Isaiah Collier

And-Ones: IST, Load Management, Collier, 2024 Draft, All-Star Votes

Unsurprisingly, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed this week during a news conference in Paris that the in-season tournament will “no doubt be back” next season, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

According to Silver, the league will probably make “a couple tweaks” to the way the tournament works, but it’s not likely to undergo a significant overhaul. The commissioner mentioned the tiebreaker rules, the appearance of the courts, and the name of the tournament itself as some things worth looking at.

“Beyond that, as we’re talking to television partners and maybe figuring out exactly when the best time of year is to (hold the tournament), maybe it will make sense to make some other modifications to the format,” Silver said.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • After announcing in October that its data doesn’t support the idea that load management reduces a player’s injury risk, the NBA sent out a more in-depth report supporting that thesis to teams and select media members this week, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Bontemps, who outlines the findings in more detail, notes that the study doesn’t suggest load management increases a player’s injury risk — it simply concludes there’s no discernible correlation one way or the other.
  • USC point guard Isaiah Collier, a candidate to be a top-five or top-10 pick in the 2024 NBA draft, will miss the next four-to-six weeks due to a hand injury, the school announced on Thursday night (Twitter link). As Chris Mannix of SI.com observes (via Twitter), Collier’s absence could open up more minutes for another one of the Trojans’ NBA prospects: Bronny James.
  • Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com (Insider link) polled 20 NBA executives and scouts to get their thoughts on the 2024 draft class and the idea of a two-day draft. According to Woo, 12 of his 20 respondents expect Alexandre Sarr to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, while 13 respondents predicted that the 2013 draft class – considered one of the worst in the couple decades – will end up with more All-Stars (three) than the 2024 class.
  • The NBA issued an update on All-Star voting on Thursday, announcing that Lakers forward LeBron James and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo are the leading vote-getters to date. The tightest race is in the Eastern Conference backcourt, where Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton has a comfortable lead, with Trae Young (Hawks) narrowly edging Damian Lillard (Bucks) and Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers) for the No. 2 spot.

And-Ones: 2024 Draft, HS Prospects, Breakout Players, Ray

ESPN draft experts Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo (Insider link) continue to rotate prospects in and out of the No. 1 spot on their draft board for 2024, moving French big man Alexandre Sarr into that top spot in place of USC guard Isaiah Collier, who has struggled for the Trojans as of late.

The 2024 draft class doesn’t have a clear headliner, so the race for No. 1 remains wide open. Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland, two G League Ignite youngsters who were atop ESPN’s big board during the summer of 2023, are now in the back end of the lottery at No. 10 and 11, respectively, while Collier has slipped all the way to No. 8.

Conversely, the latest risers on ESPN’s board include Colorado wing Cody Williams, who is up to No. 3 from No. 10, and Serbian point guard Nikola Topic, who has risen four spots to No. 5. Two more notable prospects who jumped from outside of the lottery into the top seven are French forward Tidjane Salaun and Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham, who moved up nine spots to Nos. 6 and 7, respectively.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report breaks down his top 10 prospects in high school basketball, with Cooper Flagg, Cameron Boozer, and A.J. Dybantsa topping his list.
  • Michael Pina of The Ringer singles out eight players across the NBA who are taking their games to another level this season, from stars like Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton to role players such as Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson.
  • Former Nuggets forward James Ray, the No. 5 overall pick in the 1980 draft, died last week at age 66 due to complications from a surgery, as Bennett Durando of The Denver Post writes. A college star for the Jacksonville Dolphins, Ray appeared in 103 NBA games across three seasons for Denver, then spent several years in Europe before retiring as a player.

And-Ones: McClung, Comanche, Maluach, Draft, Team USA

Although he’s not currently under contract with an NBA team, Mac McClung has been invited by the NBA to take part in the 2024 Slam Dunk Contest and defend his title, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

McClung remains undecided, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), though he says many people believe the G League guard will accept the invitation.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • C.C. McCandless of FOX5 in Las Vegas has obtained the arrest report for former Stockton Kings player Chance Comanche and shares several disturbing new details about the alleged plot to kidnap and kill Marayna Rodgers, who police believe was killed on the night of December 5, when the Kings‘ G League team was in town to face the G League Ignite. Comanche – one of two suspects facing an open murder charge – disclosed several details in an interview with investigators, including identifying on a map where Rodgers body was buried, which allowed detectives to locate her remains.
  • Standout prospect Khaman Maluach, a 7’2″ center from South Sudan, has elected to graduate high school in 2024 and will be eligible for the 2025 draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The 17-year-old is still weighing his options for the 2024/25 season, including attending a U.S. college or taking a professional route like the G League Ignite or Australia’s Next Stars program.
  • In the latest 2024 mock draft from Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports, Alexandre Sarr is the first player off the board, while USC’s Isaiah Collier – the top prospect on ESPN’s top 100 – drops to No. 8.
  • USA Basketball has announced its coaching staff for the AmeriCup qualifying team that will begin competing in February. Dave Joerger, previously reported to be the head coach for the U.S. squad, will be joined by veteran assistants Jerome Allen and Melvin Hunt, per a press release.
  • Australia’s national team is in advanced talks to play exhibition games against the U.S. and Serbia ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, reports Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Team USA already has a pair of exhibition contests against South Sudan and Germany on its July schedule.

And-Ones: 2024 Draft, Birch, Expansion, Tournament

Sam Vecenie of The Athletic has published his big board for the 2024 NBA draft, while Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com (Insider link) have shared their top 25 prospects in next year’s draft class. USC guard Isaiah Collier sits atop both lists, but beyond that there are plenty of differences, starting with Vecenie placing Serbian point guard Nikola Topic at No. 2 on his board (he’s ninth at ESPN).

Vecenie is also significantly higher on Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard than ESPN’s duo is, calling him the best freshman in college basketball so far this season and ranking him sixth overall. Givony and Woo have Sheppard at No. 22.

Still, this year’s group of NCAA prospects doesn’t look especially strong at this point, according to Vecenie, who notes that 11 of the top 33 players on his board are either playing overseas or for the G League Ignite.

Even Collier, the top player on The Athletic’s board, comes with some major question marks and holds the top spot somewhat by default. While Vecenie believes the USC guard is the highest-upside prospect in the 2024 class for now, he says Collier wouldn’t have cracked his top eight prospects in the 2023 draft.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran NBA center Khem Birch, who was waived by San Antonio during the preseason, is said to be drawing interest from Italian club Reyer Venezia, according to reports from Alessandro Maggi of Sportando and Luca D’Alessandro (Twitter link). Birch played in Turkey and Greece from 2015-17 before breaking into the NBA, so if he does head overseas, it wouldn’t be his first professional experience in Europe.
  • With NBA commissioner Adam Silver once again addressing the idea of expansion this week, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes a closer look at where things stand, evaluating how likely the league is to add more teams after its next media deal and discussing which cities have the strongest cases for an expansion franchise.
  • Howard Beck of The Ringer explores the origins of the idea for the NBA’s in-season tournament and details how it eventually come to fruition before considering whether or not the event will have staying power.

And-Ones: Collier, Mock Draft, In-Season Tournament, Ferrell

USC freshman guard Isaiah Collier has moved into the top spot in the latest mock draft from Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN. Collier has been outstanding for the Trojans in the early part of the season, averaging 18.2 PPG while shooting 56% on two-point shots and 41% from beyond the arc. However, there are some concerns, Givony and Woo point out, including an abysmal turnover to assist rate of 5.3-to-4.

At 6’5″ and 210 pounds, Collier’s size is an asset for a point guard and he boasts a good combination of strength and speed, the authors add. He’s most effective in the open court, where he can attack the basket and finish at the rim in a variety of ways. He also has outstanding court vision and is comfortable passing with either hand.

French center Alexandre Sarr drops to second in the mock draft, as his defense has been more developed than his offense in Australia’s National Basketball League. With a 7’5″ wingspan, Sarr ranks second in the NBL in block percentage, but he’s shooting just 30% from three-point range and 56% from the foul line. French forward Zaccharie Risacher, Baylor guard Ja’Kobe Walter and G League Ignite forward Ron Holland round out the top five for Givony and Woo.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • There have been complaints about how the point-differential tie-breaker affected some of Tuesday’s in-season tournament games, but Suns star Devin Booker doesn’t see it as a problem, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I’ve seen teams upset about it, I don’t know why. I’ve seen players upset about it, I don’t know why,” Booker said. “I wish every game was like that where you play until the end and it wasn’t viewed as disrespectful. Just high competition.” 
  • Seth Partnow of The Athletic suggests making point differential a lower-level tie-breaker in the tournament and giving teams points for each quarter that they win, similar to the system in the former Continental Basketball Association. He believes winning quarters would provide incentive for players to give maximum effort without the feeling that teams are intentionally running up the score.
  • Former NBA guard Yogi Ferrell has signed with KK Buducnost in Montenegro, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops. It marks a return to Europe for the 30-year-old Ferrell after playing for the Shanghai Sharks.

And-Ones: Sarr, Thompson, Miller, Hawkins, Jacobs, Officiating

Perth Wildcats big man Alexandre Sarr sits atop the 2024 draft board compiled by The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, though it’s a lukewarm endorsement. Sarr, who draws comparisons to Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton, occupies the No. 1 spot by default, as he’s looked the best of the prospects who have been in action, Vecenie explains. USC guard Isaiah Collier and G League Ignite wing Ron Holland are next on Vecenie’s list.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren squared off on Tuesday but they’re not the only rookies who have made a strong impression, Sam Amick of The Athletic notes. The PistonsAusar Thompson, the HornetsBrandon Miller and the PelicansJordan Hawkins have also played their way into the Rookie of the Year discussion early in the season.
  • Malique Jacobs had to come up with $250 for a tryout with the Pistons‘ NBA G League squad, the Motor City Cruise. The former Kent State player not only earned an invite to training camp, but claimed a spot on the roster. The Athletic’s James Edwards profiles Jacobs’ underdog story.
  • There have been some questionable ejections this season and Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill spoke with NBA head of referee development and training Monty McCutchen about that issue, as well as other concerns regarding the officiating.

And-Ones: Draft Rankings, Holland, Sarr, In-Season Tournament

With the college basketball season tipping off today, Jonathan Givony of ESPN has posted his top 25 prospects for the 2024 NBA draft, putting G League Ignite forward Ron Holland at the top of the list. Givony notes that Holland was already being hyped before impressive performances in exhibition games against Perth and in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, where he averaged 20.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals.

Scouts like Holland’s competitiveness, his ability to attack in the open court and the improvement he has shown as an outside shooter, Givony adds, but he needs to work on his shot selection and decision making. Givony also cautions that Holland isn’t viewed as a definite No. 1 pick like Victor Wembanyama was this year, and the ratings could change throughout the season.

Second on Givony’s list is Australian big man Alexandre Sarr, who also impressed scouts this summer. He totaled 43 points, 18 rebounds, 12 blocks and four assists in two games against the G League Ignite and provides a combination of mobility, skill and defensive versatility that’s rare in a 7-footer.

