2019 NBA Draft

Grizzlies Want 2019 First-Round Pick To Convey To Celtics

Coming into tonight’s action, the Grizzlies were in second-to-last place in the Western Conference standings, but only four games back of the eighth seed and a playoff berth. And while the playoffs are certainly always a goal for a team not in rebuilding mode, Memphis has another important reason for not embracing the tank.

Per Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian, a secondary but equally important goal for the Grizzlies this season is to ensure that their 2019 first-round pick is conveyed to the Celtics. As we relayed yesterday, the 2019 draft class is viewed as fairly average, and if the Grizzlies keep this year’s pick (protected 1-8), they’ll just owe Boston a future first-rounder with fewer protections (1-6 in 2020 and unprotected in 2021).

If the Grizzlies do keep their pick this summer, they could certainly get lucky, move up in the lottery, and draft one of the consensus top picks such as Duke teammates Zion WilliamsonR.J. Barrett, or Cam Reddish. But the odds of this are low. For instance, the eighth-worst team (i.e. the best the Grizzlies could finish and not have their pick convey) only has a 21.1% chance of getting a top-3 pick.

And even if the Grizzlies were to embrace the tank, the worst three teams (which the Grizzlies would be hard-pressed to become given the Cavs, Bulls, Suns, and Knicks’ issues) each still only have a 40.1% chance at a top-3 pick. So either way (finishing worst to eighth-worst), it’s more likely than not that Memphis wouldn’t get a difference maker in this year’s draft, explaining why the front office would rather the pick convey this summer and ensure the team has its 2020 first-round pick.

2018/19 NBA Reverse Standings Update

Throughout the 2018/19 NBA season, Hoops Rumors is maintaining a feature that allows you to keep an eye on what the 2019 draft order will look like. Our 2018/19 Reverse Standings tool, which lists the NBA’s 30 teams from worst to first, is updated daily to reflect the outcomes of the previous night’s games.

Our Reverse Standings are essentially a reflection of what 2019’s draft order would look like with no changes to lottery position. We’ve noted each club’s odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick, based on the league’s updated lottery format.

In instances where two non-playoff teams or two playoff teams have identical records, the order in our standings isn’t necessarily definitive — for draft purposes, the NBA breaks ties via random drawings, so those drawings would happen at the end of the year. Of course, the 14 non-playoff teams all draft before the 16 playoff teams, even if some non-playoff teams have better records than playoff teams. Our reverse standings account for that.

Traded first-round picks are included via footnotes. For example, the note next to Cleveland’s pick says that the Cavaliers will send their pick to the Hawks if it’s not in the top 10. As of today, Cleveland is in a tie for the NBA’s worst record, meaning that pick wouldn’t change hands.

The current reverse standings exhibit clearly why so few NBA teams have emerged as sellers on the trade market. Five clubs – the Cavs, Suns, Knicks, Bulls, and Hawks – are within 4.5 games of the worst record, but the league’s sixth-worst team – the Wizards – is 4.5 games removed from any of those clubs, and still has postseason aspirations.

Our Reverse Standings tracker can be found at anytime on the right sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features” on our desktop site, or on the “Features” page in our mobile menu. It’s a great resource not just for monitoring a team’s draft position, but also for keeping an eye on whether or not traded picks with protection will be changing hands in 2019. So be sure to check back often as the season progresses!

Note: Mobile users are advised to turn their phones sideways when viewing the Reverse Standings in order to see team records and lottery odds.

And-Ones: Henderson, Spoelstra, Bol, K. Allen

Gerald Henderson‘s efforts to make an NBA comeback will be put on hold for now, and perhaps for the rest of 2018/19, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Sources tell Haynes that the veteran guard is joining the Hornets’ broadcast team at FOX Sports Southeast, apparently for the remainder of the season.

Henderson, who missed the entire 2017/18 season due to a hip injury, spoke back in June about hoping to catch on with an NBA team for the ’18/19 campaign. However, it seems that no opportunities materialized for the former 12th overall pick.

Still just 31 years old, Henderson last played in the NBA for the Sixers, appearing in 72 games for Philadelphia in 2016/17. He averaged 9.2 PPG with a .423/.353/.806 shooting line in a regular rotation role for the club.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • After Tom Thibodeau became the fourth NBA coach in the last two years to lose his dual title of head coach and president of basketball operations, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports writes that the trend has run its course. While that may be the case for now, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst believes it’s just a matter of time until we see another franchise try it. Windhorst suggests that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will be a candidate to assume some or all of Pat Riley‘s personnel control when Riley eventually retires.
  • Within that same ESPN story, Windhorst reports that NBA teams remain “very high” on Oregon center Bol Bol, who was ruled out for the rest of his freshman season after undergoing foot surgery. Clubs will always be wary of big men with foot injuries, but Bol has a solid support system in place, and a number of executives believe he could still be a top-10 pick in June’s draft, per Windhorst.
  • Former Celtics guard Kadeem Allen, who is playing for the Knicks’ G League affiliate after spending the preseason with New York, spoke to Adam Zagoria for The Arizona Daily Star about his desire to get back into the NBA.

Top Prospect Bol Bol Ruled Out For Rest Of Season

4:59pm: Projected first-round pick Bol Bol has confirmed he will miss the rest of the season, writing on social media, “Playing for my dream school under my favorite Coach Altman has been the Best part of my life and sadly it has come to end sooner than I would Like, but thank you for all those who rocking with me & all Oregon fans.” 

Bol Bol underwent surgery on Thursday to repair a non-displaced fracture of the navicular bone in his left foot, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, who adds that he’s expected to miss at least 8-10 weeks and return to full basketball activities this summer.

12:38pm: Oregon center Bol Bol may not return this season for the Ducks, according to Matt Prehm of 247Sports.com, who hears from sources that Bol is dealing with a stress fracture in his left foot. According to Prehm, a final decision has yet to be made, but multiple sources say they don’t expect Bol to get back on the court in 2018/19.

“I would be completely shocked if Bol played the rest of this year,” one source told Prehm. Another source indicated that the 19-year-old, who has already sat out Oregon’s last four games, will definitely miss at least the next couple weeks and is “highly doubtful” to appear in any games beyond that.

Bol, a 7’2″ freshman, was off to a great start this season for Oregon, averaging 21.0 PPG on .570/.520/.757 shooting through nine games. The versatile big man also contributed 9.6 RPG and 2.7 BPG.

In their most recent 2019 mock draft at ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz had Bol coming off the board at No. 5. Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who updated his big board earlier today, ranked Bol ninth, citing concerns about the youngster’s “rail-thin build” and “oft-questioned work ethic.”

Health concerns would only increase the uncertainty surrounding Bol’s stock, so it probably makes sense for him to play it safe and avoid the risk of aggravating his foot issue further by rushing back for Oregon.

Checking In On 2019’s Traded First-Round Picks

Of the eight 2019 first-round picks that have already been traded, seven had some sort of protections on them from the moment they were dealt. The eighth – Sacramento’s first-rounder – started off as unprotected when it was sent to the Sixers, but Philadelphia added protections and swap rights to it when it was re-routed to Boston in 2017’s Markelle Fultz/Jayson Tatum blockbuster.

In other words, the destinations for all eight of this year’s traded first-round picks will hinge on the NBA’s 2018/19 league standings.

[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Reverse Standings]

With the regular season nearing its halfway point, it’s worth checking in on those protected first-round picks to get a sense of which ones are likely to change hands and which ones may end up falling within their protected ranges.

Here’s a breakdown of where things stand right now:

Traded picks that are likely to change hands:

  • Kings‘ pick to Celtics
    • Protection: Top-1
    • Current draft slot: No. 14
  • Nuggets‘ pick to Nets
    • Protection: Top-12
    • Current draft slot: No. 28
  • Raptors‘ pick to Spurs
    • Protection: Top-20
    • Current draft slot: No. 29

The Nuggets and Raptors look like good bets to finish near the top of their respective conferences, so their late first-rounders will almost certainly be conveyed in 2019. As for the Kings‘ pick, it’ll head to Boston if it’s not the No. 1 overall pick and if it’s more favorable than Philadelphia’s first-round selection. Right now, the Sixers‘ first-rounder projects to be No. 24, so the Celtics will likely end up with Sacramento’s first-rounder.

Traded picks that are unlikely to change hands:

  • Cavaliers‘ pick to Hawks
    • Protection: Top-10
    • Current draft slot: No. 1
  • Bucks‘ pick to Suns
    • Protection: Top-3 and 17-30
    • Current draft slot: No. 30

Even with the NBA’s new draft lottery rules instituted for 2019, teams can’t fall more than four spots as a result of the lottery results. So the Cavaliers would need to have a pretty strong second half for their pick to be in any real danger. The Bucks, meanwhile, have the NBA’s best record, so the odds of their first-rounder falling between 4-16 are minuscule.

