Storyline: Draft Workouts

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Taylor: What are some things you’re hearing from teams during workouts? Jaron Blossomgame: I’m very aware of my game and who I am as a player and my role. Everything that I know I need to work on is really consistent with what teams are telling me. I think the two areas I really want to improve on is just continuing to work on my ball handling and continuing to shoot at a high level. My shooting was a little inconsistent last season. I shot 45 percent from three my junior year and 25 percent my senior year. Just finding a balance. I’m somewhere in between that but I’m trying to find out where it is. Just staying in the gym, getting up shots and continuing to work on my ball handling is the two things I really want to get better at.
9 months ago via ESPN

Ian Begley: Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell will not meet with the Knicks on Monday, as has been reported. He is working out for the Dallas Mavericks on Monday in front of Donnie Nelson and his staff and is scheduled to work out for the Knicks on Tuesday and meet with Phil Jackson and his staff, according to sources familiar with the Knicks’ workout schedule. Mitchell has drawn strong interest from the Knicks and his workout could be the last one for the club before it makes its final decisions on the eighth pick. Also under consideration are French guard Frank Ntilikina, North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith Jr. and Kentucky guard Malik Monk, among others. Mitchell, who prefers to work out in a group setting to show teams his defensive skill set, will workout in a group setting along with Villanova’s Josh Hart – a potential second-round pick for NYK – and others, per sources.

If mock drafts are on target, the most marquee prospect at Zions Bank Basketball Center was Baylor forward Johnathan Motley, who many project will be taken in the early to mid-second round. Motley was joined by Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, Houston wing Damyean Dotson, North Carolina forward Isaiah Hicks, La Salle guard Jordan Price and Southeast Missouri State wing Antonius Cleveland. “It was great,” Motley said of how he felt the workout went. “Played with a lot of energy, played good defensively and shot the ball well during the workout. I think I did pretty good.”

The ultimate goal, however, is to earn a spot on an NBA roster. For some prospects, like Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell, it’s starting to set in that that childhood dream will soon become a reality. On Wednesday, Mitchell, a probable first-round pick, received an invitation to attend the 2017 NBA Draft and sit in the green room at the Barclays Center on June 22. “I kind of went off the wall yesterday just screaming and yelling in my pillow,” Mitchell said after Thursday’s pre-draft workout for the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “I’m excited, but I’ve still got a few workouts to go.”
9 months ago via ESPN

Ian Begley: The Knicks are among the teams who are expected to attend Dennis Smith Jr.’s private workout on Thursday, league sources confirm. Smith Jr. met with the Knicks earlier this month and was scheduled to work out but did not. It is unclear why he didn’t work out for the Knicks while in New York. The Knicks will be among several teams to watch Smith Jr. at his workout, as first reported by Basketball Insiders. The Knicks have the eighth pick in the draft. Some members of the Sixers organization are fans of Smith Jr., per league sources. Philadelphia owns the No. 3 pick and would presumably trade back to acquire Smith Jr. Boston and Smith Jr.’s camp have also been discussing getting together for a meeting or workout before the draft next Thursday, per sources.

That’s Senglin’s attitude, too. He’s determined to persevere and push his way into an opportunity to play at the highest level as Lillard, Bolomboy, Eddie Gill and Harold Arceneaux have been able to do from Utah’s oft-overlooked NBA pipeline. “If I don’t hear my name on draft night, that’s not the end of the road. You still have summer camp, mini-camps, a lot of other things as well,” Senglin said. “Everybody wants to hear their name called, but it’s not the breaking point or the end if you don’t. I’m ready for it. I’m never going to get anything handed to me, so I’m ready to just fight for everything.”
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March 20, 2018 | 5:14 am EDT Update

Stephen Curry back Friday?

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is targeting a return to action on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks, the team’s next opponent, league sources told ESPN. The two-time MVP will have his right ankle re-evaluated on Tuesday. If the evaluation reveals enough progress and there are no unforeseen setbacks from this point to Friday, the sharpshooter intends to play after missing the past five games, sources said.
2 hours ago via ESPN
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Marc Gasol said he will have questions about the direction of the team after the offseason. How will you reassure him that Memphis remains the best fit for him at this stage of his career? Chris Wallace: Marc is having a terrific career here, both individually – being a multiple All-Star, being defensive player of the year, the All-NBA recognition. And he’s had tremendous team success. So, I don’t think one off year from the team success side tarnishes what he’s achieved or necessarily is going to be the norm going forward for the Grizzlies. This happens to all sorts of teams, where you have not as good a year as where you expect to be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t jump right back in and be successful again next year and that’s what our goal is. And he’s a big part of that.
Shumpert is almost certain to opt in for next season. Having dealt with foot and knee injuries, this is not the time for Shumpert to test free agency when he has $11 million guaranteed for next season, even if he’s not a part of the Kings’ long-term plans. I’m intrigued by what Shumpert might add. He’s only 27 and has shown he can play in pressure situations, having been a part of Cleveland’s 2016 NBA championship team. Shumpert will be motivated to show the rest of the league he is healthy and that he can play a key role on a team.
Now that you’re in New York, this is a totally different market. How have you felt about the way the city has embraced you? Michael Beasley: Honestly, I couldn’t ask for anything better. For the city and fans to embrace not only the way I play but who I am as much as they did – it feels great to be able to be yourself and be accepted. I thank the city forever for that. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t win as much as we wanted to this year.
Players like DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love have talked about that anxiety. Do you think that has helped others be more open with their own struggles? Michael Beasley: Hats off to those guys, man. More people than you think go through that. I go through it. It took me awhile to realize it because we’re raised to believe that it’s an embarrassing thing. It’s definitely inspiring for them to be honest about what they are experiencing. They opened up the floodgates, they opened up the doors, for the next great NBA player or even the next great scientist. The next shy kid with anxiety can break out of their shell because of this.
I watched your interview with Taylor Rooks on SNY where you talked about parenting your daughter, painting your nails. I thought that was super cool. Michael Beasley: [Laughs] Listen, man. I lost my hood card because I’ve got paint on my nails, bro. So that’s good to hear. My four-year-old will be five in April. Not much will change in those years. I think it’s cool. People should be themselves no matter what anyone says and how it feels. Just be comfortable with being yourself.