Moritz Wagner

East Draft Notes: Wizards, Raptors, Bulls, Magic, Nets

UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday heads the list of six players the Wizards will work out on Wednesday, according to the team’s website. Holiday is ranked No. 17 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. He will be joined by two Kansas guards, Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, along with forwards Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga), Moritz Wagner (Michigan) and Zach Thomas (Bucknell).

In other draft news regarding Eastern Conference teams:

Combine Notes: Bridges, Sixers, DiVincenzo, Sexton

Michigan State wing Miles Bridges, a probable lottery pick, interviewed with the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Cavaliers, Spurs, Nuggets, and Clippers earlier this week, and was set to meet with the Sixers, Hornets, and Knicks on Friday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Bridges is one of several intriguing prospects the Sixers are meeting with in Chicago this week, according to Pompey, who adds Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., Michigan State power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., and IMG Academy guard Anfernee Simons to that list. Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo was also scheduled to interview with Philadelphia on Friday, Pompey tweets.

Finally, Pompey has details on Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, who has been impressing NBA evaluators at this week’s combine and says he’s received plenty of “positive feedback.” According to Pompey, DiVincenzo has had meetings with the Lakers, Magic, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, Spurs, Hawks, and Grizzlies in Chicago.

Here’s more on meetings taking place at the combine:

Draft Updates: Wagner, Eastern, Hlinason, Birutis

Michigan center Moritz Wagner is going pro, announcing his decision over the weekend with an essay on The Players’ Tribune. Within an in-depth piece explaining his decision, Wagner indicated that he’ll hire an agent, forgoing his final year of NCAA eligibility.

A 6’11” junior, Wagner was a key piece of a Wolverines squad that made a run to the NCAA Final Four this year, losing to Villanova in the title game. For the 2017/18 season, Wagner averaged 14.6 PPG and 7.1 RPG with a shooting line of .528/.394/.694. He’s considered a top-50 prospect by ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony, coming in at No. 48 on ESPN’s big board.

Here are more draft-related updates:

  • Purdue guard Nojel Eastern didn’t play a major role for the Boilermakers during his freshman year, averaging just 12.6 minutes per game in 37 contests. Nonetheless, he’ll test the draft waters this spring, entering the 2018 pool without an agent, according to a press release from the program.
  • Icelandic big man Tryggvi Hlinason is declaring for the 2018 NBA draft, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The 7’1″ center hasn’t played much for Valencia in Spain this season, but comes in at No. 75 on Givony’s big board of 2018 prospects and is considered a potential second-round pick by NBA teams.
  • Lithuanian center Laurynas Birutis has entered the 2018 NBA draft, his agent confirmed to Givony. “The NBA has always been my dream,” Birutis said. “Therefore, I would like to try my chances there. This was not a difficult decision, because I want to try to compete against the best players in the world.” Birutis is just 20 years old, but is having a productive season in Lithuanian, averaging 15.1 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 25 MPG for BC Siauliai.

Draft Update: Wilson, Wagner, Williams, Yurtseven

Michigan’s D.J. Wilson has decided to remain in the draft, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. The 6’10 sophomore is projected as a possible late first-rounder, with Givony putting him 29th in his top 100 list. Sources told Rod Beard of The Detroit News that Wilson has received a guarantee from the Jazz, who own the 24th and 30th picks (Twitter link). Wilson averaged 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Wolverines this season.

There are more draft decisions to report as tonight’s deadline for collegians to withdraws gets closer:

  • Wilson’s teammate, Moritz Wagner, will spend another season at Michigan, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The 6’11” sophomore out of Germany was reluctant to make the move to the NBA until he was sure he is ready, relays Brendan F. Quinn of MLive (Twitter link). “I would’ve hated myself if I’d found myself in the D-League next year,” Wagner said. “I would rather play in college.”
  • Johnathan Williams is headed back to national runner-up Gonzaga (via Rothstein). The 6’9″ forward averaged 10.2 points per game as a junior and was a long shot to be drafted.
  • Omer Yurtseven will withdraw from the draft and spend another season at North Carolina State, tweets Jeff Goodman of The 7-footer out of Uzbekistan was a part-time player with the Wolfpack as a freshman, averaging 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per night.
  • Justin Jackson has decided to spend another year at Maryland (via Goodman). DraftExpress projects the 6’8″ freshman to be a first-round pick in 2018.
  • Tacko Fall will be back at Central Florida next season (via Rothstein). The 7’6″ native of Senegal averaged 10.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game as a freshman with the Golden Knights.
  • MiKyle McIntosh has pulled out of the draft and plans to transfer from Illinois State, tweets Evan Daniels of Fox Sports 1. The Canadian forward averaged 12.7 points per game this season and will be eligible immediately at his next school.
  • Chris Clemons will return to Campbell next season (via Rothstein). The sophomore point guard would have been an extreme long shot to be drafted.

Draft Notes: Bradley, Swanigan, Deadline Decisions

North Carolina center Tony Bradley will hire an agent and remain in the NBA draft, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. After helping the Tar Heels capture the national championship, Bradley faces conflicting opinions about his draft status, with DraftExpress placing him 41st on its list of top 100 prospects but ESPN’s Chad Ford projecting him as a first-rounder at No. 22. The 6’10” freshman averaged 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds during his lone season at North Carolina.

Bradley is among several dominoes that will fall as the deadline for withdrawing from the draft looms tonight. Here’s a roundup of some other prospects:

Here are several players have made a final decision to forgo the draft and head back to school:

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Bucks, Workouts

After a disappointing 2016/17 season, the Pistons will be looking this offseason for ways to improve the team’s outlook for next year. However, as Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press details, Andre Drummond doesn’t believe a roster overhaul is necessary.

“I don’t think we need to do any changes,” the Pistons center told reporters earlier this week. “We had a lot of bumps in the road last season with different things going on, and it took everybody out of sync. … With this summer coming up, we have to do a better job staying connected — the more stuff we do together, the better our camaraderie will be.”

Even if the Pistons were interested in making major changes to their roster, they would be tricky to pull off. Detroit has nearly $95MM in guaranteed salary on its books for 2017/18 without counting Aron Baynes‘ $6.5MM player option or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s $9.2MM cap hold, so the team won’t have cap room to work with.

Here’s more from around the Central division:

Draft Notes: Collins, Comanche, Combine, Jazz

Gonzaga big man Zach Collins is quickly rising up draft boards, tweets Jon Rothstein of Fanrag Sports. The 7’0″ freshman didn’t play a lot this season, but he has become a favorite of NBA scouts. Collins averaged 10.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in just 17.2 minutes per night for the national runners-up. He is ranked 12th in Jonathan Givony’s latest list of the top 100 prospects at DraftExpress and 11th by ESPN’s Chad Ford. Collins is the top-rated center on Ford’s list, while Givony has him one spot behind Jarrett Allen of Texas.

There’s more draft-related news today:

  • Sophomore big man Chance Comanche of Arizona has announced via Twitter than he plans to remain in the draft. He averaged 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds this season and is a long shot to be drafted.
  • Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders examines players who have gone on to NBA success after not receiving invitations to the draft combine. This year’s edition will be held this week in Chicago.
  • Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo may be the best athlete at the combine, an NBA executive tells Rothstein (Twitter link). Diallo is projected to go early in the second round by both Givony and Ford.
  • Three Michigan players are headed to the combine, writes James Hawkins of The Detroit NewsMoritz Wagner and D.J. Wilson, who entered the draft without hiring agents, both received invitations, along with senior Derrick WaltonAnother Wolverines senior, Zak Irvin, also has draft aspirations but wasn’t invited to the combine.
  • Wagner will be among six players working out for the Jazz on Sunday, according to a tweet from the team. Joining him will be LSU’s Antonio Blakeney, UCLA’s Aaron Holiday, Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Georgetown’s L.J. Peak and BYU’s Eric Mika.

D.J. Wilson, Moritz Wagner Testing Draft Waters

A pair of Michigan Wolverines, power forward D.J. Wilson and center Moritz Wagner, announced today that they’ll test the 2017 NBA draft waters, entering their names without hiring agents. Both Wilson and Wagner made their announcements on Twitter.

Wilson, a redshirt sophomore, is viewed as a possible first-round pick, ranking 34th on the DraftExpress big board and 31st on ESPN’s list of top prospects. Wilson received significant playing time in 2016/17 for the first time in his college career, and responded by averaging 11.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 1.5 BPG, with a shooting line of .538/.373/.833.

According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, Wilson has “all the tools” necessary to be an effective modern NBA power forward, including an ability to protect the rim and shoot from outside. Ford notes that Wilson’s mediocre rebounding numbers are hurting him a little, but he still projects as a late first-rounder or early second-rounder if he keeps his name in the draft.

As for Wilson’s teammate Wagner, the 6’11” sophomore doesn’t show up at all on DraftExpress’ top 100 list, but Ford is bullish on the 19-year-old’s draft prospects, placing him 25th overall on ESPN’s big board. Ford acknowledges that Wagner’s sophomore year was inconsistent, but notes that he had a huge game against Louisville in the NCAA tournament and “ticks a lot of boxes” for NBA scouts. Wagner averaged 12.1 PPG and 4.2 RPG with a .395 3PT% in his sophomore year.