Grant Riller

Hornets Sign Riller, Darling To Two-Way Deals

The Hornets have signed guard Grant Riller, a late second-round pick, to a two-way contract, according to a team press release.

Riller had a stellar college career at the College of Charleston. The 56th overall pick of the draft averaged 18.7 PPG and 2.8 APG in 132 career contests.

As previously reported, undrafted guard Nate Darling is the team’s other two-way player and his signing is also official. At Delaware last season, Darling averaged 21.0 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.8 APG in 32 starts.

In a separate release, the Hornets also announced the signing of big man Nick Richards, the 42nd pick of the draft. As a junior at Kentucky last season, he was named to the All-SEC First Team and the SEC All-Defensive Team after averaging 14.0 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 2.1 BPG in 29.7 MPG over 31 games.

Richards received a three-year contract, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Grant Riller Intriguing Teams Ahead Of Draft

Point guard Grant Riller has intrigued multiple teams as a prospect with high upside ahead of the 2020 NBA draft, a source told Hoops Rumors.

Riller’s crafty ability to score — particularly around the rim — has helped him become a projected early-second round pick. Some league observers have even placed the 23-year-old at the end of the first round. He has already interviewed with teams such as the Heat (No. 20), Sixers (No. 21), Nuggets (No. 22), and Lakers (No. 28) and Raptors (No. 29).

Riller, who spent four seasons at the College of Charleston and recorded a 39.5″ max vertical last week, averaged 21.9 points per game in his final two years with the school. He shot 51.9% from the floor and 34.4% from downtown during those campaigns, connecting on 63% of his attempts around the basket on non-post ups during his collegiate career.

Riller remains one of the only seniors who could be selected in the first round of the draft. The event is scheduled to be held virtually from the ESPN Studios in Bristol, Connecticut on November 18.

Draft Notes: Ball, Edwards, Maxey, Yurtseven, More

LaMelo Ball, a candidate to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, reportedly met virtually with New York and Golden State earlier in the year and had an in-person visit with the Timberwolves this week. He’s also expected to meet with the Hornets, Bulls, and Warriors (again) next week.

While Ball has been getting familiar with the teams at the very top of the draft, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer said during an appearance on Sports Radio WFNZ this week that he has heard from multiple sources that Ball “is not performing very well at job interviews.”

“He is not improving his perception via job interview,” Bonnell said, per Dan Feldman of NBC Sports. “There are people drafting later in the top ten who were not preparing for the possibility of Ball still being around. And I’m not saying that he will not be a top-three pick. I am saying that I know for a fact that there are teams later in the top ten who are doing more research on him, because they no longer think it’s a given he will.”

With the 2020 NBA draft less than three weeks away, we’re knee-deep in smokescreen season, so it’s difficult to know how seriously to take reports like these. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic dug into the “art of subterfuge” in a new article, noting that the Timberwolves and Warriors – both of whom are said to be interested in trading down – are taking different approaches during the pre-draft process.

While Golden State has been rumored to have real interest in over a half-dozen prospects, Minnesota has been very tight-lipped about the No. 1 pick. In each case, teams that might be interested in trading up haven’t been able to get a clear sense of whether or not the Wolves or Warriors will take the player they want.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • NBA scouts and executives weren’t allowed to be in the gym for the televised Pro Day for Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Maxey on Thursday, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. A source tells Berman that some agents were unhappy with the setup, feeling as if it was “unwarranted exposure” for Rich Paul‘s clients. The Knicks were among the teams watching the event on TV, Berman adds.
  • Former Georgetown big man Omer Yurtseven has had virtual meetings with 19 teams, he told Keith Smith of RealGM. However, he’s disappointed he hasn’t got a chance to conduct in-person workouts for all those clubs. “It’s been tough to not be able to work out directly for teams,” Yurtseven said. “I’ve spent a lot of time working on my lateral quickness. I know I needed to be quicker to play in the NBA. I worked on that a lot and can’t wait to show teams.”
  • Eamonn Brennan of The Athletic identifies five prospects he thinks are sleepers in the 2020 draft, including Kansas center Udoka Azubuike, Michigan State guard Cassius Winston, and Charleston guard Grant Riller.

Draft Notes: Haliburton, T. Jones, Flynn, Riller

Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton could be a perfect fit for the Warriors, especially if they trade down from the No. 2 slot, writes Mike Schmitz of ESPN. Scouts have been raving about Haliburton during the pre-draft process, and there’s a chance he comes off the board even earlier than expected. Schmitz notes that other teams have found success with three-guard lineups, and putting Haliburton alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson removes the the expectations of having to run a team right away.

“I think I’m a really good fit there,” Haliburton said when asked about the possibility of going to Golden State. “I think I can obviously come in and make shots as well and be in the first unit or lead the second unit.”

Schmitz believes the 6’5″ Haliburton could become one of the best players in this year’s draft class if he lands in the right situation. He’s a favorite in the analytics community because of his efficiency and his steal and block rates. He also shoots 43.5% from 3-point range, even though his shot is unconventional, and he posted a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio with the Cyclones.

Schmitz has more observations on this year’s draft class:

  • Duke’s Tre Jones is finally at full strength after having surgery on both hips in the past two years. The reigning ACC Defensive Player of The Year appeared more explosive when Schmitz watched him in a 1-on-0 workout and he set a record in P3 Sports Science’s five-yard slide test. “I could tell (how limiting it was) in all areas really,” Jones said of his injury. “If it was on defense and I was shuffling, I could feel it there. Running straight forward I could feel it. Jumping, obviously, I could feel it. All movements I was doing I could feel some limitations there. Just being able to be 100%, being able to have my full range of motion, being able to work on everything without any pain day to day is just amazing.”
  • Malachi Flynn of San Diego State is becoming a popular sleeper pick. Schmitz observed that Flynn displayed great footwork and shooting range on pick-and-rolls during 3-on-3 scrimmages in Las Vegas. “Just the style of play in the NBA, it’s definitely different from college,” Flynn said. “I think there’s a lot more space. I feel like I’ll be able to do well in that with a lot more space. You look in the playoffs, Tyler Herro having great games just by shooting the ball. Duncan Robinson has been huge for the Heat. Just guys like that, it shows that it’s a skilled league.”
  • Grant Riller was a dynamic scorer at Charleston and may have an offensive game that transfers well to the NBA, Schmitz writes. He averaged more than 21 PPG as a senior and had the highest player efficiency rating among college guards. Riller said he has been studying Thunder guard Dennis Schroder. “I think we share a lot of qualities,” he said. “A quick guard that gets downhill, can score at all three levels, is good in the pick-and-roll. Pretty savvy defender. More importantly he plays both guard spots.”