2020 NBA Draft

James Wiseman Suspended 11 More Games

NBA teams will get about half a season to watch James Wiseman in college before deciding if he’s worthy of the No. 1 pick. The NCAA has announced that the Memphis center will be suspended for 11 additional games, making him eligible to return for a Jan. 12 contest at South Florida.

Memphis plans to appeal the suspension, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

The punishment, which brings his suspension to 12 total games, was imposed “based on recruiting inducements his family received before he enrolled at Memphis and for competing in three games while he was ineligible,” the NCAA stated in its release.

Wiseman will also be required to make an $11,500 donation “to a charity of his choice,” tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. That’s the amount that Wiseman’s family received in moving expenses from Tigers coach Penny Hardaway to relocate to Memphis in 2017.

Jonathan Givony of Draft Express notes that Wiseman will still have 16 regular season games, plus the AAC Tournament and probably the NCAA Tournament to show scouts what he can do (Twitter link). Givony listed Wiseman as the top pick in ESPN’s mock draft earlier this month.

Wiseman was ruled ineligible on November 8, but was granted an “emergency temporary restraining order” and played that night against UIC. He has appeared in three games, averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per night.

Latest On Top 2020 Prospect James Wiseman

Memphis big man James Wiseman, a potential top 2020 draft pick who was ruled ineligible by the NCAA last week, has dropped his lawsuit against the NCAA and the University of Memphis, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Wiseman was deemed ineligible when the NCAA ruled that he had received booster money.

“It has become clear to Mr. Wiseman that the lawsuit he filed last week has become an impediment to the University of Memphis in its efforts to reach a fair and equitable resolution with the NCAA concerning his eligibility status,” Wiseman’s attorneys said in a statement, per Charania.

Memphis initially chose to keep Wiseman in its lineup last Friday, responding to the NCAA’s ruling with an “emergency temporary restraining order.” However, the University has now declared Wiseman ineligible and will immediately apply for his reinstatement, the school announced today. While the young center won’t be able to play in games for Memphis for the time being, he’ll continue practicing with the team.

As Jeff Goodman of Stadium (video link) explains, the next step in the Wiseman saga will involve attempting to reach an agreement with the NCAA on a penalty that falls short of making him ineligible for his entire freshman season. Goodman suggests that Wiseman and Memphis will do their best to resolve the situation fairly quickly, perhaps with a short-term suspension.

ESPN’s draft experts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz view Wiseman as the top prospect in the 2020 draft class, noting in their scouting report that the seven-footer is an exceptional athlete and has the ability to make an impact as a rim protector, given his 7’5″ wingspan.

And-Ones: Stern, Wiseman, Kuzminskas, Falk

Former NBA commissioner David Stern has suggested that the NBA’s current ban on marijuana is outdated and believes the league should reconsider its stance, Jabari Young of CNBC writes.

Stern’s perspective within the argument, fueled by the medical benefits and factors based in recovery, have shifted over the years with the recent surge of medical use in THC and CBD.

“In many cases in sports,” Stern said, “the opioid crisis begins with players being prescribed pills for their pain, and if there is another substance, whether it be CBD or THC that eases pain, then I’m all for it.”

The NBA recently issued a 25-game suspension to Suns center Deandre Ayton after he tested positive for a diuretic, which is sometimes used to cleanse the body of a THC. Veteran guard Dion Waiters received a 10-game suspension from the Heat after consuming an edible laced with THC last week.

“You don’t want players drinking beer at halftime,” Stern said. “And you don’t want them smoking joints at halftime. But if it’s a controlled usage and has a viable, legitimate use, why not?”

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Potential No. 1 overall pick James Wiseman is likely to be selected as a top-five selection in the 2020 draft regardless of what happens with his college eligibility, Sam Vecenie writes as part of his story for The Athletic. Wiseman, a 7’1″ center, has been deemed as “likely ineligible” by the NCAA as it continues its investigation.
  • Former NBA forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas has been released by Olympiacos in Greece, the club announced in press release. Kuzminskas and the team finalized a mutual termination agreement over the weekend, a source told Hoops Rumors, allowing the 30-year-old to enter free agency and explore other avenues this week.
  • Matthew Gutierrez of The Athletic hosted an interesting Q&A with veteran NBA agent David Falk, who discussed the evolving agent business, why Carmelo Anthony could still be a free agent and more. Falk is best known for representing Michael Jordan during his playing career.

Potential Top Pick Wiseman Ruled Ineligible By NCAA

7:49pm: Memphis took a risk playing Wiseman, as the NCAA issued a statement saying that Wiseman “is likely ineligible.”

6:18pm: The school has issued a statement, saying it is working with the NCAA to try to restore Wiseman’s eligibility, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. Hardaway provided Wiseman’s family $11.5K in moving expenses in 2017 without James Wiseman’s knowledge, according to the statement.

5:38pm: Wiseman will play for Memphis Friday against UIC due to an “emergency temporary restraining order,” Evan Daniels of 247 Sports tweets.

4:57pm: Memphis big man James Wiseman, the potential No. 1 overall pick in next June’s draft, has been ruled ineligible to play for the Tigers by the NCAA, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The NCAA deemed that Memphis head coach and former NBA star Penny Hardaway, who signed Wiseman as part of the No. 1 rated recruiting class, helped to pay Wiseman and his family to move to the city last year while he was still in high school, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets. Memphis-based attorney Leslie Ballin told reporters than Hardaway’s actions made him a booster in the NCAA’s eyes, college basketball analyst Jeff Goodman tweets.

The 7’1” Wiseman had a dominant college debut on Tuesday, as he racked up 28 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against South Carolina State in just 22 minutes.

How this will affect Wiseman’s draft stock remains to be seen. He could have solidified his status as the best player in the draft but will now be forced to the sidelines. NBA teams wanted to see more regarding his feel for the game, his motor and his jump shot, so the NCAA’s ruling will make it tougher for scouts and executives to evaluate him, O’Connor adds in another tweet.

Wiseman averaged 25.8 points and 14.8 rebounds at Memphis East High School. He was named the 2018-19 Gatorade National Player of the Year and was initially expected to sign with Kentucky. But he shifted gears when Memphis hired Hardaway, who was his former AAU coach.

And-Ones: Timberwolves, Durant, Buycks, Draft

The Timberwolves are fuming over how the NBA handled the discipline for Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns, which stems from a mid-game scuffle between the two superstars last week, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

Minnesota has expressed disapproval of the league’s decision to suspend both Embiid and Towns two games for multiple reasons, as noted by Krawczynski.

Firstly, team officials believe Embiid was the instigator of the scuffle, leading to Towns’ involvement. The franchise also touched on Embiid’s decision to leave the game with a bang upon his ejection, shadow-boxing and firing up the Philadelphia crowd while Towns exited the floor quietly.

And the last issue, one discussed heavily by fans across the league, relates to the league’s decision not to penalize Ben Simmons for his involvement in the altercation. Simmons was seen with his arms wrapped around the neck of Towns, causing many to believe he was attempting a rear-naked choke. The league ultimately viewed Simmons as a peacemaker.

“While we are disappointed in the league’s decision, we understand the magnitude of this unfortunate incident,” Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said, according to Krawczynski. “The NBA is highly competitive and last night was a reflection of that. We support Karl and will move forward together as a group.”

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The shaky starts from both the Nets and Warriors show Kevin Durant‘s tremendous on-court value even more, as detailed by Frank Isola of The Athletic. Golden State lost Durant in free agency this summer, with the 10-time All-Star choosing to take his talents to Brooklyn on a multi-year deal. Durant is expected to miss the rest of the 2019/20 season as he rehabs from a torn Achilles’ tendon, with the Nets currently struggling at 2-4.
  • Free agent guard Dwight Buycks has agreed to a new deal with the Shenzhen Leopards in China, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Buycks averaged 20.5 points with the team last season.
  • Jonathon Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN.com discuss the early contenders for the 2020 NBA Draft, including which prospects have the best chances of being selected in the lottery. ESPN revealed its early mock draft for the event last week, with 7-foot-1 center James Wiseman currently projected as the No. 1 overall pick.

And-Ones: Dante, Hampton, 2021 Draft, Grant

Oregon big man N’Faly Dante has been informed that he’ll be ineligible to play at the start of the 2019/20 season because the NCAA missed his clearance date, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. In a statement, the five-star recruit that he has completed the academic requirements and intends to re-enroll to Oregon on December 14 in the hopes of being cleared to play.

Charania refers to Dante as a potential lottery pick in 2020, and NBADraft.net has him ranked 13th overall in the site’s latest mock draft. His name doesn’t show up at all in ESPN’s most recent 2020 mock, but it’s possible that will change if he gets his eligibility issues sorted out.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • R.J. Hampton, a projected 2020 lottery pick, said he had “a lot of room for growth” after his New Zealand Breakers played exhibition games against the Grizzlies and Thunder last week. According to ESPN’s Royce Young, there were nearly 60 NBA scouts and executives in attendance at the game in Oklahoma City.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link) have already unveiled their first mock draft for 2021, with point guard Cade Cunningham in the No. 1 spot.
  • With the Qingdao Eagles signing American-born guard Darius Adams, the Chinese club is apparently parting ways with another one of its U.S. players. According to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter), former Knicks, Bulls, and Magic point guard Jerian Grant is the odd man out for Qingdao and will be released. Carchia initially reported last month that the Eagles were considering waiving Grant.

NBL Prospects Ball, Hampton Drawing Significant Interest

After initially telling NBA teams that they wouldn’t be permitted to scout practices involving top prospects LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton this season due to the league’s no-contact rules, the league office allowed clubs to attend a pair of New Zealand Breakers practices in Memphis this week to get a look at Hampton, according to a pair of reports from Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com.

As Givony details, scouts and executives from NBA teams had hoped to attend a total of five Breakers practices this week in Memphis and Oklahoma City to scout Hampton as part of the New Zealand club’s preseason tour. However, the league prohibited teams from attending sessions on Sunday and Monday morning before opening up Monday night’s practice as well as Tuesday morning’s shootaround. Teams will also be allowed to attend the Breakers’ morning shootaround on Thursday in OKC, Givony adds.

As Givony explains, the NBA’s no-contact rules prohibit teams from having contact with draft-ineligible players outside of a few approved settings, including official games and select college practices. Non-college prospects like Ball and Hampton are still considered draft-ineligible for 2020 at this point since they haven’t officially declared through the league office.

The league’s latest memo related to non-contact rules extensively addressed college and international prospects, but Ball and Hampton technically don’t fall into either category since they’re not attending college and haven’t lived outside the U.S. for three years — they’re essentially in a grey area, leaving the NBA to interpret their status based on the league’s existing rules.

It’s possible the NBA will alter its interpretation of those rules or tweak them slightly to allow teams more freedom to scout Ball and Hampton over the course of the 2019/20 season. Givony points out that 27 NBA scouts attending the NBL Blitz in Tasmania last month and many of those scouts attended practices involving Ball and Hampton, which may lead to fines.

The Breakers practices that were open to NBA execs and scouts this week were heavily populated, according to the NBL, which estimates that over 100 reps from teams were on hand on Monday night to get a look at Hampton. Another top 2020 prospect, James Wiseman, had his pro day at the University of Memphis earlier on Monday, so many scouts and execs attended both events.

Meanwhile, Ball, who is also playing in the NBL as a member of the Illawarra Hawks, is drawing plenty of attention from fans in addition to NBA teams. According to Adam Zagoria of Forbes.com, Ball’s NBL debut became the most-watched game in league history, with one million viewers streaming the game on Facebook in the United States.

Zagoria also wrote in a separate Forbes article that the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Nets, and Raptors are among the teams that have reached out to the Spire Academy in Ohio – where Ball played last season – for information on the young point guard. The Cavaliers have also been evaluating him, sources tell Zagoria.

In ESPN’s latest mock draft, Givony had Wiseman coming off the board at No. 1, followed by Ball at No. 3 and Hampton at No. 6.

