Makur Maker

Draft Workout Notes: Kings, Wizards, Wolves, Jazz, More

The Kings hosted several prospects for pre-draft workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team announced (Twitter links).

The Tuesday group featured Trey McGowens, Ziga Samar, Ron Harper Jr., Brady Manek and Dallas Walton. Wednesday’s group was Jacob Gilyard, Fatts Russell, Yoan Makoundou, Karlo Matkovic, Yannick Nzosa and Kai Sotto.

The Kings control the fourth, 37th and 49th picks in the 2022 draft, and a handful of those players could be targets with one of those second-round picks. Nzosa, Samar, Harper and Matkovic are ranked between 53rd and 58th on ESPN’s big board.

Here are more workout-related notes from around the NBA:

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:

Southeast Draft Notes: Murray, Hawks, Wizards, Hornets

The Magic hold the No. 1 pick and Iowa’s Keegan Murray isn’t expected to go higher than No. 4 in the lottery. That didn’t prevent Orlando from doing its due diligence on the high-scoring wing. Murray came in for a pre-draft workout on Thursday, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. The two sides also had a discussion during the draft combine in Chicago, Price adds.

We have more developments from the Southeast Division:

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2022 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2022 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 283 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 247 are from colleges, while 36 are international early entrants.

Those are big numbers, but they fall well short of the 353 early entrants who initially declared for the draft a year ago. Beginning in 2021, the NCAA granted players an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in seniors having to decide between staying at college for one more season or declaring for the draft as an “early” entrant.

That tweak to the NCAA’s eligibility rules has increased the number of total early entrants due to the influx of seniors into the pool. However, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN observes (via Twitter), the number of college non-seniors (123) on the initial early entry list this year is actually the lowest since 2016, while the number of international prospects (36) is the lowest since 2014.

This year’s total of 283 early entrants figures to shrink significantly by June 1 and again by June 13, the two deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like the pool will remain extremely crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants certain to exceed 58, the number of picks in the draft.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2022 draft is fully up to date and can be found right here.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:


Newly-added players:

College players:

These players either didn’t publicly announce that they were entering the draft or we simply missed it when they did.

International players:

These players weren’t previously mentioned on our list of international early entrants. The country listed here indicates where they last played, not necessarily where they were born.

Other notable draft-eligible early entrants:

The NBA sent its teams a list of 33 “also-eligible” names. That list isn’t public, but Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link) shared some of the most notable players on it, and we’ve added them to our early entrant tracker. They are as follows:

  1. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite
  2. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite
  3. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite
  4. Henri Drell, G/F, Windy City Bulls
  5. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite
  6. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite
  7. Makur Maker, C, Sydney Kings (formerly Howard Bison)
  8. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite
  9. Samson Ruzhentsev, G/F, Mega Basket (formerly Florida Gators)
  10. Kai Sotto, C, Adelaide 36ers (formerly G League Ignite)
  11. Zaire Wade, G, Salt Lake City Stars
  12. Kok Yat, F, Overtime Elite
  13. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite

Players removed:

Despite reports or announcements that the players below would declare for the draft, they didn’t show up on the NBA’s official list.

That could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have had no NCAA eligibility remaining, making them automatically draft-eligible; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.

In any case, we’ve removed the following names from our early entrant list, at least for the time being.

Finally, Givony reports (via Twitter) that Canadian forward Leonard Miller, from the Fort Erie International Academy has been asked to fill out additional paperwork to finalize his entrance into the draft pool. According to Givony, there’s an expectation that Miller will be added to the list, so we’ve left him listed in our early entrant tracker among the international players.

And-Ones: Maker, Odds, Williams, Allen

Makur Maker has signed with Australia’s Sydney Kings, according to Alessandro Maggi of Sportando. The 6’11” Maker, who attended Howard University last season, withdrew from this year’s draft but missed the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline. He’ll join the NBL’s Next Stars program with the aim of improving his draft stock.

