The 6-foot-10 Simmons is picking himself as the top player in the nation. “Oh myself, I’m not going to pick anybody over me but there’s a lot of great players out there,” Simmons told ESPN’s Andy Katz after he dropped 20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in LSU’s 94-83 loss to South Carolina. “I don’t think anyone’s better than me.”
In a decision that could signal a new avenue to the NBA for elite American basketball players, Top 10 high school prospect Jonathan Isaac told Sports Illustrated on Friday that he will explore declaring for the 2016 NBA draft directly from prep school.
A source with knowledge of the NBA’s thinking on Isaac said that there’s been no communication between Isaac and the NBA. As of now, the NBA considers his graduating class to be 2016, which would make him not eligible for the upcoming draft. However, the situation could be open to interpretation or legal challenge.
The most pressing question: Will Ainge be willing to include the Brooklyn Nets’ 2016 first-round pick — which the Celts own — in a potential deal? “Sure. The Brooklyn pick could be had for the right person,” Ainge noted. “It’s going to be a costly price, as it would be for some of our best players. Look, we’re not looking to trade the Brooklyn pick, but at the same time, I could certainly see some things that we would do for the Brooklyn pick. And they wouldn’t be taking risks. We value [the Brooklyn pick]. Even the chance, even a small chance to get a very talented player is worth [keeping the pick] because you have some chance. And you can’t just give up a chance to get a really good player unless [it’s] for another really good player.”
Ainge added, “It would have to be, certainly, a very good player. And also it probably wouldn’t be someone in their 30s. That would have to be a good young player, because again, even if we had a 5 percent or a 10 percent or a 15 percent chance at one of the top picks in the draft, that’s worth keeping.”