Jalen Reynolds

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Raptors, Embiid, Kuzmic

The ESPN analytics department has used its NBA draft projection model to evaluate this year’s class, and found that the average draft grade for the top 50 college prospects this year is the highest it has been since the model began tracking in 2001. As Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com writes, that high average grade for the top 50 NCAA prospects suggests that this is a deep class, which is good news for a team like the Celtics — Boston holds eight of the 60 picks in the 2016 draft. The C’s surely won’t keep all those picks, but if there are still plenty of prospects drawing interest in the second round, it should increase the trade value of those selections.

Armed with those eight picks, the Celtics figure to strongly consider draft-and-stash prospects, a scenario that Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com examines. As Petraglia details, Austin Ainge is open to the idea of drafting a prospect who will continue to play overseas rather than coming to the NBA immediately.

“[Draft-and-stash talks] will be finalized kind of after you draft a kid, sit down and determine a plan of action, but those discussions go on all the time, year-round, contract situations, age, different levels of maturity and in the players’ game, all those come into play,” said the Celtics director of player personnel. “It’s a partnership with the player, his representatives and the team to try to make the best decisions for him.”

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic:

  • The Raptors, who hold a pair of first-round picks, have been busy working out prospects. According to the team (Twitter links), Julian Jacobs (USC), Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), Justin Edwards (Kansas State), Brice Johnson (UNC), and Jalen Reynolds (Xavier) worked out for Toronto on Monday, with David Walker (Northeastern), Michael Gbinije (Syracuse), Alex Poythress (Kentucky), Troy Williams (Indiana), Daniel Ochefu (Villanova), and A.J. Hammons (Purdue) working out for the club today.
  • Joel Embiid won’t be playing for the 76ers‘ summer league team this year, but Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer was impressed with how the oft-injured big man looked during a workout on Monday.
  • Ognjen Kuzmic, a former Warriors second-round pick who played 37 games with the club from 2013 to 2015, has agreed to play for the Knicks at the Orlando Summer League, his agent tells international basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: Sixers, Dunn, Bentil, Briscoe

Fresh off securing the No. 1 pick in next month’s draft, the Sixers won’t limit their options to LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram, writes Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Philadelphia is planning workouts for California forward Jaylen Brown, Providence point guard Kris Dunn and Kentucky combo guard Jamal Murray, Spears reports. The Sixers may also offer invitations to Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield and Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Dragan Bender. “The media has their darlings and that is perfectly fine,” Brown said of the attention surrounding Simmons and Ingram. “I’m just here to prove that I’m in the conversation with those two, if not better.” Brown also issued a challenge to the projected top two picks, saying, “Do they want to work out [against] me? I think that’s the question.”

There’s more draft-related news as Wednesday’s deadline for underclassmen to return to school approaches:

  • The results of Tuesday’s lottery may push Dunn out of the top five, according to Derek Bodner of USA Today. Bodner believes the best scenario for Dunn would have been for the Lakers to drop to No. 4 and ship their pick to the Sixers, who need help at point guard. If Simmons and Ingram are the first players selected, the next three teams — the Celtics, Suns and Wolves — all have established point guards on their roster.
  • Providence power forward Ben Bentil, who announced earlier today that he is staying in the draft, will work out for the Pacers Monday, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. The sophomore will have a session in Orlando later this week.
  • Kentucky freshman Isaiah Briscoe has a workout scheduled this week for the Hawks, Zagoria tweets. Briscoe hasn’t decided whether to stay in the draft or return to school.
  • Briscoe will work out for the Wolves Monday, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Joining Briscoe will be Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet, BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth, Florida’s Dorian Finney-Smith, Louisiana-Monroe’s Majok Deng and South Carolina’s Michael Carrera.
  • The Jazz believe in volume when it comes to workouts, writes Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. Utah hosted Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey, Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell, Finney-Smith, Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes, Xavier’s Jalen Reynolds and Mississippi State’s Gavin Ware on Sunday, and expects to work out dozens more before draft day. “We’re trying to find players, not only possibly for the Jazz but also for the [D-League Salt Lake City] Stars,” said vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin. “Get to know as many people as possible.”

Draft Notes: Simmons, Ferrell, Murray

While it’s not unanimous, the consensus around the league is that the Sixers will take Ben Simmons with the No.1 overall pick, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer“Everyone wants it to be a mystery and intrigue,” one scout told Pompey “It’s simple: Ben Simmons is the best player in college basketball. He’s one of maybe a handful of guys that can transition from college to the NBA this year. So what’s the problem?” We detailed Simmons’ strengths and weaknesses in our our Prospect Profile of the 19-year-old.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • No team has made a promise to draft Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, but scouts are constantly checking up on him through his agent and his former coaches, Chris Dortch of NBA.com writes in a piece that chronicles Ferrell’s path from being the nation’s top-ranked fourth grader to becoming a hopeful NBA prospect. “[The teams that reached out about Ferrell] think he’s going to make it in the NBA,” Indiana’s associate head coach Tim Buckley said.
  • Jamal Murray is confident he can play point guard in the NBA, Chad Ford of ESPN.com writes. “I did what I had to do at Kentucky. I’ve played point guard my whole life. But we had Tyler [Ulis] there,” Murray said of playing shooting guard in college. “I was just doing whatever we [needed] to win.” Ford doesn’t believe Murray will fall past the Pelicans at No. 6 overall.
  • The Jazz will work out Ferrell, Tyler Dorsey, Nigel Hayes, Jalen Reynolds, Dorian Finney-Smith and Gavin Ware on Sunday, per the team’s Twitter feed.

Xavier PF Jalen Reynolds Will Remain In Draft

APRIL 17TH, 6:54pm: Reynolds will remain in the draft and has hired Mike Silverman and Brandon Grier of Athlete Management Group as his agents, according a Facebook post from Shams Charania of The Vertical.

MARCH 29TH, 3:03pm: Xavier junior power forward Jalen Reynolds will enter the draft without an agent, sources told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link). He’ll have the chance to return to college ball if he withdraws before the May 25th deadline. That seems likely, as Reynolds is a long-shot NBA prospect, coming in just 161st overall on Chad Ford’s ESPN Insider rankings. He’s outside the top 100 with Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, who simply lists him as the 21st best junior.

Reynolds only averaged 19.6 minutes per game despite starting in all but two of his appearances this season, in part because of foul trouble. He led the Big East with 115 personal fouls. Still, the 6’10” 23-year-old made the most of his time on the boards, pulling down 6.5 per contest to go with 9.6 points per game. He had one of his best outings in Xavier’s season-ending loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament, notching 13 points and nine rebounds.

Teammate Trevon Bluiett is also reportedly testing the draft waters this year. Unlike Bluiett, Reynolds entered Xavier unranked in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, so he’s less likely to have been on the radar for NBA teams.