At this year’s camp, which is being held at the Quest Multisport, almost 70 draft-eligible prospects will strut their stuff in the hopes of improving their draft status. Mitchell Robinson is not one of them, although he could have been. The talented 7-foot center was invited to the draft combine, but opted to bypass it. “He is definitely a wild-card in this draft,’’ said a veteran Eastern Conference talent scout, who is here attending the draft combine. “He’s all over the place on draft boards. He has one of the wider ranges, if not the widest range, of any player in the draft. I have him going anywhere from 15 to 30. “We don’t know a whole lot about him. There’s just not a lot to go off about him yet.’’
February 18, 2019 | 4:12 pm EST Update
The presentation that millions saw Saturday night was not all Collins’ idea. He was skeptical at first and thought the entirety of the act was too sophisticated for a dunk contest. He originally had approached NBA officials with a plan to leap over an object that hadn’t been jumped over before in a dunk contest. As the two parties discussed options, a plane was settled on. In theory, it was perfect because of North Carolina’s aviation history. Collins, however, didn’t have control of the size of the plane as the construction of the plane was handled by the league. The first conversation was just the two sides agreeing to a plane being involved in one of Collins’ dunks. As conversations continued, league representatives also suggested he include a nod to the Tuskegee Airmen for Black History Month, and the NBA would create a short intro video for the Wright brothers and provide the aviation headgear. Collins’ mother was a sergeant in the Air Force, and he’s a history buff himself, so he went along with it, thinking the creativity behind it would be appreciated. It fell flat.
There was a lack of energy from the crowd all night, and a salute to the state’s history wasn’t going to be enough for the fans to care. Collins felt defeated after completing the dunk. He threw the hat he was wearing into the crowd and took a seat on the bench where he kept shaking his head in frustration. “I was just disappointed,” Collins said.
The teasing returned Saturday night from fans across social media, but Collins is hoping he gets one more chance in a future dunk contest to show that he can deliver with a second time around. “I feel like I didn’t get the full respect, but everything will come in due time,” he said. “I can see the progress. I’m not trying to rush anything too much. I like where I’m at right now.”
Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton says he doesn’t know ANYTHING about reports of friction between him and LeBron James … telling TMZ Sports, “LeBron and I get along just fine.” The 38-year-old head coach had just touched down at LAX where he let us ask some Lakers questions — and couldn’t have been nicer about it.
On how the season is going so far, Luke told us he thinks it’s “good” but points out how injuries to guys like LeBron, Lonzo and others have had an impact. Still, Luke is optimistic — telling us, “We’ll be alright.”
In November, LiAngelo Ball announced that he was planning on pursuing an NBA G League contract. With just 13 games left in the regular season, the middle Ball brother still hasn’t found a spot on a G League roster. However, he has garnered some interest from teams overseas, including the London Lions of the British Basketball League. In the most recent episode of “Ball In the Family,” LiAngelo revealed that the London Lions had expressed interest in signing him to a contract.