Marcus Zegarowski

Pacific Notes: Ayton, K. Jones, Lakers, Warriors

Deandre Ayton, fresh off of his first NBA Finals appearance with the Suns, is eligible for a five-year, $168MM max contract that would kick in at the start of the 2022/23 season, and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic takes a look at what could be next for the big man.

Ayton’s career lows in PPG and APG were a result more of the context of adding Chris Paul and reorganizing the offense, rather than any regression on Ayton’s end, Rankin writes. In fact, Ayton’s growth as a team-first player willing to do whatever it takes for the success of the Suns adds even more appeal for the club as it decides if it will offer him a max deal.

If sacrificing is leading the wins and where we are today, I’ll sacrifice everything, you know what I’m saying,” Ayton said. “Everything (Paul’s) told me has led up to here, so why stop now?

We have more news from the Pacific Division:

Draft Workouts: Wizards, Springer, Kuminga, Pacers, Hornets, Bezhanishvili

The Wizards own the No. 15 pick and they’ve been very busy working out players. Guards Chris Duarte of Oregon, Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois and Josh Christopher of Arizona State visited last week, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. They brought in some less heralded prospects on Tuesday, a list that includes Mitchell Ballock (Creighton), D.J. Carton (Marquette), Matt Coleman III (Texas), Ryan Daly (St. Joseph) and Mark Vital (Baylor), according to a team press release.

Potential first-round Jaden Springer (Tennessee) heads the list of prospects who will work out for the club on Thursday, Hughes tweets. They’ll also take a look at Zane Martin (Towson), Asbjorn Midtgaard (Grand Canyon), Eugene Omoruyi (Oregon), Micah Potter (Wisconsin) and Guilherme Santos (Minas-Brazil).

We have more draft workout info:

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:

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-17.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)

Trey Murphy, Others Declare For 2021 NBA Draft

Virginia junior shooting guard Trey Murphy III has decided to declare for the 2021 NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he announced today (via Twitter).

Murphy, who began his college career at Rice, transferred to Virginia for the 2020/21 season and started 20 of his 25 games for the club, averaging 11.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per contest.

While those numbers are relatively modest, Murphy has displayed an impressive shooting stroke from beyond the arc throughout his college career — he knocked down 43.3% of his three-point attempts as a junior, increasing his career average to 40.1%. He’s considered one of the best outside shooters in this year’s class.

Murphy currently ranks as the No. 42 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a strong candidate to be drafted if he decides to go pro.

Here are a few more updates on early entrants declaring for the draft:

  • Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior): Zegarowski will enter the draft, he announced on Twitter, and the wording of his statement suggests he intends to go pro. After making the All-Big East Second Team in 2020, he earned a spot on the First Team in 2021, having averaged 15.8 PPG and 4.3 APG on .464/.421/.786 shooting in 29 games (33.6 MPG).
  • Dawson Garcia, F, Marquette (freshman): Garcia announced on Instagram that he’ll test the draft waters without hiring an agent. He averaged 13.0 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 27 games (29.7 MPG) in his first college season, making the Big East All-Freshman team.
  • Balsa Koprivica, C, Florida State (sophomore): Koprivica’s announcement on Twitter declaring his intent to enter the draft didn’t mention anything about maintaining his eligibility, so he’s likely going pro. As a sophomore in 2020/21, he recorded 9.1 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 24 games (19.5 MPG) as FSU’s primary starting center.
  • Kevin Samuel, C, TCU (junior): Samuel, who has averaged 8.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 2.2 BPG in 95 games (26.1 MPG) across three college seasons, announced on Twitter that he’ll enter the draft while maintaining his NCAA eligibility. Samuel also tested the draft waters two years ago following his freshman season.
  • Trevion Williams, F, Purdue (junior): Coming off an All-Big Ten season in which he posted a career-best 15.5 PPG and 9.1 RPG in 28 contests (25.1 MPG), Williams has opted to test the draft waters, he announced on Instagram.