The Lakers have traditionally built their championship rosters with big men, but the team passed on Duke center Jahlil Okafor to take Ohio State guard Russell with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft. “We’ve got high aspirations for him,” Buss said. “We normally look to get bigs, but [Russell] was just that impressive, that we just didn’t feel right passing up on him. “My enthusiasm for D’Angelo Russell, I have to curb it because I’m so excited about it. He could be anything in this league.”
LSU just returned from playing five games in Australia and Ben Simmons did pretty well for himself. The 6-foot-10 Australian point forward averaged 20 points, 9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 3.6 steals, while also committing 25 turnovers in five games, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
NBA scouts will be watching Simmons and the Tigers in every game this year. “Simmons is clearly going to be the most talked about freshman coming into this college season,” one veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv. “LSU is really building him up. He has great all-around talent. He is the closest thing to demonstrating Magic Johnson-type passing skills along with having the size similar to Magic. He needs to become a more consistent perimeter shooter and learn how to enjoy the game. His approach is almost Kobe Bryant-like which I believe may turn off his teammates at LSU. He goes 1 or 2 in the draft unless he goes back for his sophomore year.”
For the first time on North American soil, two Euroleague powerhouses will go head to head when Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv and three-time European champs EA7 Emporio Armani Milan meet this fall. As Maccabi announced recently, the two squads will play at Chicago’s United Center on October 1st before heading to Madison Square Garden on October 4th. Adding some intrigue to the games, Hoops Rumors has learned that it is very likely that Dragan Bender, whom Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress projects as a top-five pick in the 2016 draft, will be making the trip to the U.S. The Croatian star, who is signed to Adidas, did not take center stage at the Nike-run U19 World Championship games in June, but he’ll now get his chance to shine in NBA territory. Bender, who doesn’t turn 18 until November, has been wowing scouts for a long time with his play for Maccabi’s junior squad.
After a sometimes rocky freshman year at Kansas, Oubre was the 15th pick in this year’s NBA draft, taken by the Wizards after they were able to work out a deal with the Hawks. Oubre was high on the board of several lottery teams, including the Hornets at No. 9 and Heat at No. 10, but when he slipped into the teens, there was a clamor from teams to move up and grab him. Boston likely would have taken him at No. 16, a source said, and once the Celtics failed to get Charlotte’s pick, they tried to move up for Oubre. Several other teams had interest, and a source told Sporting News that the Rockets (with the 18th pick) were trying to move up, too. But it wasn’t until Oubre’s agent, Nima Namakian, got a text message from Wizards vice president Tommy Sheppard on draft night, telling him that the Hawks had agreed to a deal, that Oubre finally knew how his situation would pan out.
Long before the future stars of the NBA are wearing their team jerseys, they’ll be wearing a lot of Under Armour — thanks to a new partnership set to be announced by the league and apparel company later today. Under the new deal, the Baltimore-based company will be the presenting partner of the league’s youth basketball program, Jr. NBA, and will also be the title partner of the NBA Draft Combine beginning in 2018 — a deal that the league describes as one that represents a “significantly expanded partnership” between the two companies. “It’s a huge deal and we couldn’t be more excited about it as we continue to build our brand and our business around the sport of basketball,” said Adam Peake, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing, Under Armour.