Yoeli Childs

Pacific Notes: Durant, Kings, Lakers, Franklin

The notion that the Warriors are a better team without Kevin Durant is silly and shouldn’t be taken seriously, Sam Amick writes for The Athletic.

Durant has missed Golden State’s last four games — all of which were wins — leading some to question how much better he truly makes the team. His absence has allowed Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and most notably Draymond Green to operate more with their surrounding cast, playing more up-tempo without their most talented player.

“We’re confident we can win (every time out), but we would much rather have (Durant) playing,” Curry said after Game 2, according to Amick. “So we’re going to hold the fort down till he gets back and go win another championship with our full squad. You know, him and DeMarcus (Cousins, who could return from his quad injury in this series), as well. We understand how great of players they are and how they raise our ceiling even higher.”

Multiple Warriors players have labeled Durant as the best talent on the team this season. The all-out recruitment of Durant, led by Green and others in 2016, kicked off because the team wanted another go-to scorer and all-around superstar on the wing.

Before suffering his strained calf against the Rockets, Durant was averaging a scorching 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in the playoffs. He shot 51% from the field and 42% from deep during those 11 contests.

There’s more today from the Pacific Division:

Draft Notes: Reid, Waters, Childs, Porter

There’s “no chance” Naz Reid returns to LSU, as the prospect tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium Sports (Twitter link). Reid’s teammate Tremont Waters will also remain in the draft. Waters and Reid are the 47th and 48th prospect, according to ESPN.

  • BYU’s Yoeli Childs will remain in the draft, per Goodman (Twitter link). Childs is not listed in ESPN’s top 100.
  • Jontay Porter will not return to Missouri instead electing to remain in the draft, Goodman tweets. Porter is still recovering from a knee injury.
  • Arizona State’s Luguentz Dort tells Goodman (Twitter link) that he is “100 percent” staying in the NBA Draft. Dort is No. 27 on ESPN’s draft board.

Draft Notes: McDaniels, Ponds, Oni, Nwora, Childs

San Diego State forward Jalen McDaniels, the No. 36 prospect on ESPN’s big board, has elected to forgo his remaining college eligibility by hiring an agent and entering the 2019 NBA draft pool, the school announced this week.

“We appreciate the positive contributions Jalen made to our program and to the University,” head coach Brian Dutcher said. “Jalen now has the opportunity to pursue his life-long goal of playing in the National Basketball Association. We wish him and his family well.”

McDaniels, who has a chance to be selected in the first round in June, entered the 2018 draft, but withdrew his name at the 11th hour and returned to the Aztecs for one more year. He averaged 15.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 2.1 APG in his sophomore season.

Here are more updates on early entrants for the 2019 draft:

  • St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds, who tested the draft waters a year ago, will enter his name in the draft pool again this year. This time around, the junior appears more likely to go pro, as he tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com (Twitter link) that he’ll hire an agent. Ponds is the No. 51 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • Yale junior wing Miye Oni, the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2019, has informed Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com that he’s declaring for the 2019 NBA draft. “I submitted my name to the Undergraduate Advisory Request to legally protect myself and my NCAA eligibility, but I have every intention of staying in the draft,” said Oni, the No. 53 prospect on Givony’s top 100. “I’ll be signing with agent Harrison Gaines of SLASH Sport.”
  • Louisville sophomore Jordan Nwora will test the draft waters, as Givony details at ESPN.com. Nwora, the 76th-rated prospect on ESPN’s top 100, will plan on going pro if he gets positive feedback from teams and evaluators this spring, but is leaving the door open to return to the Cardinals.
  • BYU junior forward Yoeli Childs, who withdrew from the 2018 draft after testing the waters, will once again enter his name in this year’s class, he announced this week (via Twitter). Based on his statement, it sounds like Childs intends to keep his name in the draft and go pro.

Draft Notes: Childs, Combine, DiVincenzo, Knox

BYU forward Yoeli Childs is the latest early entrant to remove his name from 2018’s NBA draft class, announcing late on Tuesday night (via Twitter) that he won’t be going pro quite yet.

“After several weeks of prayer, talking with my family, those close to me, and NBA teams, I feel the best decision for my future and my family is to return to BYU for my junior year!” Childs wrote in his statement.

In his sophomore year, Childs averaged 17.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 1.8 BPG for the Cougars. However, his odds to be drafted in 2018 weren’t great. The 6’8″ forward will head back to BYU looking to improve his draft stock during his junior year in 2018/19.

Here are more draft-related notes and rumors from around the league:

  • With the NBA draft combine set to begin today in Chicago, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN.com preview the event, providing a schedule of what to expect for the rest of the week and identifying several prospects who could most significantly hurt or help their draft stocks in the coming days.
  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), Villanova sharpshooter Donte DiVincenzo “has some real fans in NBA circles,” and is a legit candidate to come off the board late in the first round. DiVincenzo is still technically just testing the draft waters without an agent, but he’s probably a good bet to go pro if he gets that sort of feedback from NBA evaluators.
  • Kyler passes along another note from the combine, tweeting that Kevin Knox‘s stock may be on the rise, as his initial workout schedule includes several teams in the top 10.
  • Former Seton Hall forward Desi Rodriguez has worked out for the Nets and Celtics so far in the pre-draft process, tweets Zach Braziller of The New York Post.

236 Early Entrants Declare For 2018 NBA Draft

The NBA has released the official list of early entrants for the 2018 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 236 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 181 are from colleges, while 55 are international early entrants.

That number blows away the previous record for early entrants, established in 2017. Last year, 182 early entrants declared for the draft, though ultimately only 73 of those prospects remained in the draft by the final deadline.

This year’s total of 236 early entrants also figures to shrink significantly by May 30 and again by June 11, the two key deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like that pool will remain crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants likely exceeding 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our list of early entrants is now up to date and can be found right here. Here are today’s updates:

College underclassmen:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our own list. For now, we’re assuming they haven’t yet hired agents.

The following players reportedly declared for the draft or planned to, but weren’t named in the NBA’s official announcement today. As such, we’ve removed them from our list.

International players:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our list.

  • Berke Atar, C, Turkey (born 1999)
  • Laurynas Beliauskas, G, Lithuania (born 1997)
  • Rihards Berzins, F/C, Latvia (born 1997)
  • Etienne Ca, F, France (born 1997)
  • Sigfredo Casero-Ortiz, G, France (born 1997)
  • Berkan Durmaz, F, Turkey (born 1997)
  • Aleksander Dziewa, C, Poland (born 1997)
  • Stephane Gombauld, F, France (born 1997)
  • Yoan Granvorka, F, Switzerland (born 1997)
  • Michal Kolenda, F, Poland (born 1997)
  • Antonios Koniaris, G, Greece (born 1997)
  • Leon Kratzer, C, Germany (born 1997)
  • Shekinah Munanga, F, France (born 1997)
  • Williams Narace, F, France (born 1997)
  • Marcel Ponitka, G, Poland (born 1997)
  • Leonardo Tote, F, Italy (born 1997)
  • Martynas Varnas, G, Lithuania (born 1997)
  • Filip Zagrajski, G, Croatia (born 1997)