Leonard Miller

Eastern Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Nets, Knicks, Embiid

Adama Sanogo, the starting center on UConn’s national championship team, and Julian Strawther of Gonzaga were among the six draft prospects who worked out for the Hornets on Sunday, the team’s PR department tweets. Memphis’ Kendric Davis, Kent State’s Sincere Carry, Butler’s Manny Bates and Marquette Olivier-Maxence Prosper joined that duo. The latter is currently ranked No. 29 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Alabama center Charles Bediako and Gonzaga big man Drew Timme are among the six draft prospects who will visit the Hawks on Monday, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. They’ll be joined by Miami’s Jordan Miller, Virginia’s Kihei Clark, DePaul’s Javan Johnson and Washington State’s Justin Powell.
  • Nets GM Sean Marks has a history of making aggressive moves either leading up to the draft or on draft night, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. Brooklyn has back-to-back picks in the first round at No. 21 and 22. If Marks decides to keep them, South Carolina freshman G.G. Jackson, G League Ignite’s Leonard Miller and Frenchman Bilal Coulibaly could be among the players who will get serious consideration.
  • The Knicks are crossing their fingers that the Sixers will eventually implode and Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid will look to be dealt, Tim MacMahon of ESPN said on The Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip to the New York Post’s Bridget Reilly). “They’re not hoping for patience, they’re hoping for The Process. I don’t know if that’s coming, but they’ve looked at that situation in Philly and there’s been a hope in New York that stuff in Philly will go haywire to the point where Embiid will ask out,” MacMahon said. “I don’t know the percentage odds on that, I would say they are slim, but that’s been the hope.”

Pre-Draft Workouts: Whitmore, Pacers, Hornets, Lakers, More

The Pacers will host Cam Whitmore for an individual workout on Thursday, according to Wheat Hotchkiss of NBA.com. The Villanova forward is part of a group of prospects that are expected to come off the board shortly after the top three of Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson. Indiana holds the No. 7 pick in this year’s draft.

The Pacers welcomed Johnell Davis of Florida Atlantic, Adam Flagler of Baylor, Armaan Franklin of Virginia, Nate Laszewski of Notre Dame, Leonard Miller of G League Ignite and Isaiah Wong of Miami to a pre-draft workout on Wednesday, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Davis has since decided to pull out of the draft and return to school.

We have a few more updates on draft workouts:

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Offseason, Kyrie, Prospects

All-NBA Lakers small forward LeBron James surprised the basketball world at large on Monday when he suggested he would be contemplating retirement this offseason.

Shams Charania said on FanDuel TV (Twitter video link) that he believes the 19-time All-Star will stick around at least a while longer.

“My sense is LeBron could have two years left remaining in his his career,” Charania said. “… There’s certainly an expectation that he’s gonna continue playing, he’s got two years left on his Lakers deal. … It would be a true surprise if he really did actually retire.”

There’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers only have three guaranteed contracts on their books for 2023/24. Multiple league executives spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com about what Los Angeles might decide to do this offseason in terms of roster construction. The team has a player option on swingman Malik Beasley, which one executive expects the club to pick up. “He can be a contributor, really on any team,” they said. “The expectation is they’ll keep him. He can be a good trade piece if you need one. It’s just, if the tax is a big worry, he’d be the easy piece to move off of.” Following some big playoff games essentially in Beasley’s stead, unrestricted free agent Lonnie Walker IV may get more money elsewhere, another executive speculates. “I can’t see how they can pay him, he is probably a goner,” the exec said.
  • James’ former Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving, now an unrestricted free agent, has long been seen as a potential fit for Los Angeles. Jason Lloyd and Jon Greenberg of The Athletic weigh the pros and cons of adding an erratic, controversial talent of Irving’s caliber and price tag.
  • The Lakers, possessors of the Nos. 17 and 47 picks in this year’s draft, will work out six young prospects on Friday, headlined by G League Ignite small forward Leonard Miller, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). Virginia guard Kihei Clark, Kentucky forward Chris Livingston, Pepperdine forward Maxwell Lewis, Dayton forward DaRon Holmes II, and Baylor guard Adam Flagler round out the invitees.

Draft Notes: Henderson, Miller, Combine, Mock Drafts

Victor Wembanyama is considered a lock to be taken with the No. 1 pick, but Scoot Henderson doesn’t want to give up without a fight, writes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the NBA Draft Combine, Henderson said he believes he’s just as valuable as the French big man and he’s willing to meet with the Spurs to make his case.

“I think I have the ability to go No. 1,” he said. “I believe in myself as any competitor should.”

Henderson added that he hasn’t met with any teams at the combine yet, but he expects to hold several meetings and workouts over the next few weeks. Even if San Antonio doesn’t take him up on his offer, the Hornets and Trail Blazers, who hold picks No. 2 and 3, should be very interested. Those teams already have established lead guards in LaMelo Ball and Damian Lillard, but Henderson believes he could be successful in either situation.

“I don’t have to be ball dominant,” he added. “When my time comes, I’ll kill.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Brandon Miller, who’s projected as a top-three pick, is willing to hold meetings with teams outside of that range, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Miller has already met with the Bulls, who lost their first-round pick to Orlando when they failed to move up in Tuesday’s lottery.
  • Five-on-five scrimmages are among the highlights of the combine, but the highest-rated players typically choose not to participate. Thirty-seven prospects are skipping this year’s scrimmages, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. That list includes Leonard Miller of G League Ignite, who was a last-minute decision, according to Jeremy Woo of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Tuesday’s lottery resulted in a slew of new mock drafts from ESPN, The Ringer, The Athletic and Bleacher Report. Outside of Wembanyama at No. 1, there’s a lot of disagreement among the mocks, which reflects the uncertainty over many of the top prospects.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic offers his ranking of the top 20 players in this year’s draft class, along with a pair of sleepers from Creighton and Santa Clara.
  • Jordan Walsh of Arkansas appears to be leaning toward keeping his name in the draft after a strong first day at the combine, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Walsh has already worked out for the Nets and Celtics and is currently considered to be an early second-round pick.
  • Tyrece Radford will withdraw from the draft and return for his final year of eligibility at Texas A&M, according to The Dallas Morning News. Rob Perry will also leave the draft and return to Murray State next season, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Combine, Bates, Flagler

Andre Jackson Jr., one of the key players in UConn’s national championship run, has worked out for the Celtics and Nets, Tony East of SI.com tweets. Those workouts came prior to the combo guard’s workout with the Pacers on Friday. Currently at the NBA Combine, Jackson is ranked as the 30th-best prospect on ESPN’s Best Available list

We have more draft-related news:

  • Santa Clara guard Brandin Podziemski, Texas forward Dillon Mitchell and G League Ignite forward Leonard Miller are some of the players with the most at stake at this week’s draft combine, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo. The ESPN duo examines a number of storylines that will play out in Chicago this week.
  • Eastern Michigan forward Emoni Bates had an impressive shooting performance in the first day of the combine, according to Mike Curtis of the Detroit News. Bates tied for first in the shooting-off-the-dribble drill and was second in the 3-point star drill, making 19-of-25 (76%) attempts from beyond the arc. The Memphis transfer and former five-star recruit is ranked No. 56 by ESPN.
  • Another fringe second-round prospect, Baylor’s Adam Flagler, sat down with Draft Digest’s Bryce Simon and says he has the leadership skills to be an NBA point guard. “The point guard role was easier than expected because of who I am as a person, caring, compassionate,” Flagler said. “My voice is something I used to get my point across and doing what I can to help you. As a point guard you spend time off the court to know who they [teammates] are and how to push their buttons so you can demand those things on the court.” Flagler is ranked No. 68 by ESPN.

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:

And-Ones: Grizzlies, Cavs, 2023 Draft, World Cup, More

The adage that defense wins NBA championships certainly didn’t prove true for the Grizzlies and Cavaliers, who were quickly eliminated from the playoffs after finishing the regular season with the best defensive ratings in the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic. As Hollinger points out, both teams actually played good defense in the first round but struggled on the other end of the floor, finishing ahead of only Brooklyn in offensive rating in round one.

The Grizzlies were hurt by playing multiple non-shooters – the Lakers gave plenty of space to Dillon Brooks and David Roddy – and missed the presence of Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke, who could have grabbed offensive rebounds and generated second-chance points.

As for the Cavaliers, while Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland bore the brunt of the blame for the team’s offensive struggles, the team got very little from its frontcourt starters (each of whom averaged single-digit points per game) and from its reserves, Hollinger notes.

Hollinger explores ways in which the two teams could make roster upgrades this summer, suggesting that the Grizzlies will face a decision on whether to sacrifice some youth in order to acquire a reliable veteran or two. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, should have the cap flexibility to re-sign Caris LeVert and use their mid-level exception without surpassing the tax apron, and could shop Cedi Osman and/or Ricky Rubio for wing upgrades, Hollinger writes.

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

Ignite’s Leonard Miller Reiterates Plan To Enter Draft

G League Ignite forward Leonard Miller plans to enter this year’s draft, he told Libaan Osman of The Toronto Star.

Miller entered the week as the Ignite’s second leading scorer at 15.1 points per game, trailing only guard Scoot Henderson, the consensus No. 2 prospect in the draft. Miller also led the Ignite at 8.6 rebounds per game. Miller had 16 points and eight rebounds in the Ignite’s loss to Raptors 905 on Monday.

Miller could sneak into the lottery if his stock continues to trend upward. He’s currently ranked No. 22 on ESPN’s Best Available list and No. 4 among power forwards.

The Canadian-born Miller was considered a second-round prospect when he withdrew from last year’s draft. He decided against attending a U.S. college, instead signing with the Ignite in September. He first revealed his plans to enter his name in this year’s draft in late December when he was ranked No. 26 on ESPN’s big board.

Miller had 19 points and eight rebounds in the G League Next Up game during All-Star weekend last month.

“It was one of the best experiences in my life,” Miller said. “I had a lot of fun. It was good to go in there and compete against all the rising stars that are going to change the league in years to come.”

NBA G League Announces 24 Players For Next Up Game

The NBA G League announced today that G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson and Timberwolves/Iowa Wolves forward Luka Garza have been named team captains for the NBAGL Next Up Game, which will take place in Salt Lake City during All-Star weekend.

While the exhibition match isn’t technically being called a G League All-Star Game, that’s essentially what it is. The 24-player pool was selected by a fan vote and by the league itself.

Henderson averaged 21.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 4.3 RPG in six Showcase Cup games (28.5 MPG) before missing time with an injury. The guard, widely projected to be the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, has registered 17.7 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.5 RPG in 11 regular season games (29.8 MPG) since returning.

Garza, meanwhile, has been dominant at the G League level while playing for the Timberwolves on a two-way contract. He averaged 29.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 3.2 APG on .628/.500/.794 shooting in nine Showcase Cup games (34.4 MPG) and has been boosted those averages in two regular season games (32.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 5.0 APG) for the Iowa Wolves.

Here’s the full list of players who will take part in the G League Next Up Game:

(* Players marked with an asterisk are on two-way contracts with NBA teams.)

As is the case with the NBA All-Star Game, the team captains – in this case, Henderson and Garza – will select their 12-man squads in a draft. The draft for the G League Next Up Game will take place on February 14.

NBA Announces Player Pool For Rising Stars Event

The NBA officially unveiled the 28-player pool for this year’s Rising Stars event on Tuesday, making the announcement via the NBA App. The following players made the cut:



G League players:

As was the case last season, the Rising Stars event will consist of four teams and three games. The seven G League players will comprise one team, coached by longtime NBA guard Jason Terry. The other 21 players will be drafted to three squads coached by former NBA stars Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, and Deron Williams.

The four teams will be split into two first-round matchups and the winners of those two games will face one another for the Rising Stars championship. The two semifinals will be played to a target score of 40 points, while the final will be played to a target score of 25 points.

All three contests will take place on Friday, February 17 as part of All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City. The NBA’s full press release with more information on the event can be found right here.