Traded picks that remain up in the air:

  • Mavericks’ pick to Hawks
    • Protection: Top-5
    • Current draft slot: No. 11
  • Grizzlies‘ pick to Celtics
    • Protection: Top-8
    • Current draft slot: No. 13
  • Clippers‘ pick to Celtics
    • Protection: Top-14
    • Current draft slot: No. 19/20 (tie)

If the season ended today and there were no major lottery surprises, these picks would all change hands. Given how close the Western Conference standings are, however, that outlook could change quickly. Of these three teams, the Clippers may be the most likely to hang onto their pick, since they’ll need to make the playoffs in order for Boston to get their first-rounder.

The other two look reasonably likely to change hands for now, but the NBA’s new lottery system shouldn’t be overlooked as a potential wild-card factor here. Let’s say the Mavericks finish with the NBA’s 10th-worst record — under the old system, they would have had just a 4.0% chance at jumping into the top three. Under the new system, they’d have a 13.9% at moving into the top four and keeping their pick.

2018/19 NBA Reverse Standings Update

Throughout the 2018/19 NBA season, Hoops Rumors is maintaining a feature that allows you to keep an eye on what the 2019 draft order will look like. Our 2018/19 Reverse Standings tool, which lists the NBA’s 30 teams from worst to first, is updated daily to reflect the outcomes of the previous night’s games.

Our Reverse Standings are essentially a reflection of what 2019’s draft order would look like with no changes to lottery position. We’ve noted each club’s odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick, based on the league’s updated lottery format.

[RELATED: How New Lottery Odds Will Affect NBA’s Race To The Bottom]

In instances where two non-playoff teams or two playoff teams have identical records, the order in our standings isn’t necessarily definitive — for draft purposes, the NBA breaks ties via random drawings, so those drawings would happen at the end of the year. Of course, the 14 non-playoff teams all draft before the 16 playoff teams, even if some non-playoff teams have better records than playoff teams. Our reverse standings account for that.

Traded first-round picks are included via footnotes. For example, the note next to Cleveland’s pick says that the Cavaliers will send their pick to the Hawks if it’s not in the top 10. As of today, Cleveland is in a tie for the NBA’s third-worst record, meaning that pick wouldn’t change hands.

The Suns had led our reverse standings for most of the season so far, but a recent four-game winning streak has taken them out of that “top” spot. They’re now tied with Cleveland for third. Currently, the Bulls (7-25) and Hawks (7-23) are in pole position for 2019’s top pick. Of course, under the new lottery format, the league’s worst three teams will all have equal odds for that No. 1 selection.

Our Reverse Standings tracker can be found at anytime on the right sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features” on our desktop site, or on the “Features” page in our mobile menu. It’s a great resource not just for monitoring a team’s draft position, but also for keeping an eye on whether or not traded picks with protection will be changing hands in 2019. So be sure to check back often as the season progresses!

Note: Mobile users are advised to turn their phones sideways when viewing the Reverse Standings in order to see team records and lottery odds.

And-Ones: Pitino, Giannis, A. Davis, 2019 Draft

Former Celtics and Louisville head coach Rick Pitino is making a coaching comeback, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Agent Drew Rosenhaus tells Wojnarowski that Pitino has agreed to a deal to coach Greek club Panathinaikos for the rest of the 2018/19 season. He’s expected to make his debut on December 27.

Pitino’s lengthy stint at Louisville came to an abrupt end in 2017 as a result of the FBI’s probe into college basketball recruiting. He had spent most of the last two decades heading up the program, having previously coached the Celtics from 1997 to 2001. Since leaving Louisville, Pitino has been looking to re-enter the coaching ranks in the NBA, telling Wojnarowski earlier in the fall that he just wants to be “a part of an organization.”

“I want to develop young players,” Pitino said in October. “I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it.”

While his new job isn’t an NBA position, Pitino is hoping that Panathinaikos can be a stepping stone back to the NBA, writes Wojnarowski. He’ll take over a club that ranks 10th in EuroLeague play so far, with a 6-7 record.

Former NBA players Nick Calathes, Georgios Papagiannis, and Keith Langford are among the players on Pitino’s new roster, along with Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the older brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Here are a few more basketball odds and ends:

  • Asked whether he’s ever had an issue like the Suns, Grizzlies, and Wizards did last week, when there was confusion over which “Brooks” was involved in a proposed trade, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck told NBC Sports Boston that he has. “With the same team, by the way, that was involved [in last week’s failed three-team trade],” Grousbeck said. “That’s another story – that I’m not going to tell.” Grousbeck didn’t go into any more detail, so it’s not entirely clear which of the three teams he was referring to.
  • In the wake of LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo openly recruiting Anthony Davis to their respective teams, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores whether their comments constitute tampering, and whether commissioner Adam Silver is likely to step in.
  • Speaking of Antetokounmpo and Davis, they’re the NBA’s two most valuable trade chips, in the view of Bill Simmons of The Ringer, who ranked his top 55 players in the league in terms of trade value.
  • SI.com’s Jeremy Woo has published his latest 2019 mock draft, with Duke prospects holding the top three spots.

