Alize Johnson

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/7/18

Here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Pistons have sent forward Henry Ellenson and guard Khyri Thomas to their Grand Rapids affiliate, the team announced in an email. Both have played two games for the Drive this season.
  • The Grizzlies have recalled rookie guard Jevon Carter from their Memphis Hustle affiliate, according to a tweet from the team.
  • The Pacers announced that guard Edmond Sumner and forward Alize Johnson have been assigned to their affiliate in Fort Wayne. Both have seen action for Indiana this season, with Sumner appearing in five games and Johnson playing three.

Central Rumors: Jackson, Holiday, LaVine, Sumner

Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson is still scraping off the rust after spending the summer rehabbing a high ankle sprain, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. Jackson, who originally suffered the injury in late December, returned to basketball activities on Thursday and participated in a public scrimmage on Saturday. He showed some quickness during the scrimmage but took a passive approach offensively, Ellis notes. “He’s looked really good,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s still rusty in certain areas, reading situations defensively, but I’m very pleased at where he is.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pairing Justin Holiday and Jabari Parker at the forward spots could prove to be a successful stopgap measure for the Bulls, according to the analysis of NBC Sports Chicago’s Michael Walton. The Bulls are searching for ways to make up for the absence of Lauri Markkanen, who is out 6-8 weeks with an elbow injury. Holiday is a quality defender and 3-point shooter who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He should mesh well with a high usage player like Parker, who excels offensively. Parker’s ability to score on the break will allow Holiday to be more aggressive defensively and look for steals, Walton adds.
  • Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine feels a greater responsibility after signing a multi-year contract, as Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago reports. The front office matched his Kings’ four-year, $78MM offer sheet in July and LaVine wants to be looked upon as a leader. “We have so many scorers, though, so if any of us have an off day I think we’ll be able to pick up the slack really easily,” he said. “I know I’m here to be a leader and put the ball in the hoop and become a complete player.”
  • The Pacers’ second-round picks from the past two drafts have impressed in camp, Mark Monteith of the team’s website writes. Center Ike Anigbogu, guard Edmond Sumner and forward Alize Johnson will likely spend most of the season in the G League but coach Nate McMillan likes their progress. “They’ve had really good training camps,” McMillan told Monteith. “I really like what I see from those guys.”

Pacers Sign Second-Rounder Alize Johnson

3:32pm: Johnson will have a fully guaranteed salary in 2018/19, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

2:54pm: The Pacers have now locked up both of their 2018 draft picks, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed second-round selection Alize Johnson. First-rounder Aaron Holiday inked his rookie deal at the start of the month.

Johnson, the 50th overall pick in the draft, finished his college career at Missouri State after spending two years at Frank Phillips College. The young forward averaged a double-double in both of his years at Missouri State, posting 14.9 PPG and 11.1 RPG in 66 overall games with the program.

Johnson also looked solid for the Pacers in Summer League action, averaging 12.4 PPG and 8.6 RPG in 23.0 minutes per contest.

While terms of Johnson’s contract aren’t known, a two-year, minimum-salary deal seems likely. The Pacers used up all their cap space, then signed using Kyle O’Quinn with their room exception, so they don’t have the means to offer a more lucrative or longer-term contract.

Indiana now has 14 players on NBA contracts for 2018/19.

Central Draft Notes: Bulls, Bucks, Pistons

The Bulls have the pieces to move into the Top 5 of the draft but it’s unknown whether they like any prospect enough to do that, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bulls could package their picks at No. 7 and No. 22 and power forward Bobby Portis to make a deal with the Hawks at No. 3 or the Grizzlies at No. 4. Memphis, though, might want to unload Chandler Parsons contract, in which case the Bulls probably wouldn’t have to include Portis, Strotman continues. With Lauri Markkanen the long-term solution at power forward, the Bulls can afford to deal Portis, who might become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t receive a contract extension, Strotman adds.

