Mojave King

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:

50 Prospects Reportedly Invited To G League Elite Camp

A total of 50 prospects for the 2023 NBA draft have been invited to the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, according to reports from Adam Zagoria of Forbes and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter links).

Those players are as follows:

The name of the G League Elite Camp is a bit of a misnomer — when first introduced, the event showcased NBAGL players, but the field of participants now consists exclusively of draft prospects. The event will take place on May 13 and 14 in Chicago, ahead of this year’s draft combine.

Like the combine, the Elite Camp brings young players to Chicago to meet NBA teams and participate in drills and scrimmages. While the combine focuses on the top prospects in a given draft class, the Elite Camp generally features prospects who are trying to break into that upper echelon of prospects but are more likely to go undrafted. The top performers at the event typically receive invites to the combine.

Of the 50 G League Elite Camp invitees, 15 show up on Jonathan Givony’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects at ESPN.com. However, no Elite Camp invitee ranks higher than No. 58 (Hart) on ESPN’s board.

The G League Elite Camp will give the invitees who declared for the draft as early entrants an opportunity to see where they stand ahead of the draft withdrawal deadline on May 31. Not all of the players who participate in this event will remain in the draft pool.

Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers guard Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

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:

Rookies:

Sophomores:

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.

And-Ones: Suns’ Sale, Expansion, Udoh, Ignite, Warkentien

There wasn’t a ton of trade chatter at the G League Winter Showcase in Las Vegas this past week, but the news of the Sunssale to Mat Ishbia generated plenty of discussion, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Specifically, the franchise’s $4 billion valuation raised eyebrows, given how far above recent projections it was.

As Hollinger explains, that eye-popping sale price led to speculation on two fronts. For one, there were conversations about whether other franchises could find their way onto the market — for instance, Paul Allen‘s estate appears content to exercise patience before eventually opening the bidding on the Trail Blazers, but it’s possible the Suns’ valuation could help expedite that process. Hollinger adds that there have also been whispers over the years about whether Michael Jordan will sell the Hornets.

Perhaps more importantly, the Suns’ high sale price could be good news for the prospect of NBA expansion. As Hollinger observes, the existing 30 team owners are more likely to agree to bring in two new partners if their cut of the expansion fee high enough to offset their losses from splitting the NBA’s TV deal and other sources of revenue 32 ways instead of 30 ways. The Suns selling for $4 billion increases the odds of expansion fees for teams in cities like Seattle and Las Vegas reaching the neighborhood of $4-5 billion, says Hollinger.

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

  • Former NBA lottery pick Ekpe Udoh is resuming his playing career in Japan, according to Alessandro Maggi of Sportando, who relays that the big man has signed with the Shimane Susanoo Magic. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Udoh appeared in 384 total NBA games, but hasn’t played in the league since the 2018/19 season.
  • Scoot Henderson wasn’t available for the G League Ignite during the league’s Winter Showcase event in Las Vegas this past week, but Jeremy Woo of SI.com got a chance to scout several other Ignite players, including London Johnson, Leonard Miller, Sidy Cissoko, and Mojave King. Woo shares several of his key takeaways on the Ignite’s non-Henderson prospects, identifying Miller and Cissoko as players who have a chance to be selected in the first round of the 2023 NBA draft (Johnson will be draft-eligible in 2024).
  • Veteran NBA executive Mark Warkentien, who won an Executive of the Year award in 2009 as the Nuggets‘ head of basketball operations, has passed away at age 69 (Twitter link via the Nuggets). Warkentien most recently worked in the league as a special assignment evaluator for the Thunder. We at Hoops Rumors send our condolences to his family and friends.

And-Ones: Expansion, Seattle, Vegas, Draft Assets, Ignite

Is the NBA ready to move forward on its long-rumored plans to expand to Seattle and Las Vegas? Willie G. Ramirez of The Associated Press (Twitter link) says he has heard from multiple sources that the league wants to announce expansion when those two cities hosts preseason games this fall. The Clippers will play in Seattle on September 30 and October 3, while the Lakers are set to play in Vegas on October 5 and 6.

Despite Ramirez’s report, it’s still probably premature to get excited about an impending announcement. Rumors of possible expansion have simmered off and on for years, and the NBA has repeatedly shot them down, indicating that any plans to add more teams are on the back-burner. Still, it seems increasingly likely that expansion is coming sooner or later, with Seattle and Las Vegas atop the league’s list of potential destinations.

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

  • As rumors about expansion resurface, Evan Sidery of BasketballNews.com considers what an expansion draft might look like if the NBA uses the same rules it did for its last expansion draft (the Bobcats in 2004). Of course, Sidery’s hypothetical expansion draft is based on teams’ current rosters, and any expansion team is unlikely to enter the league for a few years, but it’s still an interesting exercise that shows what kinds of players might go unprotected.
  • Following the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell blockbuster trades, the Jazz have the strongest collection of future draft picks of any NBA team, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link), who ranks Utah’s draft assets slightly ahead of the Thunder‘s. The Spurs have the third-best stash of future picks, per Marks. The Pelicans, Rockets, Knicks, Magic, and Pacers round out his top eight, in that order.
  • The G League Ignite have officially announced the additions of Australian prospect Mojave King and Canadian prospect Leonard Miller, confirming the signings today in a press release. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony previously reported that King and Miller would be joining the Ignite.

Mojave King Signs With G League Ignite

Mojave King has signed with the G League Ignite, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets.

King, 20, averaged 18.0 PPG and 3.3 APG in the New Zealand NBL for the Zerofees Southland Sharks this summer. He’s also played for Adelaide and Cairns in the Australian NBL.

King, who was born in New Zealand, is an NBA Academy alumnus looking to improve his draft prospects by joining the Ignite.

Projected 2023 No. 2 overall pick Scoot Henderson has committed to play for the Ignite, as well as French wing Sidy Cissoko, 6’10” Canadian forward Leonard Miller and Nigerian Efe Abogidi.

At the NBA Academy Games in Atlanta in July 2019, King averaged a tournament-high 19.2 PPG. He turned down several Division I schools before signing with the NBL.