Matt Farrell

Draft Notes: R. Williams, Nuggets, Clips, Wizards

Texas A&M center Robert Williams, who previously worked out for the Bulls, Hornets, and Knicks, continues to earn looks from teams picking in the top half of the first round. According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link), Williams still has workouts on tap with the Clippers, Nuggets, Wizards, who hold the picks from 12 through 15.

Williams’ session with the Nuggets will take place today, according to a press release from the club. In addition to scheduling an individual session with Williams, Denver has also lined up a group workout which will feature Hayden Dalton (Wyoming), Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Arnoldas Kulboka (Capo d’Orlando), Dzanan Musa (Cedevita), Ajdin Penava (Marshall), and Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga).

Meanwhile, the Bucks – who hold the No. 17 selection – also wanted to bring in Williams for a workout, but he expects to be off the board before Milwaukee picks and has passed on the team’s invitation, per Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. According to Woelfel, Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith, another good bet to be drafted in the top 16, also won’t work out for the Bucks.

Here’s more on the 2018 NBA draft:

Draft Updates: Bamba, Jackson Jr., Sexton, Knox

Texas center Mo Bamba got high praise from the Suns after working out for the team Saturday, relays Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix is very likely to take another center, Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton, with the top pick, but GM Ryan McDonough believes Bamba has a bright NBA future, comparing him with Defensive Player of the Year finalist Rudy Gobert.

“At 20 years old, I think he’s ahead of where Rudy was,” McDonough said. “Now Rudy has made tremendous strides over the last three or four years. I think the question for Mo will be, can he build out his body like Rudy has? But in terms of measurements, they’re similar and in terms of willingness and desire to anchor a defense and protect the rim, they’re similar. It’s a great comp for Mo.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Bamba is part of a series of top prospects the Suns are working out this week. Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. is in town today, the team announced on its website, following appearances by Ayton and Marvin Bagley III.
  • Bamba looks like the definition of a modern NBA center and could wind up being the best player in the draft, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Bamba provides size, a draft combine record 7’10” wingspan, mobility and intelligence, Givony notes, but there are questions about his physical frame after putting on 30 pounds in three years and his uneven performance in college. “Although there’s no one I really pattern my game after, I am a firm believer in stealing stuff from other people,” Bamba said. “When I sat down with [ player development specialist Drew Hanlen], we watched a lot of Jo-Jo [Joel Embiid], we watched a lot of AD [Anthony Davis]. Guys who can step out and move their feet and create their own shot offensively as a 7-footer.”
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert called Collin Sexton a “very interesting prospect” after getting an up-close look at the Alabama guard during a workout Saturday, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.
  • Kentucky’s Kevin Knox and Michigan State’s Miles Bridges worked out for the Knicks on Saturday, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post“I’m the second-youngest player in the draft this year, but that doesn’t mean anything,’’ said Knox, who is still 18. “It’s not an excuse. I’m in the NBA and I put my name in the draft for a reason — because I think I’m ready. My age has nothing to do with it.’’ Also participating in the workout were SMU’s Shake Milton, Miami’s Bruce Brown , Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith and Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo.
  • The Jazz are hosting six players for a session today, the team announced on Twitter. Attending will be Utah’s Justin Bibbins, Purdue’s Vince Edwards, Australia’s William McDowell-White, France’s Amine Noua, Marshall’s Ajdin Penava and Lincoln Memorial’s Emanuel Terry.
  • Duke’s Grayson Allen had to pull out of today’s workout with the Hawks after suffering a minor injury during warmups, tweets Michael Cunningham of The Journal-Constitution. Also at today’s session were Creighton’s Marcus Foster, Louisville’s Anas Mahmoud, Rhode Island’s E.C. Matthews, UNLV’s Brandon McCoy and Boston College’s Jerome Robinson.
  • The Hornets will host their sixth pre-draft workout Monday with Southeastern Louisiana’s Jordan Capps, Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell, Mercer’s Ria’n Holland, Xavier’s J.P. Macura, Illinois-Chicago’s Tai Odiase and Queens College’s Todd Winters scheduled to attend.

Eastern Draft Notes: Sixers, Bulls, Diallo, Raptors

The Sixers, who hold the 10th and 26th picks in the 2018 NBA draft, continue to take a closer look at potential early- and late-first-round picks. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter links), Philadelphia will have an interesting pair of prospects participating in a group workout next Monday when they bring in Miami guard Lonnie Walker and MSU forward Miles Bridges. Both players are considered potential lottery selections, making them options at No. 10.

Duke’s Grayson Allen, a possible candidate for the No. 26 pick, participated in a workout today for the Sixers, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, Allen – who will also work out for the Celtics on Friday, per Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald (Twitter link) – wasn’t the most notable person present at the session.

According to Pompey, embattled president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was in attendance at today’s workout. While that doesn’t mean that the Sixers have made a decision one way or the other on Colangelo’s future, it certainly doesn’t seem like bad news for him.

Here’s more on pre-draft workouts from around the Eastern Conference:

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Jazz, Wolves, Nuggets

While most NBA teams are focusing on workouts for 2018 draft prospects these days, this is also a time of year when clubs take a closer look at veteran free agents, bringing them in for auditions of their own. The Trail Blazers are doing just that at a mini-camp this week, as Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype details (Twitter link).

According to Kennedy, former Sixers, Rockets, and Nets swingman K.J. McDaniels is among the players earning a look from the Trail Blazers, along with Casper Ware, Kadeem Jack, Isaiah Cousins, Kyle Randall, and a number of others. A handful of current Portland players, including Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan, participated in those sessions alongside the free agents on Monday, Kennedy notes.

Here’s more from around the Northwest division:

Draft Notes: Hornets, Grizzlies, Blazers, Lakers, Nuggets

Villanova’s Mikal Bridges had his conditioning tested during his first pre-draft workout today in Charlotte, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bridges and St. Joseph’s James Demery were the only players at the hour-long session, which featured full-court sprints mixed with long-range shooting toward the end of the process.

“They pushed us,” Bridges said. “I’m really well conditioned and they [wanted to see me] shoot the ball while I’m tired. [It was about] showing them everything, like some ballhandling that they didn’t see” when he was in college.

Projected as a lottery pick, Bridges may still be available when the Hornets select at No. 11. However, Bonnell notes that the Cavaliers, Knicks and Sixers — the three teams directly in front of Charlotte — could all have interest.

There’s more draft-related news to pass along:

Draft Notes: M. Bridges, Pinson, Farrell, Rowsey

With the deadline passing for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA draft, pre-draft workouts are taking on a new level of importance. Here are a few notes to pass on as the draft looms 20 days from now: