteside in a trade, Bonnell opines in a separate story. The Hornets already have an older version of Whiteside in Dwight Howard and don’t need to saddle their payroll by adding Whiteside’s contract, which has two years and $52.4MM remaining, Bonnell continues. The Hornets would be better off moving forward next summer after Howard’s contract expires, Bonnel adds.
  • Charlotte is bringing in six draft prospects on Friday: Guards Connor Burchfield (William & Mary), Jon Davis (Charlotte), Lexus Williams (Boise State) and Ray Ona Embo (Tulane); forward Marcanvis Hymon (Ole Miss); and center Bakary Konate (Minnesota).

Draft Notes: Doncic, Maye, Roach, Konate

While he has long been considered a strong candidate to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Luka Doncic no longer appears to be a lock to even be a top-three selection, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link). While it’s hard to know what to believe at this time of year, Givony explains to Kevin Pelton that the Kings, Hawks, and Grizzlies didn’t send anyone to watch the EuroLeague Final Four in person last week, and several NBA evaluators seem to have cooled on Doncic.

Givony believes those evaluators are overthinking matters, but admits “the skepticism is a lot more prevalent than expected.” As ESPN’s draft guru explains, some people around the league have concerns about Doncic’s athleticism – or lack thereof – and his ability to keep improving. However, Givony points to Doncic’s incredible workload over the last 18 months, along with European teams’ relative inattention to players’ diets and conditioning, as reasons why the young star may have not looked quite as impressive in recent months as he did last fall. On an NBA schedule, working with NBA coaches, those issues could be addressed.

Ultimately, Givony and Pelton both believe that Doncic is worthy of the No. 1 pick, with Givony writing that the 19-year-old is “too productive, too skilled, too smart and too good a fit in the modern game to pass up.” However, it remains to be seen how many teams at the top of the draft will agree with that assessment.

Here’s more on the 2018 NBA draft:

  • UNC forward Luke Maye has decided to return to the Tar Heels for his senior year after testing the draft waters, he announced today on Instagram. Maye, who earned a spot on the All-ACC First Team and was named the conference’s Most Improved Player, averaged a double-double (16.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG) in 2017/18.
  • Texas guard Kerwin Roach II has withdrawn his name from the 2018 draft and will head back to the Longhorns for his senior year, the school announced in a press release. “I’m hungry for the opportunity to make a career in the NBA, but I realize I have to improve in so many areas on the court,” Roach said in a statement. “I’m also on pace to earn my degree, and that is a big deal for me and my family.”
  • After testing the draft waters without an agent, West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate will head back to school for his junior year, he confirms to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Sean Deveney of The Sporting News and the staff at Basketball Insiders are among those who have released new mock drafts this week.

Draft Workouts: Grizzlies, Delgado, Huerter, Alkins

While the Grizzlies hold the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, the group of prospects working out for the team on Thursday won’t be candidates to come off the board that early. Memphis also holds the No. 32 selection, so today’s workout participants will vie to receive consideration at that spot. According to a team release, Braian Angola (Florida State), Justin Bibbs (Virginia Tech), Chris Chiozza (Florida), Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech), Admiral Schofield (Tennessee), and Jonathan Stark (Murray State) are getting a look today from the Grizzlies.

Here’s more pre-draft workout news:

  • Seton Hall big man Angel Delgado and Maryland guard Kevin Huerter each have workouts on tap with the Lakers and then the Jazz, per Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter links).
  • In addition to his previously reported workouts, Arizona guard Rawle Alkins has an audition with the Suns scheduled for next week, according to Zagoria, who adds that Alkins will also have a Pro Day next Thursday.
  • Zagoria provides another workout update, tweeting that Miami’s Dewan Huell has auditioned for the Thunder, Cavaliers, Bucks, Hawks, and Grizzlies so far. Huell, who is testing the waters without an agent, remains undecided about whether or not to stay in the draft.
  • After working out for Washington this week, Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham will work out for the Suns, Hawks, Rockets, Grizzlies, and about six or seven teams after that, he tells Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).
  • Xavier’s J.P. Macura, who has a workout lined up with the Spurs, met with the Bucks, Clippers, Magic, and Pacers at this week’s Pro Basketball Combine, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

Atlantic Notes: Ivey, DiVincenzo, Lin, Bridges

In some similar news for two different franchises from the Atlantic Division, both the Knicks and the Sixers are reportedly interested in hiring Royal Ivey as an assistant coach, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic and Ian Begley of ESPN.

Ivey, who is from New York City, has been an assistant coach for the Thunder for the last two seasons after starting his post-playing career as a coach for their G League team, the Blue, but could perhaps be looking for an opportunity closer to home.