“I can’t wait to learn from Luc Longley and Andrew Bogut, probably the best two big men in Australian basketball history who both were NBA champions,” he said. “Furthermore, under the leadership of our head coach Chase Buford, who is also of NBA championship background, and the front office with the CEO Chris Pongrass who was with the Memphis Grizzlies, I feel that this is my best pathway to becoming an NBA lottery pick next year.”

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Following the schedule release on Friday, the Nets were listed by Caesars Sportsbook as the favorite to win the most regular-season games, David Purdum of ESPN relays. Brooklyn’s projected odds are 54.5 victories, just ahead of the Bucks (53.5), Lakers (51.5), Jazz (51.5) and Sixers (51.5). The Pistons (25.5), Magic (23.5) and Thunder (22.5) sit at the bottom of the projected wins list.
  • Former NBA forward Johnathan Williams has signed with Italy’s Dolomiti Energia Trento, Sportando relays. He played with Germany’s Niners Chemnitz last season. Williams appeared in 15 games for the Wizards in 2019/20 and 24 for the Lakers in 2018/19.
  • Hall-of-Famer Ray Allen has decided to become a prep coach, according to The Associated Press. Allen has been hired as the director of boys and girls basketball at Miami’s Gulliver Prep, and will also coach the boys varsity team.

Draft Notes: Green Room Invites, Makur, Taylor, Draft Intel

The NBA has finalized the list of 20 prospects who will be invited to the Green Room on draft night, writes ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. While 15 of the names had already been reported, the final five players were identified over the last two days: Chris Duarte, Cameron Thomas, Isaiah Jackson, Alperen Sengun and Ziaire Williams will round out the group.

While an invitation to the Green Room is no guarantee of being drafted in the top 20, the decision is considered to be an indication of teams’ thinking, as the invitations are determined through a series of conversations with general managers and a voting process where teams vote on the 25 prospects most likely to have their name called first, Givony writes.

We have more news from around the draft world:

  • Howard University’s Makur Maker has withdrawn from the draft, tweets draft analyst Chad Ford. The 6’11 forward flashed versatility at the NBA Combine, but his draft stock was still hazy. Because he missed the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline, Maker will likely pursue professional options, whether in the G League, Australia’s NBL, or elsewhere.
  • Terry Taylor worked out with the Bucks yesterday and the Nuggets today, tweets Adam Zagoria of Forbes. Taylor has workouts lined up with the Nets, Cavaliers and Mavericks this week, and already worked out for the Knicks, Warriors, Kings, Pacers, Grizzlies, Bulls, Spurs and Pelicans. The 6’5″ wing led the country in double-doubles, Zagoria notes.
  • Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo released his latest mock draft today, sharing some pieces of intel gathered from sources. Within his mock, Woo confirms that the prevailing notion is that the Rockets prefer Jalen Green to Evan Mobley, that the Thunder are being increasingly linked to James Bouknight, that the Magic covet Scottie Barnes, and that Jonathan Kuminga‘s range seems to be settling around six-to-eight, rather than being a top-five pick.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Nuggets, Jazz, SGA

When president of basketball operations Neil Olshey told reporters last month that the Trail Blazers investigated the sexual assault allegations levied in 1997 against new head coach Chauncey Billups and came away confident Billups hadn’t engaged in wrongdoing, he declined to offer any details on that inquiry. Olshey simply asked fans and the media to trust that the team had thoroughly investigated the situation.

However, a new report from Conrad Wilson and Tony Schick of Oregon Public Broadcasting calls into question just how exhaustive the Trail Blazers’ investigation was. According to Wilson and Schick, the attorney for Jane Doe (Billups’ accuser) said the Blazers didn’t contact her or her client.

“It’s news to us that they conducted an investigation,” attorney Margaret A. Burnham said.

The Blazers’ review didn’t obtain information directly from several primary sources, per the OPB’s report. That doesn’t necessarily meant the team’s conclusion about Billups’ involvement in the 1997 incident was inaccurate, but it suggests that the franchise may not have done everything it could to get the full story.