And-Ones: China, 2019 Draft, FAs, Carmelo

During the 2018 offseason, NBA veterans like Cole Aldrich, Al Jefferson, and Marreese Speights were among those to sign contracts in China. As Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype notes in an excellent, in-depth look at Chinese basketball’s free agent system, teams in the Chinese Basketball Association can offer players more money than clubs in just about any other non-NBA league in the world, which appeals to unsigned vets.

“If you talk to players who aren’t in the NBA, just about every player’s first choice is China,” one agent told Kennedy. “The vast majority of players outside of the NBA want to sign in China. There are a lot of players who make seven figures in China. Even the smaller deals are solid, paying at least $300K after taxes. It’s also a relatively short season compared to other leagues. … When the CBA season ends, players can try to join an NBA team for the remainder of the season. It’s attractive for many reasons.”

While heading to China might be appealing to undrafted players who were unable to catch on with NBA teams, most Chinese clubs are focusing on players who have previous NBA experience, as another agent tells Kennedy.

“They think, ‘If this guy played in the NBA, he must be good,'” the agent said. “They also understand that fans will be more interested in a player if they can use the word ‘NBA’ to market him. It helps them sell tickets and things like that. I always tell players if they want to sign in China, they either need NBA experience or they need to be absolutely dominating wherever they’re currently playing.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Hoops Rumors’ 2018/19 NBA Reverse Standings

Throughout the 2018/19 NBA season, Hoops Rumors will be maintaining a feature that allows you to keep an eye on what the 2019 draft order will look like. Our 2018/19 Reverse Standings tool, which lists the NBA’s 30 teams from worst to first, will be updated daily to reflect the outcomes of the previous night’s games.

Our Reverse Standings are essentially a reflection of what 2019’s draft order would look like with no changes to lottery position. We’ve noted each club’s odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick, based on the league’s updated lottery format.

[RELATED: How New Lottery Odds Will Affect NBA’s Race To The Bottom]

In instances where two non-playoff teams or two playoff teams have identical records, the order in our standings isn’t necessarily definitive — for draft purposes, the NBA breaks ties via random drawings, so those drawings would happen at the end of the year. Of course, the 14 non-playoff teams all draft before the 16 playoff teams, even if some non-playoff teams have better records than playoff teams. Our reverse standings account for that.

Traded first-round picks are included via footnotes. For example, the note next to Cleveland’s pick says that the Cavaliers will send their pick to the Hawks if it’s not in the top 10. As of today, Cleveland has the NBA’s fourth-worst record, meaning that pick wouldn’t change hands.

Our Reverse Standings tracker can be found at anytime on the right sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features” on our desktop site, or on the “Features” page in our mobile menu. It’s a great resource not just for monitoring a team’s draft position, but also for keeping an eye on whether or not traded picks with protection will be changing hands in 2019. So be sure to check back often as the season progresses!

Note: Mobile users are advised to turn their phones sideways when viewing the Reverse Standings in order to see team records and lottery odds.

And-Ones: A. Brown, Hanlan, Draft, Africa

Former NBA swingman Anthony Brown and Serbian team KK Partizan Belgrade have officially parted ways, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Brown’s deal was supposed to run through June, but the two sides agreed to terminate it just a month after it was finalized.

In other international basketball news, former Spurs second-round pick Olivier Hanlan has signed with German club Telekom Baskets Bonn, according to an announcement from the team (hat tip to Sportando). Hanlan signed with San Antonio in September, but was waived a few days later, so the Spurs no longer have his NBA rights.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • ESPN draft experts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have updated their 2019 mock draft (Insider link), with Zion Williamson now claiming the No. 1 spot, followed by Duke teammate R.J. Barrett at No. 2. Givony and Schmitz also zero in on players whose stocks have recently improved or fallen, with USC’s Kevin Porter (No. 21 to No. 9) and Murray State’s Temetrius “Ja” Morant (No. 16 to No. 10) among the big risers.
  • The NBA, which unveiled a new training facility at its basketball academy in Senegal this week, has “big plans” for Africa, writes Ken Maguire of The Associated Press. NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum suggests that the league believes the number of African players on NBA starting rosters (13) could double within a decade, Maguire notes.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks examines some NBA roster moves or salary-cap decisions that didn’t receive a ton of attention at the time, but have paid off so far, including the Grizzlies‘ acquisition of Garrett Temple.