Calipari is normally aware of the range where his players will be drafted, and he said he knew the Timberwolves would make Towns the top pick in this year’s draft. The hardest wait was for Brandon Knight in 2011. “There was such a chance for him go from four to 12 that it was making me nauseous,” Calipari said. “Then, he went, I believe it was [eight]. It was like ecstasy. You’re jumping up and down like, ‘Holy crap.’”
“Of course, you think [it’s] a little unfair,” Aaron Harrison added. “But it’s not really a big deal. You can’t really sulk about it; [instead] just go out here and play as hard as you can.” Late in the draft, Calipari had called to say that making a team as an undrafted free agent was better than being drafted late in the second round. And that night, Aaron Harrison worked out a deal to play in summer league with the Hornets. “Of course I have a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “So, I think that’s an advantage I have. But it’s a little bit of relief, too, just to know that I have somewhere to go.”
While Calipari looks forward to his players’ NBA success, he also has reinforcements on the way at Kentucky. The day before the draft, Jamal Murray, a highly touted Canadian guard, announced his commitment to the Wildcats. The incoming class also includes Skal Labissiere, ranked by many as the top overall recruit, and McDonald’s All American guard Isaiah Briscoe. Even though Kentucky doesn’t have the championship to repeat in 2015-16, the Wildcats can repeat their dominance in next year’s NBA draft. “And you know what?” Calipari said. “I’ve got another good team and I also think I have five guys, maybe six, that will have an opportunity, if they choose, to put their name in the draft.”
Sir’Dominic Pointer, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 53rd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, will play for the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League, a league source informed Northeast Ohio Media Group. Pointer, 23, will not attend training camp with the Cavaliers and instead will report to Canton once its camp opens up, the source said. The Charge is the Cavaliers’ D-League affiliate.
It’s scary to think of what could be done with an 18-year-old Dawkins coming out of the 2015 draft. “A 6-11, physical, athletic, rim-protecting, running ‘big,’ ” said former Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski. “In the up-tempo style of today’s NBA, the big fella would have no problem. “[Dawkins] would be making a lot of money coming into the league right now.”
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.”