Evan Mobley

USC’s Evan Mobley Enters 2021 NBA Draft

One of 2021’s top prospects, USC big man Evan Mobley, confirmed today that he’s entering the NBA draft and will go pro after a single season with the Trojans (Twitter link).

Mobley, who will turn 20 in June, averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks with a .578 FG% in 33 games (33.9 MPG) for USC in 2020/21. The seven-footer was a Consensus All-American who was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year.

Mobley is part of the top tier of prospects in this year’s draft class, ranking No. 2 on ESPN’s big board. He’ll likely receive consideration to be the first player off the board in July and is extremely unlikely to fall further than fourth or fifth overall.

As Jonathan Givony notes in his profile of Mobley at ESPN.com, the big man has an “ideal physical profile” for the NBA level and has the potential to be an elite rim protector. While he only knocked down 30% of his three-point attempts as a Trojan, Mobley has the “touch and mechanics” to improve that rate at the NBA level over time, says Givony.

Our running list of early entrants for the 2021 NBA draft can be found right here.

And-Ones: Poirier, Scola, Middleton, Mobley

Former Sixers center Vincent Poirier has agreed to a multiyear contract with Real Madrid, writes Nicola Lupo of Sportando. The news was first reported by Jose Luis Sanchez (Twitter link).

Poirier, 27, played 10 games for Philadelphia after being acquired from the Thunder in a December trade. He saw just 3.9 minutes per game, averaging 0.8 points and 1.4 rebounds, before being traded to the Knicks at the deadline. New York waived him three days later.

The seven-footer was a star in Europe before signing with the Celtics in 2019. He led the EuroLeague in rebounding and was a second-team all-league selection during the 2018/19 season. Poirier won’t be able to join the EuroLeague until next season, Lupo adds, but he is eligible for Liga ACB.

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

  • NBA veteran Luis Scola will make a decision on retirement after his season ends with Varese in Italy, relays Alessandro Maggi of Sportando. Scola, who will turn 41 at the end of April, discussed his future with La Prealpina, an Italian newspaper. “I am happy here in Varese,” he said. “I will decide my future as soon as the season is over. My decision will be quick out of respect for the team and the club.” Scola indicated in November that he was planning to retire after the Olympics.
  • Bucks guard Khris Middleton is about to become a minority owner of the Brisbane Bullets in the National Basketball League, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Bulls forward Thaddeus Young is also part of the Australian team’s ownership (Twitter link), with former NBA guard Kevin Martin serving as majority owner. Several other players with NBA connections have stakes in NBL franchises, Stein adds (via Twitter). Rockets guards John Wall and Dante Exum are part owners of the South East Melbourne Phoenix, along with Zach Randolph, Al Harrington and Josh Childress. The New Zealand Breakers’ ownership is led by former Heat player Matt Walsh and includes Victor Oladipo and Shawn Marion.
  • A strong performance in the NCAA tournament moves USC big man Evan Mobley up to second in the latest mock draft by Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Woo suggests that Mobley’s defensive impact should make him be considered a “1B” pick to Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham‘s “1A.” Woo adds that some teams may prefer Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs with the top pick, depending on need.

And-Ones: AmeriCup, Olympics, All-Star Break, Draft

USA Basketball issued a press release today announcing its 12-man roster for the AmeriCup qualifying tournament taking place in Puerto Rico later this month. Several players representing Team USA in games against The Bahamas on February 19 and Mexico on February 20 have already been reported, with former All-Stars Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson leading the way.

However, today’s announcement includes a few more players with NBA experience that we haven’t already passed along. Josh Boone, James Nunnally, and Jordan Sibert will also be part of the roster, per today’s announcement.

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

  • FIBA has revealed the groups for the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament, announcing today that Team USA will be part of Group A alongside France and Iran. The fourth team in the group will be the winner of a qualifying tournament that includes Canada, Greece, Turkey, China, the Czech Republic, and Uruguay..
  • While players will get a break from March 5-10, between the first and second halves of the season, they’ll have to undergo daily COVID-19 testing during that time and will likely be required to be back in their team’s market two days before the end of that break, says Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report released an updated version of his 2021 mock draft, as did ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link). Both mocks have Cade Cunningham at No. 1, Evan Mobley at No. 2, and Jalen Suggs at No. 4, but disagree about which G League Ignite player should be at No. 3 — Wasserman has Jonathan Kuminga there, while Givony and Schmitz favor Jalen Green.

