OG Anunoby

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Ainge, Raptors, Nets, Sixers

After much speculation, the Knicks ultimately decided to select French point guard Frank Ntilikina with the eight pick in the NBA Draft. Names like Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk — both of whom were still available when the Knicks were on the clock — were bypassed in favor of the athletic guard.

As Ian Begley of ESPN writes, team president Phil Jackson spoke about New York’s highly-debated selection and the ability that made the 18-year-old a must-have prospect.

“We like the size of this young man, we like his aptitude for the game, athleticism, actually the ability to incorporate himself in a winning type of a situation,” Jackson said.

New York used its 44th pick on Houston’s Damyean Dotson and its 58th pick on Serbian guard Ognjen Jaramaz. Under Jackson, the Knicks have emphasized selecting European talent and college seniors; with the team looking to build aorund young talent, it’s likely that the 2017 draft picks — particularly Ntilikina — get decent looks next season.

Here are additional notes from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (via Twitter), the Raptors tried trading up in the draft to select OG Anunoby but were pleasantly surprised when he was still available come the 23rd pick.
  • On a similar note, the Nets liked Michigan’s D.J. Wilson and tried trading up, but did not have the assets to do so, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk (via Twitter). Wilson was taken 17th overall by the Bucks.
  • Despite rumors linking the Celtics to Jimmy Butler, general manager Danny Ainge told reporters, including ESPN’s Chris Forsberg, that no recent discussions to acquire the former Bulls All-Star happened.
  • Per Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly (via Twitter), all of the Sixers‘ international picks are expected to stay overseas next season.
  • After drafting Markelle Fultz this year, Ben Simmons last year, and assembling a drove of young talent, now is the time for Sixers head coach Brett Brown to put together a winning product, Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Cooney writes.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Ball, Ntilikina, Smith

Kansas forward Josh Jackson wanted to work out for the Celtics after they traded for the No. 3 pick, but couldn’t work out the scheduling, tweets Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The Celtics are reportedly deciding between Jackson and Duke forward Jayson Tatum if they decide to keep the pick, and Tatum held a workout in Boston on Monday.

Jackson added that he has spoken to Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown and believes they would form a good combination (Twitter link). The former Jayhawk also disputed a rumor that he refused to work out for the team unless he was promised Boston wouldn’t trade its pick (Twitter link).

There’s more as the top prospects met with the media today in New York:

  • Lonzo Ball confirmed to reporters his only pre-draft meeting was with the Lakers, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Ball also believes L.A. traded D’Angelo Russell to open up a spot for him and he can see that “the Lakers have a plan.” He adds that the Lakers haven’t promised to take him, relays Adam Zagoria of Fanrag Sports (Twitter link), saying, “We’ll just find out tomorrow night.” Ball also explained why he turned down a session with the Celtics when they had the top pick, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “If it’s either play for the hometown or go No. 1, I’d rather play for the hometown,” Ball said.
  • Frank Ntilikina met with the Knicks front office today, including team president Phil Jackson, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The French point guard, who is reportedly in strong consideration with New York’s No. 8 pick, said the team wanted to meet him in person.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. also met with Jackson and the Knicks front office, Begley relays (Twitter link). The North Carolina State point guard believes he can be effective in the triangle offense.
  • Indiana’s OG Anunoby said doctors have assured him that he can resume basketball activities by October or early November, according to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Anunoby had surgery on his right knee after a season-ending injury in January.
  • Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen was a Timberwolves fan growing up, and Minnesota was among the four teams he worked out for, Fischer tweets. The others were the Mavericks, Celtics and Magic, and he had a meeting with the Knicks.
  • Gonzaga’s Zach Collins had private workouts with the Magic, Wolves, Kings, Mavericks and Suns, and a group session with the Lakers, Fischer relays (Twitter link).
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard held individual workouts for the Lakers, Pistons, Knicks and Mavericks (Twitter link).
  • The Nets and Bulls were among the teams to work out international big man Isaiah Hartenstein leading up to the draft, tweets David Pick.

Ford’s Latest: Lakers, Suns, Kings, Magic, Mavs

Sources in Los Angeles say that the Lakers have been “moving closer and closer” in recent days to making Lonzo Ball their man at No. 2, ESPN’s Chad Ford writes in his latest mock draft (Insider-only link). However, the Suns also have legitimate interest in Ball, and have had conversations with both the Lakers and Celtics about trading up, says Ford. Phoenix has interest in Josh Jackson too, but if both Jackson and Ball come off the board in the top three and the Suns don’t move up, Ford expects Jayson Tatum to be the team’s choice.

Here are several more interesting tidbits from Ford’s latest mock:

  • The Kings have explored moving up to No. 2 or No. 3, with De’Aaron Fox as their target. Ford’s mock suggests Sacramento will have a chance to nab Fox with the No. 5 pick though.
  • The Magic have shown “serious interest” in Jayson Tatum, but Ford thinks he’ll be off the board at No. 6, and has Orlando picking Jonathan Isaac instead.
  • The Knicks and Mavericks both appear to be very high on French point guard Frank Ntilikina. Ford says not to be surprised if Dallas attempts to leapfrog New York by trading up to No. 6 or No. 7 to secure Ntilikina.
  • Ford’s newest mock forecasts a potential fall out of the top 10 for Malik Monk. ESPN’s draft guru suggests that if Monk makes it past the Timberwolves and Knicks, he could slip to the Hornets at No. 11.
  • There has been “a lot of buzz” about the possibility of OG Anunoby landing with the Nuggets, Ford writes. The injured Indiana forward is receiving interest as high as No. 10 (Kings), but Denver would be a good fit, since the Nuggets wouldn’t need him to play right away.
  • The Trail Blazers, who hold three first-round picks, continue to shop around No. 20, per Ford.

Draft Rumors: Jackson, Kennard, Isaac, Smith Jr.

Although foot issues have prevented former Duke guard Frank Jackson from working out for teams in recent weeks, he has been visiting and meeting with several clubs, per Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Deveney reports that the Hawks, Knicks, and Jazz have all brought in Jackson.

Elsewhere in his piece, Deveney provides updates on OG Anunoby and Luke Kennard, writing that the Lakers are holding out hope that Anunoby will fall to them at No. 28, though he’s receiving interest from plenty of teams picking earlier. As for Kennard, one scout who spoke to Deveney wasn’t overly bullish on Kennard’s ability to sneak into the top 10.

“I understand that everyone wants shooters,” the scout said of Kennard. “No one questions that the kid can shoot. But I can’t see him becoming a good defender. You just hope that he develops into a neutral defender, that he does not hurt you. He might go in the lottery in this draft because of the way he can shoot, but in most drafts he is more down in the late teens.”

Here are a few more draft-related rumors and notes from around the league:

OG Anunoby Aims To Be At Full Strength Before End Of 2017

Former Indiana small forward OG Anunoby continues to recover from a knee injury, with some draft experts speculating that he could miss most or all of his NBA rookie season in 2017/18. However, a source tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports that Anunoby expects to be back at full health by late November or early December.

Anunoby’s sophomore season with the Hoosiers was cut short when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in January. However, Anunoby declared for the draft in the spring and the injury doesn’t appear to have significantly affected his draft stock. He still ranks 14th overall on DraftExpress’ big board, and 13th on ESPN’s top 100 list.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Chad Ford notes that Anunoby will be impacted by doctors’ opinions on his surgically repaired knee, since some teams believe he won’t be back to full health until well into 2018. However, Ford still had Anunoby coming off the board at No. 13, suggesting that the Nuggets are among the teams that probably won’t be scared off by that diagnosis.

Even if Anunoby feels as if he’ll be ready to make his NBA debut before the end of the calendar year, his NBA team may play it safe. As we saw with the Sixers and Ben Simmons this past season, clubs will typically take a long-term outlook with their first-round picks, rather than rushing them onto the court.

Heat Notes: Wade, Bosh, J. Johnson, Draft

Udonis Haslem and Tyler Johnson made a public appearance today to help Dwyane Wade sell sneakers, but they avoided questions about whether their former teammate might rejoin them with the Heat, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Wade is considering whether to opt out of his $23.8MM contract with the Bulls for next season. If he does, many believe he will decide to return to Miami, where he spent his first 13 seasons. Haslem and Johnson have both been in touch with Wade since Chicago was eliminated from the playoffs last week. “He’s going to have to make the best decision for him,” Johnson said. “I know he wants to be in a situation where he’s playing for a team that’s kind of established. I don’t think he wants to go through a rebuilding process.”
There’s more news out of Miami:
  • The Heat are expected to petition the league office soon to have Chris Bosh‘s salary removed from their cap. Bosh was kept on the roster all season after failing a physical in training camp over blood clot problems that have plagued him for the past two seasons. Haslem tells Winderman in the same story that he has contacted Bosh but hasn’t discussed his NBA future. “Chris is one of those guys, when he puts his mind it, he can do anything,” Haslem said. “So he doesn’t lack opportunity. He’s going to have a lot of opportunity to do a lot of things. He’s a very well-rounded guy. And whatever he does, he’s going to be great at it.” If Bosh is able to play enough games for another team, his $52MM salary would be put back onto the Heat’s cap.
  • Free agent forward James Johnson may not be guaranteed a starting job if he re-signs with the Heat this summer, Winderman speculates in another piece. With Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic both starting, Johnson may give Miami too many players on the court at the same time who need to handle the ball. Also, Justise Winslow may claim one of the starting forward slots when he returns from injury.
  • Winderman examines who the Heat might take if they keep the No. 14 pick in the May 16th lottery. Players who have been linked to Miami in that spot include Duke’s Harry Giles, UCLA’s T.J. Leaf, North Carolina’s Justin Jackson, California’s Ivan Rabb, Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac, Gonzaga’s Zach Collins, Indiana’s OG Anunoby, Duke’s Luke Kennard, Wake Forest’s John Collins and two overseas players, Terrence Ferguson of Australia and Frank Ntilikina of France.

OG Anunoby To Enter 2017 NBA Draft

Indiana small forward OG Anunoby is set to enter the 2017 NBA draft, a source tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. According to Rothstein, who notes that an official announcement should come soon, Anunoby will hire an agent, forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility.

Anunoby’s sophomore season with the Hoosiers was cut short when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in January. However, the injury doesn’t appear to have significantly affected Anunoby’s draft stock. He still ranks 14th overall on DraftExpress’ big board, and 15th on ESPN’s top 100 list.

Before he went down in January, the 19-year-old forward was averaging 11.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.3 BPG, and 1.3 SPG in 16 games for Indiana. Although he was shooting an impressive 55.7% from the field, Anunoby’s overall shooting percentage was dragged down by a 3PT% of just .311. Still, he’s a very strong defender who is capable of contributing in a number of different ways on the court.

According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, Anunoby projects as a probable mid-first-rounder in June if NBA teams are comfortable about how his knee is recovering. If it looks like he may miss a significant chunk of his rookie season, Anunoby could slip a little further, but Ford still expects him to be a first-round pick, noting that his “talent level as a two-way player is off the charts.” Ford had the Indiana sophomore going 15th overall to the Pacers in his latest mock draft.

OG Anunoby To Undergo Knee Surgery, Out For Season

OG Anunoby, ESPN’s 17th-ranked overall prospect, will undergo right knee surgery and miss the remainder of the season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Anunoby initially suffered the injury against Penn State on Wednesday, needing to be helped off the court by teammates. Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean addressed the development through an online statement:

“It has been determined that OG Anunoby will undergo surgery on his right knee and will miss the remainder of the season. He is expected to make a complete recovery. For a young man, OG has a very strong faith and a courageous spirit. We are going to do everything as a basketball family to help him recover and rehabilitate from this unfortunate situation.”

A 6’8” wing with scoring ability, Anunoby was slated to be picked 10th in DraftExpress’ latest 2017 Mock Draft.

Anunoby announced he would forego the NBA draft in April of 2016, returning for his sophomore season at Indiana University. While Anunoby averaged just 13.7 minutes in his freshman year, the Missouri-native raised his profile this season, averaging 11.1 points on 56% shooting with 1.3 steals through 16 games.

And-Ones: ‘Melo, Batum, Hield

Carmelo Anthony wasn’t at the Knicks triangle seminar this week after all, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, despite an earlier report that he was. Some say the seminar was mandatory and others called it voluntary, Isola hears, adding that one player said team president Phil Jackson only invited a few Knicks. Anthony is believed to be receiving therapy on his left knee, Berman writes, and the triangle sessions were mostly review, a source told the Post scribe, who downplays the significance of ‘Melo’s absence. Still, 10 other Knicks took part, Berman hears, including Kristaps Porzingis, who’s recovering from a shoulder strain and recently had a routine visit at the Hospital for Special Surgery, notes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (ESPN Now link). The other attendees, according to Berman, were Jerian Grant, Cleanthony Early, Langston Galloway, Tony WrotenSasha Vujacic, Jose Calderon, Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn and Kevin Seraphin.

See more from around the NBA:

  • Nicolas Batum isn’t definitively out for the rest of the Hornets‘ first-round series against Miami, tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, dispelling an earlier report, but he’s unlikely to return unless it goes at least six games, Bonnell says. Batum is poised for free agency this summer.
  • Indiana freshman small forward OG Anunoby won’t enter this year’s draft, the school announced (Twitter link). He was a late second-round prospect for this year, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, who ranks him the 50th, but the 6’8″ 18-year-old has first-round potential for next year, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress slots him 20th in his 2017 mock draft. Anunoby saw limited action this season, putting up 4.9 points in 13.7 minutes per game.
  • Long-shot draft prospect Moustapha Diagne will enter this year’s draft, but he’ll do so without an agent so he can retain his college eligibility, a source told Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The 6’8″ 20-year-old from Northwest Florida State, a community college, is a former Syracuse commit, Rothstein notes, and he was 68th in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index coming out of high school last year. Neither Ford nor Givony ranks him among the top 100 draft prospects.
  • Top-10 prospect and former Oklahoma shooting guard Buddy Hield has signed with agent Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports, a source told Darren Rovell of ESPN.com (ESPN Now link).
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