Jalen Green

Southwest Notes: Silas, Stone, Williams, Moore, Hayes

Rockets coach Stephen Silas didn’t attend Friday’s introductory news conference for the team’s draft picks because he’s been placed under the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Silas has “very minor” coronavirus symptoms and is fully vaccinated. He was involved in the team’s draft preparations, including the workout of Jalen Green, whom the Rockets chose with the No. 2 pick.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets kept their three first-round picks on Thursday and also acquired a fourth pick to select big man Alperen Sengun in the first round. The team’s GM, Rafael Stone, said the rookies now must show they were worthy of the front office’s faith in them, Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle writes. “It’s going to be on Jalen and on us to prove it out, but not just him,” Stone said. “It’s all these guys and the guys on our current roster, we’re all in it together. We got to grow. We’ve got to help each other and we’ve got to get better.”
  • Ziaire Williams was hoping the Grizzlies would use the No. 10 pick on him, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “I kept it a secret because I didn’t want to mess it up,” Williams said. “But truthfully, my family will tell you, (VP of basketball affairs) Tayshaun Prince, (GM) Zach (Kleiman), everyone, this is where I really wanted to be.”
  • Ben Moore will play on the Grizzlies’ summer league team, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets. Moore, who spent last season in Australia with South East Melbourne, played two games with the Pacers in 2017/18.
  • Jaxson Hayes was shocked twice with a stun gun and may have had force applied to his neck during an altercation with Los Angeles police, Ramon Antonio Vargas of the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweets. An investigation into whether officers’ use of force was appropriate is underway while Hayes faces a count of resisting arrest, Vargas adds. The Pelicans center was arrested early Wednesday following a domestic dispute call. He was charged with a felony.

Rockets Take Jalen Green With Second Pick

Jalen Green, the dynamic shooting guard from G League Ignite, is headed to the Rockets with the second pick in this year’s draft. The 19-year-old bypassed college basketball to get a year of seasoning in the G League while waiting to become eligible for the draft.

He was the first high school prospect to join the new developmental team, and he quickly established himself as an offensive force. In 15 games in the Orlando bubble, he averaged 17.9 points per game while shooting 46.1% from the floor and 36.5% from three-point range. He had a 30-point effort in a playoff loss to Raptors 905.

Green joins a Houston team that has needed scoring punch from its backcourt ever since trading James Harden to Brooklyn in January. Green may not start right away, with veteran guards John Wall and Eric Gordon on the roster, but he will be the centerpiece of the rebuilding effort for a team that went 17-55 this season.

The Rockets looked closely at USC’s Evan Mobley and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs before deciding on Green. The Pistons reportedly gave Green strong consideration for the top overall pick before opting for Cade Cunningham.

Draft Rumors: Top Picks, Kuminga, Trade Talks, Pacers, Jazz

The top three picks appear set as the draft draws closer, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. We shared the news earlier today that the Pistons have decided to take Cade Cunningham with the first overall selection, and sources tell Woj that the Rockets “continue to trend toward” Jalen Green, while the Cavaliers are doing the same with Evan Mobley.

Those three selections have been been expected for a while, with most mock drafts listing Cunningham, Green and Mobley in that order. It appears that only an outrageous offer from a team looking to move up can add any drama to the very top of tonight’s draft, but the Cavs are sending out signals that they plan to keep their pick, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  •  Jonathan Kuminga‘s fate remains a mystery, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Once considered a possible top five pick, Kuminga’s stock has fallen in recent weeks, and Givony says teams are still debating where to rank him on their final boards. The Thunder at No. 6, the Warriors at No. 7 and the Magic at No. 8 are all considered possibilities, but Givony cautions that Kuminga could fall out of the top 10.
  • Several teams have been hoping to trade their way into the top 10, but right now it looks as if that won’t happen, Givony adds (Twitter link). James Bouknight, Franz Wagner and Josh Giddey have risen up draft boards, causing the teams holding those picks to consider them more valuable.
  • The Pacers have gained traction in possible deals to trade down or out of the first round entirely, but any move probably won’t be finalized until after the draft begins, tweets draft expert Chad Ford. Possible trade partners include the Knicks, Thunder and a “mystery team.”
  • The Jazz are willing to trade the final pick of the first round, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team is having trade discussions, but there’s one player who may be on the board that would make them consider keeping the pick.

