Their fact-finding began in earnest this week in Chicago. As of Thursday afternoon, the Mavericks had interviews with 16 players, including Creighton’s Justin Patton, Baylor’s Jonathan Motley, SMU’s Semi Ojeleye and Florida State’s Dwayne Bacon.
Eddie Sefko: Baylor's Jonathan Motley measured in just under 6-9 with shoes but had 7-4 wing span. Early word is he has impressed people in one-on-ones
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.
January 21, 2021 | 12:06 pm EST Update
Duane Rankin: Memphis next 3 games – 1-22 at Blazers 1-24/25 vs. Kings – have been postponed in accordance with #NBA health/safety protocols. They’re being postponed due to unavailable players for Grizzlies, contact tracing for other players on roster and to ensure health/safety of both teams
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA is erring on the side of caution with what still appears to be isolated COVID-19 exposure within the Grizzlies, sources tell ESPN. These postponements aren’t a result of several individuals being placed into the league’s Health and Safety protocol.
Chris Herrington: Per league source, the Grizzlies have one (and only one) active positive case. The rest of this postponement is due to contact tracing/caution. My sense is it’s another reflection of the league further tightening its protocols.
January 21, 2021 | 10:39 am EST Update
While the Nets starters tired and Harden, Irving and Durant played the final 18:45 together, Brooklyn’s best on-ball defender, Bruce Brown, sat on the bench. Brown’s 6-2 frame made for an ideal matchup to potentially cool down Sexton, who is 6-1, but after seeing the reserves struggle in the second quarter, Nash elected to tighten his rotations and play just nine all game. After the game, Brooklyn’s stars said Sexton hit a lot of difficult shots on them and his performance isn’t a total reflection of the defense. “He made some tough shots,” Harden said. “And if he missed those shots, is it good defense? No, he made some tough shots, everybody’s tired at that point, and I think we did enough, especially in the fourth quarter and first overtime. I don’t know how many points he had in that second overtime, but I think he had the majority of them. Chalk your hat up to him.”
Irving said his time in Cleveland with LeBron James and Kevin Love taught him that resolve, compromise and sacrifice was necessary for the Cavaliers to win at a high level. Irving thinks the same can happen in Brooklyn with his new star-studded team. Like his last one, it isn’t going to happen immediately. “We’ll have good nights, we’ll have great nights, but it’s how we galvanize as a group together,” Irving said. “It’s how we sacrifice and compromise for the greater good. And that still remains to be seen. Obviously, one game is out of the way, but I’m excited for what’s to come.”
His teammates have noticed a difference in him, too. Osman has noted the advancements in Sexton’s game from his rookie year to now. Sexton is competitive on the defensive end of the floor, he’s making the extra pass and his assists this season are up to 3.7 per game. “Obviously, last year he was better, and this year he’s even better,” Osman said. “He made like 14 or 15 points in a row, and then there was good defense on him, but then he found TP (new Cavalier Taurean Prince) in the corner for a 3-point shot that was wide open. That was a beautiful play from Collin. He could have taken that one too but saw TP was open, and that was the right play, so he made the right play. You can see from his first year until now — he’s just getting better every day.”
Meanwhile, Kerr says the Warriors focused the “vast majority” of their initial practices this preseason on defense so they can compete in early games while beta testing the offense on the fly. “Training camp before was just about getting in shape,” Curry says. “Now we gotta do that and figure out who needs to be where, what sets are going to be our bread and butter, defensive chemistry and communication — everything that makes a team great.”