Jessie Govan

Could The Wizards Be The “Right Situation” For Keldon Johnson?

The Wizards hold the No. 9 overall pick in next week’s draft, though they haven’t had many of the elite prospects in Washington for workouts. Keldon Johnson broke that trend, participating in drills at the team’s practice facility on Thursday. The former Kentucky Wildcat described the experience as “amazing” when speaking with Hoops Rumors and other media in attendance.

“I feel I really got to compete today. Got in a great workout. Great staff. I feel everyone was involved in it. … I just had an amazing time,” Johnson said.

Opinions on where Johnson will be drafted range from late-lottery pick to the early 20s. The 6’6″ wing is no. 19 on ESPN’s latest top 100 and Jonathan Givony has Utah selecting him with the No. 23 overall selection in his latest mock draft.

Johnson doesn’t worry about where he’s projected to go. He takes the same approach to invites regardless of what pick the team possesses.

“I don’t really look at it,” he said. “I just go into the workout open-minded. Whatever workouts I have, I go in there and kill [the workout] and go at whoever’s in front of me.”

Iowa State’s Cameron Lard was the only prospect to participate in on-court activities with Johnson. Many pre-draft workouts have upwards of six prospects. Others are merely individual workouts. The two-man workout calls for more one-on-one drills and showcases a different skill set.

Johnson, who scored 13.5 points per game at Kentucky last season, feels his ballhandling is an area of his game that’s underrated. The Virginia-native feels he can better showcase that ability at the next level and added that the tempo of the NBA suits his game. “It’s a lot of up-and-down. … I think I’ll transition well,” the 19-year-old said.

Johnson simply wants to go to the “right situation.” When asked to clarify, the prospect emphasized a place where he can learn. “Just come in, play, learn. Just listen to my coaches,” he said.

John Calipari‘s former recruit previously worked out for a bevy of teams, including the Celtics — owners of three picks in the top 22. He’ll head to Minnesota next, which will likely be his last workout before the NBA draft.

The draft process continues for Washington today. The Wizards will bring in six prospects, as the team relays on its website. Corey Davis (Houston), Jessie Govan (Georgetown), Jaylen Hands (UCLA), Lyle Hexom (Peru State), Jonathan Kasibabu (Fairfield) and V.J. King (Louisville) will participate in drills while Sekou Doumbouya (France) will simply meet with the team.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Hayes, Heat, Draft

The Wizards will work out six prospects on Wednesday, according to the team’s website. Bryce Brown (Auburn), Harry Froling (Marquette 2018), Jessie Govan (Georgetown), Frank Howard (Syracuse), Anthony Lee (Kutztown), and Myles Stephens (Princeton) will all participate in drills for Washington.

Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat have invited Jaxson Hayes for a workout, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. However, the big man has no plans to visit Miami, as he’s expected to be selected before the Heat pick at No. 13.
  • Charles Cooke has worked out for the Heat, Jackson writes in the same piece. Cooke, who went undrafted out of Dayton in 2017, is in play for the team’s summer league team.
  • The Heat gave Duncan Robinson a $250K guarantee and Yante Maten a $100K guarantee in their respective contracts with the team, Jackson relays (same piece). Both players have trigger dates down the line that would bring additional guaranteed salary.
  • The Magic have worked out Cameron Johnson (UNC) and Kris Clyburn (UNLV), according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Orlando has the Nos. 16 and 46 overall picks in the draft.

Pacific Notes: Barnes, Suns, Rajakovic, Kings

Harrison Barnes can hit the open market if he turns down his $25.1MM player option and the Kings would like to have him on the roster next season one way or another. If Barnes stays with Sacramento, it could be an indicator that the organization is on the upswing after years of perceived dysfunction, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes.

Kings’ management envisioned Barnes playing the small forward position when they traded for him at last season’s deadline. Dave Joerger had different plans, playing Barnes heavy minutes at the four spot next to Bogdan Bogdanovic at the three. Barnes at power forward also took time away from Marvin Bagley and made it more difficult for the rookie to rise to the starting lineup. Joerger has since been fired.

The Kings are hoping that their switch to Luke Walton as well as a renewed alignment between the coaching staff and front office will be viewed favorably around the league, particularly with agents. Here’s more from around the Kings and the Pacific Division:

And-Ones: Pelicans, Draft, Hornets

New Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon said leaving Brooklyn was a “very difficult decision” for him and his family, as he told Hoops Rumors and other outlets during his introductory press conference call earlier today. However, the chance to team up with head of basketball operations David Griffin again was too great to pass up.

“The opportunity to join up with Griff again and do something special in a place that nobody believes it can be done — aside from the people in this organization and the city — is something that is very intriguing,” Langdon said.

[RELATED: David Griffin Plans To Meet With Anthony Davis In Los Angeles]

Langdon will serve under Griffin, but his roles and responsibilities are not yet fully defined. The two men previously worked together in Cleveland and are familiar with one another, with Langdon emphasizing during today’s conference call that Griffin is not a micromanager. Griffin said that their relationship allows them “to challenge each other in ways strangers may not be able to.”

Langdon aided the Nets‘ turnaround, helping the franchise rebuild, and was key in helping to build talent in Brooklyn’s G League team. The Pelicans will put out a G League squad for the first time in franchise history next season.

Here’s more from around the league:

Draft Notes: B. Brown, Govan, Lakers, Bulls

Kansas State junior guard Barry Brown will be returning to the Wildcats for his senior year, he confirmed in an announcement today on Twitter.

“Although the process was more than enjoyable, I have decided to withdraw my name from the 2018 NBA Draft,” Brown wrote in a statement. “Thank you to everyone who supported me, and I am looking forward to finishing my senior season as a WILDCAT!”

Brown, who had workouts with the Lakers and Nets, averaged 15.9 PPG, 3.2 APG, 3.1 RPG, and 1.8 SPG for Kansas State in 2017/18. He’ll look to build on those numbers in his senior season before becoming draft-eligible again next spring.

Here are more draft-related notes and updates:

Draft Workouts: Raptors, Lakers, Knicks, Wolves

The Raptors won’t have any picks in the 2018 NBA draft unless they trade back in, having sent their first-rounder to the Nets in last summer’s DeMarre Carroll trade and their second-rounder to the Suns as part of their deal for P.J. Tucker. Still, Toronto should be able to bring in several prospects for workouts in the coming weeks. Given the success they had with an undrafted rookie like Fred VanVleet, the Raptors will be keeping an eye out for draft-eligible players who might not be selected with one of this year’s 60 picks.

According to an announcement from the team (Twitter link), the Raptors are holding a pre-draft workout on Wednesday with Giddy Potts (Middle Tennessee State), Joe Chealey (Charleston), Alan Herndon (Wyoming), and – most notably – Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dayton). Antetokounmpo is, of course, the younger brother of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

Draft Updates: Bitadze, Sampson, Weatherspoon

In addition to Dzanan Musa, whose early entry into the 2018 NBA draft we noted earlier today, another Misko Raznatovic client is declaring for the draft early. Georgian center Goga Bitadze has entered the 2018 draft, per a tweet from Raznatovic (hat tip to Sportando).

While Bitadze probably isn’t a first-round option like Musa, he ranks 65th on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com, making him a viable candidate to be drafted, assuming he doesn’t withdraw his name. The young big man is currently playing for Mega Bemax in Serbia.

Here are a few more draft updates:

  • LSU guard Brandon Sampson has signed with an agent and declared for the NBA draft, a source tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN (Twitter link). A top-50 recruit coming out of high school, Sampson saw his playing time reduced in his junior year, averaging 7.7 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 18.9 MPG.
  • After initially indicating that he would test the draft waters this spring, Nick Weatherspoon announced on Wednesday that he’ll return to Mississipi State for his sophomore year (Twitter link). That’s probably the right move for the guard, who posted 10.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 2.1 APG during his freshman season with the Bulldogs.
  • Indiana junior forward Juwan Morgan is entering the 2018 draft without hiring an agent, the program announced today in a press release. Morgan had a breakout season for the Hoosiers in 2017/18, increasing his averages to 16.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 1.4 BPG.
  • Auburn junior guard Bryce Brown will test the draft waters this spring, according to a press release from the school. “I had a dream to play in the NBA one day and I want to pursue that dream,” Brown said. “Testing the waters will be a great opportunity for me and my family to see where I’m at in the process.”
  • Georgetown junior center Jessie Govan announced in a post on his Instagram account that he’ll enter the draft without an agent. Govan averaged a double-double for the Hoyas in 2017/18, with 17.9 PPG and 10.0 RPG.