Derrick Alston Jr.

Southeast Notes: Dragic, Heat, Unseld, Hornets

Goran Dragic has been with the Heat for over six seasons, and has played some of the best basketball of his career in Miami. He was arguably the third-best player during the Heat’s run to the Finals last season before a foot injury limited him to two games against the Lakers. But the 35-year-old point guard is coming off an injury-plagued season and owed over $19MM next season.

According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Heat don’t want to trade Dragic this offseason. But if a deal for a star presents itself, the team would be willing to do so.

We have more news from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat have traded away both their picks in this year’s draft, but that hasn’t stopped team president Pat Riley for setting the edict to the scouting department to find and secure useful players from the draft, writes Winderman. “We don’t have any picks, but I can guarantee you we’ll probably get a couple of good players out of this year’s draft, somehow,” Riley said at the end of the season. The Heat have a track record of landing productive players like Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson despite scant draft resources. They’ll try to repeat history this year.
  • Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald looks at how the Olympics experience could help the Heat‘s Nigerian trio of Gabe Vincent, KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa. Team Nigeria has been dominant during exhibition games, but if they don’t make the medal round, it’s possible the three young players will be back in Las Vegas for Summer League, looking to build off the momentum and confidence they’ve gained from this experience.
  • Wes Unseld Jr. is not just a familiar name, he’s also an experienced coach who has paid his dues, writes Fred Katz in a piece for The Athletic on the Wizards’ newest head coach. Katz writes that Unseld sold the Wizards based not only on his track record, but also on ideas for how to better utilize star Bradley Beal and last season’s lottery pick Deni Avdija.
  • The Hornets are working out six prospects today, per a tweet from the team: Derrick Alston Jr., Ian Dubose, Romeao Ferguson, Ariel Hukporti, Carlik Jones, and Ruot Monyyong. The Hornets have the 56th and 57th picks in the draft, the range in which most of said prospects may be available.

Hawks Notes: Prunty, J. McMillan, Workouts, Collins

Joe Prunty and Jamelle McMillan are expected to become part of Nate McMillan‘s revamped coaching staff with the Hawks, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

Prunty, who began working as an NBA assistant in 1996, has spent time with a total of seven different teams and briefly served as the interim head coach of the Bucks during the 2017/18 season. Prunty, who last coached in the NBA in 2018/19 as a Suns assistant, was the head coach of the Team USA squad that played in the AmeriCup qualifiers earlier this year. He and Nate McMillan worked together in Portland from 2008-10.

Jamelle McMillan, who is Nate’s son, has spent most of his career with the Pelicans, including several years as an assistant under Alvin Gentry. He joined the Suns for a season in 2018/19 before rejoining the Pelicans, but was let go in 2020 when Stan Van Gundy was hired by New Orleans.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

Central Notes: Tucker, Bucks, Pacers, Workouts, Pistons

P.J. Tucker is used to being a part of contending teams, but this season took a detour before he landed in Milwaukee, notes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Tucker had to endure a lot of losing in Houston after the Rockets dealt James Harden in mid-January. He was stuck in a rebuilding situation until the Bucks traded for him in March.

“I thought about the stuff I was doing with Houston this year, this season has just been a long year for me,” Tucker said. “To go from being a top team in the West to falling apart instantly and being the last one left (in Houston) and everything I went through with that, the transition, it was just a lot this season.”

Tucker has enjoyed his time with the Bucks and is looking forward to competing for his first NBA championship, but isn’t sure whether his time in Milwaukee will extend beyond this season, as Nehm writes.

“I’m really excited to be able to pick where I want to go,” Tucker said. “The (contract) extension thing was for a different period of time. We didn’t even talk about that when I came to Milwaukee. There was no extension. I just wanted to come play and get a chance to do what I do and that was it. I just wanted to have a chance.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

NBA G League Announces 40 Draft-Eligible Participants For Elite Camp

The NBA G League has announced in a press release that 40 draft-eligible prospects are set to participate in the NBAGL Elite Camp next week in Chicago from June 19-21.

The G League Elite Camp is back this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which takes place right before the draft combine, will give a few dozen draft-eligible players an opportunity to impress scouts, coaches, and executives through strength and agility drills and 5-on-5 games.

As today’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which is scheduled for June 21-27 in Chicago.

The list of draft-eligible players who took part in the most recent G League Elite Camp in 2019 included a handful of prospects who were eventually drafted, such as Terance Mann, Cody Martin, Justin Wright-Foreman, Reggie Perry, and Dewan Hernandez.

Many of the draft-eligible participants in the 2019 Elite Camp also made it to the NBA after going undrafted, including Oshae Brissett, Chris Clemons, Tyler Cook, Tacko Fall, DaQuan Jeffries, Caleb Martin, Justin Robinson, and Max Strus.

Two years ago, this event also featured 40 G League veterans, for a total of 80 players. Based on today’s press release, it sounds like this year’s Elite Camp may be pared down to only include draft-eligible prospects, though it’s possible the NBAGL will announce more names within the next few days.

Here are the 40 draft-eligible prospects participating in the 2021 G League Elite Camp:

  1. Derrick Alston Jr. (Boise State)
  2. Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech)
  3. Jose Alvarado (Georgia Tech)
  4. Juhann Begarin (France)
  5. Chaundee Brown (Michigan)
  6. Jordan Burns (Colgate)
  7. Marcus Carr (Minnesota)
  8. D.J. Carton (Marquette)
  9. Moussa Cisse (Memphis)
  10. Kofi Cockburn (Illinois)
  11. Oscar Da Silva (Stanford)
  12. Darius Days (LSU)
  13. Hunter Dickinson (Michigan)
  14. Dawson Garcia (Marquette)
  15. Marcus Garrett (Kansas)
  16. Haowen Guo (China)
  17. Jay Huff (Virginia)
  18. DeJon Jarreau (Houston)
  19. Carlik Jones (Louisville)
  20. DeVante’ Jones (Coastal Carolina)
  21. Balsa Koprivica (Florida State)
  22. A.J. Lawson (South Carolina)
  23. E.J. Liddell (Ohio State)
  24. Mac McClung (Texas Tech)
  25. JaQuori McLaughlin (UCSB)
  26. Matt Mitchell (San Diego State)
  27. RJ Nembhard (TCU)
  28. Eugene Omoruyi (Oregon)
  29. EJ Onu (Shawnee State)
  30. Scotty Pippen Jr. (Vanderbilt)
  31. Orlando Robinson (Fresno State)
  32. Aamir Simms (Clemson)
  33. Javonte Smart (LSU)
  34. Mike Smith (Michigan)
  35. D.J. Stewart (Mississippi State)
  36. MaCio Teague (Baylor)
  37. M.J. Walker (Florida State)
  38. Duane Washington (Ohio State)
  39. Aaron Wiggins (Maryland)
  40. Jalen Wilson (Kansas)

Draft Updates: Allen, Alston, Quisenberry, Mike

Utah Utes forward Timmy Allen announced on Instagram on Thursday night that he’ll be returning to school for at least one more year, withdrawing his name from the 2020 NBA draft.

A sophomore in 2019/20, Allen was Utah’s leading scorer with 17.3 PPG in 31 games (35.6 MPG). He also contributed 7.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.2 SPG. He was one of two Utah underclassmen to test the draft waters this spring, though the other – Both Gach – will be transferring to Minnesota.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Boise State forward Derrick Alston Jr. tweeted that he has “unfinished business” to complete with the Broncos and will be returning to the school for his senior year. Alston averaged 17.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .413/.335/.808 shooting in 32 games (33.0 MPG) as a junior before testing the draft waters.
  • Youngstown State guard Darius Quisenberry will also be withdrawing from the draft, he announced on Twitter. Quisenberry recorded 16.6 PPG, 4.2 APG, and 3.6 RPG in 33 games (31.5 MPG) as a sophomore in 2019/20.
  • SMU forward Isiaha Mike is set to go pro following his junior year, a source tells Sam Blum of The Dallas Morning News. While the expectation is that Mike will remain in the draft, he’s leaving the door open to the possibility of withdrawing and then become auto-eligible in 2021 following a year in Europe, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Mike, who averaged 14.0 PPG and 6.3 RPG in 30 games (30.7 MPG) last season, won’t have to finalize his decision until October 6.

Draft Decisions: Alston, Mizzou, Diarra, French, More

Boise State forward Derrick Alston Jr. has entered his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, he announced on Twitter. He’ll leave the door open for a possible return to school for his senior season.

Alston, who comes in at No. 98 on ESPN’s big board of 2020 draft prospects, averaged 17.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 3.1 APG in 32 games (33.0 MPG) in 2019/20. His three-point shooting fell off as his volume increased, dipping from 38.4% as a sophomore to 33.5% as a junior.

Alston’s father, Derrick Alston Sr., is a former NBA player who is currently the head coach of the Westchester Knicks, New York’s G League affiliate.

Here are more early entrant draft decisions from across the NCAA:

  • Three Missouri players – sophomore guard Xavier Pinson and junior forwards Mitchell Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon – will test the draft waters, according to a press release from the school. All three played part-time roles for the Tigers in 2019/20, with Pinson averaging 11.1 PPG, good for second-best on the roster.
  • Jeff Goodman of Stadium reports a pair of early entries, tweeting that Eastern Kentucky sophomore guard Jomaru Brown and Vermont junior guard Stef Smith are declaring. A source expects Smith to return to school, Goodman notes.
  • According to Goodman (via Twitter), Kansas State junior guard Cartier Diarra is testing the draft waters. If he decides to withdraw, he’ll transfer to Virginia Tech.
  • Saint Louis junior forward Hasahn French and junior guard Jordan Goodwin are testing the draft waters, according to the school. Goodwin was Saint Louis’ leading scorer with 15.5 PPG, while French chipped in 12.4 PPG. Both players averaged double-doubles, with an impressive 10.4 RPG apiece.
  • Isiaha Mike (SMU), Nate Pierre-Louis (Temple), Paul Atkinson Jr. (Yale), and Aamir Simms (Clemson) each announced on their personal Twitter accounts that they’re entering the draft while maintaining their NCAA eligibility.