LaMelo Ball In Conversation For No. 1 Pick In 2020 NBA Draft

Examine ESPN’s latest mock draft and you’ll find a surprising name near the top of the list. ESPN draft guru Jonathan Givony has LaMelo Ball going No. 3 overall in his latest piece and hears that Ball might end up being in contention for the No. 1 overall pick next summer.

“If he keeps this up, I don’t see any way he isn’t in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick,” one NBA executive told Givony. “He completely changed my perception of the type of prospect he is, and all of the background info I gathered here from his coaches and teammates paint a very different story of what I thought about him off the court as well.”

Ball, who is the younger brother of Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, is spending the year playing for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s NBL. Many around the Australian league believed the club was taking a big risk bringing in Ball, whose father has been deemed a media distraction in the past. However, it’s been all positive for Ball in Australia and scouts are raving about his game.

“He reminds me of Luka Doncic,” a scout said. “Just in terms of his size, his feel and his creativity…He plays with incredible pace. He’s never sped up. He’s never rattled by anything that’s thrown at him…You’re expecting something magical to happen every time he has the ball. He sees everything. He can make every pass with either hand off a live dribble. His style of play is tailor-made for the NBA game, especially if you surround him with shooting and better finishers.”

The NBL doesn’t have the kind of talent found in the NCAA, though Ball is playing alongside fellow NBA prospect R.J. Hampton abroad. The league continues to grow and with that, comes an increased level of play.

Washington big man Isaiah Stewart, Memphis center James Wiseman, and Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards are among the prospects expected to compete for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft. As for point guards, Ball is currently viewed as the best available.

“It’s a talented field,” an executive tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. “But he’s got the most potential.”

Traded Second Round Picks For 2020 NBA Draft

We’re using the space below to keep tabs on each team’s second round pick for 2020, continually updating it as necessary throughout the year. Our list of traded first round picks for 2020 can be found right here.

We’ve listed all 30 teams here, so even if a team hasn’t traded its second round pick, that will be noted. We’ll also provide details on protections for each traded pick, including what happens to the pick in 2021 if it doesn’t change hands in 2020.

Here’s the full breakdown on the status of each 2020 second round pick:

Atlantic

  • Boston Celtics: Traded to Hornets (top-53 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Celtics’ obligation to the Hornets would be extinguished.
  • Brooklyn Nets: Traded to Sixers or Celtics.
    • The Sixers will receive the more favorable of the Nets’ and Knicks’ second-round picks; the Celtics will receive the less favorable of the two.
  • New York Knicks: Traded to Sixers or Celtics.
    • The Sixers will receive the more favorable of the Nets’ and Knicks’ second-round picks; the Celtics will receive the less favorable of the two.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Own pick.
  • Toronto Raptors: Own pick.

Central

  • Chicago Bulls: Possibly traded to Wizards (56-60 protected).
    • The Wizards will receive the more favorable of the Bulls’ and Grizzlies’ second-round picks (both 56-60 protected); the Bulls will receive the less favorable of the two picks.
    • If both picks fall in the 56-60 range, the Grizzlies and Bulls would keep their picks and their obligations to the Wizards would be extinguished.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Traded to Hornets (unprotected).
  • Detroit Pistons: Traded to Kings (unprotected).
  • Indiana Pacers: Traded to Nets (45-60 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Pacers will owe the Nets their 2021 second-round pick (45-60 protected).
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Traded to Pelicans (unprotected).

Southeast

  • Atlanta Hawks: Traded to Sixers or Celtics.
    • The Sixers will receive the pick if it lands between 31-55; the Celtics will receive it if it lands between 56-60.
  • Charlotte Hornets: Traded to Knicks (unprotected).
  • Miami Heat: Traded to Kings (unprotected).
  • Orlando Magic: Own pick.
  • Washington Wizards: Traded to Pelicans (unprotected).

Northwest

  • Denver Nuggets: Traded to Nets (unprotected).
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Own pick.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Own pick.
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Traded to Nets (31-55 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Trail Blazers’ obligation to the Nets would be extinguished.
  • Utah Jazz: Traded to Mavericks (unprotected).

Pacific

  • Golden State Warriors: Traded to Mavericks or Kings.
    • The Mavericks will receive the more favorable of the Warriors’ and Rockets’ second-round picks; the Kings will receive the less favorable of the two picks.
    • However, if the Rockets’ pick falls within its protected range (31-39), the Kings would instead receive that pick and the Mavericks would receive the Warriors’ pick.
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Own pick.
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Traded to Magic (unprotected).
  • Phoenix Suns: Traded to Grizzlies (unprotected).
  • Sacramento Kings: Own pick.

Southwest

  • Dallas Mavericks: Traded to Sixers (unprotected).
  • Houston Rockets: Traded to Mavericks (top-39 protected) or Kings.
    • The Mavericks will receive the more favorable of the Warriors’ and Rockets’ second-round picks; the Kings will receive the less favorable of the two picks.
    • However, if the Rockets’ pick falls within its protected range (31-39), the Kings would instead receive that pick and the Mavericks would receive the Warriors’ pick.
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Traded to Bulls or Wizards (56-60 protected).
    • The Wizards will receive the more favorable of the Bulls’ and Grizzlies’ second-round picks (both 56-60 protected); the Bulls will receive the less favorable of the two picks.
    • If both picks fall in the 56-60 range, the Grizzlies and Bulls would keep their picks and their obligations to the Wizards would be extinguished.
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Own pick.
  • San Antonio Spurs: Own pick.

Information from RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

Traded First Round Picks For 2020 NBA Draft

The 2020 NBA draft is still 10 months away, but several teams have already traded their first round picks for that night, and more clubs are likely to do so before this season’s trade deadline.

We’ll use the space below to keep tabs on each team’s first round pick for 2020, continually updating it as necessary throughout the year.

We’ve listed all 30 teams here, so even if a team hasn’t traded its first round pick, that will be noted. We’ll also provide details on protections for each traded pick, including what happens to the pick in 2021 if it doesn’t change hands in 2020.

Here’s the full breakdown on the status of each 2020 first round pick:

Atlantic

  • Boston Celtics: Own pick.
  • Brooklyn Nets: Traded to Hawks (top-14 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Nets would owe the Hawks their 2021 first-rounder (top-14 protected).
  • New York Knicks: Own pick.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Traded to Nets (top-14 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Sixers would owe the Nets their 2021 first-rounder (top-14 protected).
  • Toronto Raptors: Own pick.

Central

  • Chicago Bulls: Own pick.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Traded to Pelicans (top-10 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Cavaliers would owe the Pelicans their 2021 and 2022 second-rounders (unprotected).
  • Detroit Pistons: Own pick.
  • Indiana Pacers: Traded to Bucks (top-14 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Pacers would owe the Bucks their 2021 first-rounder (top-14 protected).
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Traded to Celtics (top-7 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Bucks would owe the Celtics their 2021 first-rounder (unprotected).

Southeast

  • Atlanta Hawks: Own pick.
  • Charlotte Hornets: Own pick.
  • Miami Heat: Own pick.
  • Orlando Magic: Own pick.
  • Washington Wizards: Own pick.

Northwest

  • Denver Nuggets: Traded to Thunder (top-10 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Nuggets would owe the Thunder their 2021 first-rounder (top-10 protected).
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Own pick.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Traded to Sixers (top-20 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Thunder would owe the Sixers their 2022 and 2023 second-rounders (unprotected).
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Own pick.
  • Utah Jazz: Traded to Grizzlies (1-7, 15-30 protection).
    • If not conveyed, the Jazz would owe the Grizzlies their 2021 first-rounder (1-7, 15-30 protection).

Pacific

  • Golden State Warriors: Traded to Nets (top-20 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Warriors would owe the Nets their 2025 second-round pick (unprotected).
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Own pick.
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Own pick.
  • Phoenix Suns: Own pick.
  • Sacramento Kings: Own pick.

Southwest

  • Dallas Mavericks: Own pick.
  • Houston Rockets: Own pick.
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Traded to Celtics (top-6 protected).
    • If not conveyed, the Grizzlies would owe the Celtics their 2021 first-rounder (unprotected).
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Own pick.
  • San Antonio Spurs: Own pick.

Information from RealGM was used in the creation of this post.