Draft Notes: Avdija, Ball, Lawson, Collins

Deni Avdija, projected as a high lottery pick in this year’s draft, will rejoin his Maccabi Tel Aviv team when the Israeli basketball league resumes play Sunday, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

“Before I go to the U.S., I have a job to finish here in Israel,” Avdija stated in an email. “As a competitor I am committed to my organization and teammates to help bring a championship to Tel Aviv. We were having such a great season, so winning the title, even with the delay and without live fans, will give me a sense that the hard work paid off.”

The 19-year-old forward was averaging averaging 12.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists when the league suspended play in March and is rated fifth on Givony’s latest list of the top 100 draft prospects. The Israeli league won’t use a “bubble” concept during the remainder of its season. There will be home and away games without fans, and players have been told to remain at home and self-quarantine when they’re not at practices or games.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • LaMelo Ball ranks No. 1 on the new draft board compiled by Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, Dayton’s Obi Toppin, Memphis’ James Wiseman and Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton round out the top five. Vecenie puts Haliburton on his list of players who have improved their draft stock during the interview process, which is topped by TCU’s Desmond Bane, who may have moved into the late first round.
  • South Carolina coach Frank Martin doesn’t believe guard A.J. Lawson should make an immediate decision about staying in the draft, according to John Whittle of 247 Sports. A report earlier this week indicated Lawson plans to return to school, but his father disputed that. “There’s no need to rush. He’s had probably six or seven interviews with NBA teams, which is what they’re all doing right now,” Martin said. “As long as NBA teams are offering interviews, I don’t see any reason why he should try to make a decision sooner than he has to. If no NBA team was asking to meet with him, I would think he’d make a decision by now.”
  • David Collins will take his name out of the draft and return to South Florida for his senior season, tweets Jeff Goodman of GoodmanHoops.
  • Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report ranks French guard Killian Hayes, Avdija and Haliburton as this year’s top sleeper prospects.
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8 thoughts on “Draft Notes: Avdija, Ball, Lawson, Collins

  1. Sillivan

    If Knicks want Ball,he will be a top 2 pick easily

    Knicks might not get Ball if asking price is too high?


    Ball will be a bust..defense is horrendous, shot is broken and effort level is minimal..injury risk as well.. played 12 games in Australia on a b team.. shot 37% from field.. Lithuania his numbers were putrid to the point coach didn’t even play him.. the great ones work on there game.. the ball brothers don’t work and always had their dad to play them and put them on teams that would showcase them.. not exactly superstar material when the #1 pick should be just that

    • jump shot

      I agree…. Ball will be, in time, average – at best. Again, he’s about to be a top 3 pick, yet if he were in the GLeague, he wouldn’t even be one of the top 15-20 players in the league.
      But, the AAU parents and coaches just want that 1st round draft status and money… whether the kid actually excels or not is secondary.
      Toppin is the best player in the draft. If not for being three years from acquiring his AARP card, he’d be the #1 pick.


    Aaron brooks led the Australian team in scoring. Team was 5-22 during season ball was on team.

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    Ball is overrated. He’s yrs away from ever showing. He might just be a rotation player. Lonzo is for real. And he is still finding his game.
    Okoro and Okongwu, Hayes are also very nice players. As. Knicks fan I know even at 7 we can get nice player that can help us. I don’t want a young player like Hayes. Who will take 3-4 yrs to show. Toppin, Okongwu, Halliburton, Edwards, Wiseman are ready to help now. Of all 18-19 yr olds. Wiseman is one guy I take. Edwards is another but we have RJ. If Knicks luck out with top 3 pick. I’m really not sure who they’ll take. For me it’s Wiseman, Edwards, Toppin. We already have a SG.

  5. Have a Center too if Robinson can cut back on the fouls.

    Toppin is an already developed prospect, Okoro already offers elite D and apparently has the drive to get better. He develops a decent three and he’s a great pick.

    Halliburton is also a good call, especially if they do go PG.

  6. El Don

    Guys sorry to burst your bubble of hate but Lamelo will be great… So be ready to walk back all your comments!!!

    • 123Redsox

      Only thing he can do is distribute. He can’t shoot or play defense. He shot 37% from the field in a B league. Just because his last name is Ball doesn’t mean he is good. .. guys that can distribute but don’t do anything else are a dime-a-dozen. Phil pressey is an example

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