Storyline: Draft Early Entries

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That is, of course, if Diallo decides to remain in the draft. The scuttlebutt is he is still considering going back to Kentucky. League sources have told me that Diallo will stay in the draft only if he receives a “guarantee’’ from a team that it will select him in the first round. Some NBA officials claim they wouldn’t do that. Said a longtime Western Conference scout of Diallo: “He’s very athletic and long. But he has no game. None. I see him as a second-round pick. I hope, for his sake, he goes back to college.’’

University of North Carolina juniors Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson and freshman Tony Bradley have filed paperwork with the NBA to enter the 2017 Draft process. None of the three have hired professional representation which allows them the opportunity to go through the evaluation process and either stay in the Draft or return for another season of college basketball. “We fully support our players taking this step of being evaluated by NBA teams to see where they stand in relation to the Draft,” says Carolina head coach Roy Williams. “All three players have options to do what is best for their careers and going through the evaluation process helps them make the best decision available to each of them.”

A Pacific Division executive echoed that sentiment, though others wonder if the deeper NBA 3-pointer will cause Jackson problems, at least initially. “There’s a lot less of a concern now than there was in the early part of the season, maybe the middle of the season,” the executive said. “He shot 40 percent the last month, month and a half of the year (Jackson shot 48.1 percent, 25 of 52, behind the arc the last seven weeks of the season). He’s been the best player in his class. He has that kind of pedigree. If he can consistently shoot from NBA range, he does so many other things well he’s going to be a good NBA player.”

“We probably have Tatum a little ahead,” a Pacific Division executive said. “He’s got prototypical size, length and strength. For a 19-year-old, he’s got an unbelievably good body. He looks like an NBA vet. He scores the ball so easily. He’s the best shooter of the three. He does need to get better defensively. He’s able to do both of those things, score from all ranges. The question is, can he combine all of that, be a three-level scorer (three-pointer, midrange and in the post)? From what I’ve seen he has a chance to do all three, even though he hasn’t done it consistently.”

“Physically, he’s got the strength and the power to play the four,” one Eastern Conference executive said. “There will be some matchups where he just doesn’t have the height, but he’s going to have enough versatility that (against) most backup fours, he’s going to be able to match up against them. The league is spacing and shooting; there’s not many power fours anymore. (But) I can’t see OG turning into Kawhi, personally. Kawhi was such a great rebounder in college, and that’s not what OG does.”

Hamidou Diallo: That plan hasn’t changed and that’s what why I am declaring for the NBA Draft. I do not plan on hiring an agent at this time. I want to see where my game is and explore my options. I just want to keep all doors open, and I want to thank Coach Cal, the coaching staff and my teammates for allowing me to pursue my dreams. My game has grown so much in the four months I’ve been at UK. I don’t know what the next few weeks are going to have in store for me, but I do know I’m going to work as hard as I ever have and keep an open mind. At the end of the day, this is a learning process for me and I appreciate the Big Blue Nation for being both understanding and supportive of my decision. I can’t thank you enough for making me a part of the family from day one.

Frank Jackson going pro?

For Frank Jackson and his family, the process has been arduous, and the decision has been difficult. But in the end, Jackson decided to follow his dream. The Duke University freshman and former Lone Peak High superstar — the most recent Utahn to be a McDonald’s All-American — declared for the NBA draft on Saturday night. Jackson will not hire an agent and will go through the pre-draft process before making a final decision on his collegiate eligibility.
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November 22, 2017 | 10:06 pm EST Update
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