Eastern Draft Notes: Nets, Cavs, Heat, Raptors, Pacers

The Nets own a first-rounder at No. 27 and three second-rounders, so expect them to be very active this evening, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Multiple teams are interested in guard Landry Shamet and the Nets would love to dump DeAndre Jordan‘s salary. Some of those picks could be dealt in one or more deals involving those players. General manager Sean Marks has developed a reputation of making deals on draft night, Lewis notes.

We have more draft-related news involving Eastern Conference teams:

  • The Cavaliers continue to field calls with the No. 3 pick, but they’ll keep it unless they get an overwhelming offer, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. If they hold onto it, the Cavs will take USC big man Evan Mobley, assuming Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green are off the board. Cleveland also believes it can put together a package for another lottery pick in the top 10 by dangling some combination of Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr. and its 2022 first-rounder.
  • The Heat do not own a draft pick but that could change, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Miami could not only make a trade, it could also buy a pick with the $5.6MM it has at its disposal for 2020/21 transactions before the NBA calendar flips on Monday.
  • There’s growing speculation among lottery teams picking after the Raptors at No. 4 that they’ll pull a surprise and take Florida State forward Scottie Barnes, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets.  However, Jonathan Givony of ESPN claims in his latest mock draft that the league overwhelmingly expects them to select Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, so the Raptors could be playing mind games with their competitors.
  • The Pacers brought in Alex Antetokounmpo (Murcia CB in Spain) and Jaquori McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara) for workouts on Tuesday, according to a team press release.

O’Connor’s Latest: Pistons, OKC, Grizzlies, Wagner, Pacers, More

The Pistons continued to receive inquiries about what it would take to trade the No. 1 pick, with the draft now just hours away, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Although there has been increasing speculation about the possibility of Detroit trading down or even using the top pick to select Jalen Green, executives around the NBA still think the club will end up drafting Cade Cunningham, says O’Connor.

Here’s more from O’Connor on Thursday’s draft:

  • The Thunder have talked to all five teams drafting ahead of them about the possibility of moving up, per O’Connor. Rival executives aren’t sure exactly which prospect(s) Oklahoma City is targeting, but the club is thought to be high on Cunningham, Evan Mobley, and Scottie Barnes.
  • The Grizzlies, who agreed to acquire the No. 10 pick from New Orleans, are interested in another move up to the 6-8 range, according to O’Connor, who says Memphis has pursued last-minute meetings with prospects like Jonathan Kuminga, Alperen Sengun, and Davion Mitchell.
  • Franz Wagner claims he has grown two inches since college, to 6’11”, and multiple league sources believe that’s true, though there has been no update on his official measurement, O’Connor reports.
  • According to O’Connor, the Pacers are “juggling” trade talks involving the No. 13 pick, Myles Turner, and T.J. Warren in separate scenarios. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hears that Indiana is fielding a lot of calls for the No. 13 selection, including from the Hawks. Atlanta has also been in touch with the Hornets about the No. 11 pick, says O’Connor.
  • O’Connor confirms a couple items that were previously speculated, writing that the Knicks are involved in trade discussions for Magic swingman Terrence Ross and reporting that the Hawks have offered the No. 20 pick and Cam Reddish to teams drafting in the late lottery.

O’Connor’s Latest: Nuggets, Grizzlies, Warriors, Kings, Hornets

Within his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer confirms a few items we’ve heard elsewhere in recent days. According to O’Connor, Jalen Green‘s workout with the Pistons last week was “outstanding,” the Jazz are willing to attach the No. 30 pick to Derrick Favors in a potential trade, and league sources widely expect Scottie Barnes to be the Magic‘s pick at No. 5.

O’Connor also reiterates that the Rockets continue to explore moving up to No. 1 and says the Thunder have made efforts to trade up, with Green, Cade Cunningham, and Evan Mobley among their presumed targets.

Here are a few more notes of interest from O’Connor’s latest article:

  • League sources tell O’Connor that the Nuggets are trying to move up from No. 26 into the top 20, dangling young bench players or future draft assets in those talks.
  • Although O’Connor confirms that the Grizzlies are interested in Josh Giddey after trading up to No. 10, he says Memphis could try to move up even further, with an eye on Jonathan Kuminga or James Bouknight.
  • Giddey, Kuminga, and Bouknight could also be in the mix for the Warriors at No. 7, according to O’Connor, who says Giddey is thought to be one of Golden State’s “main targets.” O’Connor adds that Keon Johnson‘s ceiling may be the Warriors’ pick at No. 7.
  • The Kings continue to be active in shopping the No. 9 pick, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III in separate trade scenarios, per O’Connor.
  • League sources continue to connect the Hornets, who will be seeking a center this summer, to Myles Turner, Richaun Holmes, and Nerlens Noel, according to O’Connor.

Draft Rumors: Pistons, Cunningham, Green, Magic, Pelicans, More

Speaking today to reporters, including Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link), Pistons general manager Troy Weaver confirmed that the team hasn’t made a final decision on what it will do with the No. 1 overall pick.

[RELATED: Pistons Still Mulling Options With No. 1 Pick]

The Pistons have long been expected to select Cade Cunningham with that top pick, and the Oklahoma State guard remains the overwhelming favorite to be the choice. However, John Hollinger of The Athletic has heard whispers that Detroit wasn’t blown away by Cunningham’s private workout, while Marc Stein says Jalen Green‘s workout for the team “made the strongest of impressions.”

Even if those reports are accurate, it’s hard to imagine the Pistons selecting Green over Cunningham with the No. 1 pick. A trade down to No. 2 is a possibility if Detroit really likes Green. But for what it’s worth, Weaver provided a reminder today that not everything you hear leading up to the draft will be accurate.

“I don’t comment on rumors, but don’t believe everything that you read,” the Pistons’ GM said (Twitter link via James Edwards III of The Athletic). “… The rumor mill does nothing for us right now.”

Here’s more on the 2021 NBA draft:

  • The Magic brought Stanford’s Ziaire Williams back for a second workout during the pre-draft process and some rival teams think Orlando may be eyeing him at No. 8, says Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Two league sources who spoke to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic also believe the Magic have Williams “very high” on their board.
  • According to Vecenie, sources around the league view some of the draft’s top “older” shooters – such as Corey Kispert, Trey Murphy, and Chris Duarte – as likely targets for the Pelicans at No. 17. However, there’s no guarantee New Orleans keeps that pick after acquiring it from Memphis. Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link) says the Pelicans could look to move down again or may shop that selection for veteran help.
  • There’s a belief that the Raptors are high on Evan Mobley, but they’d almost certainly have to trade up from No. 4 to get him and it seems unlikely they’ll be willing to pay that price, says Vecenie.
  • Vecenie is the latest to report that the Thunder are fans of James Bouknight, who could be the team’s pick at No. 6. However, Hollinger is unconvinced that the chatter surrounding Bouknight and the Thunder isn’t a smokescreen — he has Jonathan Kuminga going to the OKC at No. 6 in his mock draft.

Pistons Still Mulling Options With No. 1 Pick

After posting a 20-52 regular season record in the 2020/21 season, the worst in the East (and the second-worst in the league), the Pistons were rewarded with the No. 1 pick in what looks to be a loaded upcoming draft. There are several promising prospects from which Detroit may choose.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), the Pistons haven’t yet made a final decision on what they’ll do with the No. 1 pick, but internal front office conversations have boiled down to the three players widely thought to be the cream of the crop: 6’8″ Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham, 6’6″ NBAGL Ignite shooting guard Jalen Green, and 7’0″ USC center Evan Mobley.

The Pistons’ interest in Green and Mobley has been repeatedly reported since they landed the top overall pick in the lottery last month. However, Woj noted on Sunday that Cunningham, widely viewed as the “safe” selection, remains the most likely candidate to be chosen by Detroit in the draft on Thursday.

This lack of certainty surrounding the pick has apparently prompted other teams to attempt to pry away the selection from the Pistons. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report tweets that the Thunder, who have six selections in this year’s draft (including three within the top 20), made a serious trade proposal for the top pick that was summarily rejected.

The Thunder have several intriguing young players on their current roster, including guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort, and would no doubt love to add a marquee young player with an All-NBA ceiling along the lines of Cunningham, Green or Mobley.

Draft Rumors: Thunder, Pistons, Rockets, Pelicans, Raptors, More

Armed with the Nos. 6, 16, and 18 picks in the first round of this year’s draft and a huge stash of future first-rounders, the Thunder are expected to start “knocking on the door” to try to move into the top three of the 2021 draft, Adrian Wojnarowski said on Sunday’s Woj & Lowe special on ESPN (video link).

In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) confirms that the Thunder have been actively exploring the idea of trading up, with Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley among the prospects they’re said to be high on.

It would take a substantial package for the Thunder to move up into the top three from No. 6, and it remains to be seen whether they’re be willing to eat into their stockpile of draft assets to make such a move, especially if there’s a player they like outside of the top five. James Bouknight could be that player, according to Givony, who says Oklahoma City has “long been high” on the UConn guard, having inquired last year about the possibility of him entering the 2020 draft.

Here are several more draft-related rumors from ESPN’s reporters:

  • It’d be extremely surprising if the Pistons do anything with the No. 1 pick other than select Cade Cunningham, says Givony. Wojnarowski says that decision isn’t finalized yet, but the Pistons are “getting there” on Cunningham, and Woj expects the Oklahoma State guard to be the pick.
  • Jalen Green is increasingly likely to be the No. 2 pick, according to Givony, who writes that the Rockets have been “stonewalled” in their attempts to host Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs for workouts.
  • The Kings‘ (No. 9) and Pelicans‘ (No. 10) picks continue to be among the most available lottery selections, per Givony. New Orleans is attaching Eric Bledsoe to the No. 10 pick in most trade discussions involving that selection, says Wojnarowski (video link). Givony adds that Franz Wagner has gained traction as a possible target for Sacramento if the club stays in the lottery, despite his “mysterious” pre-draft process — Wagner skipped the combine and hasn’t worked out for many teams.
  • While the Raptors are still widely expected to draft Jalen Suggs, they’ve taken long looks at other top-10 prospects, including Jonathan Kuminga, Scottie Barnes, James Bouknight, and Franz Wagner, says Givony. Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Zach Lowe (video link) expect Toronto to have several more conversations about either moving up or down from No. 4, but also view Suggs as the club’s likeliest choice.
  • The Cavaliers continue to be active in trade talks and are rumored to be discussing the possibility of acquiring a second top-10 pick, according to Givony. Wojnarowski (video link) is skeptical that Cleveland is looking to add more draft assets though, suggesting he doesn’t “see a scenario” in which the club trades Collin Sexton or Darius Garland to get even younger.
  • People around the league have “locked into the idea” that Scottie Barnes is the favorite to be picked at No. 5 by the Magic, reports Givony.

Draft Notes: Garza, Cooper, Pacers, Mock Drafts

The Sixers, who are in the market for a reserve center, worked out a pair of big men today, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Iowa’s Luka Garza, the two-time national player of the year, was in Philadelphia, along with Utah State’s Neemias Queta.

Garza, who is projected to be taken anywhere from the end of the first round to the middle of the second round, has dropped weight since the college season ended in an effort to become more mobile on defense. Queta was named Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference and was a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors.

With Dwight Howard entering free agency, Pompey notes that the Sixers don’t have a reliable backup to Joel Embiid. Philadelphia holds the 28th and 50th selections in next week’s draft.

There’s more draft news to pass along: