Tyrese Martin

Pacific Notes: Zubac, Curry, Lakers Draft, Coaching Search

As we relayed in our Clippers Offseason Preview earlier today, L.A. holds a $7,518,518 team option on center Ivica Zubac, who’s also extension-eligible this offseason. He said he enjoys playing for the team and hopes to stick around.

I want to stay and I think they want to keep me,” Zubac told Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. “I think I should be there and they’re going to pick it up. I like Los Angeles a lot and I like the Clippers. It’s like a family to me. Hopefully, everything is going to work out.”

Zubac notched several career-high marks in 2021/22, including games played (76, all starts), minutes per game (24.4), points (10.3), rebounds (8.5) and blocks (1.0). He said he hopes his role continues to expand going forward.

It’s great,” Zubac said about the trust he receives from Clippers coach Ty Lue. “I hope that keeps on going. Every year I get more and more minutes so, hopefully, by the next year I’ll get even more. The coach trusts me, the teammates trust me and I’m really enjoying my time there.”

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Warriors star Stephen Curry, who was recently named the Western Conference Finals MVP, could have pushed Golden State to trade its high draft picks and prospects to improve the roster the past couple seasons, but he said the team’s patience was rewarded as it heads to the Finals for the sixth time in eight years. “That’s not how I operate,” Curry told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “There were conversations and different paths to take, and we all had conversations about going different ways. But at the end of the day, I have a lot of trust in (president/GM) Bob (Myers), a lot of confidence in what we’re about. There was no panic. Obviously, it helps that we had won a couple championships. It affords patience. But there was no panic in terms of getting me, Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) another run at it, figuring out how we could get pieces around us to make it work. It’s just patience at the end of the day.”
  • The Lakers don’t currently own a draft pick, but that isn’t stopping them from working out six prospects on Saturday, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The six players are Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, UConn’s Tyrese Martin, USC’s Drew Peterson, Alabama’s Keon Ellis, Syracuse’s Cole Swider, and Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson. Ellis, Gillespie and Martin are all in the 60s on ESPN’s big board, while Jackson is No. 95; both Peterson and Swider are unranked. There’s a good chance at least a few of the group will go undrafted going by those rankings.
  • Sean Deveney of Heavy.com queried rival front office executives to get their opinions on the Lakers‘ head coaching search, with some mixed opinions on which candidates might be favored by certain segments of the team.

Hawks Notes: Bogdanovic, Draft Workout, Trade Tiers

Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s lingering knee issue will likely prevent the Hawks wing from participating with the Serbian National Team in the EuroBasket tournament during September, according to MozzartSport.com (hat tip to Eurohoops.net). Bogdanovic, who was limited to 63 regular-season games,  played through the pain in the first round of the playoffs, and MozzartSport’s report suggests offseason surgery is a possibility.

We have more on the Hawks:

Draft Notes: Banchero, Harper, Withdrawals, Boeheim, Combine, Mock Drafts

Paolo Banchero is expected to be among the first names off the board in next month’s draft, and the Duke star did some campaigning to be the No. 1 overall pick in an interview with ESPN following Tuesday’s lottery (video link).

Banchero earned second-team All-America honors during his freshman season with the Blue Devils, averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 games. Possessing exceptional passing skills and offensive versatility for his 6’10” size, Banchero told the ESPN crew he patterns his game after players such as LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Carmelo Anthony and said he’ll be ready to contribute right away to whichever team drafts him.

“From day one, they’ll get versatility for sure,” Banchero said. “There’s not a position on the court where I’m not comfortable, with the ball in my hands or the ball off my hands. I’m going to be all right. I’m going to be an immediate impact because I’m ready physically and I’m ready mentally. I am ready to get to work.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • Rutgers forward Ron Harper Jr. has signed with Roc Nation Sports, officially ending his college career, according to Brian Fonseca of NJ.com. The senior earned honorable mention All-America honors, was a two-time all-Big Ten selection and helped the Scarlet Knights reach the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons after a 30-year absence.
  • Kyle Lofton, formerly of St. Bonaventure, has decided to withdraw from the draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. He will transfer to Florida for next season.
  • Andre Kelly, who played the last four years for California, is also taking his name out of the draft, Rothstein adds (Twitter link). He will use his extra year of eligibility to transfer to UC Santa Barbara.
  • Hofstra’s Aaron Estrada also plans to exit the draft and return to school, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim has worked out for the Knicks, Kings and Warriors and had an impressive showing at the G League Elite Camp, per Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Boeheim will hold a Pro Day in Chicago today.
  • Seven players from the Elite Camp were able to earn spots at the NBA’s draft combine, the G League announced on Twitter. They are LSU’s Darius Days, Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Lofton Jr., Connecticut’s Tyrese Martin, Seton Hall’s Jared Rhoden, Houston’s Marcus Sasser, Texas Tech’s Bryson Williams and Kansas’ Jalen Wilson.
  • Auburn forward Jabari Smith is number one on the list of top 20 prospects by John Hollinger of The Athletic. Banchero is the only other prospect in Hollinger’s top tier, and he ranks Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren right below them.
  • Several new mock drafts were released after Tuesday’s lottery. Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic both have Smith going to the Magic at No. 1, followed by Holmgren to the Thunder at No. 2 and Banchero to the Rockets at No. 3. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has Holmgren going to Orlando, Smith to Oklahoma City and Banchero to Houston.

And-Ones: Super Teams, LeBron, Draft Sleepers, Foster

The super-team model for winning an NBA championship is becoming less effective, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The Nets and Sixers are two of the latest examples to fail with that strategy, both by acquiring James Harden. The Big Three in Brooklyn captured just one playoff series before Harden was shipped to Philadelphia, where his pairing with Joel Embiid resulted in a second-round exit.

In the Western Conference, injuries have prevented Kawhi Leonard and Paul George from reaching their full potential with the Clippers, Bondy notes, and the Lakers’ decision to team Russell Westbrook with LeBron James and Anthony Davis was a complete disaster. Bondy adds that the teams remaining in the playoffs were all built mainly through the draft, with later additions focusing mainly on defense.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • James tops the list of the world’s 100 highest-paid male athletes released this week by Sportico. James made $36.9MM in salary over the past year and $90MM in endorsements, putting him $4.6MM ahead of soccer star Lionel Messi. Three other NBA players finished in the top 10: Stephen Curry at No. 6 with total earnings of $86.2MM, Kevin Durant at No. 7 with $85.9MM and Harden at No. 9 with $76MM. It’s the most James has ever earned over a 12-month stretch, according to Kurt Badenhausen of Sportico.
  • Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated lists five unheralded players to keep an eye on in this year’s draft. On his list are North Carolina State freshman guard Terquavion Smith, Alabama senior guard Keon Ellis, Connecticut senior forward Tyrese Martin, Loyola Chicago senior guard Lucas Williamson and Texas Tech senior forward Bryson Williams. Woo doesn’t expect them all to be drafted, but he does believe they’ll exceed expectations and carve out a spot in the NBA.
  • Marcus Foster, who played for the Rockets’ G League affiliate in Rio Grande Valley this season, has signed with Promitheas Patras for the Greek League playoffs, according to Sportando. The 26-year-old guard, who was in Houston’s training camp prior to the start of the season, has an option to sign with an NBA or EuroLeague team this summer.

Draft Notes: Withdrawals, Pro Days, Turell, Minott

UAB senior guard Jordan Walker, San Francisco senior guard Khalil Shabazz, and Auburn sophomore big man Johni Broome are among the players who have indicated that they’ll withdraw from the 2022 NBA draft class and return to college for at least one more year, according to a series of announcements.

None of the three were considered great bets to be drafted in 2022, so they’ll look to improve their stock in 2022/23 before potentially returning pro a year from now. Walker and Shabazz will have exhausted their NCAA eligibility at that point, while Broome – who recently announced that he’ll transfer to Auburn from Morehead State – will have the option of remaining in school.

Early entrants in this year’s draft have until the end of the day on June 1 to withdraw their names if they want to retain their NCAA eligibility. The NBA’s official withdrawal deadline is June 13.

Here’s more on the 2022 draft:

  • Earlier this week, the NBA sent teams a list of 17 Pro Days that will be run by agencies at next week’s draft combine in Chicago, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Shaedon Sharpe, Keegan Murray, Dyson Daniels, and Jeremy Sochan will be among the many prospects in attendance at those various agency-run Pro Days, Givony adds.
  • Yeshiva swingman Ryan Turell, a Division III star, has been forced to withdraw from next week’s NBA G League Elite Camp after suffering a minor injury in a workout, sources tell Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link).
  • Memphis wing Josh Minott has worked out for the Nets, Grizzlies, and Bucks early in the pre-draft process, a league source tells Zagoria (Twitter link).
  • Jeremy Woo of SI.com identifies five of his favorite under-the-radar prospects in the 2022 draft class, including NC State guard Terquavion Smith and UConn forward Tyrese Martin.

44 Prospects Announced For 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp

The NBA G League has formally announced its field of 44 draft prospects for the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp.

The event, which will take place May 16 and 17 in Chicago, “gives draft prospects an opportunity to display their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives over the course of the camp by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills.”

The top performers from the camp will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place from May 18-22 in Chicago. Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers wing Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Here’s the list of 44 draft-eligible attendees:

The list of attendees features 13 players on ESPN’s big board, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via Twitter), so some players have a chance to be drafted.

The top-ranked prospect at the camp is Scheierman (No. 69), who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals on .508/.469/.802 shooting this season for South Dakota State (35 games, 33.3 minutes per contest).

And-Ones: Wright, Martin, Rhoden, Maxey, Poole, Draft

Jay Wright isn’t interested in coaching in the NBA after retiring from his post at Villanova.

Wright, who won two national championships, enjoyed assisting Gregg Popovich on the Team USA staff but never came close to leaving Villanova for NBA jobs, says ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Sources who have talked to Wright don’t believe the NBA holds appeal to him now or in future, Wojnarowski adds.

According to a school press release, Wright will take the post of  Special Assistant to the President at the university. Fordham head coach Kyle Neptune, a former Wildcats assistant, will replace Wright, Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweets.

We have more from around the basketball world:

Ron Harper Jr., Others To Enter 2022 NBA Draft

Rutgers senior forward Ron Harper Jr. is declaring for the 2022 NBA draft and will go pro rather than taking advantage of his final year of NCAA eligibility, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

“I’m ready to put myself out there to get myself in the best position possible to be drafted,” Harper said. “I’m going all-in.”

Harper projects as a potential second-round pick, according to Givony, who has the 6’6″ wing ranked 65th on ESPN’s big board. Harper Jr., the son of former NBA guard and five-time champion Ron Harper Sr., tells ESPN that he envisions himself becoming a Robert Covington-esque three-and-D role player in the NBA.

“The NBA is more spaced-out basketball; there are different defensive rules,” he said. “I had to take a lot of contested 3-pointers this year. Those will be open ones in the NBA. The biggest thing NBA teams will see is I’m more athletic than a lot of people realize. I’m going to get my body in the best shape possible to help with that, including improving my eating habits.”

Here are a few more updates on players entering the 2022 NBA draft:

  • A former teammate of Harper who transfered from Rutgers to Bryant in 2020 is also declaring for the draft, according to Adam Zagoria of NJ.com (Twitter link), who hears from a source that senior guard Peter Kiss is entering his name in the 2022 pool. It’s unclear if Kiss – the top D-1 scorer this season with 25.2 PPG – is just testing the waters or if he intends to go pro.
  • UConn senior guard Tyrese Martin will forgo his extra year of NCAA eligibility and enter the 2022 NBA draft, he announced on Instagram. Martin averaged 13.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG on .449/.430/.689 shooting in 29 games (32.1 MPG) for the Huskies in 2021/22.
  • Utah State senior forward Justin Bean will give up his final year of NCAA eligibility and declare for the 2022 draft, he announced on Twitter. Bean was a two-time All-Defensive player in the Mountain West Conference and made the All-MWC Second Team this season after averaging 17.4 PPG and 9.9 RPG in 34 games (35.4 MPG).
  • Kansas State guard Nijel Pack, who just completed his sophomore season, will put his name in the 2022 draft pool, he announced on Instagram. The wording of Pack’s statement suggests he’s just testing the waters for now. He averaged 17.4 PPG with a .436 3PT% for the Wildcats in 2021/22.