Yves Missi

Several More Players Invited To Green Room For 2024 Draft

Eight additional players have received green room invites for this month’s 2024 draft.

Sources have informed Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via these various and sundry Twitter links here) that Kentucky point guard Rob Dillingham, EuroLeague point guard Nikola Topic, Duke guard Jared McCain and power forward Kyle Filipowski, Miami swingman Kyshawn George, USC point guard Isaiah Collier, Kansas wing Johnny Furphy, and Baylor center Yves Missi have all been invited to attend the draft in person.

Givony notes that Dillingham, a 6’3″ All-SEC Second Teamer in 2023/24 as a freshman, earned the invitation after he wrapped up his NBA Combine prerequisites on Friday morning, at the Lakers’ El Segundo practice facility.

Among the latest invitees, Dillingham is the highest-ranked player on ESPN’s big board, where he comes in at No. 7 overall. Missi is the lowest-ranked prospect of the eight, as he’s ranked at No. 23.

All-American Purdue center Zach Edey also received an invite, Givony tweets, though he is opting to watch the draft at Purdue instead, with his family, coaches, and Boilermakers teammates in attendance.

This group is joining the 12 other likely first round draft picks whose green room invitations were previously reported.

Northwest Notes: Knecht, Bjorkgren, Blazers, Jazz, Wolves

Tennessee star Dalton Knecht had a solo pre-draft workout with the Trail Blazers on Thursday, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. The 23-year-old wing is ranked No. 8 on ESPN’s big board, while Portland controls a pair of lottery picks (Nos. 7 and 14) and two second-rounders (Nos. 34 and 40).

ESPN recently reported that each team in the 6-10 range holds “strong interest” in Knecht, who averaged 21.7 points and 4.9 rebounds on .458/.397/.772 shooting in 36 games for the Volunteers in 2023/24 (30.6 minutes per contest).

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hears the Blazers will host a 3-on-3 workout next week “that’s supposed to feature” G League Ignite wing Ron Holland, French forward Tidjane Salaun, Virginia wing Ryan Dunn, Purdue center Zach Edey, Baylor center Yves Missi, and Miami guard Kyshawn George. Five of those prospects are projected first-round picks — the only exception is Dunn, who is No. 34 on ESPN’s board.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nate Bjorkgren, who went 34-38 as head coach of the Pacers in 2020/21, has been attending the Portland’s recent pre-draft workouts, according to Highkin, who points out (via Twitter) that the Trail Blazers have some vacancies on their coaching staff. Bjorkgren had two stints as an assistant with Toronto, most recently in ’22/23.
  • In a press release, the Jazz announced several members of their basketball operations staff have been promoted to new positions. Shane Fenske, who previously served as VP of analytics and insights, is now an assistant GM. Assistant coach Sean Sheldon will move to the front of head coach Will Hardy‘s bench, as previously reported. Andrew Warren, who has been an assistant video coordinator the past two seasons, is now an assistant coach. Several other basketball operations employees have new positions as well.
  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune examines which players on the Timberwolves‘ roster will return in 2024/25, while John Hollinger of The Athletic wonders if “really good” can be good enough for Wolves guard Anthony Edwards.

Pacific Notes: Hurley, Lakers, Bronny, Suns, Kings

UConn’s Dan Hurley is meeting with the Lakers regarding their head coaching vacancy on Friday. L.A. is reportedly going to offer Hurley a “significant” contract in terms of both years and salary.

A source close to Hurley tells Jeff Goodman of The Field Of 68 (via Twitter) that it’s “50-50” whether the 51-year-old accepts the job or returns to the Huskies in pursuit of a third consecutive national championship.

According to Goodman (Twitter links), UConn has an offer extended to Hurley that would make him the third-highest paid college coach in the country, behind only Bill Self and John Calipari. However, there’s an expectation that the school’s offer will likely pale in comparison to what the Lakers will put on the table.

Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson was enthusiastic about the prospect of the Lakers hiring Hurley, as Chuck Schilken of The Los Angeles Times relays (subscriber link).

I like Hurley,” Johnson said. “I want the coach to be Hurley. … He has a championship background. He’s great with offensive and defensive strategy. I think that the players will respect him. And he’s tough. The Lakers gotta have somebody who will hold them accountable, right?

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Howard Beck of The Ringer argues that Hurley shouldn’t be viewed as a risky candidate despite never coaching at the NBA level. The Lakers‘ top target has admirers around the NBA, such as longtime assistant Ron Adams, who is currently with the Warriors. “I think he’s a marvelous coach,” Adams said of Hurley. “He comes from a tremendous basketball family. … I think his skill set is excellent for coming into the pros. … I know a lot of people will say, ‘Well, he’s a really demanding coach.’ Well yes, and that’s going to be a strength in the pros. You may have to dress it up differently, but that will be a strength of his if he’s good with people and good at bringing out the best version of a player. That’s going to work in the pros, too.”
  • USC guard Bronny James, who is ranked No. 53 on ESPN’s big board, had a strong showing during a workout with the Suns on Wednesday, sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Villanova guard Mark Armstrong and West Virginia guard Raequan Battle also impressed Phoenix during the group workout, according to Rankin. The Suns hold the No. 22 pick in this month’s draft.
  • Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports examines five big men the Suns could target with their first-round pick, including Baylor’s Yves Missi and Indiana’s Kel’el Ware.
  • The Kings hosted a pre-draft workout on Wednesday featuring Weber State’s Dillon Jones, Creighton’s Trey Alexander, Pitt’s Carlton Carrington and Miami’s Kyshawn George, a league source tells Brenden Nunes of Sactown Sports 1140. Sacramento controls the No. 13 and No. 45 picks in the 2024 draft. George (No. 19) and Carrington (No. 20) are projected first-round picks, according to ESPN, while Jones (No. 48) and Alexander (No. 65) are potential second-rounders.

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Pelicans, Topic, Clingan

If the Pelicans decide to trade Brandon Ingram, they need to get a play-making guard in return, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Clark points out that Ingram has led the team in assists the past two years, including 5.7 in 64 games this season. With no clear choice to set up the offense, Clark believes New Orleans will have to insist on a creator in any Ingram deal.

Zion Williamson has helped in that area, but Clark notes that his susceptibility to injury — and the inability of the Pelicans’ offense to function without him — makes it too risky to not have a strong lead guard. The offense was among the NBA’s worst after Williamson’s hamstring injury last season, Clark adds, and his absence in this year’s playoffs left the team unable to top 92 points in any game while being swept in the first round.

The Pelicans had trade talks with the Hawks and Cavaliers before the February deadline, according to Clark, who expects negotiations to resume this summer. There are rumors that Atlanta wants to break up its Trae YoungDejounte Murray backcourt, while Cleveland might be open to parting with Darius Garland if Donovan Mitchell agrees to an extension. Any of those players could be the basis for an Ingram deal.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • In a separate story, Clark examines the possibility that the Pelicans will take a center in this year’s draft. New Orleans will have the 21st selection after deferring a pick from the Lakers until next year. Clark views Baylor’s Yves Missi, Indiana’s Kel’el Ware and Dayton’s DaRon Holmes as viable big man options at that stage of the draft.
  • Nikola Topic could be the ideal point guard to team with Victor Wembanyama, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News states in a Spurs draft preview. Topic is considered the best passer in the draft, especially out of the pick and roll, and at 6’6″ he would bring some needed size to San Antonio’s backcourt. On the downside, he has never shot better than 30% from three-point range in a season and has hurt his right knee twice since January. If the Spurs opt for Topic with the fourth pick, McDonald expects them to target a shooter at No. 8.
  • Michael Shapiro of The Houston Chronicle looks at how Donovan Clingan might fit alongside Alperen Sengun if the Rockets take the Connecticut center with the third pick. Clingan would bring a much stronger defensive presence in the middle, but there are questions about whether he or Sengun can ever space the floor well enough to make the pairing work.

NBA Announces 78 Invitees For 2024 Draft Combine

The NBA announced today (via Twitter) that 78 prospects have been invited to attend this year’s draft combine, which will take place in Chicago from May 12-19.

In addition to those 78 players, a handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which is also held in Chicago just before the combine begins, are expected to receive invites to stick around for the main event.

Not all of the prospects invited to the combine will end up remaining in the 2024 draft pool, since some are early entrants who are testing the waters while retaining their NCAA eligibility. College players must withdraw from the draft by the end of the day on May 29 if they wish to preserve that eligibility, while non-college players face a decision deadline of June 16. The feedback they receive from NBA teams at the combine may be a deciding factor for players who are on the fence.

Here’s the list of players who have been invited to the 2024 draft combine:

(Note: For players in international leagues, the country listed is where they had been playing, not necessarily where they’re from.)

  1. Michael Ajayi, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  2. Melvin Ajinca, G/F, France (born 2004)
  3. Trey Alexander, G, Creighton (junior)
  4. Izan Almansa, F, G League Ignite (born 2005)
  5. Reece Beekman, G, Virginia (senior)
  6. Adem Bona, F/C, UCLA (sophomore)
  7. Trevon Brazile, F, Arkansas (sophomore)
  8. Jalen Bridges, F, Baylor (senior)
  9. Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite (born 2004)
  10. Carlton Carrington, G, Pitt (freshman)
  11. Devin Carter, G, Providence (junior)
  12. Stephon Castle, G, UConn (freshman)
  13. Ulrich Chomche, C, NBA Academy Africa (born 2005)
  14. Cam Christie, G, Minnesota (freshman)
  15. Nique Clifford, G, Colorado State (senior)
  16. Donovan Clingan, C, UConn (sophomore)
  17. Isaiah Collier, G, USC (freshman)
  18. Tristan Da Silva, F, Colorado (senior)
  19. Pacome Dadiet, G/F, Germany (born 2005)
  20. N’Faly Dante, C, Oregon (super-senior)
  21. Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  22. Nikola Djurisic, G/F, Serbia (born 2004)
  23. Ryan Dunn, F, Virginia (sophomore)
  24. Zach Edey, C, Purdue (senior)
  25. Justin Edwards, G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  26. Kyle Filipowski, F/C, Duke (sophomore)
  27. Trentyn Flowers, G/F, Australia (born 2005)
  28. Johnny Furphy, G/F, Kansas (freshman)
  29. Kyshawn George, G/F, Miami (FL) (freshman)
  30. Tyon Grant-Foster, G, Grand Canyon (senior)
  31. PJ Hall, C, Clemson (senior)
  32. Coleman Hawkins, F, Illinois (senior)
  33. Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite (born 2005)
  34. DaRon Holmes II, F, Dayton (junior)
  35. Ariel Hukporti, C, Germany (born 2002)
  36. Oso Ighodaro, F, Marquette (senior)
  37. Harrison Ingram, F, UNC (junior)
  38. Bronny James, G, USC (freshman)
  39. A.J. Johnson, G, Australia (born 2004)
  40. Keshad Johnson, F, Arizona (super-senior)
  41. David Jones, F, Memphis (senior)
  42. Dillon Jones, F, Weber State (senior)
  43. Ryan Kalkbrenner, C, Creighton (senior)
    • Note: Kalkbrenner indicated this week that he intends to return to school, so it’s unclear if he’ll continue to go through the pre-draft process.
  44. Alex Karaban, F, UConn (sophomore)
  45. Bobi Klintman, F, Australia (born 2003)
  46. Dalton Knecht, G, Tennessee (super-senior)
  47. Tyler Kolek, G, Marquette (senior)
  48. Pelle Larsson, G, Arizona (senior)
  49. Jared McCain, G, Duke (freshman)
  50. Kevin McCullar, G, Kansas (super-senior)
  51. Yves Missi, C, Baylor (freshman)
  52. Ajay Mitchell, G, UC Santa Barbara (junior)
  53. Jonathan Mogbo, F/C, San Francisco (senior)
  54. Tristen Newton, G, UConn (super-senior)
  55. Juan Nunez, G, Germany (born 2004)
  56. Quinten Post, F/C, Boston College (super-senior)
  57. Antonio Reeves, G, Kentucky (super-senior)
  58. Zaccharie Risacher, F, France (born 2005)
  59. Jaxson Robinson, G/F, BYU (senior)
  60. Tidjane Salaun, F, France (born 2005)
  61. Hunter Sallis, G, Wake Forest (junior)
  62. Payton Sandfort, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  63. Alexandre Sarr, F/C, Australia (born 2005)
  64. Baylor Scheierman, G/F, Creighton (super-senior)
  65. Mark Sears, G, Alabama (senior)
  66. Terrence Shannon, G, Illinois (super-senior)
  67. Jamal Shead, G, Houston (senior)
  68. Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. KJ Simpson, G, Colorado (junior)
  70. Tyler Smith, F, G League Ignite (born 2004)
  71. Cam Spencer, G, UConn (super-senior)
  72. Nikola Topic, G, Serbia (born 2005)
  73. JT Toppin, F, New Mexico (freshman)
  74. Jaylon Tyson, G, California (junior)
  75. Ja’Kobe Walter, G, Baylor (freshman)
  76. Kel’el Ware, C, Indiana (sophomore)
  77. Jamir Watkins, G/F, Florida State (junior)
  78. Cody Williams, F, Colorado (freshman)

It’s worth noting that the NBA and the NBPA agreed to a few combine-related changes in their latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. Here are a few of those changes:

  • A player who is invited to the draft combine and declines to attend without an excused absence will be ineligible to be drafted. He would become eligible the following year by attending the combine. There will be exceptions made for a player whose FIBA season is ongoing, who is injured, or who is dealing with a family matter (such as a tragedy or the birth of a child).
  • Players who attend the draft combine will be required to undergo physical exams, share medical history, participate in strength, agility, and performance testing, take part in shooting drills, receive anthropometric measurements, and conduct interviews with teams and the media. Scrimmages won’t be mandatory.
  • Medical results from the combine will be distributed to select teams based on where the player is projected to be drafted. Only teams drafting in the top 10 would get access to medical info for the projected No. 1 pick; teams in the top 15 would receive medical info for players in the 2-6 range, while teams in the top 25 would get access to info for the players in the 7-10 range.

Regarding that last point, Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link) has the details on the top 10 played out this year, noting that the composite ranking was generated based on a combination of publicly available rankings and feedback from a panel of experts, as well as a retained-scouting service.

Sarr is considered the No. 1 overall prospect, per Givony, so only teams drafting in the top 10 will get access to his medicals. Buzelis, Castle, Clingan, Risacher, and Topic are in the 2-6 range, while Dillingham, Holland, Knecht, and Sheppard round out the top 10.

Heat Notes: Wright, Offseason Decisions, Butler, Draft

The Heat’s season ended in an appropriate way Wednesday night — with another new starting lineup. Injuries have forced coach Erik Spoelstra to juggle his rotations since training camp, and he unveiled his 37th starting unit in Game 5 at Boston, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Rookie Jaime Jaquez was unavailable because of a hip injury he suffered in Game 4 and Spoelstra didn’t want to start Duncan Robinson, who has been limited by a back condition since late in the regular season, so veteran guard Delon Wright made the first playoff start of his career. Wright provided eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 33 minutes, but he had to leave the game briefly to get stitches in his lower lip and chin after being hit by an elbow.

In addition to Jaquez, Miami was without Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson, who all missed the entire series due to injuries. However, Spoelstra refused to use that as an excuse, Chiang tweets.

“We’re not going to put this on the fact that we had some injuries,” Spoelstra said. “Let’s not take anything away from Boston. They’ve been the best team in basketball all season long.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • The early playoff exit leaves the franchise with a long offseason and a lot of financial decisions ahead, Chiang adds. Part of the future will be determined by player options held by Caleb Martin ($7.1MM), Kevin Love ($4MM), Richardson ($3.1MM) and Thomas Bryant ($2.8MM). Orlando Robinson has a non-guaranteed $2.1MM contract for next season, while Wright, Haywood Highsmith and Patty Mills are all headed for unrestricted free agency.
  • Miami faces a difficult decision on Jimmy Butler, who will become extension-eligible this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes in his offseason preview for the Heat. Butler will make $48.8MM next season and holds a $52.4MM player option for 2025/26. Beginning July 7, he can sign a one-year extension worth $58.6MM, which would retain his ’25/26 salary, or a two-year, $112.9MM extension that would void the player option. Marks points out that Butler will turn 35 during the offseason and hasn’t topped 65 games in any of the last four years.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald examines the Heat’s options in this year’s draft. Players who could still be on the board when Miami picks at No. 15 include Purdue center Zach Edey, Duke power forward/center Kyle Filipowski, Providence guard Devin Carter, Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Duke point guard Jared McCain, Baylor center Yves Missi, Kansas small forward Kevin McCullar Jr., Baylor swingman Ja’Kobe Walter, USC point guard Isaiah Collier and Illinois shooting guard Terrence Shannon Jr.

Baylor’s Missi, Marquette’s Kolek Entering 2024 Draft

Baylor center Yves Missi, a projected first-round pick who is ranked No. 20 on ESPN’s latest big board, is declaring for the 2024 draft and forgoing his remaining college eligibility, he told Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

As Givony writes, Missi didn’t start playing organized basketball November 2021, when he moved from Cameroon to the U.S. at age 16 to play high school ball. As a freshman for the Bears in 2023/24, Missi averaged 10.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 1.5 BPG in 34 games (22.9 MPG).

An explosive athlete, Missi is “one of the most physically gifted” prospects in the 2024 draft class, Givony says, with “significant potential” on the defensive end. Missi said he wants to show is game more well-rounded than he was able to show in college.

NBA teams will be able to see in the pre-draft process how fast I’m learning, especially since I’m new to the game,” Missi said. “They will see my ability to shoot and ball-handling, which is something they didn’t necessarily see much of this year.”

Marquette point guard Tyler Kolek, another possible first-round pick who is ranked No. 29 on ESPN’s board, is also entering the draft and forgoing his final year of college eligibility, he announced on social media (Twitter link).

Kolek had an impressive senior season for the Golden Eagles, averaging 15.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 7.7 APG and 1.6 SPG on .496/.388/.851 shooting in 31 games (33.0 MPG). According to Givony, Kolek has some physical limitations, but he’s an excellent ball-handler and passer who consistently brings energy and toughness — Givony compares him to Pacers guard T.J. McConnell.