Christian Braun

Givony’s Latest: Sharpe, Magic, Kings, Duarte, Suns, Knicks, More

Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, perhaps the biggest enigma of the 2022 NBA draft, is the subject of several rumors in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link).

Givony has Sharpe coming off the board at No. 7 to Portland, writing that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is believed to be a fan of the young guard, despite the fact that Sharpe is 12 years younger than Lillard and is on a “completely different timetable.”

A pair of teams picking later in the lottery may also have their sights set on Sharpe. The Thunder, who hold the No. 12 pick, continue to pursue trade-up opportunities, according to Givony, who says Sharpe and Jaden Ivey are among the players Oklahoma City appears to be targeting.

Meanwhile, Sharpe is also said to intrigue the Hornets if they trade up from No. 13, Givony writes, noting that the Kentucky guard surprised other teams when he opted to work out for Charlotte.

Here are a few more of the most interesting tidbits from Givony’s newest mock:

  • Virtually every NBA team expects the Magic to select Jabari Smith first overall and would be surprised if they go in a different direction.
  • The Kings are considered more likely to stand pat than to trade the No. 4 pick, but they’ve had discussions with almost every team behind them in the lottery and even some outside of the lottery, per Givony. Pacers wing Chris Duarte is among the possible trade targets the Kings have done their homework on, Givony adds.
  • Surprisingly, Givony has heard the Suns are among the clubs exploring trade scenarios involving the Pelicans‘ No. 8 pick. Givony suggests Phoenix could potentially include a player like Cameron Johnson in its offer to help create more long-term cap flexibility to retain Deandre Ayton.
  • There’s a widespread belief that the Knicks won’t end up picking at No. 11, Givony reports. they’re “aggressively” exploring scenarios in which they trade back or trade out of the first round.
  • Rival teams believe the Cavaliers are high on Ousmane Dieng, though he could be off the board by No. 14, says Givony.
  • Echoing multiple recent reports, Givony identifies Hawks big man John Collins as a major draft-day trade candidate. Givony goes a step further, suggesting that Collins could even be packaged with Kevin Huerter in a deal involving the Kings‘ No. 4 overall pick.
  • The Bucks (No. 24) are eyeing older prospects who could help them win right away, such as Andrew Nembhard, Jake LaRavia, Christian Braun and Ismael Kamagate, according to Givony, who has heard from rival teams that Milwaukee has also conveyed some interest in trading up into the teens, possibly for a big man like Mark Williams and Walker Kessler.

Northwest Notes: Eason, Connelly, Wolves, Thunder, Terry

LSU forward Tari Eason, who headlined the Trail Blazers‘ six-player workout on Friday, already has some connections to the franchise, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. A Seattle native, Eason’s high school coach was one-time Portland star Brandon Roy, and the Blazers’ roster already includes another recent LSU standout, Trendon Watford.

Although Portland likes Eason enough to see him in person, he probably won’t be in the mix for the seventh pick, which is the Blazers’ only current selection in the first round. Fentress notes that Eason has a wide variety of projections in mock drafts and has worked out for other teams ranging from Washington at No. 10 to Minnesota at No. 19. Eason says he’s tried to avoid such predictions as he prepares for draft night.

“I don’t really have a preference or really look into that sort of thing,” he said. “I don’t really get caught up in that. I just control the things that I can control.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • New Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is approaching the draft with an open mind, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota needs more size, but may not find any attractive options with the 19th pick. The team also has three second-rounders at 40, 48 and 50 that may be used to facilitate a trade. “We feel good about adding another valuable piece, a good player at 19,” Connelly said. “There will potentially be some pretty cool opportunities to use that as a trade asset as well. Anytime you have four draft picks, it’s exciting. It’s the one day of the year where you really control what you can do, largely.”
  • Six players worked out Friday for the Timberwolves, tweets Andrew Slater of Pro Insight. They are Christian Braun of Kansas, Jordan Hall of St. Joseph’s, Dereon Seabron of North Carolina State, Jalen Williams of Santa Clara, Bryce McGowens of Nebraska and Donovan Williams of UNLV.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) tries to build an ideal draft for the Thunder using their four picks. Givony’s simulation gives Oklahoma City Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren at No. 2, Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe at No. 12, Wake Forest’s Jake LaRavia at No. 30 and Khalifa Diop of Gran Canaria at No. 34.
  • Jason Terry had his interview today as the Jazz search for their next head coach, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. Utah assistants Alex Jensen and Lamar Skeeter also interviewed this week.

Draft Notes: Hardy, Braun, Roddy, Pistons, Ivey

Speaking to reporters after working out for Washington on Tuesday, G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy said he has already worked out for the Warriors, Bucks, Timberwolves, and Thunder, and has auditions on tap with the Hawks, Hornets, Mavericks, and Pelicans (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Athletic). Viewed as a good bet to be a first-round pick, Hardy currently ranks 22nd overall on ESPN’s big board.

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • Kansas shooting guard Christian Braun, the No. 30 prospect on ESPN’s board, has worked out for the Bucks, Clippers, and Magic, and had a visit scheduled with the Grizzlies this week, tweets Andrew Lind. Those four teams each have at least one pick between No. 22 and No. 43 in this year’s draft.
  • Colorado State forward David Roddy, ESPN’s No. 46 prospect, had a meet and greet with Nuggets staffers a month ago and was brought back for a workout with the team on Tuesday, tweets Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports. Asked if he senses interest from the Nuggets, Roddy replied, “I would say so. Everybody’s a fan of my game here. They’ve told me that.” Roddy has also worked out for several other teams, including the Warriors and Raptors, per Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic spoke to a handful of coaches and executives at the college and NBA levels to get their thoughts on several of the top guards in the 2022 draft class, including Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe, Dyson Daniels, Johnny Davis, and several others. One Eastern Conference executive told Aldridge that he knows the Pistons – who hold the No. 5 overall pick – “love” Ivey.

Southeast Draft Notes: Murray, Hawks, Wizards, Hornets

The Magic hold the No. 1 pick and Iowa’s Keegan Murray isn’t expected to go higher than No. 4 in the lottery. That didn’t prevent Orlando from doing its due diligence on the high-scoring wing. Murray came in for a pre-draft workout on Thursday, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. The two sides also had a discussion during the draft combine in Chicago, Price adds.

We have more developments from the Southeast Division:

Central Notes: Grant, Weaver, Pacers, Sexton

Veteran Pistons forward Jerami Grant could be one of the NBA’s most intriguing trade candidates this summer. The 28-year-old Grant may not fit the timeline of the rebuilding Pistons, who will be looking to add another blue-chip prospect with the No. 5 pick in the 2022 draft alongside 2021 No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham.

Grant, who has one year remaining on his current contract, is extension-eligible this offseason, but figures to be a trade chip if the Pistons aren’t prepared to extend him. Sources inform James L. Edwards III and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic that the Hawks were interested in dealing for Grant during the 2021/22 season, and suggest that that remains the case, exploring what a deal between Detroit and Atlanta might look like.

The Hawks have a need for a defensive-oriented player who can guard along the perimeter and handle. Edwards and Kirschner believe Atlanta’s most viable offer for Grant would likely include Bogdan Bogdanovic and the team’s No. 16 pick.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • When it comes to the draft, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver prioritizes hard-working competitors, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois views this year’s draft, which will be Weaver’s third in his lead role for the Detroit front office, as an interesting opportunity to gauge the level of risk Weaver is willing to take. Detroit possesses the fifth pick in the 2022 draft. Langlois notes that the club could draft a 22-year-old with several years of college experience in Iowa forward Keegan Murray, or, on the other end of the spectrum, a 19-year-old who never suited up for his college team in Shaedon Sharpe.
  • The Pacers, owners of the No. 6 pick in the 2022 draft, held a pre-draft workout on Tuesday for several guard prospects, per James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Boyd notes that Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas, Kansas shooting guard Christian Braun, Arizona guard Dalen Terry, Purdue shooting guard Sasha Stefanovic, Belmont point guard Grayson Murphy, and Northern Iowa guard AJ Green worked out for Indiana.
  • Following an exciting 2021/22 season, the Cavaliers face an uncertain offseason. Cleveland went 44-38, but did not advance out of the play-in tournament. In a new mailbag, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link) addresses the market for restricted free agent guard Collin Sexton, potential trade candidates that could help Cleveland take the next step in the East, and other topics. Fedor hears from sources that the Spurs, in particular, “have some Sexton fans in their front office.”

Draft Decisions: J. Williams, Braun, J. Walker, Scheierman

Early entrants Jalen Williams (Santa Clara), Christian Braun (Kansas), and Jabari Walker (Colorado) are all keeping their names in the 2022 NBA draft, notes Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). The three prospects have signed with BDA Sports and WME Sports for representation, rendering them ineligible to return to college.

Williams, a junior guard, is a potential first-round pick, currently ranking 24th overall on ESPN’s big board. When he first entered the draft, he was at No. 48 on ESPN’s list, so he has clearly improved his stock in the last couple months.

Braun, also a junior guard, isn’t far behind Williams at No. 30, while sophomore forward Walker is at No. 74 and isn’t a lock to be drafted.

Here are a few more updates on early entrants deciding to either remain in the draft pool or return to school:

  • After declaring for the draft following his junior season, forward Baylor Scheierman has decided to withdraw and return to school for at least one more year, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Scheierman, the No. 86 prospect on ESPN’s board, is transferring from South Dakota State to Creighton.
  • As expected, after securing a lucrative NIL deal to play for Miami, Nijel Pack has opted to withdraw from the NBA draft, according to Rothstein (Twitter link). The guard spent his first two college seasons at Kansas State.
  • Nevada junior guard Grant Sherfield will withdraw from the draft and is transferring to Oklahoma to play for the Sooners next season, tweets Goodman. Sherfield made the All-MWC team in each of the last two years after transferring from Wichita State in 2020.

Draft Notes: Sochan, Combine, Withdrawals, Davison

The Pelicans and Nuggets are among the teams believed to have interest in Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan, while the Spurs are viewed as a “strong fit” for him, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic writes in his recap of last week’s draft combine.

According to Vorkunov, one team executive put Sochan’s floor at the No. 12 pick, which means the Nuggets – who control No. 21 – would have to trade up if they want a shot at him. He’s far more likely to be available for the Pelicans (No. 8) or Spurs (No. 9).

Vorkunov’s article includes several more tidbits on the combine, including a look at some of the more outside-the-box questions teams asked in their interviews with prospects. According to Vorkunov, one club challenged Christian Braun to repeated staring contests, while the Nuggets told players during their meetings that if they could name enough players on the club’s roster, one of their team officials would do push-ups.

Here’s more on the 2022 NBA draft:

Full List Of 2022 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 76 players who have been invited – and who are expected to attend – next week’s draft combine in Chicago. The combine workouts will take place from May 18-20.

Over the course of the week, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft likely won’t participate in scrimmages, those top prospects are still expected to attend. That group includes Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey.

A handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp could be invited to participate in the combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 76 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link):

  1. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas (senior)
  2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee (freshman)
  3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke (freshman)
  4. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  5. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  6. Hugo Besson, G, Australia (born 2001)
  7. Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State (freshman)
  8. Christian Braun, G, Kansas (junior)
  9. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (freshman)
  10. John Butler Jr., F/C, Florida State (freshman)
  11. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (junior)
  12. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  13. Max Christie, G, Michigan State (freshman)
  14. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (junior)
  15. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  16. Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin (sophomore)
  17. JD Davison, G, Alabama (freshman)
  18. Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan (freshman)
  19. Ousmane Dieng, F, Australia (born 2003)
  20. Khalifa Diop, C, Spain (born 2002)
  21. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (freshman)
  22. Tari Eason, F, LSU (sophomore)
  23. Keon Ellis, G, Alabama (senior)
  24. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  25. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova (super-senior)
  26. AJ Griffin, F, Duke (freshman)
  27. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  28. Ron Harper Jr., F, Rutgers (senior)
  29. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (freshman)
  30. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (freshman)
  31. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (sophomore)
  32. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (junior)
  33. Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia (born 2003)
  34. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA (junior)
  35. Ismael Kamagate, C, France (born 2001)
  36. Trevor Keels, G, Duke (freshman)
  37. Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn (sophomore)
  38. Christian Koloko, C, Arizona (junior)
  39. Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest (junior)
  40. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette (sophomore)
  41. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (junior)
  42. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona (sophomore)
  43. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor (senior)
  44. Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska (freshman)
  45. Leonard Miller, F, Canada (born 2003)
  46. Josh Minott, F, Memphis (freshman)
  47. Aminu Mohammed, G/F, Georgetown (freshman)
  48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State (junior)
  49. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  50. Wendell Moore, F, Duke (junior)
  51. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (sophomore)
  52. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
  53. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (junior)
  54. Gabriele Procida, G/F, Italy (born 2002)
  55. Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State (junior)
  56. David Roddy, F, Colorado State (junior)
  57. Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo (sophomore)
  58. Dereon Seabron, G, NC State (sophomore)
  59. Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  60. Jabari Smith, F, Auburn (freshman)
  61. Terquavion Smith, G, NC State (freshman)
  62. Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor (freshman)
  63. Matteo Spagnolo, G, Italy (born 2003)
  64. Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  65. Dalen Terry, G, Arizona (sophomore)
  66. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  67. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado (sophomore)
  68. TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. Peyton Watson, G/F, UCLA (freshman)
  70. Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame (freshman)
  71. Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest (super-senior)
  72. Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara (junior)
  73. Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  74. Mark Williams, C, Duke (sophomore)
  75. Trevion Williams, F/C, Purdue (senior)
  76. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)

Draft Notes: Braun, Wilson, Diop, Santos, Edey, Pack, Miller

After winning a national championship with the Jayhawks this season, Kansas junior shooting guard Christian Braun is entering his name in the 2022 NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Ranked as the No. 30 overall prospect on ESPN’s big board, Braun took a major step forward in his third college season, averaging 14.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG on .495/.386/.733 shooting in 40 games (34.4 MPG). He also played a big role in this month’s title game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to help Kansas secure the victory.

“It is hard to follow a season where you win every championship that’s in front of you, but I’m excited to explore the options in front of me and enjoy this process,” Braun told ESPN. “I’ve worked my whole life to show the NBA who I am and what I’m about, so I will continue to put my head down and work to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA.”

Meanwhile, Braun’s teammate Jalen Wilson will once again test the waters, according to Andrew Joseph of USA Today (Twitter link), who notes that the 6’8″ forward has signed with an NCAA-certified agency. A redshirt sophomore, Wilson first tested the draft waters in 2021.

Here are a few more draft-related updates as the early entrant deadline nears:

  • Senegalese center Khalifa Diop, who currently plays for Gran Canaria in Spain, is entering the draft, per Global Scouting (Twitter link). Diop is the No. 40 prospect on ESPN’s board.
  • Brazilian forward Gui Santos, the No. 84 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, has declared for the draft, according to a Super Esportes report. Santos has been playing for Minas in the Brazilian league.
  • Purdue big man Zach Edey, the No. 67 prospect on ESPN’s board, has announced (via Instagram) that he’ll remain with the Boilermakers for his junior year.
  • After entering the transfer portal while testing the draft waters, Kansas State’s Nijel Pack has committed to Miami, he announced on Saturday (Twitter link). Having secured a lucrative NIL deal, Pack appears committed to playing at least one more college season rather than keeping his name in the draft.
  • Canadian forward Leonard Miller, from the Fort Erie International Academy, is entering the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Givony notes that Miller made an impression at the Nike Hoop Summit earlier this month.

And-Ones: MVP Race, Fenway Sports Group, 2022 Draft

The 2021/22 MVP race is one for the ages, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who contends that we “aren’t talking about it nearly enough.” As Hollinger outlines, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Sixers center Joel Embiid are each in the midst of a historic season and would be a clear MVP frontrunner if it weren’t for the presence of the other two.

If the season ended today, Hollinger notes, Jokic (32.3) and Antetokounmpo (32.0) would have the two highest single-season PERs in NBA history, while Embiid’s (31.0) would also make the top 10. Hollinger says he’d pick Jokic for MVP if forced to decide right now, but with over a month left in the season, there’s still plenty of time for Antetokounmpo and Embiid to strengthen their cases.

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

  • Gerry Cardinale, a shareholder in Fenway Sports Group, says that adding an NBA franchise is “a real top priority” for the massive Boston-based firm, as Michael Silverman of The Boston Globe writes. The FSG conglomerate already owns MLB’s Boston Red Sox, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Premier League’s Liverpool FC.
  • Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams, Kansas guard Christian Braun, and Colorado State forward David Roddy are among the best bets to further improve their draft stock with strong performances to finish out the NCAA season, says Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Wasserman also singles out four other prospects who are candidates to rise up draft boards in the coming weeks.
  • Touching on several stories from around the NBA in his latest article for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor makes a case for why the Knicks should lean more heavily on their young players, breaks down what Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans have brought to the Mavericks, and praises the work the Rockets have done developing their rookies this season. O’Connor also argues that the NBA should tweak its playoff format to allow top seeds to pick their first-round opponents.