You can get this content every Saturday morning in your email inbox. Click here to subscribe to the HoopsHype Weekly newsletter.
NBA DRAFT SCOOPS: Considering the global pandemic has made in-person conversations impossible, front offices have been forced to use Zoom and other digital platforms as the primary form of communication to get to know this draft pool. That brings some advantages, of course, as more interviews can be scheduled for both teams and players and on a much cheaper budget. In fact, many players have been able to talk with nearly every franchise in the league rather than limiting their interview process to a select few due to travel concerns, overlaps and fatigue. Disadvantages, however, are obvious. It is becoming especially hard for teams to get a read on certain prospects without the face-to-face process that one would be accustomed to experiencing for a typical job interview.
For what it’s worth, one NBA scout told HoopsHype the upperclassmen have been a far more amenable group to chat with than the underclassmen. Of course, there are some seniors who have a bit of an advantage because they interviewed with some front offices when previously testing the waters. Having gone through this process before, they have an added comfort and familiarity with teams that a freshman simply does not have. Typically, that is outweighed by the promise of developing a younger prospect. Yet in this particular class, maturity and game film will be at a premium. Without as much of an opportunity to read the energy of someone while in the same room, intel already learned from previous sessions will be trusted more than ever.
Here is what Penn State senior forward Lamar Stevens told us back in May: “For younger players, sometimes they evolve right away but sometimes they don’t. I think with seniors in college, they have a much larger body of work. I think they have more maturity in their game and I can use that to my advantage. It’s hard for younger players to come into the league, in terms of making sure that their bodies are ready for the game.”
Unfortunately, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament for the nation’s top seniors was also canceled due to the pandemic. However, even without that scouting opportunity, the idea of more seniors than usual being drafted would hardly be a surprise.
According to our research, the average draft over the past four seasons has included approximately a dozen seniors. However, the average total of seniors selected in the first round is just three. This year, it should not be a surprise to see either of those numbers could be on the rise. Desmond Bane (TCU), Grant Riller (Charleston), Cassius Winston (Michigan State), Killian Tillie (Gonzaga), Udoka Azubuike (Kansas), Payton Pritchard (Oregon), Skylar Mays (LSU) and Markus Howard (Marquette) could be selected with the first 30 picks.
This trend may not be permanent, but in a year where nothing is certain, the choice of going with “door No. 1” when you have already seen inside can be far more appealing than the concept of upside and mystery of a door left uncracked.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: One point of contention for NBA players about joining the restart at Disney World is that it would be seen as tone-deaf and turn a blind eye to the progressive conversations happening in the United States right now. The league has allowed players to display something other than their own names on the backs of their jerseys. While the messaging has been pre-approved by the league, limiting some freedom of expression, here is what players have chosen for their social justice messages.
NEW HOOPSHYPE PODCAST: Ben Golliver from the Washington Post recently joined Alex Kennedy for a podcast episode that Golliver recorded from inside the NBA’s bubble campus at Disney World! He spoke about his experience in the 7-day hotel-room quarantine, his first impressions of the bubble, the safety protocols, the food, the anonymous “snitch line” and much more.
INSIDE THE NBA BUBBLE: USA TODAY’s Mark Medina, who is also staying on the NBA’s bubble campus at Disney World, is realizing just how far the league is willing to go in order to ensure safety for the players, coaches and the media.
ROSTER UPDATES: The Washington Wizards are signing Jarrod Uthoff. The Brooklyn Nets have voided their deal with Michael Beasley, instead signing Lance Thomas. Brooklyn has also signed Donta Hall as a substitute player for their final stretch of games. More updates here.
JAZZ NOT IN TUNE: Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert said that one of the major issues he has with the team is that he does not receive enough lob passes from his teammates. We broke down how often he connects on alley-oops following passes from Donovan Mitchell and compared it to other connections around the league.
AGGREGATE MOCK DRAFT 6.0: The 2020 NBA Draft was pushed back until October 16, which gives front offices and analysts far more time to evaluate this class of prospects. We looked at all of the mainstream mock drafts to give you a sense of what players are emerging as lottery picks, explaining why for each selection as well.
CATCHING UP WITH AN NBA CHAMPION: Nine-year NBA veteran Mario Chalmers was a guest on The HoopsHype Podcast. He discussed his favorite memories from the Miami Heat’s run, his recovery after rupturing his Achilles in 2016, his hope of making an NBA comeback, “The 5 Tournament” that he helped organize and more.
MEDIA MVP VOTING: To get a better sense of who decides the hardware, we present how each media member has voted for MVP. It is worth noting that the data below only goes back to 2015; that is when the NBA decided to make the process more transparent.
BASEBALL BUSINESS: Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal and Denver Nuggets’ Mason Plumlee are an unlikely duo that is teaming up with World Series champion Alex Rodriguez and pop star Jennifer Lopez in an attempt to purchase an MLB franchise.
BOBAN SHAKING HANDS: To reminisce about the pre-COVID days, we compiled some photos documenting 7-foot-4 big man Boban Marjanovic shaking hands with people who have smaller hands than he does. Most people have smaller hands than the Dallas Mavericks center as his hands are estimated to be 10.75/12 inches.