Elijah Pittman

Draft Notes: Randle, Payne, Tavares, Grizz, Suns

With the draft only eight days away, we should expect a steady stream of updates leading up to next Thursday night’s festivities in Brooklyn. Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders profiles prospects whose stock is on the rise; a list that includes Doug McDermott, Elfrid Payton, Rodney Hood, T.J. Warren, Zach LaVine, Jarnell Stokes, Rodney Hood, Shabazz Napier and Mitch McGary. In addition, here are some more team-specific draft notes from Wednesday:

  • Duke’s Andre Dawkins will work out with the Pistons, Mavericks and Magic after Friday’s session with the Wizards, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.
  • The Clippers worked out C.J. Fair, Glenn Robinson III, Cleanthony Early and Jakarr Sampson on Wednesday, adds Zagoria via Twitter.
  • Zagoria also tweets that the Pacers will work out Ohio guard Nick Kellogg next Monday and the Nets will work out Fair next Wednesday (Twitter links).
  • The Jazz got a revealing look at Noah Vonleh in Monday’s six-man workout, writes Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News. Many draftniks foresee Vonleh going to Utah at No. 5.
  • In an Insider Only piece, ESPN’s David Thorpe outlines a handful of pre-NBA similarities between Syracuse product Jerami Grant and current NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Earlier updates:

  • Working out for the Cavaliers today, Andrew Wiggins looked “very good” according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (via Twitter). Amico adds that Cleveland’s first overall selection remains wide open.
  • Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe profiles Australian backcourt prospect Dante Exum. Meanwhile, NBA.com offers their pre-draft breakdown of Clemson product K.J. McDaniels.
  • The Kings, who pick 8th, will work out Hood, LaVine, Sim Bhullar, Nick Johnson, Elijah Pittman and RIchard Solomon on Friday, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, who adds that LaVine has fans in the Sacramento front office (Twitter links are here).
  • With concerns about his right foot in the air, Julius Randle impressed in his workout with the Jazz today, writes Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. As he has since the original report, Randle maintained today in Utah that he does not need surgery.
  • The Bulls will work out Michigan State’s Adreian Payne on Monday, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. Owners of the 16th and 19th selections, Chicago figures to be in the market for outside shooting, making Payne a realistic possibility.
  • The Celtics brought 7-foot-3 prospect Walter Tavares in for a workout on Thursday, reports Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.com. As Scotto notes, Tavares seems to be making a late push up draft boards.
  • The Grizzlies will host Napier, Jordan Clarkson, Jerami Grant, P.J. HairstonLaQuinton Ross and C.J Wilcox on Thursday, the team announced.
  • Michael Cohen of The Commercial Appeal profiles Grant and Hairston along with Payne and Hood in his examination of which players may slip to Memphis at pick 22.
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo will work out for the Spurs, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (via Twitter). As Zillgitt points out, Antetokounmpo’s talent, bloodlines and the fact that he will have worked out for nearly half the league by next Thursday make him an intriguing prospect.
  • Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek considers smarts nearly as valuable as athleticism when evaluating draft prospects, writes Matt Petersen of Suns.com, who points to Gerald Green as an elite athlete who thrived in Phoenix after showing signs of basketball I.Q. despite a rocky start to his career.

Draft Notes: Pittman, Melvin, Exum

Here are a few draft-related links worth passing along tonight:

  • Recent Marshall basketball standout Elijah Pittman has entered the NBDL player pool, according to Gino Pilato of DLeagueDigest.com. Pilato adds that the 6’9 forward is eligible for the 2014 NBA Draft and will look for an opportunity to impress NBA executives via a stint in the D-League.
  • Former DePaul star Cleveland Melvin has been claimed from the NBDL player pool by the BayHawks, which serves as the Knicks’ D-League affiliate (Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside reports). Like Pittman, Melvin will also be eligible for the 2014 NBA Draft.
  • ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla offered his thoughts on Dante Exum during a recent interview with John Ireland of ESPN 710 and surely turned a few heads (hat tip to Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders): “He reminds me of a young, 1982 circa North Carolina Michael Jordan…He’s not going to be as great, obviously, unless I’m wrong… but he kind of reminds you of a young colt that’s just about to run his first claimer race, and you’re looking at him (thinking), ‘This guy could win the Kentucky Derby someday.”
  • More from Fraschilla on Exum: “He’s got great basketball instincts…He’ll drive in, and when you think he’s going to use his right hand, he’ll switch to the left hand at the last minute. He’ll take off about a half step earlier than you think he should, but then he’ll hang in the air and bank it off the glass…Getting your own shot in the league is a skill…If I had to pick today, it would be in some order of Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and (Exum).”
  • On ESPN’s Mike and Mike Show, the unquestionably outspoken Charles Barkley offered his solution to the issue of tanking: give every lottery team one ping pong ball instead of rewarding teams with the worst record (hat tip to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv).