Grant Golden

Southeast Notes: Hornets Workouts, Atkinson, Wizards

The Hornets hosted a couple of potential lottery picks for solo workouts on Friday, the team announced (Twitter links): Duke’s Mark Williams, who is ranked No. 14 on ESPN’s big board, and Shaedon Sharpe, who is ranked No. 7 due to his enormous upside despite not playing a game for Kentucky. The Hornets control the Nos. 13, 15 and 45 picks in the 2022 NBA draft.

Williams has been linked to Charlotte multiple times in mock drafts, which makes perfect sense since he’s a rim-running, paint-protecting center with great size and athleticism. He could fill a major weak spot if he’s NBA-ready, as the team has lacked a big man in that mold for several years.

Sharpe seems unlikely to fall to No. 13, so the Hornets were probably just doing their due diligence and getting a look at a player who hasn’t played competitively in nearly a year, but they theoretically could package their picks in order to move up and select him.

The team also hosted a group workout on Friday (Twitter link) featuring Michigan State’s Max Christie, UConn’s R.J. Cole, Richmond’s Grant Golden, Furman’s Alex Hunter, France’s Ismael Kamagate, and Brazil’s Gui Santos. Kamagate and Christie are the highest-rated prospects among the group at Nos. 40 and 45, respectively, so they could be possibilities for Charlotte’s second-rounder.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic explores what the Hornets are getting in new head coach Kenny Atkinson, noting that Atkinson earned league-wide praise by establishing a culture in Brooklyn that was reminiscent of a college team, something the Nets have sorely lacked since he resigned in 2020. Known as a meticulous worker who embraces analytics, Atkinson used to physically participate in Nets practices, writes Schiffer, adding that Atkinson appears to be entering a better situation in Charlotte than his previous head coaching job in Brooklyn.
  • The Wizards are among the teams weighing the idea of trading their lottery pick (No. 10 overall) in a possible win-now move, Marc Stein reports in his latest article for Substack.
  • Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson and Kansas’ David McCormack will work out for the Wizards on Saturday, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Robinson is ranked No. 77 on ESPN’s board, so he could be a possibility for the team’s second-round pick, which is No. 56 overall.

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Hunter, Jovic, Griffin, Maker

The Hawks have been identified in previous reports as a possible Rudy Gobert suitor, and multiple league sources have indicated the Jazz are interested in De’Andre Hunter, according to Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com. Hunter is extension-eligible this offseason. However, according to Moore, the Hawks have tried to steer any teams inquiring on Hunter to players like Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter instead.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

Wizards Notes: J. Davis, Prospect Workouts, Point Guards

The Wizards will host a pair of pre-draft workouts on Thursday, including a solo session for a potential target at No. 10. According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis, who is viewed as a potential lottery pick and a viable option for a Washington team in need of backcourt depth, will take part in that solo workout.

Prior to Davis’ audition, the Wizards will host a morning group workout that features Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Quenton Jackson (Texas A&M), Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Justin Bean (Utah State), and Marcus Bingham (Michigan State), per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • In a discussion with Robbins about the Wizards’ possible offseason point guard targets, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates that Ricky Rubio, Eric Bledsoe, and even John Wall could be among the players Washington shows interest in, assuming Bledsoe and Wall reach free agency. Hollinger also identifies Malcolm Brogdon and Mike Conley as viable options on the trade market, and suggests Tyus Jones would be an ideal fit if he were willing to accept the full mid-level exception.
  • In the same Athletic story, Robbins and Hollinger consider potential targets for the Wizards with the No. 10 pick. G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels should get serious consideration if he’s still available, according to Hollinger, who also identifies Jeremy Sochan and AJ Griffin as logical fits on the wing.
  • Maryland guard Eric Ayala, Florida forward Anthony Duruji, Richmond forward Grant Golden, Utah State forward Brandon Horvath, Marquette guard Darryl Morsell, and George Mason swingman D’Shawn Schwartz participated in a pre-draft group workout for the Wizards on Wednesday, according to Robbins (Twitter link).
  • Overtime Elite point guard Jean Montero is among the other prospects expected to work out for the Wizards this week, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

Pacific Notes: Biyombo, LaVine, Holmes, Kings

Suns center Bismack Biyombo expects to be fined for his altercation with Mavericks big man Marquese Chriss in the closing seconds of Tuesday’s game. They both ran down the same tunnel after being ejected and had to be separated by security. Biyombo explained his side of the incident in a video posted by Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

“I think it was nothing serious,” Biyombo said, adding that Chriss seemed upset that Phoenix was still trying to score with the game already in hand. “… I think when we play here they play all the way until the end, and I think that’s understandable. It’s the playoffs, you know.”

Any fines or suspensions will be announced sometime in advance of Thursday night’s Game 6. Biyombo is only averaging 8.6 minutes in seven games in this year’s playoffs and Chriss is at 3.8 minutes in four games, so any disciplinary action won’t have a significant impact on the series.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers may be a long shot to land free agent guard Zach LaVine, but they shouldn’t be discounted entirely, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. There has been speculation this week that LaVine may be interested in joining the Trail Blazers, but L.A. could be another option if he wants to head west, particularly since LaVine is represented by Klutch Sports. Pincus examines potential trades involving the Bulls, Thunder, Pacers and Magic that could clear LaVine’s path to the Lakers if he decides he wants to join them.
  • Kings big man Richaun Holmes has won a court victory in the custody battle that led to him missing the season’s final 11 games for personal reasons, according to James Ham of ESPN 1320. Holmes was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife, but judges in Los Angeles and Georgia ruled in his favor, granting him sole physical and legal custody of his son.
  • The Kings hosted six players Wednesday in their second round of pre-draft workouts, Ham tweets. On hand were Grayson Murphy of Belmont, AJ Green of Northern Iowa, Jalen Adaway of St. Bonaventure, Buddy Boeheim of Syracuse, Keve Aluma of Virginia Tech and Grant Golden of Richmond. Sacramento owns two second-round picks at No. 37 and 48. Its first-round pick will be determined by next week’s lottery.

Pacific Notes: Wiseman, Lakers Draft, Brown, Kerr

Warriors center James Wiseman plans to play in the Summer League if he doesn’t suffer any more setbacks in his recovery from a right knee injury, Kerith Burke of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Wiseman was ruled out for the season in late March. “I’m never going to give up, no matter how hard it gets,” said Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft. The big man has been doing stationary work but hasn’t returned to contact, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are bringing in six draft prospects on Tuesday, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. That group will include DeVante’ Jones (Michigan), Jeriah Horne (Tulsa), Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu (UT Arlington), Jamaree Bouyea (San Francisco), Jordan Usher (Georgia Tech) and Grant Golden (Richmond).
  • Kings fans will have to wait to hear from their new head coach. A press conference to introduce Mike Brown as Sacramento’s coach, which will also include GM Monte McNair, won’t occur until the Warriors are eliminated from the playoffs or win the championship, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee tweets.
  • Until then, the Kings can take comfort in Steve Kerr‘s endorsement of his associate head coach, Kendra Andrews of ESPN tweets“He’s an amazing coach and an amazing friend. Sacramento made a great choice,” Kerr said. “It’s a loss for us, but this is how it’s supposed to go.” Brown filled in for Kerr in Game 4 of Golden State’s playoff series against Memphis after Kerr tested positive for COVID.

Draft Notes: Early Entrants, Golden, West, Nnaji

MaCio Teague (Baylor), Keith Williams (Cincinnati), Denzel Mahoney (Creighton), and Zach Cooks (NJIT) are among the early entrants who have signed with Trinity Best for representation as they navigate the pre-draft process, per Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

However, signing with an agent doesn’t mean those players are going pro — because Best is an NCAA-certified rep, Teague, Williams, Mahoney, and Cooks can continue to test the draft waters without forgoing their remaining college eligibility. Because the NCAA has indefinitely postponed its June 3 withdrawal date, those players won’t necessarily have to finalize decisions anytime soon either.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • Richmond forward Grant Golden has decided to withdraw from the draft and return to school for his senior year, he tells Rothstein (Twitter link). Golden has averaged 15.5 PPG and 6.9 RPG for Richmond in 94 games over his last three seasons.
  • Marshall guard Jarrod West, who elected to test the draft waters this spring, is expected to return to school for his senior season, according to head coach Dan D’Antoni (Twitter link via Rothstein). West, who has been a starter for the Thundering Herd since his freshman year, had a breakout season in 2019/20, averaging 14.2 PPG, 4.1 APG, and 4.0 RPG.
  • Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji, who previously met with New Orleans, Washington, Charlotte, and Utah, has virtual interviews this week with the Knicks, Bucks, and Pistons, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

Draft Decisions: S. Lewis, Armstrong, Camper, Santos-Silva, More

Florida freshman shooting guard Scottie Lewis had been considered a strong candidate to be drafted this spring, ranking 38th overall on ESPN’s big board. However, Lewis has opted not to declare for the draft, as he confirms to Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

“I was so stuck on going to the NBA when I got home, but then I thought long and hard about it and with all the uncertainty about the draft process, and if there will even be a combine and team workouts, I felt like it was the right move to go back to school,” Lewis told Stadium.

As Goodman details, Lewis got feedback from the NBA’s advisory committee, and while he was confident he’d be selected if he entered, he received a wide range of opinions on when exactly he might come off the board. With few opportunities during this year’s pre-draft process to boost his stock, Lewis has opted to play at least one more college season in the hopes of showing individual improvement and enjoying more team success.

“There’s so much more I think I can show, that we can show as a team,” Lewis said. “I want to leave a legacy at Florida. … I’m an optimistic person and no matter where I get drafted, I’m going to work my butt off. But with all this uncertainty, it was best for me to play it safe and put myself in a better position a year from now.”

Although Lewis isn’t entering his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, several NCAA underclassmen are doing so. In addition to Kentucky guards Tyrese Maxey and Ashton Hagans, whose decisions we covered earlier today, here are some of the recent prospects who will at least test the draft waters: