James Wiseman officially hires agency to prepare for NBA Draft

If there was any doubt about James Wiseman’s college future, it was settled on Friday.

Wiseman, the Memphis freshman who is expected to be a top NBA draft pick, has officially signed with Excel Sports for his NBA representation. This officially wipes out his NCAA eligibility.

This was the next logical step after Wiseman withdrew from Memphis just over a week ago. He doesn’t appear to have any plans to temporarily play overseas and is just going to focus on being as ready as possible for the June draft. It’s risky, but teams are already well-aware of him and what he can bring.

Wiseman’s eligibility had already been in question over money he received from coach Penny Hardaway to move to Memphis. He won’t face any further consequences as a result of that, but the school might well be paying for its decision to play Wiseman with questions about his eligibility for some time to come.

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  By Grey Papke  |  Last updated 12/27/19

https://www.yardbarker.com/college_basketball/articles/james_wiseman_officially_hires_agency_to_prepare_for_nba_draft/s1_127_30903770

NBA Draft Coverage

Written by Benjamin Hoffman and Marc Tracy at New York Times.com

Commissioner Adam Silver took the stage at Barclays Center to begin the 2017 N.B.A. draft, reading Markelle Fultz’s name as the top pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers then took Lonzo Ball at No. 2. Here’s a pick-by-pick analysis of the first round:

1. Sixers’ ‘Process’ Continues With a Point Guard

Markelle Fultz, 6’4” Point Guard, Washington

19 years old

Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds a game in his lone season at Washington. He was an effective shooter from 3-point range, connecting 41.3 percent of the time, but struggled from the free-throw line where he was a 64.9 percent shooter. His decent height and long arms allow him to defend shooting guards and his playmaking is strong enough to make him a true point guard on offense. His game could use some refinement but he is the best player in a strong draft class.

Quotable: “Coming in, I want to win Rookie of the Year. I got a pretty high goal for myself: I want to be the M.V.P. I set my goals high because I want to put in a lot of work to achieve them.” — Fultz, on his personal goals.

How he fits: Fultz is an intriguing player to pair with Ben Simmons, the Sixers’ 6’10” point forward. Both are excellent playmakers and as they learn the N.B.A. game together they can work on developing an offense that lets them share that burden while developing their scoring ability. Put them with Joel Embiid and Dario Saric and you have one of the most intriguing young cores in basketball.

Marc Tracy: For the second year in a row, the No. 1 pick played his sole college season at a non-traditional basketball power that couldn’t even be bothered to make the N.C.A.A. tournament. Last year it was Ben Simmons, from LSU, going to the 76ers. This year it is Fultz, from Washington, going to … the 76ers. I would be straight-up lying to you if I told you that Fultz was much on my radar while covering college basketball last season, other than as the likely No. 1 overall pick. It strikes me as not a great look for the college game when this happens. More fun when it’s a Karl Anthony-Towns (Kentucky) or an Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), as in past years, where the casual fan probably watched them play at least a game or three.

2. Lakers Take Hometown Favorite Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball, 6’6” Point Guard, UCLA

19 years old

Ball is a Jason Kidd-like passer (he set a U.C.L.A. single-season record with 274 assists) who complements his playmaking with a clunky-yet-effective jump shot. He has excellent size for a point guard, is considered an incredibly smart player for his age, and would be a top prospect with or without his father’s hype machine. No one questions his playmaking ability, but there is some uncertainty about whether his unusual jumper, which allowed him to shoot 41.2 percent from 3-point range, will translate to the N.B.A. game.

Quotable: “It’s probably a target on me, but I don’t really care about it.” — Ball, on how off-court drama, largely created by his father, could affect him.

How he fits: The SoCal local, who played his college ball in Westwood, was simply too much to pass up for the Lakers, and they made room for him in the backcourt by sending D’Angelo Russell (the No. 2 pick just two years ago) to Brooklyn. The Lakers are still a work in progress, but Ball’s ability to create opportunities for teammates should immediately make Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram better players.

Marc Tracy: Lonzo Ball, you may have heard of him. I am earnestly looking forward to next season, when we will actually get to see how he stacks up in the NBA. He ran UCLA’s offense — which was high-tempo, utilized a stretch-four in T.J. Leaf, and prized spacing — to the tune of the most efficient in college basketball. Only an unjust pairing against Kentucky in the round of 16 prevented the Bruins from going further in the N.C.A.A. tournament. I think his court vision will make him a good fit for the N.B.A., and I think being the most buzzed-over draft pick since …….. Kyrie? LeBron? Iverson? ….. makes him a good fit for the N.B.A.’s most glamorous franchise.

Celtics Trade #1 Overall Pick To 76ers

Written by Tom Ziller at SB Nation.com

It’s always impossible to know just what Danny Ainge’s Celtics are thinking.

Years after trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets for a boatload of future assets, Boston landed one of the grandest prizes of all with the No. 1 pick in a good draft. This is why you trade stars for draft picks: so that you can get future stars on rookie deals. This No. 1 choice would be added to a 53-win team that made the conference finals, as could a max-level free agent.

Instead, the Celtics traded the pick that would have been Markelle Fultz in Thursday’s 2017 NBA draft. Boston agreed Saturday to send the pick to the 76ers in exchange for No. 3 in Thursday’s draft plus what is expected to be an excellent choice in either 2018 or 2019.

Why? The potential reasons are many. But time will tell what’s actually right, because it’s impossible to know what Ainge is thinking.

Celtics Mights Take Josh Jackson Instead of Markelle Fultz

Written by Brad Botkins at CBS Sports.com

For pretty much the past year, it has been assumed by most experts that combo-guard Markelle Fultz was a virtual lock to go No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft. The Celtics might have other plans.

On Thursday, it was reported Boston is considering taking Josh Jackson with the top pick. This is a monster decision for Danny Ainge and there are so many ways he can go, including trading the pick for a proven star like Jimmy Butler or Paul George. Whatever Boston does with this pick will go a long way in determining whether it is a real championship threat any time soon.

Fultz would be tough to pass on. He’s a three-level scorer with elite playmaking skills and under-appreciated vision. Given his length, strength and athleticism, he has a high defensive ceiling, though he wasn’t great at that end in his one year at Washington. If any other team had the first pick, Fultz almost certainly goes No. 1, but Boston is unique as a team atop the lottery because it is ready to win now and already has Isaiah Thomas, who Ainge says he intends to keep.

But Jackson is a supremely athletic wing who projects as an impact, versatile defender from Day One, and with him on board Boston would resemble Golden State with a host of long, liked-sized perimeter players who can switch all over defensively. Not only that, but Jackson could make guys like Jae Crowder or Jaylen Brown expendable if Boston wants to go after a big name. It was reported that Ainge’s unwillingness to deal Crowder kept a Butler deal from happening at last season’s deadline.

At the same time, Fultz probably has more trade value than Jackson if Boston ends up with an opportunity to move its pick post-draft.

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Malik Monk To Enter NBA Draft

Written by Jeff Borzello at ESPN.com

Kentucky Wildcats freshman guard Malik Monk is entering the NBA draft and hiring an agent, the school announced Thursday.

“After taking some time with my family and reflecting on this season, I have decided to enter my name into the 2017 NBA draft,” Monk said. “As a little kid, these are words that I could only dream of saying. For that, I am very grateful and thank God.

“I would like to thank Coach [John Calipari] for helping me evolve my game and become a more complete basketball player. You pushed me all season to be my best and taught me the true meaning of team and sacrifice.”

Monk averaged 19.8 points en route to earning SEC Player of the Year honors, and he had four games of 30 or more points. He scored 47 points against North Carolina in December.

“Malik is a special talent,” Calipari said. “With Malik you’re talking about a superior athlete with skills and an ability to score that make him truly unique. What I love about Malik is that, as the season went on, he learned how to help our team win by doing more than just score. He became an efficient player who I believe will make an immediate impact at the next level.”

Monk, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, is No. 7 in Chad Ford’s top 100 draft rankings and is projected to be selected No. 4 overall in his latest mock draft.

“I want to thank all of the coaches and support staff for investing time and energy in my future and helping me mature as a young man,” Monk said. “Month by month I have grown and matured on and off the floor because of you guys. “I want to thank my teammates. You guys made this the best year of my life, and you will always have a brother in me.”

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Ben Simmons #1 Overall Pick, Goes to Philly


Written by Ohm Youngmusik at ESPN.com

As a youngster growing up in Australia, Ben Simmons looked up to Allen Iverson on an almost daily basis; Simmons even tried to look like Iverson.

Now, Simmons will be following in Iverson’s footsteps after the Philadelphia 76ers made LSU’s versatile forward the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. Simmons is the franchise’s first top pick in the draft since Iverson was taken No. 1 in the 1996 draft.

“A lot of people don’t know that I actually had a poster of A.I. when I was young in my room,” Simmons said. “It was a big diamond-cut poster of him. I just remember him being one of those point guards, a smaller guy with cornrows and the headbands. I remember I used to have the cornrows when I was younger. He was one of those players that fought every day.”

The Sixers took about three minutes before deciding on Simmons over Duke scorer Brandon Ingram. TheLos Angeles Lakers tabbed Ingram with the second overall pick moments later, while the Boston Celtics drafted California forwardJaylen Brown with the third pick.

The Phoenix Suns drafted Croatian forward Dragan Bender, and Minnesota rounded out the top five by selecting Providence point guardKris Dunn.

Sixers fans on hand at Barclays Center roared in approval when NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Simmons’ name.

Even though it was widely known that Philadelphia would take Simmons, who worked out for the team privately Tuesday in his first and only workout leading up to the draft, the Australian was relieved after he became a Sixer.

“I’m happy to be part of the family now,” Simmons said. “It’s a weight off my chest. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while, so I’m glad I’ve made history, not only for myself but my family and Australian basketball.”

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Buddy Hield Drafted by New Orleans Pelicans


Written by Jeff Duncan at NOLA.com

Little went right for the New Orleans Pelicans last season so they were overdue for some good fortune when the NBA Draft started on Thursday night.

And for once, seemingly everything went their way. Boston and Phoenix surprised the analysts and took Jaylen Brown and Dragan Bender ahead of them at Nos. 3 and 4, and the guy the Pelicans wanted and needed the most fell into their nest.

New Orleans Pelicans select Buddy Hield with 6th overall pick in 2016 NBA Draft

Hield made 45.7 percent of his 3-point attempts this past season for Oklahoma

For so many reasons, Oklahoma sharpshooter Buddy Hield was the perfect pick for the Pels. This was a no-brainer.

He is the best shooter in the NBA Draft. Heck, he’s one of the best shooters to come out of college basketball in years. The guy hit a ridiculous 45.7 percent of his 3-pointers at Oklahoma last season and sank a Curry-like 85 of 100 3-pointers in a workout for the Boston Celtics earlier this month. He routinely made that many or more in practice at OU.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, center, poses for photos with prospective NBA draft picks Buddy Hield (left in white jacket), Kris Dunn, right, Ben Simmons, third from left, and Brandon Ingram, second from right, before the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2016, in New York.

With his quick, high release and dead-eye marksmanship, he’s a perfect fit for coach Alvin Gentry’s pace-and-space offensive system, the ideal replacement for Eric Gordon and/or Ryan Anderson, should either or both leave via free agency.

Playing alongside Jrue Holiday at the point and Anthony Davis in the paint or at the elbow, Hield can plant himself behind the 3-point line on the wing and make opponents think twice about doubling A.D. No more watching Alonzo Gee or Dante Cunningham clang those wide-open looks from the corner.

“I’m a scorer,” Hield told reporters in New York on Thursday night. “I can shoot the ball a lot. Love to shoot. And I feel like when I go there (to New Orleans) I can open up the floor for Anthony Davis and other guys to be able to penetrate.”

Indeed, the threat of Hield on the wing should create space for every Pelican on the floor.

“For a guy like Anthony Davis, they have a guy like me who can shoot the ball really well can keep the floor spaced,” Hield said. “Create more space.”

 

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Denver Nuggets Get Steal with Murray at 7


Written by Christopher Dempsey at Denver Post.com

The Nuggets had a list of priorities going into the offseason. The need blazing like a bright neon sign within their Pepsi Center offices was a lack of shooting. The Nuggets finished 26th in the NBA in 3-point percentage last season.

Their draft Thursday night ensured they won’t repeat that next season. At least they did everything they could for history not to repeat itself.

“Our shooting was a big concern,” Nuggets GM Tim Connelly said. “When you look at the skill set of some of the guys we got this evening it helps us in a positive manner.”

The Nuggets used their three first-round draft picks on players who can shoot from deep, led by Kentucky shooting guard Jamal Murray. At No. 15, the Nuggets selected Juan Hernangomez, a shooting power forward from Spain. With the 19th pick in the draft, the Nuggets selected 6-5 shooting guard Malik Beasley of Florida State.

Combined, the three made 201 3-pointers, shooting 39.3 percent for their respective teams during their seasons.

Murray made 113 of them.

He was the big prize of the night. The Nuggets thought so much of him that they had him third on their draft board behind Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.

“I knew they liked me, but I didn’t know they liked me as much as they did,” said Murray, who shot 40.8 percent from 3-point range for Kentucky last season.

He’s best in catch-and-shoot situations off of screens, a skill that translates immediately in the NBA. Murray was a sizzling 58 percent shooter off screens at Kentucky.

But he projects as much more than just a catch-and-shoot player. Murray has the ability to get to the rim and finish with either hand. He projects as the kind of player that will be a 20-or-more-per-game scorer in the NBA once he gets a foothold in the league. He’ll come in and immediately compete with veteran Gary Harris for the starting shooting guard spot, although he said he’d like to handle the ball as well.

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T-Wolves Select Kris Dunn 6th Overall.

Written by Kent Youngblood at Minneapolis Star Tribune.com

The first word usually heard about Kris Dunn is: tough.

Yes, there is talent. The point guard from Providence — considered by many to be the third-best player in this year’s NBA draft — can score. He might be the best defender in the draft. He’s tall (6-4 with a 6-9½ wingspan) and strong.

But tough has to be the main reason why he was so attractive to Timberwolves president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau, and why he was taken with the fifth overall pick Thursday.

Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden, in their first draft with the Timberwolves, took a point guard even though five-year veteran Ricky Rubio is on the roster. But how could they not? LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram went to Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Lakers to start the draft. Then, with trade rumors swirling, Boston stood fast and took small forward Jaylen Brown. At No. 4, Phoenix selected European big man Dragan Bender.

Dunn was available.

“We think Kris is a great fit for us,” Thibodeau said. “We didn’t know how it was going to unfold. There were going to be some good options for us. We thought this was the best one.”

Said Dunn: “I’m excited. I have to buy a lot of jackets. But there is a very talented, young group there. Karl Towns, shout out to him for being rookie of the year. Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine. And Thibs, being the new coach.”

The intrigue was just getting started. Even before the pick was made, there were reports of the Wolves being in trade talks. An ESPN report suggested Minnesota was close to a deal that would have sent Dunn and a player to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler. The 76ers were also calling, in need of a point guard.

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NBA Draft 2016 Preview

Written by Kevin O’Connor at SB Nation.com

There’s only one day to go before Adam Silver announces Ben Simmons as the first pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. What will follow is a tidal wave of hype from each team’s fan base proclaiming their team’s draft pick as the league’s next superstar (or the next draft bust).

But here’s a lesson from last year’s draft: Don’t overreact, or one year from now you’ll risk looking like the Knicks fans who booed Kristaps Porzingis.

That goes for this mock, too. It’s just a mock and not the final results from Thursday night. Trades will be made, so the order will change, rendering most projections useless. That’s just the truth.

But it is fun to speculate, isn’t it? This mock does at least represent the range where players could go, and some potential landing spots if the draft order stays relatively steady.

If you’re looking for more information on every player available Thursday night, please check out my draft guide. It has 160 pages with 100 full-page scouting reports of my own analysis, with team-by-team previews, multiple mock drafts, articles and much more. Brian Scalabrine uses it, and so should you.

1. Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons, F, LSU

It won’t be easy for the Sixers to integrate Simmons, but with the right moves it could work in a beautiful way. Simmons-Embiid pick-and-rolls could someday give nightmares to the rest of the NBA.

2. L.A. Lakers – Brandon Ingram, F, Duke

The Lakers reportedly would’ve targeted Ingram had they landed the first pick. Who knows if that’s actually true, but Ingram does fit in with the current construction of their roster. His ability to space the floor could help offset the rest of the team’s shooting issues.

3. Boston Celtics – Jaylen Brown, F, California

Brown almost has it all. He’s a tremendous athlete who enters the league ready to be a versatile defender and he’s a good ball handler who can both bully or finesse his way to the rim. But he needs to improve his jumper and his decision making to elevate his game to the next level.

4. Phoenix Suns – Marquese Chriss, F, Washington

Chriss’ upside is off the charts, just like his versatility. He looks like he’s bouncing off a trampoline when he jumps. At 6’9, he can also space the floor. He might actually remind Suns fans a little bit of Amar’e Stoudemire.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves – Dragan Bender, F, Croatia

A front court of Karl-Anthony Towns and Bender could be one of the most deadly and versatile in the NBA. Bender’s ability as a 7-footer to switch on defense, protect the rim, pass, handle and shoot is ridiculous. He’s a safe pick with the upside to be special if he’s utilized correctly. The Timberwolves might be the most feared team in the league if they nail this pick.

6. New Orleans Pelicans – Kris Dunn, PG, Providence

Anthony Davis needs a point guard like Dunn, who can create off the dribble with ease and serve as a go-to scorer at the end of shot clocks. Plus, he defends well and is a high-character person.

7. Denver Nuggets – Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky

This is an odd spot for the Nuggets. They don’t exactly need a guard, but Murray is arguably the best player available at this spot. And you should never draft for need in the NBA. He could actually be a solid fit next to Emmanuel Mudiay, who could highlight Murray’s shooting while hiding his defense.

8. Sacramento Kings – Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma

DeMarcus Cousins is the best player on the Kings, but they need a face-of-the-franchise personality, an ambassador, and that’s what Hield can provide. Oh, and he’s also a ridiculously skilled shooter, so that’s a nice bonus too.

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