Keve Aluma

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.

44 Prospects Announced For 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp

The NBA G League has formally announced its field of 44 draft prospects for the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp.

The event, which will take place May 16 and 17 in Chicago, “gives draft prospects an opportunity to display their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives over the course of the camp by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills.”

The top performers from the camp will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place from May 18-22 in Chicago. Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers wing Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Here’s the list of 44 draft-eligible attendees:

The list of attendees features 13 players on ESPN’s big board, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via Twitter), so some players have a chance to be drafted.

The top-ranked prospect at the camp is Scheierman (No. 69), who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals on .508/.469/.802 shooting this season for South Dakota State (35 games, 33.3 minutes per contest).

Hawks Notes: Offseason Priorities, Draft Workouts, More

Appearing on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said, unprompted, that the front office is committed this offseason to making roster changes in an attempt to improve the team after standing relatively pat a year ago.

“We made the decision last year to kind of run the same group back and we probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” Schlenk said. “This year, the way the season ended and played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”

Asked specifically about how much turnover the Hawks’ roster could experience, Schlenk suggested the club won’t be looking to re-sign all of its free agents.

“We have some guys that are free agents, we have some guys that have contract situations. We’ve got a guy eligible for a contract extension,” Schlenk said. “All that stuff plays into it. Every year, the only thing that’s really consistent in this league is change, so we anticipate that there will be some change, certainly with some of our free agents as we look to upgrade our roster.”

Delon Wright, Lou Williams, Gorgui Dieng, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Knox, and Skylar Mays will be free agents this offseason, while Danilo Gallinari has a small partial guarantee on his salary for 2022/23 and De’Andre Hunter will be eligible for a rookie scale extension.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Schlenk said during his appearance on 92.9 The Game that the Hawks’ defense was a “big letdown” in 2021/22 and will be an area the club looks to address in the offseason. Schlenk added that having another reliable secondary ball-handler and shot creator to relieve the pressure on Trae Young will be a priority.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release that they’ve brought in 12 prospects this week, hosting six for a group workout on Monday and another half-dozen on Wednesday. Justin Bean (Utah State), Darius Days (LSU), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Gaige Prim (Missouri State), Will Richardson (Oregon), and Cole Swider (Syracuse) were in earlier this week, while Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State), Jamal Cain (Oakland), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Allen Flanigan (Auburn), and Jaden Shackelford (Alabama) were part of today’s pre-draft workout.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines 10 offseason questions facing the Hawks, including whether team owner Tony Ressler is willing to go into luxury-tax territory, whether the team can attract a second star, and what level of pressure head coach Nate McMillan is under.

Draft Notes: Houstan, Molinar, Aluma

University of Michigan swingman Caleb Houstan has declared for the draft but is maintaining his NCAA eligibility while exploring the pre-draft process, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets. He’s the second Wolverines freshman to make such a declaration on Monday — forward Moussa Diabate will also test the draft waters.

Houstan, a 6’8” wing, averaged 10.1 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 34 starts this season. He made 35.5% of his 3-point attempts. He’s currently ranked No. 64 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft decisions:

  • Mississippi State’s Iverson Molinar is staying in the draft and will hire an agent, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. The 6’3” guard is ranked No. 62 on ESPN’s big board. He averaged 17.5 PPG and 3.6 APG in his junior year.
  • Virginia Tech forward Keve Aluma will enter the draft and hire an agent, he confirmed on his Twitter page. He averaged 15.8 PPG and 6.5 RPG in his senior year. The Wofford transfer started both of his seasons with the Hokies.
  • In case you missed it, AJ Griffin joined four Duke teammates in declaring for the draft.

Draft Notes: Ellis, Murray, Roberts, Early Entrants

Alabama guard Keon Ellis, who has one year of college eligibility remaining, will go pro rather than staying in school for another year. Ellis has hired EZ Sports Group for representation, the agency announced earlier this week (via Instagram), making him draft-eligible this June.

The No. 48 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Ellis averaged 12.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.9 SPG in 33 games (30.9 MPG) in 2021/22 for the Crimson Tide and earned a spot on the SEC’s All-Defense team.

Another prospect in ESPN’s top 100, Iowa sophomore forward Kris Murray, has also declared for the 2022 NBA draft, but he’ll maintain his college eligibility and just test the waters for now, he announced on Twitter.

Murray, who comes in at No. 98 on ESPN’s board, barely played in his freshman year, but emerged as a rotation player in 2021/22, averaging 9.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG on .479/.387/.645 shooting in 35 games (17.9 MPG). His twin brother Keegan Murray, a projected top-10 pick, declared for the draft last month.

Here’s more on the draft:

Draft Notes: Workouts, Aluma, T. Williams, Hurt, McBride

The Timberwolves and Jazz are hosting pre-draft group workouts in Minneapolis from July 8-11, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, the event will be open to all 30 NBA teams and the goal will be to have 48 prospects participate over that four-day period.

In past years when teams have brought in groups of prospects for pre-draft workouts, they’ve typically hosted six players at a time. If the event in Minneapolis follows a similar pattern, it could showcase two groups of six players apiece on each day from July 8-11.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Virginia Tech forward Keve Aluma is returning to school for another year, he announced on Twitter. Aluma had been testing the draft waters after 15.2 PPG and 7.9 RPG in 22 games (30.6 MPG) as a junior in 2020/21.
  • Purdue forward Trevion Williams is also pulling out of the draft and heading back to school, per a Twitter announcement. Williams put up 15.5 PPG and 9.1 RPG in 28 games (25.1 MPG) for the Boilemakers as a junior this year, earning All-Big Ten honors.
  • Duke forward Matthew Hurt has workouts on tap with the Celtics, Thunder, Pelicans, Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • West Virginia guard Miles McBride has worked out for the Knicks and Celtics in addition to interviewing with several teams, tweets Alder Almo of Empire Sports Media.

NBA G League Announces 40 Draft-Eligible Participants For Elite Camp

The NBA G League has announced in a press release that 40 draft-eligible prospects are set to participate in the NBAGL Elite Camp next week in Chicago from June 19-21.

The G League Elite Camp is back this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which takes place right before the draft combine, will give a few dozen draft-eligible players an opportunity to impress scouts, coaches, and executives through strength and agility drills and 5-on-5 games.

As today’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which is scheduled for June 21-27 in Chicago.

The list of draft-eligible players who took part in the most recent G League Elite Camp in 2019 included a handful of prospects who were eventually drafted, such as Terance Mann, Cody Martin, Justin Wright-Foreman, Reggie Perry, and Dewan Hernandez.

Many of the draft-eligible participants in the 2019 Elite Camp also made it to the NBA after going undrafted, including Oshae Brissett, Chris Clemons, Tyler Cook, Tacko Fall, DaQuan Jeffries, Caleb Martin, Justin Robinson, and Max Strus.

Two years ago, this event also featured 40 G League veterans, for a total of 80 players. Based on today’s press release, it sounds like this year’s Elite Camp may be pared down to only include draft-eligible prospects, though it’s possible the NBAGL will announce more names within the next few days.

Here are the 40 draft-eligible prospects participating in the 2021 G League Elite Camp:

  1. Derrick Alston Jr. (Boise State)
  2. Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech)
  3. Jose Alvarado (Georgia Tech)
  4. Juhann Begarin (France)
  5. Chaundee Brown (Michigan)
  6. Jordan Burns (Colgate)
  7. Marcus Carr (Minnesota)
  8. D.J. Carton (Marquette)
  9. Moussa Cisse (Memphis)
  10. Kofi Cockburn (Illinois)
  11. Oscar Da Silva (Stanford)
  12. Darius Days (LSU)
  13. Hunter Dickinson (Michigan)
  14. Dawson Garcia (Marquette)
  15. Marcus Garrett (Kansas)
  16. Haowen Guo (China)
  17. Jay Huff (Virginia)
  18. DeJon Jarreau (Houston)
  19. Carlik Jones (Louisville)
  20. DeVante’ Jones (Coastal Carolina)
  21. Balsa Koprivica (Florida State)
  22. A.J. Lawson (South Carolina)
  23. E.J. Liddell (Ohio State)
  24. Mac McClung (Texas Tech)
  25. JaQuori McLaughlin (UCSB)
  26. Matt Mitchell (San Diego State)
  27. RJ Nembhard (TCU)
  28. Eugene Omoruyi (Oregon)
  29. EJ Onu (Shawnee State)
  30. Scotty Pippen Jr. (Vanderbilt)
  31. Orlando Robinson (Fresno State)
  32. Aamir Simms (Clemson)
  33. Javonte Smart (LSU)
  34. Mike Smith (Michigan)
  35. D.J. Stewart (Mississippi State)
  36. MaCio Teague (Baylor)
  37. M.J. Walker (Florida State)
  38. Duane Washington (Ohio State)
  39. Aaron Wiggins (Maryland)
  40. Jalen Wilson (Kansas)

Draft Updates: Shannon, Smart, Watford, More

Texas Tech sophomore wing Terrence Shannon Jr. will test the draft waters, declaring for the 2021 NBA draft while retaining his college eligibility, he announced today (via Twitter).

Shannon, who started 13 of his 28 games for the Red Raiders in 2020/21, averaged 12.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG on .448/.357/.756 shooting in 26.7 minutes per contest.

While those numbers don’t jump off the page, Shannon is a highly-regarded prospect who is a strong candidate to be drafted. He ranks 33rd overall on ESPN’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects and comes in at No. 37 on Jonathan Wasserman’s big board at Bleacher Report.

Here are a few more updates on the 2021 draft:

  • After testing the draft waters in both 2019 and 2020, LSU guard Javonte Smart will once again declare in 2021 and will go pro this time, he announced on Instagram. As a junior this season, Smart averaged 16.0 PPG and 4.0 APG on .460/.402/.857 shooting in 28 games (35.6 MPG).
  • Smart’s LSU teammate, sophomore forward Trendon Watford, is also entering the draft and intends to hire an agent, he announced on Twitter. Watford, who averaged 16.3 PPG and 7.4 RPG in 28 games (34.6 MPG) for the Tigers, is the No. 55 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • Florida State junior guard Sardaar Calhoun is testing the draft waters, he announced on Twitter. He saw limited action in 2020/21, averaging 5.3 PPG in 14.2 minutes per game (25 games), though he did hit 39.7% of his three-point attempts.
  • Keve Aluma, a redshirt junior forward at Virginia Tech, will enter the draft while retaining his college eligibility, he stated on Twitter. Aluma put up 15.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.2 APG, and 1.3 BPG in 22 games (30.6 MPG) in ’20/21.
  • Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN (Insider link) share their latest 2021 mock draft, which features Baylor’s Davion Mitchell moving all the way up to No. 7. Mitchell and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs were among the players whose stocks increased the most as a result of the NCAA tournament.