In other draft-related musings involving Central Division clubs:

  • If the Bulls retain their No. 22 pick, they should avoid Duke sharpshooter Grayson Allen and Villanova big man Omari Spellman, Scott Phillips of NBC Sports Chicago opines. Allen’s temperamental behavior during his college career is something the Bulls don’t need with an already young roster, while Spellman’s skills do not complement Markkanen because he’s not a rim protector, Phillips continues. De’Anthony Melton (USC), Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky) and Anfernee Simons are three other late first-round prospects the Bulls should pass on, Phillips adds.
  • The Bucks could select Michigan big man Moritz Wagner with the No. 17 pick, Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox.com speculates. The Bucks need a physical frontcourt player who can shoot from outside and Wagner would bring that, Woelfel continues. While most draft experts peg Wagner as a late first- or early second-round selection, he could move into the middle of the first round because of his offensive skills, Woelfel adds.
  • Missouri State forward Alize Johnson and Purdue guard Dakota Mathias are two of the players the Pistons might consider with their second-round pick, according to Ansar Khan of MLive. Both players came in for workouts this week. Detroit traded away its first-round pick in the Blake Griffin deal with the Clippers.

East Draft Notes: Knicks, Hawks, Bulls, Hornets, Pacers

The Knicks will work out UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday shortly before draft night, according to Ian Begley of ESPN. Holiday will have to make quite an impression to get drafted by New York. He’s currently ranked No. 17 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and the Knicks hold the No. 9 pick.

Texas A&M big man Robert Williams, ranked No. 12 by Givony, and Missouri State forward Alize Johnson worked out for the Knicks on Monday, according to another Begley post. Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo was scheduled to work out for New York this week but it will not happen as scheduled, Begley adds.

In other draft workout news concerning Eastern Conference teams:

  • The Hawks will work out Oklahoma point guard Trae Young on Tuesday, according to a team press release. Young is ranked No. 8 by Givony; Atlanta holds the No. 3 pick.
  • Kentucky forward Kevin Knox, rated No. 9 by Givony, worked out for the Bulls on Monday, according to the team’s websiteBryant McIntosh (Northwestern), Donovan Jackson (Iowa State), Jae’Sean Tate (Ohio State), Jeff Roberson (Vanderbilt) and Nick Dixon (UTRGV) were also evaluated by Chicago. The Bulls have the No. 7 selection in the first round.
  • The Hornets will soon work out Michigan State forward Miles Bridges, Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports tweets. Bridges, who visited the Sixers Monday, is ranked No. 15 by Givony and Charlotte holds the No. 11 pick.
  • An injury prevented Tulane small forward Melvin Frazier from working out with the Pacers on Monday, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports tweets.

Central Notes: Bulls, Pistons, Stotts, Pacers

As Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com noted on Twitter, there’s an interesting tidbit tucked within his report on the NBA’s new Global Camp in Italy. The event, which showcased most of the top international draft-eligible prospects, was attended by 29 or 30 NBA teams. The only NBA club not present, according to Givony, was the Bulls, due to their unwillingness to pay the $10K fee the league charged for subsidizing expenses.

The Bulls, who have been criticized in the past for penny pinching, were quick to respond to Givony’s report. As K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune relays, the club insists it didn’t attend the NBA Global Camp because it had already done extensive scouting in Europe this year.

“We made a decision not to attend the Treviso camp given our trust in our director of international scouting, Ivica Dukan, and his knowledge of the event and the prospects in attendance,” Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said. “We are also currently holding workouts for our two first-round draft picks and want all of our scouts present as we go about this very important process.”

While the Bulls may not have needed to take a closer look at those international prospects this week in Italy, the team should probably be willing to put up that $10K in order to obtain the medical information on the players who participated, Givony observes (via Twitter).

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • While it briefly appeared that Terry Stotts‘ job might be in jeopardy after the Trail Blazers were swept by the Pelicans in April, the Pistons wanted to talk to Stotts about their coaching job and Portland denied them permission, reports Mitch Lawrence of The Sporting News (Twitter link). Lawrence adds that John Beilein had legit interest in the Detroit job, and consulted with NBA team executives before electing to remain with the Wolverines.
  • The Pacers will host their second pre-draft workout on Friday, according to the team. Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), Gary Clark (Cincinnati), A.J. Davis (Central Florida), Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), Alize Johnson (Missouri State), and Shake Milton (SMU) are scheduled to participate.
  • We passed along several more items from out of the Central division on Wednesday, including details on Mike Budenholzer‘s new Bucks coaching staff, the Bulls‘ offseason plans, and more. Be sure to check those stories out here and here.

Hawks Notes: No. 3, Bagley, Bamba, Allen

The Hawks own the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming draft and figuring out who they’ll select is no easy feat. Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com has the team selecting Jaren Jackson Jr. out of Michigan State. The big man, who won’t turn 19 until mid-September, has a high ceiling and would be an ideal partner in the frontcourt alongside John Collins, Givony contends.

Both Jackson and Marvin Bagley III, a projected top-3 pick, will work out for the team next week, according to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Five Key Offseason Questions: Atlanta Hawks]

Luka Doncic won’t work out for the Hawks, as he’s not holding any individual workouts for teams ahead of the draft. Heading into lottery night, he appeared to be a lock to be selected in the top-2. However, the 19-year-old will likely be available when Atlanta picks based on the Kings’ reported disinterest in the Slovenian wing. It’s been reported that the Hawks are likely to pass on him as well.

Whoever is selected with the No. 3 pick is projected to make a starting salary of approximately $6.5MM. While we wait to see what the Hawks do with their selection, check out some notes from Atlanta:

  • Mohamed Bamba is tentatively scheduled to work out for the Hawks on June 14, Cunningham tweets. Grayson Allen and Trae Young are also expected to workout for the team next week.
  • The Hawks will have several prospects come into town on Wednesday, according to a team press release. Alize Johnson (Missouri State), George King (Colorado), Billy Preston (Bosnia), Omari Spellman (Villanova), Jared Terrell (Rhode Island) and Thomas Welsh (UCLA) will all visit Atlanta.
  • Atlanta has hired Nate Babcock to be a special assistant on coach Lloyd Pierce’s staff, Cunningham reports (via Twitter). The Hawks’ coaching staff is now complete.

Draft Workouts: Walker, Knicks, Kings, Lakers

Potential lottery pick Lonnie Walker IV has workouts on tap with the Bulls and Knicks, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Zagoria tweets that Walker’s audition for Chicago is scheduled for Wednesday, while his workout with New York will happen “down the road.” Walker previously worked out for Charlotte.

Both the Bulls and Knicks hold top-10 picks and could go in a number of different directions, depending on who’s available, so it’s no surprise that both clubs have been active in terms of pre-draft workouts. Trae Young, Kevin Knox, Mikal Bridges, and Wendell Carter Jr. are among the other prospects earning a look from both Eastern clubs.

Here are more updates on various pre-draft workouts from around the NBA:

Draft Notes: Hornets, Grizzlies, Blazers, Lakers, Nuggets

Villanova’s Mikal Bridges had his conditioning tested during his first pre-draft workout today in Charlotte, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bridges and St. Joseph’s James Demery were the only players at the hour-long session, which featured full-court sprints mixed with long-range shooting toward the end of the process.

“They pushed us,” Bridges said. “I’m really well conditioned and they [wanted to see me] shoot the ball while I’m tired. [It was about] showing them everything, like some ballhandling that they didn’t see” when he was in college.

Projected as a lottery pick, Bridges may still be available when the Hornets select at No. 11. However, Bonnell notes that the Cavaliers, Knicks and Sixers — the three teams directly in front of Charlotte — could all have interest.

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

Draft Notes: M. Bridges, Pinson, Farrell, Rowsey

With the deadline passing for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA draft, pre-draft workouts are taking on a new level of importance. Here are a few notes to pass on as the draft looms 20 days from now: