The Orlando Magic interviewed North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans, Utah power forward Kyle Kuzma and Michigan power forward D.J. Wilson among others Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine.
Justin Jackson would be a solid option for the Sixers. Mocks drafts have the North Carolina swingman going anywhere from No. 10 to No. 27. He was aware of the possible scenario when he met with the Sixers Thursday morning at the NBA draft combine. By the end of the interview, both sides were impressed. "It was really good," Jackson said. "They were a great group of men. . . . It was kind of back and forth. So it was a good time."
CSNChicago.com spoke to several league executives and scouts in attendance, and while the opinions varied, they certainly understood the position players — or more specifically, their agents are in, at least in terms of the workouts. “I want to see guys compete,” an Eastern Conference scout said. “Even if he misses every shot, going against a guy who’s a mid-round pick and watching how they handle the competition tells you part of their mental makeup. Their body of work won’t be discounted over two days here.”
A Western Conference President agreed but said if he had a son or a client who’s slated in the top 5, he would advise him against coming to the combine. “It can’t do anything but cost you money. That’s the honest truth,” he said. “We have better just done all of our homework when it comes to making the right selection. It’s on us.”
“Tell me one thing they get out of it?” queried a Western Conference executive. “If I was an agent, and I have a guy like Josh Jackson (Kansas), what good is it that Josh Jackson comes in? He’s gonna go in the top 2-3 anyways. He’s not gonna play. None of them are gonna play. He’s gonna interview where he’s (likely) gonna go.”
“He may be right,” Calipari said of Durant's comments about bypassing the NBA draft combine. “For the guys, if you think there’s anything here that would hurt you, don’t come. If there’s anything here that would help you, come. If you have to play to help yourself, come. If it doesn’t help you playing then don’t play.
John Calipari: "This is for these kids. My job is to protect my guys. The job of these NBA teams is to get as much information as they can to make a great pick, so they would like to see every one of them play five-on-five, do all of ... it’s not the way it is for these kids."
College basketball's National Player of the Year Frank Mason III is at the NBA combine this week. During a 5-on-5 drill, he caught up with ESPN's Jeff Goodman to speak about the combine experience. Goodman asked Mason what was the weirdest question he got during the interview process, and things turned dark rather quickly. He was asked to choose how he'd like to die.
Mason said: "I said in my sleep because I wouldn't want to suffer from any pain or anything. So I'd just rather be sleeping around my son and my family."
Michael Scotto: Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky) says he's met with 10 teams, including the Brooklyn Nets. Diallo has NOT met with the New York Knicks as of now.
Sean Deveney: Hamidou Diallo on his 44.5 inch vertical: "I didn't know it was that high until someone told me"
Rod Beard: Wake Forest big man John Collins and Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell said they are schedule to meet with the #Pistons.
Josh Robbins: FSU guard Dwayne Bacon said Portland, Indiana, OKC and New Orleans are among the 9 teams that have interviewed him. He has 3 more tomorrow.
Manny Navarro: #Gators forward Devin Robinson (6-7) said he has a meeting with #Heat scheduled for tomorrow morning
Nick Friedell: UCLA's TJ Leaf says he has not met with the Bulls yet, but expects to during his time in Chicago.
Rod Beard: NBA announces that #Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox will not be available to the media today. Most teams wouldn't be able to draft him anyway.
Brian Seltzer: Cal's Ivan Rabb said that in meeting with Sixers, it stood out to him that team showed him clips, positive and negative, from career. pic.twitter.com/ua9K88HL5b
Vincent Ellis: Justin Jackson says he thinks he's meeting with #Pistons tomorrow. Sweet shooter from UNC.
Nick Friedell: Creighton's Justin Patton said he was surprised by how much the Bulls knew about him during his meeting with the team.
Rod Beard: #Michigan's Moritz Wagner said he's worked out for Utah and OKC and met with #Pistons, #TWolves and #Blazers. #NBAdraftcombine
Adam Zagoria: Steve Mills and Allan Houston part of the Knicks crew here at the Combine pic.twitter.com/f0SRNMVtV7
Tania Ganguli: Luke Walton, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka arrived a bit ago to the gym for the combine. Former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is also here.
Chris Vivlamore: Hawks assistant GM Jeff Peterson and assistant coaches Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan at NBA Draft Combine as shown on ESPN.
Keith Pompey: The #Sixers did not interview #Kentucky PG De'Aaron Fox this morning. They will do so tomorrow morning. pic.twitter.com/btDKpnbwjw
Markelle Fultz’s time at the NBA Draft Combine will be brief, and it will not include an interview with the Orlando Magic, sources told the Orlando Sentinel.
Tony Jones: Former Utes star Kyle Kuzma interviewed with The Sixers and Memphis Grizzlies tonight, league sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune
Tony Jones: Former Lone Peak star Frank Jackson will meet with 12 teams at the Draft combine, including the Utah Jazz, league sources tell The Tribune
Kevin Durant, who 10 years ago failed to bench-press 185 pounds even once but still was drafted No. 2 overall by the Seattle SuperSonics, isn't discouraged by this recent trend. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, Durant said he wished it had started before he embarked on his professional career. "Stay your ass home, work out and get better on your own time," Durant suggested of potential top prospects.
"I remember it like it was yesterday," Durant said, as he readjusted his body to get comfortable in his seat. "All the strength coaches were laughing at me and s---. They were giggling with each other that I couldn't lift 185 pounds, and I was like, 'All right, keep laughing. Keep laughing.' It was a funny thing, because I was the only one that couldn't lift it and I was struggling to lift it. I was embarrassed at that point, but I'm like, 'Give me a basketball, please. Give me a ball.' "
Mark Medina: Luke Walton will be with the Lakers' front office this week in Chicago for the NBA combine. Part of the Lakers' synergy/collaboration
Adam Zagoria: LSU's Antonio Blakeney and Louisville's Mangok Mathiang are confirmed for the @ProBBallCombine, per source.
On May 11-12, 67 NBA hopefuls will pour into a gym in Chicago to be measured, tested, interviewed, and do what they can to impress the NBA scouts and GMs in attendance. Markelle Fultz, the likely No. 1 pick, will be there. The point guard almost certainly will not get on the court, but he will get measured and interviewed.
Other expected guys to go in the Top 5 are not showing up — Lonzo Ball of UCLA, Josh Jackson of Kansas, and Jayson Tatum of Duke all declined their invitations.
Stefan Bondy: Markelle Fultz and De'Aaron Fox among 67 players announced as attending NBA combine. No Lonzo Ball.
Jeff Goodman: Some of the top players not going to the draft combine. De'Aaron Fox expected to attend, source told ESPN.
Jeff Goodman: Valparaiso's Alec Peters has been invited to the NBA combine. Won't participate due to recovering from injury.
Jeff Goodman: As of now, Markelle Fultz plans on attending the draft combine in Chicago, source told ESPN. Likely just do a couple interviews if he goes.
Five Kentucky basketball players were invited to the NBA combine, according to reports. De'Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, Malik Monk and Hamidou Diallo were invited to the NBA Draft combine that will take place in Chicago on May 9-14.
Louisville's Donovan Mitchell received an invitation to the NBA draft combine, set for May 9-14 in Chicago. His teammate and roommate, Deng Adel, is on the list of alternates who could be invited if another player pulls out of the scouting event.
According to sources, Ball won't attend, and he may be joined by Fultz and others expected to be selected high in the lottery.
Monte Morris will participate in the NBA’s draft combine next month in Chicago. Teammate Deonte Burton won’t.
Jeff Goodman: Been told that UNC will also have Isaiah Hicks at the NBA combine. He was also invited.
Jeff Goodman: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum all invited to the combine. Question is whether their agents let them attend.
Shams Charania: Sources: Possible top pick Lonzo Ball formally informed NBA today he will skip the Draft Combine. Several top prospects expected to do same.
Jeff Goodman: Again, been told Indiana big man Thomas Bryant received an invite to the NBA combine. So did ex-Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss.
Jeff Goodman: Couple guys I am told are on the “alternate list” for the NBA Draft combine include Michigan’s Derrick Walton and Louisville’s Deng Adel.
Jeff Goodman: Add former Creighton big man Justin Patton to those I have confirmed that has been invited to the NBA Draft Combine.
Jeff Goodman: Kansas’ trio of Josh Jackson, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Frank Mason have all been invited to the NBA combine.
Jeff Goodman: Colorado’s Derrick White has received an invite to the NBA combine. One of the coolest stories in college hoops this past year.
South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell is one step closer to fulfilling his NBA dream. Thornwell on Friday night reported via social media an invite to this year’s NBA Draft Combine, held May 9-14 in Chicago. The NBA Draft in June 22.
RealGM: League Office Reviewing Draft Combine Measurements: http://basketball.realgm.com/wiretap/241983/League-Office-Reviewing-Draft-Combine-Measurements
We've reached the point where everyone -- players, agents, GMs, scouts, league officials -- is dissatisfied with the draft combine. Expect the combine itself, and the medical testing that happens there, to be a thorny little slice of collective bargaining talks.
Perhaps just as important as his athletic testing, Maker came off well in interviews, giving the impression that his journey through life has provided him a unique world view. Like Diallo, whoever selects Maker is likely going to have to wait a considerable amount of time until he pays dividends, but for a player who has spent so much time out of the conventional radar, being able to remind executives what makes him so intriguing certainly helped his stock.
Maryland sophomore guard Melo Trimble met with the Sixers and will work out with them on May 25 as he contemplates his decision to stay in the draft. During his team interview, he emphasized how he feels he could impact a turnaround. “When I got there, we went to the tournament, which hadn’t been done in a while,” Trimble said. “I feel like wherever I go, I bring a winning culture.”
A common trend at the draft combine was projected top picks foregoing media availability. Providence point guard Kris Dunn was one of the few anticipated top selections to meet with reporters. He explained his reason for participating, and it didn’t have to do with promoting himself. “I’ve been talking to you guys because I have no problem talking to the media,” said Dunn, who interviewed with the Sixers. “Whatever questions you guys have, I’m going to try to answer to the best of my ability. But the reason I am here in Chicago at the combine is to support my guys.” Players Dunn works out with were at the combine, as was college teammate Ben Bentil.
September 27, 2021 | 9:36 am EDT Update
Towns received treatment at an area hospital, then quarantined at home for the next few weeks, isolated from friends and family. Basketball had been the closest thing in his life to an outlet. Now, by himself, he had no choice but to confront the pain that followed his mother’s sudden death. “I’ve had a lot of situations this year where things were just too much for me,” Towns says. “I just remember [quarantining] in the house, and it was more than just COVID for me. I felt like I was going through a holistic journey.”
A high-calorie diet eventually solved his weight problem. But that night inside Quicken Loans Arena, in the same building with so many people for the first time since he was able to leave his house, anxiety enveloped Towns on the bench. When the first quarter ended he texted his agent: “I can’t be out here anymore. I can’t do this.” He rushed back to the locker room, where Minnesota’s head equipment manager Peter Warden asked if everything was O.K.
“I felt like everything was an open-ended sentence, you know? There was no closure. There was no period at the end,” he says. “I just kept running on and running on and running on, but I never really got to where I needed to go to end a conversation.”
There were days when being around teammates carried him. Basketball felt like it could provide a blip of relief. There were others when he thought about stepping away and giving himself space to mourn. “[My mother] made basketball fun for me my whole entire life,” Towns says. “She made it where I wanted to even do this. So for me, I was like, [There’s] too much on my mind. I’m not, I can’t, nah, I can’t.”
“That money s— don’t mean s— to me,” he says. “Time is the real thing we losing every day. I just really didn’t think I could play the game of basketball the way I want to represent myself in the NBA. I didn’t want to represent myself in a bad way. There’d be a lot of times we’d play a game. Game’s over. And I’m not even in there. I’m doing my own thing. I’m in the bathroom looking at myself, wondering if this is the man that I really think I am. I had 40. I’m still not happy with the man I see in the mirror. I’m still dealing with a lot of s—.”
Before home games last season, Towns would walk into Finch’s office with a latte in his hand, sit down and chat. Most conversations covered their shared Philadelphia Eagles obsession or baseball, specifically the American League East standings. “We’d just talk about these little commonalities that we’ve had that give us a chance to shoot the s—, so to speak,” Finch says.