Whether the latest revelation results in any blowback for Olshey remains to be seen, as Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report tweets. Either way, the fact that the story continues to create PR problems for the club doesn’t reflect well on the Blazers or their head of basketball operations.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Alex Labidou of Nuggets.com provides some takeaways on the prospects that the Nuggets brought in for pre-draft workouts on Monday and Tuesday this week. Tuesday’s group included Chudier Bile (Georgetown), Carlik Jones (Louisville), Makur Maker (Howard), MaCio Teague (Baylor), Arnas Velicka (Lithuania), Moses Wright (Georgia Tech). Details on Monday’s group can be found here.
  • The Jazz‘s biggest problems in the postseason were a lack of depth and a lack of versatility, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News, noting that the team figures to face some difficult roster decisions this offseason as it looks for ways to improve.
  • There have been no reports stating that the Thunder are thinking about trading Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but some writers have put the 23-year-old in hypothetical trades that Oklahoma City could offer to move up in the draft. Responding to those suggestions, Ross Lovelace of Daily Thunder argues that Oklahoma City should be building around Gilgeous-Alexander, not considering moving him.

Draft Notes: Juzang, Abmas, Last-Minute Decisions

After leading UCLA to the Final Four, Johnny Juzang will withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his junior season. Juzang announced his decision on Twitter about an hour before the NCAA’s Wednesday deadline of midnight Eastern Time for early entrants to pull out of the draft and retain their eligibility.

“Going through the draft process has been an amazing experience,” he wrote. “I was blessed to connect with great people, learn and grow, and get a feel for life at the next level. I want to thank everyone who has helped me in this process including my family, trainers, school and especially my dad who helped me for countless hours!”

There was talk that Juzang might be a first-round pick after an outstanding performance in the NCAA tournament, but a disappointing showing at the combine hurt his status, according to Chad Ford (Twitter link), who speculates that he could be back in first-round consideration next year.

There’s more on last-minute draft decisions:

Southeast Notes: Hornets’ Workouts, Westbrook, Beal, Mosley, McMillan

The Hornets worked out seven draft prospects on Friday, headlined by UConn guard James Bouknight, P.J. Morales of the Charlotte Observer writes. Bouknight is rated as the No. 8 overall prospect on ESPN’s Best Available list. Auburn guard Sharife Cooper (No. 18 on ESPN’s list), Tennessee guard Jaden Springer (No. 27), and Auburn forward JT Thor (No. 28) were some of the other potential first-rounders who visited. The group also included Iowa center Luka Garza, Howard center Makur Maker, and Croatian forward Roko Prkacin (No. 37).

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Not surprisingly, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are the players most likely to remain on the Wizards‘ roster heading into next season, Fred Katz of The Athletic anticipates. Katz takes a look at every player on the roster and projects the odds they’ll return with Washington for the 2021/22 campaign.
  • Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley was interviewed for the Magic’s head coaching job on Thursday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Orlando’s desire to interview Mosley was previously reported. Mosley is likely to leave Dallas after being passed over for the head coaching job that went to Jason Kidd.
  • Nate McMillan has far exceeded all expectations as the Hawks’ interim coach and Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes how the veteran coach has connected with his players in ways that previous coach Lloyd Pierce failed to do.

Draft Notes: Early Entrant Decisions, Grimes, Henry, Pacers, More

Justin Bean (Utah State), Eric Ayala (Maryland), Jeenathan Williams (Buffalo), Latrell Jones (Portland), Quentin Scott (Texas State), and De’Vion Harmon (Oklahoma) are all withdrawing from the 2021 NBA draft after testing the waters as early entrants, according to a series of reports from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and Jeff Goodman of Stadium (all six links go to Twitter).

Of those six players, three will transfer, with Jones heading to Nicholls State, Scott making the move to Tulane, and Harmon going to Oregon.

Meanwhile, Texas big man Jericho Sims, who boosted his stock with a strong showing at last week’s combine, will remain in the draft. Klutch Sports published a tweet today welcoming Sims to the agency. UCLA’s Chris Smith is also expected to go pro, per Goodman (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the draft: