Judah Mintz

Celtics Notes: Porzingis, Game 5, Van Gundy, Draft

Kristaps Porzingis, who hasn’t played in either of the past two games of the NBA Finals due to a “rare” leg injury, is listed as questionable to play in Game 5. While it’s possible he’s active for Monday’s contest, like he was on Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that the big man seems unlikely to play a significant role.

“Right before Game 4, what I was told is that they would only utilize Kristaps Porzingis in situational appearances,” Charania said. “When you’re guarding the inbound, if you need to shoot a free throw, when you need to defend the rim on a lob threat with (little) time left on a possession. I would expect the same here in Game 5. … He’s just not there from a physical perspective.”

Celtics big man Xavier Tillman, who has seen some action in Games 3 and 4 with Porzingis unavailable, suggested during his media availability on Sunday that his frontcourt teammate is far from 100%.

“When we go through our practices, he’s doing some stuff, but you can still tell he’s very uncomfortable,” Tillman said (Twitter video link via Noa Dalzell of Celtics Blog). Asked if there’s been any noticeable improvements in recent days since Porzingis was diagnosed with the injury following Game 2, Tillman replied, “It’s been pretty much the same.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • As Sam Amick of The Athletic details, Jayson Tatum spoke on Sunday about head coach Joe Mazzulla‘s efforts to have his team carry a positive mindset into its second potential close-out game on Monday. “Joe did a great job today of reminding us that it’s OK to smile during wars,” Tatum said. “It’s OK to have fun during high-pressure moments. We would love to win tomorrow, more than anything. But if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. We have more opportunities. So just setting that (mindset) of ‘Don’t surrender to that idea that we have to win tomorrow.’ We would love to, absolutely. But Game 5 is the biggest game of the season because it’s the next game on the schedule. So (it’s) going with that mindset and just have fun. That’s really what we talked about today. Get back to having fun and being a team and how special we are and the team that got us here.”
  • Jeff Van Gundy joined the Celtics as a senior consultant last fall after being fired by ESPN and enduring a series of hardships in his personal life, including a death in the family, he revealed during an appearance on The Mark Jackson Show (hat tip to Brian Robb of MassLive.com). Given that context, Van Gundy appreciated the way that the franchise “embraced and welcomed” him. “I was really in an awkward place in life, not really knowing where I was going or what my purpose was, or how I’d be with this new group of people where I didn’t know anyone,” Van Gundy said. “It’s been one of the most rejuvenating things I’ve ever gone through. Brad Stevens and Joe Mazzulla threw me a lifeline.”
  • The Celtics hosted a pre-draft workout over the weekend that featured Ryan Dunn (Virginia), Justin Edwards (Kentucky), Enrique Freeman (Akron), and Judah Mintz (Syraucse), tweets Adam Zagoria of NJ.com. Boston controls the 30th and 54th overall picks in this year’s draft, while those four prospects rank between 31st (Edwards) and 78th (Mintz) on ESPN’s big board for 2024.

Draft Notes: Shannon, Dante, Blazers, Magic, Antoine

Illinois guard Terrence Shannon has been found not guilty of all charges at his criminal trial in Kansas, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Shannon was facing felony charges of first-degree rape and sexual aggravated battery.

According to Givony, NBA teams have been closely monitoring Shannon’s legal situation. At one point he was a projected first-round pick, Givony notes, but he’s currently ranked No. 33 on ESPN’s big board.

Here are some more draft-related notes:

  • Oregon center N’Faly Dante, who is ranked No. 75 on ESPN’s board, appealed to the NCAA for an extra year of college eligibility, but that request has been denied, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • The Trail Blazers hosted a pre-draft workout on Thursday featuring Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Serbian guard Nikola Djurisic, Duke big man Kyle Filipowski, Memphis guard David Jones, Arizona guard Pelle Larsson and Maryland guard Jahmir Young, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. Portland controls four picks in the upcoming draft: a pair of lottery picks (Nos. 7 and 14) and two second-rounders (Nos. 34 and 40). Da Silva (No. 17 on ESPN’s board) and Filipowski (No. 21) are considered probable first-rounders.
  • The Magic held a pre-draft workout on Wednesday that featured Purdue’s Lance Jones, Syracuse’s Judah Mintz and North Carolina’s Cormac Ryan, according to Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire (Twitter link).
  • Radford guard Bryan Antoine, a McDonald’s All-American in High School, has a workout on Thursday with the Nets, a league source tells Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link). The Knicks will host Antoine for a workout next week, Zagoria adds.

44 Prospects Invited To G League Elite Camp

Forty-four prospects for the 2024 NBA draft were invited to the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link).

The list of players is as follows:

The field of draft prospects scrimmage for two days in Chicago starting on May 11 ahead of the NBA’s annual draft combine. If players perform well enough, they’re often promoted to the larger combine immediately following the G League Elite Camp. Typically, at least a half dozen players move on.

While the combine usually focuses on the top-ranked players in each draft class, the G League Elite Camp offers opportunity to prospects further down boards who are more likely to go undrafted. Of the 44 names invited to the G League Elite Camp, only 16 rank among ESPN’s top 100 prospects. No prospect ranks higher than No. 48 (Onyenso) on ESPN’s board.

Nine of ESPN’s top 100 prospects have not been invited to Chicago for either event: Armel Traore (France), Zacharie Perrin (France), Andrija Jelavic (Croatia), Yannick Kraag (Netherlands), Tre Mitchell (Kentucky), Ilias Kamardine (France), Dylan Disu (Texas), Riley Minix (Morehead State) and Jonas Aidoo (Tennessee). According to Givony (Twitter link), the NBA might not announce the official list until Monday, so there’s a chance it’s amended.

The G League Elite Camp will give invitees who declared for the draft as early entrants an opportunity to see where they stand ahead of the draft withdrawal deadline on May 29. Not all of the players who participate in this event will remain in the draft pool.

Last year, future NBA players like Hornets forward Leaky Black, Pistons forward Tosan Evbuomwan, Mavericks forward Alex Fudge, Celtics guard Drew Peterson and Nets guard Jaylen Martin all participated in the event. Other recent notable alums of the event include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado and Clippers guard Terance Mann.

Draft Notes: Mintz, Parrish, Riley, Aidoo, Burton, More

Syracuse sophomore guard Judah Mintz is declaring for the 2024 NBA draft, he announced in an Instagram post. Mintz stated in a video that he’s “transitioning to the next phase” of his career, so it sounds as if he’s prepared to go pro rather than retaining his college eligibility and possibly returning to school.

Mintz was the leading scorer for the Orange in 2023/24, filling up the box score with 18.8 points, 4.4 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals in 33.9 minutes per game. However, he has yet to develop into a reliable threat from outside, making just 24-of-85 three-point attempts (28.2%) for the season.

Mintz is currently at No. 76 on ESPN’s list of the top 100 prospects of 2024.

We have more updates on early entrants declaring for the 2024 draft:

  • San Diego State senior wing Micah Parrish is entering the transfer portal and testing the NBA draft waters this spring, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Parrish, who has spent the last two years at San Diego State after two seasons at Oakland, is leaving the door open to returning to the Aztecs for his super-senior season, Rothstein notes.
  • Temple junior guard Jordan Riley is testing the NBA draft waters while maintaining his NCAA eligibility, a source tells Hoops Rumors. Bobby Bancroft of Casual Hoya (Twitter link) first reported the news. Riley averaged 11.9 points and 6.0 rebounds in 29.0 minutes per game for the Owls in 2023/24 after transferring from Georgetown.
  • Tennessee junior big man Jonas Aidoo is going through the draft process while maintaining his college eligibility, reports Joe Tipton of On3 Sports (Twitter link). Aidoo earned a spot on the SEC’s All-Defensive team this season after averaging 11.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 1.8 BPG in 36 starts (24.8 MPG).
  • Notre Dame freshman guard Markus Burton is entering the draft, though his Instagram announcement strongly suggests he’s leaning toward withdrawing and returning to school. Burton stated that he hopes the feedback he receives during the pre-draft process helps him improve his game for his sophomore season.
  • Northern Illinois junior guard David Coit (Instagram link), Eastern Washington junior wing Cedric Coward (Instagram link), and Providence freshman guard Garwey Dual (Twitter link) are among the other players who recently declared for the draft as early entrants (hat tip to Jon Chepkevich of RookieScale.com)

Draft Decisions: A. Jackson, Edey, Beekman, More

Andre Jackson Jr., who helped lead Connecticut to a national title, has opted to keep his name in the draft rather than return to the Huskies for another season, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Jackson is projected to be taken late in the first round or early in the second round, Wojnarowski adds. The junior shooting guard ranks 32nd on ESPN’s big board and is projected to go to the Pacers with the 32nd pick in the latest mock draft by Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

“My time at UCONN has been filled with ups and downs but through it all I built relationships with my teammates, coaches, friends and fans that will last forever,” Jackson wrote in a Twitter post. “I’ve made so many memories playing in that jersey and I will miss it. But I’ll always be a husky. Thank you.”

Jackson averaged 6.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.3 steals in six tournament games and was believed to have raised his draft stock significantly, although questions remain about his outside shooting. He took part in the draft combine and went through individual workouts with several teams, including the Hawks, Celtics, Nets, Pacers and Trail Blazers, according to Wojnarowski.

Dozens of draft decisions were announced Wednesday ahead of the 11:59 pm EDT deadline to return to school without losing eligibility. Most late deciders opted to pull out of the draft, but a few prominent names will remain in the pool. They are:

National Player of the Year Zach Edey will withdraw from the draft and return to Purdue for another year, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN. The 7’4″ center averaged 22.9 points and 12.9 rebounds as a junior while shooting 60.7% from the field. Even so, his draft status wasn’t certain as he’s No. 47 in the ESPN rankings.

Another prominent player pulling out of the draft is Virginia’s Reece Beekman, the ACC’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Givony reports. Beekman hopes to boost his draft stock for 2024 after coming in at 43rd in ESPN’s rankings. “I’ve decided to go back to UVA to work towards being a first-round draft pick next year and finish my degree,” he said.

Here are some more players who decided late Wednesday to take their names out of the draft:

NBA Reveals Players Expected At 2023 Draft Combine

The NBA has announced 78 players that are expected to attend this year’s draft combine, scheduled for May 15-21 at in Chicago, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets.

Additionally, a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which takes place May 13-14 in Chicago, will be invited to participate in the combine.

Players will have interviews with NBA teams and participate in five-on-five scrimmages, as well as shooting, strength and agility drills. Some top prospects opt out of the scrimmages.

Victor Wembanyama, the projected top pick, is not on the list. His French League season is still ongoing.

The list of invitees is as follows:

Mouhamed Gueye Among NCAA Players Testing Draft Waters

For a second straight year, Washington State big man Mouhamed Gueye will test the NBA draft waters, he tells Jamey Vinnick of CougFan.com (subscription required). Gueye also entered the draft pool in 2022 following his freshman year, but eventually withdrew and returned to the Cougars.

Gueye enjoyed a breakout season in 2022/23, averaging 14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds in 32.1 minutes per game across 33 appearances. He currently comes in at No. 48 on ESPN’s big board, making him a legitimate candidate to be drafted if he keeps his name in the 2023 pool.

Gueye also stated that he doesn’t intend to enter the transfer portal, so if he withdraws from the draft for a second consecutive year, it sounds like he’d be back with Washington State.

The following NCAA players are also declaring for the 2023 NBA draft, having made their announcements at some point within the last several days. Unless otherwise indicated, these players are simply testing the draft waters while maintaining their college eligibility for now.