Donovan Mitchell swears, to this day, that he didn’t think would be a first-round pick. “I didn’t think I was going to be drafted, to be honest,” he said last week. “I’m so serious. I mean, wholeheartedly, too. I don’t know. I didn’t realize it, probably, until about a week and a half, two weeks before the Draft. Once I got invited to the Green Room, that’s when I was like, okay, I’m first, I’m getting drafted in the first round. Because they try their best not to let guys sit in there forever. “So I’m like, first round. Now, will I be drafted to the Knicks at eight, or all the way down to, who was it? OKC or Utah. ‘Cause OKC had 22 and Utah had 24. So now that was a factor. From before then, I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest.”
Anfernee Simons is still seriously considering entering the 2018 NBA Draft, the IMG star said after scoring 28 points against Vermont Academy in front of scouts from at least half a dozen NBA teams and a collection of the NCAA’s top college coaches. The 7th ranked player in the class 2018 per 247Sports, Simons has been seeking a new school after decommitting from Louisville in wake of the FBI pay-to-play investigation. Simons says his list of schools consists of Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, SMU, Minnesota, North Carolina State and others, which reportedly include Florida State and Alabama.
Karl-Anthony Towns has kept tabs on what Kristaps Porzingis has done since the two young big men came in the league together in 2015, and is happy the Knicks’ franchise player has proved the doubters wrong. Porzingis has cooled off since his fast start this season that had people touting him as an MVP candidate. Towns outperformed him by a wide margin in the Timberwolves’ 10-point over the Knicks Friday, finishing one assist short of a triple-double. Porzingis missed 13 of 19 shots. But Towns remembers being in Brooklyn the night the two were drafted one and four respectively, and hearing the boos when Porzingis was picked by the Knicks. Towns, a New Jersey native, believes the Knicks are extremely lucky that Porzingis fell to them at four
Several first round NBA prospects have been told that they cannot play for the G-League this season due to a rule that bars players who have been part of a college basketball program during the same academic year, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. That includes Mitchell Robinson, a potential lottery pick who recently dropped out of Western Kentucky to focus on the draft.
Robinson reportedly reached out to the G-League about his eligibility and was told he could not be signed due to the rule. Other cases include players caught up in the current FBI college basketball corruption investigation, including Louisville’s Brian Bowen, USC’s De’Anthony Melton, and Auburn’s Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy.
NBA scouts are buying into Oklahoma’s Trae Young more by the week. The 30-foot step-backs, the pull-ups from the logo and the YOLO passes may have seemed gimmicky or flukey at first. But some scouts who initially expressed hesitation have admitted to Bleacher Report they’re now finding it easier to picture his game translating at the pro level. Many are starting to look past the physical flaws that typically raise questions when evaluating for the NBA. They don’t seem leery about his unprecedented stats, despite the fact he has the highest usage rate in college basketball, per Sports-Reference.com. “His production speaks for itself. No need to overthink,” one Eastern Conference scout said. “He leads the nation in scoring and assists while being game-planned for by every opponent. His skills and vision make up for average athleticism.” “The spacing of the NBA, his shooting and passing, I think he [Trae Young] is going to be good,” a scout from the West said. “He has that mentality, too. He legitimately wants to be good. He isn’t fake.”