Rounding out Givony’s top five are USC point guard Isaiah Collier, Kentucky swingman Justin Edwards and French forward Zaccharie Risacher.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has updated his full mock draft, with Holland and Sarr also holding the top two spots. G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis is third in Wasserman’s rankings, followed by Connecticut shooting guard Stephon Castle and Duke point guard Tyrese Proctor. Another notable prospect, USC freshman Bronny James, is listed at No. 43 because of concerns over his health after he suffered cardiac arrest during a July workout.
  • In a discussion of Australian basketball, Kane Pitman, Olgun Uluc and Peter Hooley of ESPN discuss whether Sarr should consider wrapping up his NBL season by Christmas to start preparing for the draft. Sarr’s Perth Wildcats are off to a slow start, and it doesn’t appear his role on the team is likely to expand.
  • The NBA’s new in-season tournament was inspired by soccer’s FA Cup, which has captivated fans for a century and a half because of its unpredictable nature, notes Richard Sutcliffe of The Athletic. Players and coaches are optimistic about what the tournament can grow into, adds Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I’ve been a part of (the) conversations since they first happened,” said Warriors guard Chris Paul, the former president of the National Basketball Players Association. “I think the in-season tournament has an opportunity to be something big for the league. … As players, as the league and everything, you (are) always trying to continue to grow the game. I think this is a good way.”

And-Ones: Fredette, Dischinger, 2024 Draft, More

Jimmer Fredette, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, launched 8.5 three-pointers per game as a college senior at BYU in 2010/11 and made 39.6% of them. However, while he hit 37.2% of his threes at the NBA level, he never emerged as a consistent rotation player and was out of the league by 2016, with the exception of a brief cameo during the 2018/19 season.

Speaking to Sam Yip of HoopsHype, Fredette observed that his game is more suited to the NBA now than it was when he went pro in 2011. The veteran sharpshooter, who eventually emerged as a star in China for the Shanghai Sharks, admits that he sometimes thinks about what his career would’ve looked like if he were coming out of college now.

“Of course you think about it, right? Like, I mean there’s no way that you don’t think about it,” Fredette said. “Obviously, it does fit my game better now than it did before. It’s more positionless basketball. When I came out it was like, ‘Is he a one or is he a two? What’s the deal? Who’s he gonna guard?’ Now it’s like, ‘If you can play, you can play and if you can shoot, you’re an asset.’

“… So I was definitely probably a little bit ahead of my time as far as that’s concerned. But it is what it is and right now I’m in a good spot and using my talents and been able to do it all over the place.”

As Yip notes, Fredette – who is now 34 years old – is currently focused on 3-on-3 basketball and hopes to win a gold medal with Team USA at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Trail Blazers have put out a statement mourning the passing of former NBA wing Terry Dischinger, a three-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year who played in the league from 1962-73 in Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, and Portland. The former Purdue star was 82 years old.
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has published a new 2024 mock draft, moving French big man Alexandre Sarr up to No. 2 and referring to him as “the hottest name early in the 2024 draft cycle,” based on his performances against the G League Ignite last month. While ESPN’s most recent mock draft had USC’s Isaiah Collier at No. 2 and Duke’s Tyrese Proctor at No. 14, Wasserman has Collier and Proctor at No. 6 and No. 5, respectively.
  • Which new and old NBA on-court rules will be points of emphasis for referees this season? Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune takes a closer look, noting that the league has introduced new in-game penalties for flopping and wants its officials to actually call defensive three-second violations in fourth quarters and clutch situations.
  • Rob Mahoney of The Ringer identifies five teams that he believes will define the 2023/24 NBA season, starting with the defending champion Nuggets. Mahoney also discusses the Bucks, Heat, Thunder, and Grizzlies.
  • HoopsHype has shared an excerpt from Alex Squadron’s book ‘Life in the G,’ which follows players in the G League as they push for a promotion to the NBA.

And-Ones: Holiday, N. Young, J. Parker, 2024 Draft, More

The Heat and Clippers are believed to be the other teams that were seriously in the mix for Jrue Holiday before the Trail Blazers accepted the Celtics’ offer for the All-Defensive guard, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast.