Per Begley, Ivey has already interviewed with the Knicks for a position of new coach David Fizdale’s staff, while the Sixers are reported to simply have interest in the 36 year old at this time.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge is apparently interested in combine standout and Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo, as the former NBA guard and the current Wildcat went to lunch together after DiVincenzo’s workout in Boston, reports Adam Zagoria of SportsNet New York.
  • In a wide-ranging piece for The Athletic, Mike Vorkunov details the return from injury for Nets’ point guard Jeremy Lin, who signed a three-year, $36 million contract in 2016 but has been unable to play very often since signing the deal, appearing in only 37 games in the past two seasons. Lin now says he is nearly ready to play and “pretty much at that point where everything is good to go.”
  • One target and/or option for the Knicks at No. 9 in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft is Villanova swingman Mikal Bridges. Per Ian Begley of ESPN, team president Steve Mills, GM Scott Perry, and director of scouting Kristian Petesi were all at his pro day today in New York.

Draft Workouts: Jazz, Ball, Ona Embo, Pinson

Armed with the 21st and 52nd overall picks in next month’s draft, the Jazz are taking a look at a wide range of prospects this week, according to the team.

On Tuesday, the Jazz brought in Jaylen Barford (Arkansas), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Dwight Coleby (Western Kentucky), Jock Landale (St. Mary’s), Caleb Martin (Nevada), and Kenneth Ogbe (Utah Valley) for auditions (Twitter links).

The team’s series of workouts continued today with Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), Chimezie Metu (USC), Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s), PJ Washington (Kentucky), Mustapha Heron (Auburn), and Matt Mobley (St. Bonaventure) earning a look from the Jazz (Twitter link).

Here’s more pre-draft workout news from around the league:

  • After a stint in Lithuania, LiAngelo Ball has returned stateside to audition for NBA teams ahead of the 2018 draft. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), Lonzo Ball‘s younger brother interviewed with the Thunder and Suns at the Pro Basketball Combine, and has private workouts on tap with the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors.
  • A report earlier this week indicated that Tulane’s Ray Ona Embo is expected to withdraw from the draft, but it appears he’s going through with his scheduled workouts before making a final decision. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) hears from Ona Embo’s brother that the sophomore guard has a workout with the Hornets lined up for Friday.
  • Former UNC wing Theo Pinson has worked out for the Celtics and Timberwolves so far, and will audition for the Rockets on Thursday, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Pinson also has a Knicks workout on his calendar for June 12, Zagoria adds.
  • According to Zagoria (via Twitter), Syracuse early entrant Tyus Battle is working out for the Magic on Wednesday.

Lakers Rumors: Ball, Workouts, Caldwell-Pope

Lakers guard Lonzo Ball is focused on gaining strength and stamina to become less injury-prone next season, teammate Kyle Kuzma told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other media members on Tuesday. Ball played in only 52 games during his rookie campaign due to a variety of ailments.

“He has been in there pretty much every day I have been in here around this time,” Kuzma said of Ball’s weight training. “You can tell he is taking the weight room a lot more serious and that is going to help him by allowing him to recover faster and hopefully next year be on the court more because of that weight room.”

In other news regarding the Lakers:

  • West Virginia guard Jevon Carter is among six prospects the Lakers will work out on Wednesday, the team announced on its website. Carter is ranked No. 44 on ESPN Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 list. Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dayton), Elijah Bryant (BYU), Trey Kell (San Diego State) and Omari Spellman (Villanova) will join Carter. Gary Trent Jr. of Duke will also be there, as previously reported.
  • The Spurs are a logical candidate to pursue free agent shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype speculates. San Antonio could lose Danny Green if he opts out of his contract. Caldwell-Pope could replace him and the Spurs have their mid-level exception to offer him, Urbina continues. The Clippers and Grizzlies may also be in the market for a starting shooting guard, though it’s possible KCP could get another one-year offer from the Lakers if they don’t land two top-level free agents, Urbina adds.
  • Kuzma was named to the league’s All-Rookie First Team while Ball earned Second Team honors. You can see the All-Rookie teams here.

Draft Notes: Robinson, Kings, Bluiett, Rorie, Caldwell

Despite reports suggesting otherwise, the Lakers aren’t believed to have made a promise to Mitchell Robinson to take him in the first round, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Robinson skipped last week’s combine and a report surfaced that the Lakers made a pledge to him with the No. 25 overall pick. The seven-footer did not play college basketball, as he withdrew from Western Kentucky as a freshman last September to focus on the draft. He’s ranked as the No. 22 prospect on ESPN Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 list.

In other draft-related developments: