Storyline: No. 1 pick

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One of the most important personalities in the history of European basketball, the now retired, 74-year-old Ivkovic had coached most (if not all) prominent players incubated in the heart of the Balkan peninsula, while at the helm of the national teams of Yugoslavia and Serbia. Including Kukoc and the late Drazen. “He’s (Doncic) a phenomenon. Drazen Petrovic played “1” and Toni Kukoc from “1” to “4”. I believe that neither of them played so maturely when they were 18, as Doncic plays now,” Ivkovic said with a tone of certainty, while interviewed by Greek Cosmote TV.

“Luka is a unique player. I don’t compare him to anyone. For me he plays in a magical way. I enjoy it, but not because he is my son or I am crazy. Luke is a bohemian, a basketball romantic. He has to improve his shot and I would love to see him shooting more from two” Sasa told AS. “NBA? He will play with Real Madrid this season. Luka is 18. It is going to he his decision. He is likely to go to the NBA very soon. But people from Madrid don’t need to be worried about that. They have a great basketball school full of young players and there will be soon the new Luka” Sasa added.

Markelle says he’s “cool” with Lonzo Ball, and if there’s any lingering criticism of Markelle it is that he is indeed too cool — so laid back and emotionless he can come off robotic. “People think I’m not happy, but I’m always happy,” he says, pointing out he’s taken expressionless photos since his days with braces. “I’m saving my smile for a big day, and that day is coming up soon. All those people who say he’s not going to smile on draft day, that’s the day I’m going to have the biggest smile on my face.”

A day after Markelle Fultz talked up his fit next to D’Angelo Russell following his first workout for the Los Angeles Lakers, there are reports that president of basketball operations Magic Johnson wants to make such a pairing a reality. According to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, Johnson “‘is in love’ with Fultz” and might attempt to trade for the Boston Celtics No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft in order to select him. Givony reports that Johnson might try to do this with an offer of Julius Randle and the Lakers’ own No. 2 pick.

Though the point guard finished his career at Washington with sterling numbers that included a 23.2 scoring average, the Huskies won just nine games. As such Fultz’ leadership potential has been debated. And that would be wrong, Ainge said. “I don’t know why we do that,” he said of tying a young prospect’s upside to winning. “Impacting winning takes more than one player. If you’re talking about 25-year-olds, or 22-year-olds coming out of college, then maybe there would be more emphasis put on that.”
9 months ago via ESPN

Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, the potential No. 1 pick of the NBA draft, said Tuesday that he has had multiple conversations with Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge since the draft combine earlier this month and that he is hopeful he will be selected first overall on June 22. “I’ve talked to Danny a few times, and they want to get me to come out there for a visit,” Fultz told ESPN. “They just want to get a chance to know me better as a person.”
9 months ago via ESPN

“I want to be the No. 1 pick really bad,” Fultz added. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, and I feel like I would fit well in Boston.” Fultz said he has yet to firm up a day when he will visit the Celtics, who acquired the rights to the No. 1 pick through a 2013 trade with the Brooklyn Nets. He will likely work out for management and coaches. He did meet with Boston and a few other teams earlier this month while in Chicago before the draft combine.

Or as another NBA player put it, “People don’t realize it because they didn’t get to watch him as much this year. I don’t want to say he’s a Russ-level athlete, but he’s closer to that than not. If he went to the combine, which I’m not sure he’d ever have a reason to, but if he went, he’d test off the charts. He’s just a f—ing freak.” And as one scout says, “It’s funny to me that so many people have tried to put the ‘not a winner’ stigma on him without ever getting to know him. If he were a BS kid, maybe you could blame Washington’s struggles on him. But he’s the furthest thing from that.” Those last two answers are why he’s the likely No. 1 pick.

Ball has signed with Harrison Gaines, league sources said. Gaines is based in California and counts Ball as his first NBA client. Ball’s father, LaVar, has become the family’s public voice and has pushed the family’s Big Baller Brand athletic apparel company. The family has also launched Ball Sports Group, sources said. In hiring Gaines, however, Lonzo Ball will have standard player representation. Gaines will be responsible for Ball’s future NBA contracts and team negotiations as a member of the Ball Sports Group, sources said.

The Bruins kicked off their NCAA run Friday night with a convincing 97-80 win over Kent State, and Lonzo, to his credit, hasn’t let the surrounding noise get to him. But Ball’s father seems to have already turned his attention to the NBA. “Why shouldn’t they (pick Lonzo first)? … If you’ve got a kid who makes everybody better, you mean to tell me you wouldn’t take him over a guy that’s just averaging 40 points and does all this stuff and losing? The key to the game is winning. If you want a winner, you pick my boy,” LaVar told TMZ.

Fultz, whose Washington Huskies didn’t make the tournament, averaged just over 23 points and nearly six rebounds and assists this season. The Huskies were just 9-22 on the season, and Fultz has already announced his intention to go pro. Despite Fultz’s gaudy numbers, Ball’s father, unsurprisingly, continued stumping for his son. “Look what he did to UCLA. They 15-17 last year. You bring one dude and change the culture, that’s what you want,” he said. “He’s going to go to the Lakers. Watch. The Lakers gonna get that ball, and then they gonna get that Ball.”
1 year ago via

Some are projecting you to go No. 1 in next year’s draft… Would you leave for the NBA in case you’re selected at that spot? Luka Doncic: I don’t know. I like to see that, of course, but I insist I don’t want to think about anything NBA-related right now. I’m very focused on accomplishing things with Real Madrid and being the best player I can be and when the time comes to think about the NBA then I will have time to decide. I think Real Madrid is the best place to be right now and I’m very happy here.
1 year ago via ESPN

Calipari is still imploring Monk to drive to the basket, because frankly, he can get there almost whenever he wants. He has a rare combination of skill and athleticism where he can drill 3s and also get what he wants when he drives to the hoop. But NBA executives are torn on Monk. Some believe he’s a lock to go in the upper half of the NBA lottery. One even recently told me he’d select Monk with the No. 1 overall pick. But others are concerned that he’s a 6-foot-3 2-guard, and they feel as though he’ll go in the bottom portion of the lottery due to his lack of size.

His name is Josh Jackson, and he possesses both a standout game that could make him the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft and trash-talking skills that already compete with the likes of all-star yappers Payton and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. “He blocked Gary Payton’s son’s shot and then Josh looked at him. That’s what set Gary off. That’s just Josh. Dude is having fun,” said Hillcrest Hoops Prep Academy rising senior center DeAndre Ayton, who plays with Payton’s son, Julian.
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