“I’m not sure exactly where are the offers were at the end for the Blazers before they decided on the Celtics’ offer, but based on my conversations, my feel was there was at least three teams who were making significant bids.” Windhorst said, according to RealGM. “… The teams I really think were there in the end were the Celtics, Heat and the Clippers.

“The reason I think those three teams were there because I think those were the three teams Jrue Holiday was really focused on at some point being able to sign a longer-term contract (with). And that message kind of went out in recent days. Other teams made offers but it was sort of a three-team, aggressive race at the end. Only the Blazers know exactly what the offers were.”

The Clippers came close to acquiring Malcolm Brogdon back in June, so it will be interesting to see if they make any effort to re-engage the Trail Blazers in talks for Brogdon after missing out on Holiday.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Nick Young is resuming his playing career overseas, having signed with the Macau Black Bears of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), according to the team (Instagram link; hat tip to Sportando). A former first-round pick, Young has appeared in 720 regular season NBA games, but has been out of the league since being waived by Denver in 2018.
  • Speaking to Alex Molina of Eurohoops following his move to FC Barcelona, former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker said he believes the NBA is getting “watered down” because so many teams are trying to tank for draft picks each season, and expressed dismay that players like Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, and John Wall can’t find NBA homes.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) has updated his mock draft for 2024, moving USC guard Isaiah Collier up to No. 2 and Perth Wildcats big man Alexandre Sarr up to No. 4. While Ron Holland of the G League Ignite is still considered the early favorite to be next year’s No. 1 pick, Givony says Sarr has done enough to join the small group of prospects with a legitimate case for the top spot in the 2024 draft.
  • With a series of holes in its programming schedule this winter due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes, ABC will air NBA games on every Wednesday night in January, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. That slate of games will includes matchups between the Pelicans and Warriors, Mavericks and Lakers, and Suns and Nets, among others.
  • Kurt Helin of NBC Sports believes that Jason Kidd (Mavericks), Steve Clifford (Hornets), and Billy Donovan (Bulls) are three head coaches who will be on the hot seat this season.

And-Ones: Holland, 2024 Draft, Cook, Player Participation

G League Ignite’s Ron Holland has moved up to No. 1 on Jonathan Givony of ESPN’s latest 2024 mock draft (Twitter video link). In recent exhibition games against Australia’s Perth Wildcats, Holland put up 56 points in 60 minutes, Givony notes, with the young forward displaying a tantalizing mixture of aggression, intensity, confidence, defense and shot-making.

Givony says NBA team’s will be attracted to Holland because “he is a winner” who raises the level of his teammates.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Elsewhere on his NBA Today appearance (Twitter video link), Givony said French big man Alexandre Sarr, who plays for Perth as part of the NBL’s Next Stars program, was another big winner from the exhibition contests. Sarr is up to No. 5 on Givony’s latest mock. The full top 10, in order, features Holland, Isaiah Collier (USC), Matas Buzelis (Ignite), Justin Edwards (Kentucky), Sarr, UConn teammates Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle, Izan Almansa (Ignite), Kyle Filipowski (Duke) and D.J. Wagner (Kentucky).
  • Former NBA forward Tyler Cook has signed with the South East Melbourne Phoenix, the NBL announced in a press release. Cook, who turns 26 next week, has played 65 games with Cleveland, Denver, Brooklyn, Detroit and Chicago over his three seasons in the league, most recently suiting up for the Bulls in 2021/22 while on a two-way deal. Cook spent last season in the G League with Utah’s affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars.
  • The NBA’s Board of Governors recently unanimously approved the new “player participation policy.” However, representatives from multiple teams have some reservations about certain aspects of the rules, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. One key concern is that a team may determine a player is fit to play the second game of a back-to-back, but the player might disagree and say he’s sore and needs rest. As Marks writes, since the rules weren’t part of the CBA, the team would be fined in that scenario, not the player. The participation policy might also contradict a team’s use of sports science, Marks adds.