And-Ones: Montgomery, Thomas, NCAA Tourney, 2021 Draft

Former Kentucky forward E.J. Montgomery, who was in training camp with the Bucks last month, has signed with Lithuanian team BC Nevezis, according to an announcement from the club (Twitter link).

After going undrafted in 2020 following his sophomore season with the Wildcats, Montgomery caught on with Milwaukee on a non-guaranteed camp deal, but was cut on December 16. While the Bucks may have, at one point, envisioned Montgomery as a potential G League affiliate player, the Wisconsin Herd opted out of the NBAGL’s bubble plan for 2020/21, opening the door for the 21-year-old to pursue another professional opportunity.

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

  • Isaiah Thomas and Excel Sports Management have parted ways, as the free agent point guard continues to seek an NBA comeback, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Presumably, Thomas will hire new representation to spearhead the effort to land him an NBA job.
  • The NCAA was forced to cancel March Madness in 2020, but the 2021 event is still scheduled to tip off in mid-March. According to a press release from the NCAA, the plan is for the entire tournament to take place in Indiana to reduce the coronavirus risk associated with travel.
  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype spoke to a handful of player agents and team executives about what it looks like when a player requests a trade and how the process typically plays out behind the scenes.
  • Draft expert Jeff Goodman of Stadium has unveiled his big board for the 2021 NBA draft, which is headed by Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State), Jalen Green (G League Ignite), Evan Mobley (USC), and Jonathan Kuminga (G League Ignite) fill out Goodman’s initial top five. The same five prospects are atop ESPN’s big board, albeit in a different order.

And-Ones: Fans In Arenas, W. Chandler, 2021 Draft, More

For the time being, only five teams – the Jazz, Pelicans, Magic, Rockets, and Grizzlies – are continuing with their plans to have some fans in arenas when the regular season begins, sources tell David Aldridge of The Athletic.

The Mavericks and Heat each confirmed today that they won’t have fans for their preseason games, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami also won’t host fans for its Christmas Day game, as Chiang notes.

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

  • The NBA intends to administer a daily point-of-care, rapid coronavirus testing system for the 2020/21 season, according to Shams Charania and Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter links). Those tests would return results within 30 minutes in teams’ home markets and within 90 minutes on the road. In the event of invalid results, the player would undergo another rapid test at least 30 minutes after the first one and could participate in team activities while awaiting the result, sources tell The Athletic.
  • Veteran forward Wilson Chandler is expected to leave Zhejiang Guangsha, his team in China, a source tells Sportando. Chandler, who finished the 2019/20 season with Brooklyn, signed to play in the Chinese Basketball Association in the fall. It’s unclear whether or not his reported exit is related to an NBA opportunity.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have published their first list of the top 100 prospects for the 2021 NBA draft. Oklahoma State point guard Cade Cunningham leads the way, followed by USC’s Evan Mobley and Jalen Green of the G League Ignite.
  • Speaking of Green and the Ignite, they’re scheduled to scrimmage on December 15 and 17 against a group of veteran G Leaguers, according to Givony (all Twitter links). It’s unclear whether or not those games will be streamed, but NBA teams will get access to the film, according to Givony, who says Isaiah Briscoe, Tariq Owens, and Bryce Alford will be among the vets scrimmaging against the Ignite.

G League Notes: Green, Todd, Los Angeles, Mobley

It has been an eventful day for the NBA G League, which revealed that it has significantly revamped its program for top high school prospects who want to take a professional path before entering the draft rather than spending a single season in college.

Jalen Green, arguably the top recruit in the 2020 class, became the first big-name prospect to commit to the new NBAGL program, and will reportedly be joined by Isaiah Todd, who decommitted from Michigan earlier this week.

Here are a few more notes and updates on the new G League program and the prospects who are taking that route:

  • According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), the compensation packages for high school prospects who sign to play in the G League will vary on a case-by-case basis. However, Green’s total earnings – which will include salary, endorsements, and appearances – are expected to eclipse $1MM.
  • Green and Todd will join a new G League franchise based in Southern California, Charania reports (Twitter links). That will serve two purposes — it will prevent any NBA team from gaining an upper hand by developing a top prospect at its own G League affiliate and it will allow the new Los Angeles-based team to play a unique schedule of exhibition games that don’t count toward the NBAGL standings, as detailed in an earlier ESPN report.
  • Evan Mobley, who was ranked second behind Green on ESPN’s list of top 2020 recruits, was approached by the G League as well, a source tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports (Twitter link). While the source described the NBAGL’s offer as “an awesome package,” Mobley preferred to take the college route and will play for USC.